Archive for August, 2008

The Glamor of Pro Cycling

I swear, if they weren’t in their team kit I’d think they were prison camp survivors.  Michael Boogerd looks especially cadaverous.

Props to DC

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Satan’s Ice Cream Truck.  That music sounds so sad.

It’s like the truck knows it’s on it’s last legs and will soon go the way of Tom Carvel.  I also like the picture and caption “Goths eat ice cream too, you know”; yes, pain is life, indeed.  With chocolate sprinkles.

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I Got Dropped

One of the fun things that can happen on a solo ride is to spot a rider up the road that you can chase down.  It’s even better when they look back and see you; it’s a hollow victory when your “competition” is oblivious.

The best scenario is when the chase is long and I can also keep them in sight the whole time.  It’s a real buzzkill when they turn off of my route.  I don’t think I ever push myself harder than I do during those chases.  They look back a couple of times, I get closer and eventually they know the game is up!

They are invariably gracious about it, barely acknowledging the catch.  I let up enough before then so I can get out a few kind words.  “Nice day, huh?”  “Could do without this headwind.”  “Nice bike!”

The next challenge is to build a gap that they can’t close too easily.  I also stick to my route.  It’s a bush league move to pass them and then turn off so they can’t (try to) chase you down.

The last time I was on the receiving end of a so-called chase was a couple of years ago.  I had nowhere near the fitness I have now, and this guy just dusted me.  I was nearing one of my regular “bergs” (a short but very steep climb) and was mentally preparing for it when WHAM!  Some guy in his late 40s with a moustache went right past me.  I was startled and tried to play it off with a guy nod and low-key “hey”.

After the startled-ness wore off, I let it go.  He’d obviously been riding for a long time and I was quite the noob.  Since then, I’ve been the chaser instead of the chase-ee.

Until a couple weeks ago, that is.  I was at the tail end of a 2½ hour ride and turning off of a main road on to a secondary that takes me back to my neighborhood.

Scene of the crime

Scene of the crime

I’m westbound on 146A and he’s eastbound.  We’re both turning on to Main St.  He’s a tad closer, so he goes first.  There’s no traffic (luckily) so we both keep our momentum on to Main St.  Main Street starts with a slight downhill and then goes flat.  I get right up to about 10 feet behind his wheel and never any closer.  In a couple of minutes I can’t even see him anymore.

I don’t know if he was just 20 minutes in to his ride and was feeling fresh and fast, was a racer out for training, or whatever.  It was a little depressing; there are better ways to feel at the end of a ride, for sure.  I am determined, however, to not let this linger.  I have had the good end of this situation too many times perhaps and I’m a bit spoiled by always “winning” the chase.

All the more reason to think about dedicating a portion of my rides to actual training.  It’s one thing to get a lot of miles in and burn a ton of calories; it’s another to be able to go fast and hang with the more serious set.

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The Grand Paradox of the Parking Garage

Where I work we have an open-air covered parking garage that connects directly to the building.  I usually get there before most people, and I like to park far enough from the entrance that I can walk for a couple of minutes; it helps me to shake out some of the morning’s cobwebs.

During the dog days of summer, I really treasure the conditions of a pleasant morning.  I often think about how great the weather is at that moment compared to the afternoon ride time.  The afternoon will be typical: high 80s, humid and breezy.  However, as I walk across the parking garage, all I can think about is how great it would be to be out on the bike right now.  It’s in the low 70s, a nearly calm wind with the air especially fresh.

I consider taking a day off during the week to get out and ride on a nice Summer morning – and therein lies the paradox.  I am NOT a morning person by any stretch.  On those rare occasions that I don’t have to go to work on a weekday morning, I would either be sleeping or groggily bumping around my house at the time I would otherwise be walking across the parking garage.  Also, morning drivers aren’t the same people they are in the afternoon.  The same routes I take at 5:30 PM I would never consider at 7:30 AM.

So, as I merrily stride towards the office door, I sigh as I am committed to the next 8 hours in front of a computer instead of behind the handlebars.  It’s sooo inviting outside, but I know I’ll never realize the dream.  Sort of like the roommate switch.

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Olympic Observations

Big props to Sammy Sanchez.  That Spanish squad was loaded, but I don’t think anyone was naming Sanchez as a favorite.  The guy rides for Euskaltel, for crying out loud.  When’s the last time they ever won anything on a big stage?

On the women’s side, Cooke’s win was great to see.  She chided the breakaway to work together while she sat in the back of the paceline in order to make a well-timed jump for the win.  Great tactics.

On another note, I can’t help but notice an eerie similarity between Bela Karolyi and Captain Kangaroo.

Captain Kangaroo


and lastly…ZOMG! Dara Torres is 41!!!1!

ugh.  Call me when they discover Jeannie Longo.



I think I Might Be An Athlete

Is it purely about competition, or is it simply doing a sporting activity in a way that is more than just a workout?

I want to say that I am.  I don’t compete – I’ve already posted that I’m not a racer.  To be sure, when I see another rider up the road I want to catch them.  Badly.

I have done a century in the past (2006) and would do another one this September if not for a scheduling conflict.  I may be a Fred, but I’m a Fred who has done his share of miles.

One thing athletes do is train.  I don’t like to ride just to see the sights or burn a few calories.  I like to wear myself out and burn 2500 calories.  When I see a long flat stretch of road I think Time Trial – high steady effort just short of blowing up.

I look forward to climbs.  I may not climb fast, but I enjoy it.  There’s a masochistic bent among us riders; it’s the joy of the pain. If I don’t hurt, I didn’t try hard enough.

Even in winter I’m on the trainer on a regular basis (3-4 times per week).  Here in upstate New York that’s a solid 5 month block.  If you’re not a dedicated rider, you can’t force yourself on to a trainer that often.  I actually look forward to it.

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Clipping In

That’s what I do when the ride begins.  After I pump up the tires…and after I slap on the SPF 30…and warm up…and stretch.  But “Clipping In” sounds so much better.

A good ride can be one where you discover new things along the way.  It can also be rediscovering something in rides you’ve done a hundred times.  This blog is a new ride for me.  So many times I’ve wanted to dish about some cycling topic, but let’s face it – not every town is Boulder – so I don’t have a gaggle of fellow bikers to rant with.

I’m coasting out of the driveway and on to the road.  Adjust your 4-way chamois stretch and let’s roll.

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