Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I rode in the rain yesterday. I hadn't done that for a while.

When I woke up, and noticed the soggy weather, I wasn't going to. But later, thinking things had cleared up, I headed out on the TT bike for a quick hour's workout. It started raining. Hard.

But there's a special pleasure to riding in the rain that I'm only reminded of when I'm actually doing it. Like most cyclists, I think, I'll go well out of my way to avoid it. But why? You put on an extra layer, just deal with being wet, and it's really not that big a thing. (So long as it's not too cold...and you're not out too long.)

I think it worthwhile to re-post this passage from The Rider*:

In 1919, Brussels-Amiens was won by a rider who rode the last forty kilometers with a flat tire. Talk about suffering! He arrived at 11:30 at night, with a ninety-minute lead on the only other two riders who finished the race. That day had been like night, trees had whipped back and forth, farmers were blown back into their barns, there were hailstones, bomb craters from the war, crossroads where the gendarmes had run away and riders had to climb onto one another's shoulders to wipe clean the muddied road signs.

Oh, to have been a rider then. Because after the finish all the suffering turns to memories of pleasure, and the greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is Nature's payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses: people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. 'Good for you.' Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few suitors these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms she rewards passionately.

That's why there are riders.

Suffering you need: literature is baloney.

Woolly mice indeed!

Speaking of suffering, there hasn't been near enough in my riding lately. Probably Iron Cross is the last of something approaching anything worthy of that moniker. I've been considering the six-hour at French Creek, though. Saturday, May 8. If it turns out anything like the last six-hour I did, that should cure me of the want for suffering for a while. Plus Audrey turns 12 the day before. I'll need a good long hard ride to come to terms with that reality. Hopefully it rains.

* I read this a little over a year ago and still think about it all the time. A short book. Brilliantly written. I can't believe it took me so long to discover it. I can't believe no one told me about. Every cyclist should read it. It should come with your first bicycle, or when you buy your first racing license. It's prose should be quoted naturally and without effort on every weekend group ride the world over. It's that important. And besides The Yellow Jersey, the only meaningful cycling-related fiction of which I'm aware.


I listed two items on eBay last week. I think of myself as a veteran eBayer, but this is the first time I've listed anything for sale. The first auction ended last night. I got more than I hoped (for a lightly used SRAM Force front derailleur). The second ends tomorrow (for a lightly used SRAM Red PowerDome cassette, 11-23). Let's hope I get the same result.

I've lots of other stuff to list:

-- A pair of SRAM Force brake calipers.
-- A set of SRAM TT bar-end shifters.
-- A set of TT brake levers. (Though I can't decide if I want to keep the old, scared, perfectly functional aluminum numbers I'm currently using, or the fancy-pants SRAM carbon numbers I picked up together with a bundle of other stuff I bought a while ago. I clearly don't need both.)
-- A new, completely unused Specialized S-Works crankset, 170mm crankarms, compact gearing (50-34T) with BB30 bearing cups. (I don't even want to explain how I came to own this.)
-- A one year-old, red, 3T Funda fork (this is the fork that comes on all the Cervelos) with its steerer tube cut short--it would fit a 48 or 51 cm Cervelo, or any other smaller frame that takes a 1 1/8" steerer. (This is a nice fork. Strong, light, super aero. They retail for almost $400.)
-- And then I have a really nice frame to sell too. But I don't want to advertise that just yet.

Wow. Written out like that it seems like a lot of shmiz. I've become a regular broker. How did that happen?


Raced on Saturday. The Philly Phlyer. As I wrote last year, I love that course. Well suited for my strengths. Great weather (70s) and a really large field (maybe 70-80 riders).

This year, at the end of the third lap, there was a small group (2-3?) off the front and a small, three-rider chase group ten seconds or so in front of the pack. On the lap-finishing hill I bridged to the chase group, tried to motivate them, but by the time we made it back to River Drive we were altogether again, except for the two or three riders still off the front.

Fast forward to the end of the fourth and final lap. I dumped out all that I had on the incline prior to the round-a-bout and finishing straight, but four riders pulled around me just before the turn, and another few made it around me in the sprint. I finished ninth.

I knew my chances at a top five finish were dependent on making it to the round-a-bout first. I just didn't have quite enough.

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