Tuesday, May 8, 2012



It's way faster now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

the tanscendental tubular experience

I had a quasi-transcendental moment this morning.  Gluing tubulars.  (It may have been the fumes.)

Consider the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sentences of The Rider:

I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together.  Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes.  Non-racers.  The emptiness of those lives shocks me.

From Krabbe's pen to my soul.

And so I've been gluing tubulars.  Beautiful, handmade Italian tubes of rubber and cotton.  Manufactured by a process that if it isn't a mystery it should be.  The men (they better be men) that make these are like elven craftsman of Middle Earth.  Their craft a subtle magic and exquisite art.  I would sleep with a beautiful bike part.

The hoops?  New 808s.  They've a fancy red dragon sticker on the side.  Apparently they breathe fire. 

Technology as old as my grandparents paired with the latest and greatest.  And it's held together with glue.  Sometimes an unfathomably frustrating process.  But when you can relax, breath deep (the fumes), and focus...  Well, it can become something of a transcendent experience.  The rite and ritual of that elven clan of brothers.  An initiation.  Then a renewal.  A sacrament.  The Masonry of Riders.

Not riders, mind you, but Riders!  And what is a Rider?  Well, a Rider is one who can only stare when outsiders--those tourists and locals with the shockingly empty lives--ask why.


I'll tell you why.

Because it's beautiful.

Because the bicycle is beautiful.  Because calves chiseled of miles of pain are beautiful.  Because of heart-bursting climbs and 55 mph descents.  Because of the dirty road-grime spray of pack riding on a cold, rainy day.  Because of the shadows cast by revolving spokes on a sunny one.  Because of the feel of wrapped cork under your hands.  Because of red blood and street-shredded skin.  Because of the uneasy glee of diving into the last corner of a 60-minute criterium with nothing between you and victory but 150 meters of empty asphalt.  Because...  Because we are Riders!


Apparently, what I have to do to win a sprint is to do just about everything wrong.  But it worked Sunday.

For the video, click here.

Paul and I got up at 4:30 Sunday morning for the NYC Spring Series finale at Prospect Park.  (I love the Central Park/Prospect Park races, btw.  Just such terrific venues.  I'd do them every week if I could.)  Feeling frisky from the beginning, I was attacking and bridging to breaks rather wildly right from the gun.  Four laps in I sort of eased my way across and past a group of 10 that had sat up for the catching.  One little guy came with me, setting a pace up the hill I really had to dig to match.  But over the top and we traded pulls nicely until...about two miles later I looked back and he was gone.  Paul was doing a great job behind, frustrating the folks that thought he should be chasing (but apparently unwilling to do it themselves) and the gap increased over the next two laps.

With five to go three riders bridged (which is what I was hoping for), we cooperated well and the lead stuck.  With one lap to go a rider attacked on the climb, we remaining three couldn't match his pace, and he soloed on to victory.

The picture above is the sprint for second.  Which I won.  From the lead-out position.  With my hands on the hoods.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lake Nockamixon TT

Saturday we (my bike and I) tried to ride fast.

Angry speed face Goat.

The snot, man.  The snot..,
We beat the 3s (there were 3 of them).  We beat the 4s, the 5s, and the 35+ dudes.  And the women (but, you know, I don't beat women).

So I guess that makes this the first win of the season.  But, you know, there were only three Cat 3s and a handful more 35+ dudes, so...

The good news is that my bike and I seem to be getting along ok.  And that's important, because Killington is only four weeks away!