I started the day off on the wrong foot. I awoke early, looked at the weather and grossly underestimated my need for more layers. Bibs, a wool baselayer and a long sleeve roubaix jersey. Plus a wind vest. Too much synthetic, not enough natural fibrous warmth.
My mind also slipped on the fact that I had changed out my wheelset back to my Mavic Ksyrium SLs. A truth that was quickly brought to my attention by my slippage and wonky rear shifting. Oh yeah, that cassette needs an extra spacer.
The wind cut through my core to the bone and I called it after a few blocks. I headed home and decided to let it be.
Later in the afternoon, I took it again as a sign that my wireless keyboard had exhausted its rechargeable batteries — two sets of them — and with no wired keyboard to be found, I decided to make up for this morning’s mishaps and headed out for a quick jaunt up to Twin Peaks. I made it up and down the backside and then, legs still full of vigor, went back up against the headwinds and climbed it out.
I took the photo above, after I climbed back up the backside and this was when I remembered I needed the extra spacer in the rear wheel. I decided to cut the ride short, satisfied with the efforts.
I’m surprised and transformed. I used to abhor climbing. Now I kinda like it, relish it a little. This I can attribute to the primal/paleo lifestyle that I’ve been adhering to for almost a year, and the body transformation that’s occurred because of it. That may be a post for another time.
Today, up, up, up!
I live in Reno, Nevada, which is where Greg LeMond made his legend.
The riding in the valleys and mountains here is incredible. Desert sagebrush turns to pine forest in a matter of miles. Purple tints the Virginia Range and lenticular clouds hover over the valley itself.
It’s a fantastic place to ride a bike. The streets are wide, the traffic calm.
Greg still has a presence here. The Rapha boys caught up with him back in the fall of 2012 and they did a Continental through the mountain passes south of Reno.
I probably didn’t need the shoe covers in the end, given the bare legs this ride undressed me to, but hi-viz is PRO.
It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Some days, you just have to get out and ride. This was one of those days. Fighting the onset of initial rain, the damp turning wet, down past your clothing, your skin and to the bone. But still, you ride.
Japan looks like a rad time.
Part of the ebb and flow of life is luck –– we’re up one day, the next we’re down and saddled and burdened. Cycling is much like that. Sometimes everything just sings. The bike is in tune, you’re well-rested and fit, and the weather is favorable in all the right ways.
And sometimes things just go badly on the bike.
The bad days are when the ache in the knee turns into full-bore hurt 30 miles out. A bad day is the buzz by the passing car and pouring rain on a 38 degree day. A bad day is a flat in a race 200 miles away that you’ve paid $30 to enter.
Lately, it’s been lots of flats. And that’s just been annoying. Every cyclist is likely familiar with the anguish of getting a flat tire. It’s just part of the sport. Normally, I wouldn’t make a fuss about flats, but my lord, I’ve had bad luck lately. I flatted out of the SacCX Vacaville race from hitting a hidden pothole in the first lap. I flatted out of the Reno Wheelmen Hidden Valley race from rolling over a rock in the first lap. I flatted out of the Carson City Indian Hills race from a pinch. At least in that race, I made it to the second-to-last lap before I rolled over some hidden rock that put a hole in a brand-new Vittoria. That made a horrible race completion rate of 25 percent.
A long time ago if I mechanicaled out of a race, I would be upset and angry. Naz surely remembers when I broke a chain in the Friday UCI3 race in 2008 and kicked my car in a brief flash of madness. It was an unseemly moment.
I don’t get angry any more. It’s useless. The energy that would be devoted to sulking and seeking pity is better spent on cheering teammates and friends on and passing on good heckles.
In Sacramento, I had the treat of chasing former Half Acre Cycling teammate Adrian Silva up the hill. I got to enjoy brews with new friends from Reno. I urged on Jude Mayne, a fellow Renoite who is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and one of the strongest riders I’ve had the pleasure of riding with.
Yeah, I could be angry and curse my bike and my luck. But you know, it’s just bike racing –– we do this to make friends, get exercise and have adventures. A flat is part of the adventure — an annoying part of the adventure –– but part of it nonetheless.
This weekend I’m heading with some Reno folks to San Francisco to race the BASP Sierra Point race. And if I flat, I’ll probably quit this damned sport.
For five minutes.
Garrett Chow’s All Chips on the Table art show at the SF Rapha Cycle Club was simply stellar. Garrett’s a designer at Specialized, but has long been involved in many other bike and design projects — MASH for example. It was great seeing his handiwork up close.