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.
The photo above, taken by John “Prolly” Watson is a custom Black Cat road/gravel machine owned by Giro’s Eric Richter. You can see more of this gorgeous steed here.
After the usual fatigue of seeing ornate lugs, fancy paint jobs, stainless this-and-that, seamless fillets, and stack-of-dime tig welds, there’s something absolutely stunning yet simple about a bike that’s as considered but not outwardly flash as Richter’s. Let’s talk about the details first — oversized Columbus Max tubing, road disc brakes, room for fenders or fat tires all make for a bike that can take you over a wide range of terrain, fast.
You know when you have a bunch of loose threads in your head about various things and they don’t coalesce until you see something that epitomizes and represents all of those threads and one unified strand? That’s this bike, for me. It’s exactly what I would want in a bike, today. I can’t stop admiring it.