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Archive for August, 2009

Thanks For Nothing Famke

Thanks For Nothing Famke

Locked up at home for the weekend with the flu, the closest I got to a bike was this picture in the post of Famke Janssen.  Looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure it was Ms. Janssen I saw on that fateful weekend afternoon ride.  The bike was similar, there was a big basket on it, and the woman was tall and had long black hair.  Probably wishful thinking, but I’m leaning towards the fact it was her, which means that this riding with an umbrella thing is a pattern not a one-off.  So Famke, what’s with the aversion to the cyclist’s tan?

I’ve always seen the cyclist’s tan as a badge of honor.  I’ve always imagined that the sense of accomplishment I get on that magical day each year when my arms (biceps to wrists of course, and the tips of the fingers) and my legs (3/4s thigh to ankles) were noticeably darker than the rest of my pasty self was the same that the boy scout gets upon killing whoever or whatever he has to to become an eagle scout.  Come on, who among us doesn’t show it off every chance we get?  It’s our proof of the sweat, the tears, the saddle sores that come with the hours upon hours of perfecting our sprint or making the hills our friends.  Well, it’s that or an unfortunate one-beer-too many incident at the post-race BBQ at teammate’s place – man, teammates can be evil. 

While it may sound simple enough, acquiring the cyclist’s tan is no easy feat.  For starters, 5am rides and 6:30am races are not exactly ripe grounds for the tan.  That means I need to curry favor with the wife to allow for some opportunities to ride longer on the occasional weekend in order get a few hours of riding in actual sunlight.  In addition, each of the last three years, the length of our shorts has changed, once because we switched manufacturers and once because the manufacture mistakenly sent us Andre Tafi style shorts, which is what prompted the manufacture switch in the first place.  What that means is I had to develop a calculus formula including variables for ride length, sun, UV factor and time of day in order to determine which kit to wear for any given ride.  And yet, I make sure that I get what I feel is an appropriate tan every year.  I say what I feel is appropriate because, last year, I returned to Italy with what was by far my best tan since I lived in Italy.  I was giddy to see the reaction of some friends upon seeing my bronzed-self when first words out of their mouths were “you need some color.”  There’s no pleasing some people.

With a family and kids, I’ve found I must work harder and harder to let my freak flag fly.  Days at the beach are the worst.  It can be 120 degrees, but there’s no way that t-shirt is coming off for any reason.  Same goes for the socks.  Sure people look at you a little funny, but they’re just not committed the way we are (or should be, for that matter.)  And so what if it’s necessary to warn people that they risk retinal scarring if they stare directly at me on the rare occasion the t-shirt does come off.  I just wouldn’t be me without my cyclist’s tan.  Same as my goatee, my wife has never seen me without it, my kids have never seen me without, and I hope for their sakes they never do.

There Are More Of Us Than You Think Famke

There Are More Of Us Than You Think Famke

And then along comes Famke Janssen, Ms. X Men, Ms. Bond Woman, Ms. Former Supermodel, out and about touting the idea that it’s okay, even, cool to ride without a tan.  And worse yet, showing how you might avoid the sun and still ride a bike.  For the love of dio, what’s next, cyclists putting on sunscreen?

That’s today’s view from the back.

On a completely irrelevant side-note, family is taking a little vacation which means no computer for me until next week which in turn means I’ll be taking a little break from A View From The Back.  We’re back the middle of next week which is when I’ll resume with regularly scheduled programming.

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With dreary weather hitting New York and no prospects of racing this weekend, I’ve got Italy on the brain for this Friday’s Bell Lap.

LeviBeggar

Help me make sure the only race I have a chance of winning doesn't go away

Sorry Levi, But A Granfondo Is A Race
Tired of having friends pester me with questions about Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge GrandFondo, I finally checked out what all the hubbub is about.  While I supposed it’s a commendable effort (although, I’m not so sure asking cycling fans to help pay for the Tour of California is exactly altruistic.  For that matter, isn’t one of the beautiful things about professional cycling that it’s open to the public free of charge?  You can take your family to see a pro race and it won’t set you back the $500 dollars taking in a Yankees game will.  And don’t start with having the Tour of California is good for the sport.  It might be helping bike manufacturers, but it is not doing anything for local racing in New York or anywhere else outside of California, if it’s doing anything there), there are some rather disappointing elements that go strictly against the very Italian tradition Leipheimer claims inspired his event (can’t call it a race according to Leipheimer.)

By its very nature a grandfondo is a race.  In Italy they make up the vast majority of the amateur calendar.  I mentioned this once before, but for those new to the granfondo, they are mass start bike races that are akin to the New York City Marathon.  There are elite riders competing for the top places and winnings, there are riders competing to win their individual age groups and then there is vast majority of riders who want to test themselves to see if they can finish.  They are generally large affairs (the largest can have up to 9,000 riders.)

But make no mistake these are races.  The winners usually come from one of two categories, former professional racers at the end of the career or guys who missed out on pro contracts as dilettante (essentially U23s) hoping to catch the attention of a pro team.  For example, Simone Biasci, one of Cipollini’s lieutenants at Mercantone Uno and Saeco, ended his career as leader of Team Whistle, a granfondo team in which the majority of riders were paid to race full-time.  In 2005 and 2006, Raimondas Rumsas, 3rd in the 2002 Tour de France, was cleaning up on the Grandfondo circuit for Team Parkpre.  If you want to ride in one, you need a valid license (although many times those rules are over looked for foreigners looking to participate.)

The King Ridge GranFondo will apparently have a timed section, on a climb.  In Italy, these type of Gran Fondo, essentially an individual time trial held on one section of a larger course, are called alla francese.  They’re still races.  In fact, I had one of my best results in the 2005 Giro del Lazio which was alla francese, 6th in my category and 20th overall (I used to be able to climb pretty well) and even won a prosciutto for my efforts.

Point is, these are races not massive bike orgies.  The King Ridge website must have the words “not a race” at least a dozen times.  So in essence, Leipheimer is organizing a big charity ride where the charity is his favorite professional bike race.  A bit dubious, no?

If I had to guess, it is a combination of insurance issues and potential problems with the United States Cycling Federation that are keeping Leipheimer from calling this a race.  That said, it would be nice to see the tradition run to the fullest and for Leipheimer to find a way to create a true Granfondo.  It might even make the astronomical entrance fee ($115 for an individual entrant) worth it.

The granfondo in Italy are generally affordable to drive better participation, typically between $30 and $40, and that includes the pacco gara which is a gift every participant gets (at Andrea Tafi’s GF della Vernaccia the pacco gara included a bottle of Vernaccia wine, a bottle of local olive oil, a box of local pasta, a jar of local honey, some sports nutritional products, a hand towel, a copy of a cycling magazine and a water bottle) as well as the post-race pasta party.  At the King Ridge, there’s no pacco gara and the post-race meal is an extra $8.

Andrea Tafi knows how to run a granfondo

Andrea Tafi knows how to run a granfondo

I recognize there are vast cultural differences between the US and Italy as relates to cycling.  I can’t imagine the hoops Leipheimer had to go through to get the various municipalities to close roads, provide police support and the like.  But then again, he’s doing this to ensure that the only bike race he can win remains on the calendar.  To ask you to pay for it by invoking the great tradition of Italy’s granfondo, well, you can do a whole lot better Levi.

Quintessential Italy
Looking out the window at the rain today, reminded me of the following which has nothing to with cycling other than the fact that I happened to notice it because I was looking out my office window waiting for the afternoon group ride to pass by.

It was 2004, and I was in my office at my then employer’s headquarters in Rome.  Only on rare occasions could I make the local group ride during the week, which went out at 1pm, but I could see them on their way out as my office overlooked the route off in the distance.  My office also overlooked a small piazza which was directly behind my building.

One day, as I’m waiting for the group to roll by, I am looking out of my office window onto the small piazza.  A person is somewhat walking across the street in front of a roundabout in the piazza.  At the same time a bus is going around the roundabout at breakneck speed – the piazza is the last stop before the bus makes its return trip and there were very few passengers that use the stop, so busses usually fly around the roundabout.

I gasp aloud as I watch as I am sure I am seeing a dead man walking.

The bus is flying and the walker, who has the right of way, has no idea the bus is bearing down on him.  At the last minute both bus driver and pedestrian look up and see the disaster that is about to happen.  The pedestrian starts running away from the bus (not out of the way mind you), while the bus driver slams on the brakes.  This is just in the nick of time, luckily for both, and the impact is light enough that the pedestrian does not fall down when the bus hits him.  Wallet, papers and mobile go flying and are strewn about the ground, and the pedestrian is holidng his wrist, but only lightly as if it is not really badly hurt.  Other than the shock of it all no harm done.

This could happen on any street in any city anywhere in the world, especially in New York.  No big deal.  Of course, the ensuing argument with arms flying, fingers pointing, face to face screaming, body bending gesticulation over who was in the wrong (yes the bus driver got out of the bus to argue with the person he had just hit) could only happen in Italy.

That’s today’s view from the back.

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Sometimes I see dead people too

Sometimes I see dead people too

With so much hate, it’s nice to have a little good shine down every now and then.  Trolling around Central Park, incredibly slowly so as not to disturb any other park users, human or otherwise, because it’s time us cyclists accept our second class standing, I was reminded of a little good that came my way early in the season last year.

With my regular bike in the shop, I hopped on my race bike and headed over the bridge.  A practice I’ve since given up (and will undoubtedly go back to at some point given that my relationship with the decision of where to put the saddle bag is like tipping over a soda machine, i.e., takes a lot of back and forth before it finally falls over in one direction or the other), my saddle bag was on my bike – the one in the shop – which I only realized once I was over the bridge.  Undeterred by riding naked, I did my ride and made it back to the bridge no problem.

Being the middle of the day, I hadn’t seen anyone on the road, but no worries, I just had to make it back to Manhattan and then there was always the opportunity to take the subway if something went terribly awry.  I noticed a Razorfish guy descending the second staircase on the north side as I am climbing the first staircase.  He’s just getting on his bike when the tube in my front tire explodes as I’m descending the second staircase – yes, the tube popped while carrying the bike.  I yell out to Mr. Razorfish and ask to buy a tube from him. He simply hands me a tube.  Of course, now I need his pump which he gladly gives me.  He won’t take any money and won’t give me his address so that I can at least drop off a tube later on.  He simply says, “Pay it forward, man.”

Now it might not sound like much, and everyone probably has a similar story, but until that moment, I had never had it happened to me.  I’d been in situations where people accepted the money.  I was even in a situation where someone wouldn’t lend me their pump.  (BTW: Lest I sound like I am ill-prepared, I generally ride with two tubes, a mini-pump and a CO2 cartridge).   I’ve always been struck by this random act of compassion and kindness.   Since then, I’ve been looking for a way to repay it, if only not to feel as if I have an IOU out there.   The opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.

Anyway, I saw my friend in the park today and we rode a couple of laps.  I tried to stuff a tube in his pocket, but he gave it back and repeated that I should pay it forward.  Someday, I will.  In the meantime, thanks again to Mr. Team NY (Razorfish is no more) for the tube, the kindness and for the pleasant memory which made today’s lackluster, boring death march in the park (I can’t believe I’m at six months of weekday training in the park; I want to toss my breakfast just thinking about turning another lap there) all that much better.  Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone were a little more like Mr. Team NY?

Wtih no child care today which means the rest of today’s view from the back will be chasing after my nine-month old daughter.  She’s pretty fast which has me worried.  Luckily, I know my place.

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I have a lot of rules (again friends might call them neurosis) one of which is if it’s raining when I wake up I’m not racing.  It’s not so much about the fact that there will be blood from the inevitable crashes as it is that riding out to the race in the rain, standing in the registration line in the rain, pinning your number in the rain and then waiting around for start in the rain leaves you pretty soggy.  Now if it starts raining once we’re riding so be it.  It’s actually kind of enjoyable.

So what I was doing at the Mengoni Grand Prix start line this past Saturday is a bit of a mystery.  After seeing Noah float by my apartment at 4am and lightning striking the Empire State Building a couple of times, I would have been headed back to bed except that the stupid radar loop on the weather channel showed a clearing, the eye of the storm if you like.  That, and the fact that after the Spring Series, my opportunities to race in Central Park are nil, except for Mengoni.

One problem with racing when it has been raining is that the field is generally small; smart people stay home.  Registration took two minutes which meant that a lot of smart people had signed up.  As the ten of us where waiting for the start of our race (okay, there were 59 starters even though 85 had pre-registered), one of the officials said it looked like we had a beautiful day for racing.  Obviously from Mount Waialeale, Hawaii.

Another problem is that you can’t see anything.  Even before the race this was a problem.  I was pinning my number on when a girl from the Lipsmacker team rolled up and asked where the bathrooms were.  A few moments later, I went to for my ritualistic pre-race, uhm, relief.  Finished, I’m getting on my bike when Ms. Lipsmacker emerges from the men’s room, asking if she’s used the wrong bathroom.  I’m no expert, but generally, the urinals are a dead giveaway.  Apparently not being able to see was not an issue as she finished second in her race.  Maybe I should start using the women’s room before races.

Need In Central Park?

Needed In Central Park?

I had my sunglasses on for the first half-lap, but all the grit and water made it impossible to see through the glasses.  Of course, without the glasses all the grit and water ends up in your eyes so you still can’t see.  Wouldn’t be so bad, if not for “Horsesh!t Alley”, the bit on the east side from 60th street to before 72nd street where the carriage horses that take visitors for a lap of the park leave an ungodly amount of, well, given the nickname of that stretch, I’m sure you can figure out what they leave behind.  I was still getting stuff out of my eyes on Sunday.

As for the race itself, it was incredibly slow which explains why, very uncharacteristically, I made a counter attack to get into a two-man move after another move was caught on the west side.  The slow pace and the fact no one else could see, so they sure as heck couldn’t see my attack, enabled me to get clear.  I’m pretty sure I would have stayed away until the end except that the rain started coming down clearing the grit off the road enabling people to regain their eyesight and for the fact that I suck. 

The course itself was strewn with leaves and sticks which made the race a tad bit sketchy with guys swerving to avoid all sorts of “hazards”.  It reminded me of a Spring Series race last year where a storm the night before had left the Park full of debris.  There was some sort of running race later that morning (it must be nice to be able to wake up at 7am to compete in a sporting event in the park).  As we were heading up Harlem Hill for the last time, crews from the running race were washing down the course with hoses to rid it of all the leaves and branches.  Because of course we all know how dangerous in can be to run in those conditions.  We need a NYC Cyclists’ Union or something.

While a guy did slide out on the downhill at the top of the park, the big crash in our race occurred on the last lap and was another of those stupid crashes.  Here’s my take on what happened.  Two guys went into the joggers’ lane to go around a couple of walkers (not sure why they had to go into the jogger’s lane, but if I had to guess as usual guys were riding on the white line and the couple probably was too close to the white line.  With no way to squeeze back into the pack the joggers’ lane was the only place to go.)  Guys in the field got distracted looking at what was going on in the joggers’ lane and the next thing you know a bunch of them are on the ground.  Those were the only two crashes in our race but every race seemed to have some major spills.

Anyway, it was nice to race in Central Park again after almost four months.  Next race is in the middle of September in Prospect Park.  Look for me in the women’s room.

That’s today’s view from the back.

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One More Itsy Bitsy Rant
I’ve never understood why people need to look at you when they pass you.  So to the guy from Sid’s who passed me on Cat’s Paw today and then proceeded to look back.  “The Look” is reserved for Lance Armstrong and the like.  You have no idea if I am just coming back from a 90 mile ride, doing my 10th lap, recovering from an interval, out for an easy spin (as happened to be the case) or I just stink, so there is absolutely no need to look back at me as if you are dropping me in whatever imaginary race is going on in your head.  Chances are you’re not going to win that race either.

Leave "The Look" At Home

Leave "The Look" At Home

Call For A Central Park Improvement District
Living near the High Line, I’ve been following closely the Friends of the High Line efforts to create an improvement district which would place part of the burden of maintenance of the High Line on area business and residents via a proposed tax.  Whatever happened to planning for total cost of ownership for a project before building?  Did FHL simply forget that once they built the thing, there was going to be maintenance required?  If all businesses were run this way there would be no businesses. 

I bring it up, because 1) it’s a subject near and dear to my wallet and 2) why don’t we tax all the residents around Central Park for the recent paving work.  In fact, we should create a Central Improvement District.  It would be great, we could have the park paved every year just before the beginning of the season and then every two months when it will need resurfacing again if the current work is any indication.

How a newly paved surface can have so many pock marks is beyond me.  In some sections the smooth asphalt is already starting to wear and in almost all sections the paving was done in two parts and there is a lip between the left section and the right section which is lower.  Even better, there are a couple five-inch blobs of hardened asphalt where the new sections meet the old sections.  Same is true of the dried paint as they were putting down lane lines today and dropping paint everywhere.  Would the extra six seconds needed to remove the stuff before it hardened be that much to ask for?

Oh well, no sense in ranting as the messed up new surface is still 1000 times better than the old surface.

Tomorrow will be my first race on it.  I expect it to be pretty fast, faster than usual that is.  Which also means I’m already anticipating my view from the back.

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This Saturday is the Mengoni Grand Prix in Central Park, arguably the most prestigious park race on the calendar.  The race is sponsored and named for Fred Mengoni,   My history with Mengoni the race is short – this will be my third in the past five years – but for three years, Mengoni the man was intertwined in my cycling life, even if he doesn’t have any idea who I am.

George Hincapie & Fred Mengoni (c). M. Quezada

George Hincapie & Fred Mengoni (c). M. Quezada

As soon as you start racing in New York, you hear about Fred Mengoni, at least that was the way it was back when I started.  In addition to the Mengoni Grand Prix, Fred also sponsors a local team with some top local talent.  Coupled with that was the fact Fred was a fixture on his bike in Central Park, you might still catch sight of him today even though he’s well into his 90’s.  So I knew who Fred Mengoni was, at least the New York version of Fred.

In July 2002, I was living in Rome watching the Tour de France when the commentators mention they have a special guest from the United States on the phone.  It turned out to be Fred Mengoni, and I was just a tad bit perplexed.  Still coming to grips with Italian, I really didn’t get too much of what Fred was saying, so I wasn’t sure why he would be on the phone and why it would be a big deal.

(c)P. O'Hare.  Cipollini wins 42nd Giro Stage - No idea what happened to the full size photo

(c)P. O'Hare. Cipollini wins 42nd Giro Stage - No idea what happened to the full size photo

In May of 2003, I was in the VIP booth at the stage finish in Montecatini Terme when Mario Cipollini won his record breaking 42nd Giro stage.  Later that night there was a “spettacolo” (a show) in the center of town which featured Maurizio Fondriest, Cipollini, Francesco Moser and Fred Mengoni.  “What the (expletive deleted) is Fred Mengoni doing here?”  So I walked up to him, introduced myself, told him I “knew” him from New York and asked him.  Still couldn’t understand a word he was saying.

In June 2003, my wife and I have VIP passes for the last stage of the Tour de France via our friends at RAI Sport.  These passes were different than passes for other races I got over the years.   They were laminated, came with a fancy Tour de France necklace so you could display them at all times.  In short, they were very official looking, when I hopped the fence to go buy us some rain jackets (while I could have easily gone inside the structure they had set-up, I had no intention of giving up my spot where the riders turn on to the finishing straight), a crowd of people came rushing over to see who I was.  Just a guy trying to buy some rain coats folks, now make some room.  The passes also had a name printed on them, the name of the person they were intended for – “F. Mengoni”.

In October 2004, I went to watch the World Championships in Verona.  Pre-race, I am walking around with my wife, dodging in and out of various sponsorship tents, when who walks out of a limo?  Fred Mengoni.  By now, I’m expecting to see him, so having a little fun, I reintroduce myself, give the brief version of our history, and playfully ask him if he’s scouting me out as a rider and that’s why he’s following me.  Understood less of his response than before.

All that time, I never really knew why Fred Mengoni was at all these events.  Short version, Fred, born and raised in my beloved Italy, came to the US with $50 dollars and became a real-estate mogul.  He was influential in getting Greg Lemond over to the World Championships in Europe.  He’s been instrumental in helping develop US Cycling and was inducted to the US Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1994.  Among the alumni of his GS Mengoni team are Hincapie, Mike McCarthy, Alexi Grewal and Steve Bauer.  They’ve also named a professional race in Italy for him where he is a hero for all his work in cycling.  Actually that’s probably the long version too.

Anyway, back in the US in 2005, a few weeks before I am about give Mengoni the race a shot for the first time, I see Fred rolling around in the park.  I reintroduce myself, re-deliver our history and tell him I’m doing his race for the first time.  Don’t understand a single word this time around.

Going into the 2005 race, I figured I was a shoe-in for the win.  It’s a Cat 3 field only, and I’ve got three years of Fred shining his light down on me, so how can I not win?  The result: You can blame that race for this blog if you want.  I had my first and certainly not last, view from the back.

(c)M. Quezada.  Look familiar?  Racing at the 2005 Mengoni Grand Prix

(c)M. Quezada. Look familiar? Racing at the 2005 Mengoni Grand Prix

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Angry_CyclistMy son’s 102o fever meant no racing this weekend.  Throw in a midday training ride, and by the end I was pretty salty – not from sweating in the heat; from having to deal with the masses.  I dread going out any time after 7am on a weekend.  The road is littered with supposed cyclists.  The issue isn’t sharing the road, it’s that no one seems to bother to learn how to ride anymore.

I got my first bike and I rode as much as I could with my friend CG, who was a top level New York amateur back in the day.  He raced with George Hincapie on Kissena when they were both much younger.  From there I started doing the Triangle (a local group ride in Queens) again trying to sop as much as I could about riding and ride etiquette.  Then I started racing. 

Very early on CG imparted four little pearls of wisdom that have served me well to this day (not original by any means, but worth remembering for sure):

There’s Nothing Between Your Legs That Can Help You
This one is for the woman coming up the ramp getting on the George Washington Bridge yesterday who was looking down at her pedals while she veered all the way to the left impeding my ability to get home as soon as possible.  You only have yourself to blame for being startled and almost falling once you finally realized that there might actually be someone trying to get down the ramp.  Keeping your head up instead of looking at your pretty cycling shoes goes a long way towards avoiding stupid accidents.

This also goes out to the guy just getting on to the bridge from the Jersey side riding along side his five friends (who, at least, were riding single file).  If you got your head out of your pedals, you might be able to graduate to pretending that there are other people in the world besides you and your friends.  And they might just happen to be riding on the GWB at the same time you are.  Bottom line here is:  I’m in the right hand lane heading westbound and you’re in the same lane heading eastbound; one of us is wrong and it’s not me.  Unclipping because you were frightened when I didn’t slow down is your problem, so there’s no need to wave your arms in a frenzy and yell at me.  Given that your head is down so much, I would have figured you would be able to see that you were in my lane, riding two-abreast might I remind you.  Be thankful I didn’t have to stop (no not a threat of anything other than you hearing a lot of expletives and me posting your mug all over the internet where you can be guaranteed my twenty friends will see it).

Get Used To Drinking Warm Water
To the guy at 96th Street and Riverside drive, as you can tell by the sweat pouring off me as I’m stopped at the red light, I’ve got a pretty good idea it is hot, so there’s no need to tell me.  It’s really not a conversation starter.  And one more tip, put the camelback in your closet where it belongs.  Better yet, give it away to charity.

This also goes to the woman on the Westside Highway bike path riding her commuter bike holding a fully opened umbrella.  (God I need to get a cell-phone with a good camera).  Just a thought, but if you don’t want to get any sun, maybe going out for a ride isn’t the brightest idea.

Shut Up And Suffer
This can go to any number of people, but I’ll start with the woman walking her bike, which was in the 53, up the climb out of the first marina heading north on River Road.  I’m not sure you’re going to make it up the climb in a 39×26, but I know for a fact you’re not going to make it up in a 53xanything.  Talking about the fact that you are pushing your bike on your cell phone certainly isn’t going to help you the next time either.

This also goes out to the two guys I got caught at a light on 9W with who I overheard talking about their epic ride.  FYI – The hammer was not down.  More likely, the plastic mallet that came in my son’s Bob the Builder toy toolset he got for his first birthday was down.  When you’ve gone cross-eyed, a little dizzy and have either thrown up, are on the verge of throwing up or are about to faint, then you can say the hammer was down.  In the meantime, it’s training ride and everyone has done a million versions of exactly the same ride.

This also goes out, although not on Saturday, to my sometimes riding partners MtJ and MtC.  You got dropped and gapped (respectively) on CNBC hill on the way out, Omar and I have just pulled you to the Japanese Streakhouse and MtJ, you’ve gotten dropped again on CNBC hill on the way back.  If Omar and I are dead and can barely speak, let alone turn over the pedals, how is it the two of you have enough energy to try another sprint up one of the hills on the Palisades service road?  Obviously, you weren’t riding hard enough during the actual training portion of the ride.  Unfortunately for you, I have the memory of an elephant, so until we ride again . . .

You Want To Ride Better, Ride Your Bike (a.k.a., There’s No Secret To Cycling)
This is for all the techno/gadget junkies, but I’ll pick on the two guys riding down 19th Street later that Saturday afternoon, as I was walking home with my son.  I heard voices behind me, and immediately knew it was some guys on bikes.  What I overhear is “I still can’t believe I sold my powertap.  I’m so upset about it.  The guy I sold it to (blah, blah, blah).  I have to get another one.”  All that coming from a guy who is easily 25 pounds overweight, as I find out as he rolls passed me.  News alert: you don’t need a powertap or a heart rate monitor or even a computer on your bike.  All you need to do is keep your mouth shut and ride your bike a lot.  In fact, that goes for most of us.

This also goes out to Collins for riding tubulars on a training ride.  Enough said, even if you didn’t get a flat.

You were forewarned that this would be a rather salty post.  Now if the cold my son passed on to me ever goes away, maybe I can get back to being my old grumpy self.

That’s today’s view from the back.

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