Tuesday, October 24, 2006

he's gotta pay higher insurance premiums for that

riding across the stone arch bridge this morning--downtown buildings are pink with the rising sun, which is exploding across the sky over my left shoulder. I'm warmed up, feeling good, there's only one or two other people in sight, even though in two minutes I'll be in the middle of downtown rush hour traffic. Life is alright. I take a big, deep breath of the clean, fresh air, and...

hey...

...that's not fresh air...

is that...?

...cigar smoke?

You're kidding me, right?

Nope.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

So that’s what it’s like…

…to race ‘cross again, after almost three months of no real fitness training, a lot of light-sleep nights with a newborn, and skills that were questionable at best and are now both questionable and rusty.

It hurts. A lot.

The funny thing is—it hurts a lot whether you’re fit or not—you just get passed a lot more when you’re not.

Of course, Powderhorn Park ain’t no powderpuff course, neither, with barriers right at the bottom of the fastest part of the course, two sets of stairs, a nice steep uphill that gets harder and harder to ride with each lap, temps at best in the low 40s, and a sweet brisk wind off the lake.

But I figured that I’d jump in the deep end, take my lumps, and begin the long road to getting better. So, without further ado: I got Linda’d (twice—2 Lindas, that is), Karla’d, and Margot’d (I think those were the Bellas who went by). I got lapped by a fair number of the leading group (one fewer laps for me, thank you very much—seven was plenty). I made it up the steep hill 5 ½ (out of 7) times. Oh, and I got snarked by some dollar-dispensing attitudinals at the top of the first set of stairs who thought they were funny—you know, sittin’ there making snide comments at riders busting their asses and tryin' to have a little fun..

But I didn’t crash, or cause anyone else to crash, I don’t remember kicking any barriers, my dismounts were functional and my remounts, while occasionally a bit, um, assertive, left no lasting damage and didn't involve any stutter steps until the last couple laps, when I couldn't see straight. And really, a few bad apples couldn’t hide the fact that there were great fans out there all over the place, braving the cold weather and cowbelling riders on. My clubmates had the good grace not to simply ask me, “dude, what’s happened to you?” Instead, they urged, cajoled, and encouraged—about all I could ask for. Kudos to the Hub for another great show, with pizza, and music, and general good cheer.

And you know what? The mudpit wasn’t bad, folks—the stuff came right off with a little water and a wipe.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go cough up a little more of my lungs and find where I left my legs…

Friday, October 20, 2006

huh?

Riding north through Bohemian Flats this morning toward work, where there's not a lot of room on the road, but there are regular "share the road" signs. Things get a little snug, I give an irritated knock on the window of a too-close car, which backs off and eases left immediately (thank you!), and then, when things clear a bit, I sense the car pulling next to me, window down. Bracing for an onslaught of pre-caffeinated irritability and profanity, I keep my gaze forward, until I hear a pretty sheepish and sincere...

"Sorry!"

All right...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

fallen leaves

did the shop ride saturday morning - first ride of any real distance in quite a while. I'd forgotten how much I like those rides - get up, putter around the house and get ready, roll out to the shop nice 'n' easy - these days, rolling out at 7:15 means dawn, means watching the sun come up while st. paul wakes quietly - sitting quietly outside the shop feeling yourself slowly emerge from grogginess, listening to others - morning people, if you know what i mean - chat it up, tell bad jokes, catch up a little. and then someone says, "let's go," and you do, and if you're like i was yesterday, there're about fifty times in the first hour alone that you think, "well, i could peel off and ride home easy," but you don't, and you find little ways to tuck in, save energy, keep up, recuperate from the hard efforts - yesterday i followed a tandem up a hill because i knew the downhill would bring me right back to the front. and it did. and then it's been 2 hours and you're going to make it and you're wheeling up the path at ft. snelling watching the wheels in front of you swirl through the fallen leaves and you can't see the pavement and it looks like the bikes are floating, and you get a leaf stuck in your wheel and it clicks along just like a baseball card when you were ten. and the sun's on your neck and you remember the joy of riding your banana-seat fat-wheeler - freedom, effort, speed - and it's really no different from the spandex-covered joy of today, zipping along and over and through fallen leaves...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hudson CX

No, I didn't race--but took the fam over to Sconny on a beautiful day to catch the big boys' race. Great venue for watching, and a fun race. Watched Hareland and Wunder-Bjorn duke it out after Bergmania slipped back ("not my day," he hollered near the end); watched Super Pete take the A2 category; watched Diamond show off his mad CX-skills; and basically got the itch again. I blame Skibby, who doggedly raced with a smile on his face (okay, so it was a grimace, but he really was good-natured) despite caboosing it--he reminded me that CX is first and foremost for fun. So look for me soon, suffering at the back end of a few B races. Actually, don't look for me--I'd just as soon remain anonymous for the time being.

Anyway, P took some pictures while the baby slept:


Diamond was strong...


And Pete was flyin'.

Here's a link to more pix of GP A-racers--enjoy! (it's very cool in slide show mode.)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Oh shit! I have a blog?

Why didn't anyone tell me?