Friday, October 29, 2010

Double Crosser

I have a problem with cyclocross.  Its popularity exploded in the last couple of years and it's all people will talk about on some cycling boards and for some inexplicable reason I don't like it and I'm sick of it.  Frankly, I think it's a bit of a contrived and nutty cycling discipline.  I've kept all this to myself until now.  I am also mindful of the fact that riding double centuries requires a high level of mental instability too.  Having said all that, I've made Double Crosser, an animated "film" about insanity and inanity of racing cyclocross and riding double centuries.  I had fun with it.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Next Season

After sleeping through this morning's ride I decided it's never too early to make New Year's resolutions or plans for next season.  It's easier to motivate oneself when one is working on specific goals.  Exact scheduling is still up in the air because the dates of 2011 double centuries haven't been published and I base my list on the dates on which these rides usually take place.  One goal for 2011 is a self-fashioned Sierra Triple Crown consisting of Eastern Sierra, Alta Alpina 8, and White Mountain.  I want to do the other rides on this list because I like them and would like to improve my finishing times.

1. Solvang Spring Double (a fast training ride late March)

2. Devil Mountain Double (a beautiful and challenging ride in late April)

3. Davis Double (a fast flat ride in mid May)

4. Eastern Sierra Double (a fast and beautiful ride at altitude in early June)

5. Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge (a slow and beautiful ride at altitude in mid June)

6. White Mountain Double (early September)

7. Knoxville Double (a mellow and beautiful ride in late September)

That's seven doubles.  I've not done so many rides in a year before and am not sure I can handle that physically or want to be away from the family that much.  Though three of the rides (DMD, Davis, and Knoxville) are local affairs for which I am absent for one day rather than a weekend.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Resolutions post script

Yeah, punking out of a sprint was weak, but it turned out I was on the verge of a cold.  Got home and went to bed; slept until 10:30.  Ten days of coughing, nose-blowing, and stuffed head ensued.  Between the cold and start of the rainy season, I've been off the bike for two weeks, providing a convenient answer to the question of what to do when the double century season ends: take two weeks off with illness.  Now that I've had a rest, I'll get on the old-fashined LSD training plan for a couple of months.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Moral Victories, Moral Losses, and Resolutions

So I was out with Brian this morning on our Heart of Darkness ride that starts for me at 4:35 a.m.  We picked up Floyd and Todd at the 'henge.  As we rode toward the sprints past Chabot Space Science Center, the speed picked up.  I've been working on increasing my speed on flats, so was riding alongside Todd rather than sucking wheel, then sprinting.  Todd is my flat road riding role model.  "Pedal faster rather than harder" was my mantra.  I was doing pretty well, but working fairly hard.  Approaching the sprints I decided not to sprint because my legs felt pretty well shot and I was going to get my hat handed to me, so pulled off.  The guys went ahead and duked it out.  Not sure who won, they were too far ahead.

Riding home, I got pissed at myself.  Punking out of the sprint was a weak move, a moral loss.  If you don't want to sprint, fine, but don't wuss out because you may lose.  Resolved to make suicidal attacks in the future under the same circumstances: if sprinting promises to be hopeless, go for the element of surprise.  It might work, but if not at least I'd know I tried.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Relationship With A Bike And Another Bike*

Something funny happened the day after Knoxville Double: my relationship with the Colnago changed.  As described enthusiastically in the September 21, 2010 post, I was infatuated with the Colnago.  Comfortable, light, fast, and agile it was everything one could have asked for in a bike.  Then came Knoxville Double -- a test of my relationship with the bike.  The first half of the ride was wonderful, but then my legs started cramping and an extended period of mild digestive distress came on.  Then, the front derailleur came loose, leaving me with three usable gears in the big ring and five in the small ring.  Eight gears were plenty, but no longer was everything perfect with the bike and not everything was perfect with me on the bike.  The next morning I discovered that the rear tire was flat due to a slow leak -- another blemish.

The bloom was off the rose.  I turned to my Spectrum.  I'd re-wrapped the bars with red tape instead of white, and with a red saddle and red paint accent on the frame, the red really pops.  The bike looks lively and lovely.  I put about 100 miles on it in a week.  It rode great.  It climbs very nicely, descends confidently, and is stable and predictable.  The Colnago sat in the garage, its front derailleur still askew and the rear tire still flat.  I adjusted the derailleur and fixed the flat.  After a short ride, I realized that the derailleur needed further adjustment.  More fiddling and all 20 gears were again available for use, so I rode another 20 miles.  And you know what, it rides really, really nicely, but the feeling of infatuation of the first month, when I rode it exclusively at Spectrum's expense, was gone.  All of which got me to thinking.

[At the risk of angering my wife, I will now engage in an anthropomorphic exercise of imagination]

It seems to me, my relationship with these bikes is like relationships a man could have with women.  A married man with a dependable wife (Spectrum).  She works hard at work and at home, cooks, parents.  All this goes on for years and the man gradually, imperceptibly begins to take her for granted and starts to cast about a wondering eye.  Just then, this hot Italian number (Colnago) presents herself.  They enjoy a whirlwind romance.  Everything is perfect.  He is infatuated.  The wife (Spectrum) doesn't know or doesn't mind.

This goes on marvelously for a while.  Then, this extramarital relationship encounters an obstacle, a test, a double century.  So, what happens?  He cramps and burps, she flats and is undergeared.  The relationship survives the test, but things aren't perfect, as they were earlier.  He goes back to the wife repentantly and she takes him back.  He looks at her in a new light and appreciates all she has to offer in ways he had not done in a long, long time.  He pledges his undying devotion to her again.  Occasionally, he still dabbles with his girlfriend.  They still get along, but their relationship has been irrevocably changed.  They both know it.  At least he knows and she suspects it in her inanimate way.

P.S. Discovered a few days ago that the front derailleur issue from Knoxville Double resulted in the girlfriend's big chainring breaking two teeth.  In a stroke of anthropomorphic brilliance, can't you just visualize that?  After the first altercation, the girlfriend has two broken teeth.  Delicious!  Putting caps on her broken teeth this evening by replacing the chainring.  That's all the dental work I'm qualified to perform.

* Disclaimer: I do not have a girlfriend and I have not had a girlfriend since 1991, when my then-girlfriend became my fiancee, to whom I've been very happily married since 1992.  Nor am I looking for a girlfriend.  All my extramarital relationships are with bicycles, which may be illegal in a number of states.