Not a bad way to spend a Monday. Not bad at all.
The pros may be elbow deep in the Vuelta, with Worlds and a handful of other big fall races still to come, but for us NW amateurs, road season is very nearly over. You can tell it’s that time of year when, instead of focusing on maintaining a set of perfectly crisp tan lines, at least half of your concentration on a given ride is spent avoiding banana slugs on the road. Those massive pseudopods, scattered about on every shady, damp patch of asphalt they can find, usher out the season of skinny tires, and tow in the season of 32mm tubulars, gliding on a shimmering slick of hygroscopic mucus.
Not my photograph, because close proximity to slugs makes me barfy
I, personally, have been getting reacquainted with my cyclocross bikes for a couple of weeks now, in an often humorous attempt to re-teach my body some genuine coordination. I’ve also been finishing out projects at work, attending more wedding events than my liver cares to remember, and moving from one house to another (which is no small feat for a dirtbag like myself, who has spent the last 3 years seeping into every pore of his previous rental). Cyclocross is beautiful for a person with a booked-up schedule because, with the right course in the right park, one can get in a very proper workout in well under an hour. The temptation, then, to abandon road bikes for the scheduling ease of ‘cross bikes is great.
The road season isn’t over, though!
Eugene Celebration is coming, this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Prologue, road race, time trial, crit. I harbor no delusions of success in the prologue, which is primarily uphill, or the time trial, which requires you to be fast with no wheel to sit on (crazy). In fact, hemorrhaging GC time is already penned in, and all I’ll really be striving to do is not get my dangling bowels caught in my drivetrain while I crawl towards the finish lines. The crit, on the other hand, should be great fun, and really no cause for concern. That leaves the road race as the one event that I could see going either way; the one event that I feel like I can affect the outcome of with my activities leading up to the stage race. Hence the 5 hour ride on a Monday morning, when I otherwise would have been lounging carefree on my couch (totally free from the menace of giant slugs), or getting high off of mastik, surrounded by tubular rims and knobby rubber.
That ride was magnificent, by the way, as was the bike. I put on a fresh pair of them Vittoria Evo SCs just prior, and ran them a hair on the soft side… Just amazing. Too many miles hammering around rough crit courses on tall carbon rims makes a guy forget how nice a set of simple, 32 spoke, aluminum rimmed handbuilts with some comfy tires can roll. Doesn’t hurt that they look like magic, too.
In fact, the only non enjoyable part of the whole morning was when a very large rottweiler, even more immense than the slugs, decided not to let me go down Rocky Point Rd. This dude or chick easily outweighed me, and while I wish I had taken the time to get a good picture, the beast’s head-down-hackles-up (that’s the way we like to f*@!) approach made me question the wisdom of even putting a foot on the ground. The silver lining was that the boost of adrenaline allowed me to climb back up Rocky Point at speeds approaching average.
Anyway… Road bikes. Road bikes, road tires, road shoes, and road races. Cross bikes may be knocking, nay, pounding at my door, but at least until Labor Day, road bikes still own the spotlight, and I’m quite happy that they do.
The Tiniest Sprinter
PS: Is anybody else here doing Eugene Celebration?
PPS: Is anybody else here watching this video? Trick question, you all are!
PPPS: More Iggy Azalea! I kind of thought T.I. was in jail, but I guess I was wrong. I bet those kids all heard a lot of brand new cusses that day.