If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period. This according to The Velominati rule 9.
According to the list of rules, this might be my favorite. Just behind Rule 5 of course. http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/. If you’ve ever found yourself on a bike in extreme conditions you embrace that rule. And quite frankly, you know that the word “badass” could easily be swapped out with a number of other words. Bonehead, dimwit, moron, idiot or any number of even more colorful descriptors usually reserved for those lacking any sort of common sense, that might keep one indoors when unfavorable comes calling. But unfortunately for my self and my son, in regards to our cyclocross intentions, common sense isn’t all that common.
A flawless Monday night in November. 60 degrees and a supermoon. Which I had never heard of before but has something to do with the closest approach the moon makes on its eliptical orbit resulting in some massively large moon, er something like that. It’s big round and in its most basic terms reminds me of a rotating full carbon disc rear wheel. Which only serves to remind me how I should have been out on the perfect ride tonight, but instead sat sprawling on the couch in sweatpants and a flannel shirt I’ve worn for 2 days. I told myself it was a recovery day but really I just sat recovering from a meatball dinner. But it was not a lost evening since my guilt for missing out on a ride workout was replaced as I sat mesmerized by an hour and a half of what I consider the most visually stunning example of grace and speed. It was the UCI Track Cycling World Cup from Apeldoorf, Netherlands. And unlike most track events that receive barely a thread of coverage on Olympic prime time TV. Tonight I received a full uninterrupted dose of track racing. And the best part, no Bob Costas interruptions.
I haven’t had any days in recent memory as perfect as this fall All Hallow’s Eve day of racing. It might have been having my family there to support and getting the chance to watch my son race his second bike/cross race ever. It might have been the teammates and friends surrounding a full day of this fall festivus. It might have been the spirited costumes that reminded all of us that it’s all about having a good time. Or it might have been about a course that I truly enjoyed the heck out of. I’m 50 years old. 50 pounds overweight and at least a couple minutes a lap out of any chance of finishing with the leaders. Why do I continue to put myself through this? Because…
I raced cyclocross this past Sunday. Actually, I raced twice. Neither of the results were very memorable. I might even add they were quite forgettable. It’s been a year since my last race and shoulder injury, and going into these races my initial goal was to get a feel for racing again and just gain some confidence . By the end of the first race I was more angry than confident. I had started at the very back of approximately 100 riders and soon enough I had managed to get past a group of riders. Unfortunately, after a miscalculation I went down and was passed by the same group of 10-15 guys. As I wrestled to free myself of plastic route ribbon and recenter my rotated brake lever the last guy in the group passed me and shouted a parting remark, “You’re last now!”
I am not a fashionista. Sure, I believe one must use a discerning eye when selecting the proper concert T. Also, any irreverent humor printed on cotton better be worth more than a subtle chuckle and should only be understood by approximately 23.5 % of the general public. And I am not quite at the point where I let my wife pick out my shirts and pants but she does pick out my boxers from time to time. That said, I do have a weakness. I succumb to the power of the kit. I never thought I’d consider spending a c-note on a shirt. But recently, as I shopped my favorite online “Mamil” site, there it was calling my name. With a heavy Italian accent, kind of like when I was 8 years old hearing la mia Mamma calling me home for spaghetti dinner.
This past Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, one of the most famous single day bicycle races treated us to a very special outcome. No, it was not the favorite that set the record for his fifth victory- most wins in history. It was not a world champion proving his place and stature among the greats. Nor was it a loved Swiss strongman and 3 time winner going for his last victory before retiring from the sport. Nope, it was a little known Aussie journeyman racer just shy of his 38th birthday that raced the race of his life. And just barely squeaked past the favorites in arguably one of the most amazing finishes ever in the infamous spring classic.
About a year ago my son came to me and asked,”Dad, When can I get a road bike?”I scratched my head a bit and gave him the worst answer you could ever give your son who is prepping for his rite of passage. “Well, maybe when you’re a little bit older.”…Wah Wah!
So I turned 50 today. It might be a milestone year but I did not feel that “special day” vibe. This one came and went as quickly as the last 49. I’m not saying that it did not leave a bit of a wrinkle, I’m just not sure I am ready to embrace the reality. Some might celebrate with fanfare, parties, and black bowed gift bags containing geriatric products all intended to spark a response as if to say “hey look how old you are and how closer you are to staring the grim reaper square in the face. So you may as well toast it with a glass of prune juice. Yuk Yuk.” So this morning I filled my bidon with water and set off for my first 50 mile ride of the year.
New year’s resolutions can be fickle initiatives that quickly dissolve as fast as a New Year’s Day Alka Seltzer chaser. In years past my resolutions were long forgotten by the time Groundhog Day came around. But this year my commitment and resolve need to take priority one as it will completely affect my life. It is time for a new body, a new soul and to embrace the process of change itself, not just the results that I hope to accomplish.