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.
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!
There are some things that are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. In my case it was a series of cult movie classics that I was unfortunate enough to be exposed to when I was still a wee lad back in the seventies. Trilogy of Terror and Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, were 2 made for TV horror flicks featuring mini demon-like creatures. It was an impression that left me scarred for a long, long, loooong time. I struggled to sleep in the dark, insisted on leaving my bedroom door partially open, and slept with the sheets pulled way over my head leaving only a 3 inch gap separating me from the cool breath of life and the diminutive demons of the dark who were scurrying around my bed echoing those chilling little whispers from hell. Not to mention the all out sprint/ long jump combo stride every time I ran up the basement stairs. Running full speed while taking 3 steps at a time, was all I could do to escape the scissor wielding Zulu doll from the underworld that was fast on my heels taking swipes and bites at my barely escaping achilles tendons.
I walked in the shop and he was still taping up the bars. I was envious! So tasty. This Surly Ice Cream Truck sports 5 inch tires, drop bars and a brand new Brooks saddle. It is menacing to say the least. This combo puts it over the top and into its own category. Pure viciousness. Not to mention the massive saddle to bar drop. As I said, we are flat-landers and this beast is perfectly suited for long flat stretches of crushed limestone prarie path. Only to be ridden how a roadie likes to ride his fat bike-FAST. When the momentum of those massive gyroscopic wheels roll up to speed and C gets in his drop position, I know were in for a fast ride! The combination of big, power and speed is something we cannot get from our other bikes.
It’s about to start storming, I am hungry and I realize I am only a mile away from one of the best pizza joints I know. Minutes later, I am sitting, scanning a menu and about to order my pizza Quattro Gusti ( that’s 4 toppings to the rest of you). At that moment I look up in the dark and eerily distant space above the heating vents, window valence, and chandelier I spot her. The celeste green Bianchi that immediately solidified this as the most authentically Italian place in town.
I’ve always said there was no better feeling than taking that maiden ride with newly taped set of handlebars. That “all is right” sensation the first time I roll out of my garage with hands on fresh new tape. So grippy, so padded, so clean! I even feel faster, fresher, and re-energized. To me there is no better return that comes from such minimal investment. It’s like stepping out of a shower and putting on a fresh new pair of clean white cotton underwear.
Frankie was a trailblazer. It was 1985 and my high school-aged brother comes home with what? A new bike. Our friends are buying stereos for their rusted out shit-can Chevys and Oldsmobiles but Frankie bought a bike. I guess we both had been tilting an ear and a flipping’ an eyeball to the TV coverage of the American phenom and the goings on overseas in the world of international bicycle racing. However even with Lemond making noise, It was still a very quiet sport. Especially in the “get the F outta my way, cause I own the F ‘n road and no cyclists should ever be caught dead riding on the streets of the Motor F’n City!”