Monday, February 25, 2008

Plaaaaaay Ball!

"To snatch in a moment of courage, from the remorseless rush of time, a passing phase of life"
-Joseph Conrad

I took advantage of "Mid-Winter/Ski Week" to get in some miles and fit a months worth of riding into one week. For many, 15 hours would be an average week...I remember the days, but it felt very indulgent,especially since any time on the bike means Tera has Z and Jumpin' Josie Jane for the day. After trailing Roger around the Old Caz course (3:10 at high aerobic but not race pace) I dragged myself over to Carlos' cyclocross event for my first official race in five years. It was superbly organized and a zippy little course...perfect for the Soucraft with 28c tires.Racing isn't actually that different from riding with my friends...except the getting lapped part. Next weekend promises sunny skies, good companionship and at least 3 hours of suffering. The first Grasshopper won't fail to be an epic day. It is a course that will challenge one's fitness,ability choice of equipment and luck! Let's face it, the fastest man or woman up Old Caz won't win if they flat! Remember riding Old Caz when all we had was road bikes? Yes it can be won on a road bike, Justin Morgan did it. It can be won on a cross bike, both Simon and Aaron K have done it. It can even be won on a disc mountain bike with small tires, not too small!, Mike Andrés has done it. Last year Mike Broderick showed up on his Seven mountain bike with a carbon rigid fork, 700c disc wheels and....well he won the race. Claire has done it on her road bike and a fellow did it a couple of years ago on a fixed gear. The question isn't what but rather, who? Big guns are in town and it's likely they'll show up. Mary of course used the race as a springboard to another National Championship and I think Norcal is looking to take the jersey. Can it be that ten years have passed? Not such a big deal for people like George Hope and All Day Ray who are faster now than ten years ago but for some it's a lifetime of cycling ago. So back to the question of what bike to ride, what gears to use, what shoe covers to slap on, and what tires to use. Should it be the Soulcraft road bike with 28c tires, compact cranks with a 27 on the back? How about my hardtail Ibis with a rigid fork? I'll pull out a pair of Reverts from my Deer Valley podium race for good luck.(with cracked sidewalls and all) How about my Epic with 1.25 semi-slicks, lockout front and rear suspension? Will it be my steel Steelman crossbike? If so what tires, what will the conditions be like, how steep is the climb, will a double crank be okay or should I use a triple? Does all this matter? Yes. Does all this matter...No! Who do I think will win on Saturday... the fastest man and woman who don't flat, bonk, crash or get lost or sequestered by Bigfoot.
As to the course itself, same as usual, almost. There will be an extra little climb off Willow Creek. If you haven't cursed me in years passed you might this year. Most likely you'll curse me as you get bucked off your bike at hour 3 with double hammy and quad cramps and then thank me after rolling across the finish. I'll never create a route that I won't ride, so don't worry. Heh, heh, heee...Kim will have cards, use them. The left will be 1/4 mile passed the locked gate passed Baxman's place. Expect a 10-15 grunt followed by a ripping descent into the waiting arms of the busty twins Mary and Jane. If you haven't met them yet you won't forget them after Saturday.

Hasta pronto,

Thursday, February 07, 2008

If I were only _______ (insert descriptive word)then I'd be really happy!

Si yo fuera.... In language we'd call this the subjunctive tense. We use it in English but rarely understand what it implies. I've spent entire rides and races in mind frame of doubt and negativity; perhaps this propelled me to suffer even deeper. Or did is hinder my ability and performance? Of course being our own worst critics helps motivate our desires to perfect, improve and refine our performance. By comparing ourselves to others we see both the best and worst of competition. Only in the brotherhood/sisterhood of cycling could one take lightly the taunt of "ripping your legs off". Sounds more like horrid scenes from the Spanish Inquisition. We are eternally stuck living in a paradox. (Not with a pair of OX!) Our performance is always good enough and at the same time we can always do better. Both are true. Subjunctive is to wish or hope; nothing wrong with wishing on the first star and I still toss a penny into all awaiting fountains and regard my kids hopes with total sincerity. But does hoping and wishing prevent us from enjoying the Preciousness of the Present? Every get to the bottom of a ripping descent and realize you spent the majority of it thinking about work, family, the size of your calves, etc.? If you're on the it over. If on the road, well better luck next time. As we approach "Grasshopper Season" I know what's going on out there... lots of miles, gym time, hill repeats, leg elevation, late nights with Phil Ligget and online shopping for lighter wheels, shoe covers and the ultimate recovery drink. Don't not do these things (Double negative means keep it up!) You know everyone else is and we want some stiff competition as usual. Besides covering the costs of Kim making the cards there has never been and never will be any charge for these rides. This year I'd like to ask everyone to remember how fortunate we are to be able to do what we love. Please take a look at the Ross Dillon page. I know he would be out here riding with us today if he could. Assume you do all five Grasshoppers and most races are about $30, that's $150 you save plus the pleasure of sleeping and eating breakfast in your own house. If everyone who came out sent $5o to help with Ross' rehabilitation, he's been making tremendous progress, it would really make a difference. (500x50=25K). Get out and ride!