I watched some bits and pieces of the World Track Cycling Championships on cycling.tv [yes, the ones from March...I know, I know] last Sunday while sweltering in the humid heat. Mike just randomly put it on his computer; he later said it should be inspiring, but I think he just has a thing for girls on bikes with big thighs.
It was cool to watch, though, especially because whoever was shooting it insisted on taking close ups of all the female racers’ faces just as they started their sprint. There were all kinds of grimaces as they turned gears that weren’t ever meant for normal people, making the painful start somewhat hilarious to the spectator on the other side of the screen. Their otherwise impeccably made-up faces crumpled into a burst of speed as each racer booked it around the velodrome on feather-weight bikes that were something else.
My mom once asked - as if I would know - why female athletes sometimes have make up on before their event. A few months later, she informed me that she had figured it out:
“It’s because that’s the only time they’re ever on TV and they probably want to look nice.”
Thanks for the FYI, mom.
Anyway, back to bikes that are made to go fast. After riding Mike’s Cyfac and a few days off, my legs were feeling good, so it’s back to Dovering it every chance I get. By now the routine is familiar, and climbing onto the bike a few days ago, I pushed off...and grimaced.
You know those tactical war videos where there’s a tank that’s going over some small dirt hill at a weird angle so it ends up briefly stopping at the top of the aforementioned hill, nose pointed at the sky, before the sheer weight of the thing makes it crash awkwardly down the hill? That’s the image that was running through my head the entire time I was on my tank of a bicycle a few days ago. Shit is heavy. And to think I’m leaning towards a steel frame for that ever elusive road bike...
I got used to it after a few miles, but it was kind of a pain in the ass. Literally. My glutes were tired, my calves were seizing up again, and I reeked. Eh, easy slow ride tomorrow, I thought. Something kind of lazy but enough to get me out of the house for a while. Nothing fast, anyway.
Of course, when I make those kinds of decisions, I inevitably run into people I know who have gears and are way faster than me. This time, it was 100psi in a Rapha Club Jersey and on a Gold IF Factory Lightweight who joined me for most of the way back. My relaxing ride went the way of toe clips in the pro peloton because seriously, who has gears and actually goes slower than 15mph? It was fun, though, to ride with someone new, and I do appreciate the faster pace. I did feel a dark chill of fear when we passed Paceteaser-BRC-IF guy who thankfully was heading in as we were heading out. I sighed in relief though part of my head spun at the idea of getting caught up in a ride with BRC-IF guy again.
My legs made it home, got stretched, then the arms got to work doing some push ups and reverse flys before a shower, lunch, and coffee. Then it was back to work for the tank that is my brain, slowly lumbering through Intellectual Property law for that exam I’m taking today. The last 24 hour take-home law school exam of my life. Hopefully it’ll go as smoothly as my rides; even if it’s a little more painful than I’m probably expecting.