floyd, lance, and snow

With the SI article on Lance [nothing new, as most of us found out after reading all 5 pages of it], rumors that Lance might not be able to get out of this one, and blogs almost as influential as mine, like Cyclocosm, commenting on the issue, I figured it was only my duty to add my two cents. I had it all planned out, coming up with sentences like, “it is precisely because sports are not a matter of life and death that there is a need to play fair. To uphold a sense of sportsmanship and moral integrity that we expect of athletes, those who cycle out the purest and perhaps even the most childish of our dreams.”
Yeah, I came up with all that. I actively engaged in coherent sentence generation, mostly while in the shower, which means serious business.
The thing is, anything I say has already been said before, most likely by those more in the know or just more competent at putting together sentences. Such as, with regards to Floyd’s sudden flip-flopping, my favorite Canadian rapper, Snow:

The last verse seems particularly applicable. Although, I guess Floyd already “turn[ed] informer.” Still, I have a soft spot for guys that are into bikes and look like hobbits, so I'm going to let great music speak for Floyd's feelings. Word?

frozen slow

There are usually two choices when you're stuck out in the frigid cold on a bicycle in too little gear: 1. go as fast as you can while hoping that the resulting body heat you create will somehow overcome the wind that you've also created, or 2. reduce your speed under the theory that less wind means less cold.
I've tried both, and neither work. The results seem to be about the same: blood refuses to circulate to my feet, fingers, or face. To add to the general discomfort, snot will start pouring out my nose; and to add to my general embarrassment, I can't feel most of it dribbling down until almost too late. At that point, there's nowhere to look but up. At least you're on two wheels and you'll get home. At least you're not walking.
But yesterday, I was walking. And it was about 1F.


All the pretty snow earlier in the day turned to the kind of weather that has your ears stinging and your face hurting as soon as you get outside. That balmy weather that made rides outside slightly tolerable? That was the equivalent of God releasing a teaser for a movie that won't come out for another 5 months. Thanks for letting us know what we're missing, big G.
So even though I wouldn't have ridden outside this weekend anyway - given my wind allergy, I think it's safe to say that I tend to prefer riding indoors - I still felt indignant about the weather. Temperatures were low enough that I was looking at a weekend of sitting around my apartment, simultaneously feeling lazy and stressed. The kind of weekend where, unless my pantry and fridge were completely bare, and there was nothing left to eat except wood and toilet paper, I wasn't stepping foot outside.


But then friends down south in the Big Apple decided to put together a party to watch the Cyclocross World Championships taking place in Tabor, Czech Republic, and it would be early enough on Sunday to allow my attendance and still ship back to Boston at a decent hour. I did what any reasonable person would do: I packed a bag, left my helmet at home, and hopped on a bus.
Which resulted in me half jogging down Chrystie Street in inhumane temperatures when I finally got to NYC. To be honest, when I felt the cold air slap my face, I didn't really want to get off the bus. I thought about the rollers in my apartment, felt the guilt of abandoning my bikes there for the weekend. But when friends are involved, there's no shame in slowing down a bit.
And besides, it's way colder up in Boston.
[If you're in the NYC area, come out to the World's party at NYC Velo this Sunday. It'll be fun, I promise!]

pump it up

Can you believe it's November?
I understand that happened almost three weeks ago, but it's finally sinking in. It's almost Thanksgiving. That means it's almost December. When did that happen?
I blame the deceptively warm weather that has me thinking it's still early October. My long-sleeve Underarmour gear has remained untouched in my closet for the past several weeks; if I recall correctly, I was living in that stuff this time last year. And though the fact that the sun seems to set at 3pm has my body begging me to go into hibernation, I'm mentally waiting for the cold to hit Boston. Against all hope, the weather's held its surprisingly warm embrace.


I'm grateful for that; I really am. It means more time outside, and more time outside on the track bike. At the same time, it feels like that frustrating [and ultimately embarrassing] dance you do when you try to walk around someone coming from the opposite direction; you both just end up shuffling laterally in the same direction, bobbing your heads like pigeons as you try to navigate where the other stranger is trying to go. I feel like I've been doing that for weeks now, and cold or no cold, I'm itching to feel that sense of relief when you finally manage to break free from that awkward side shuffling and go your separate ways.
Because this weather is holding everything up. It's placed me in that in-between phase of late fall/early winter where nothing in your closet is really appropriate. That seems to apply to my bike as well. Once temperatures started to dip into the low 30s, I had promised myself that I'd change out my Vittoria Randonneurs for knobbier 'cross tires. I promised myself I'll sit down, pick the glass and other crap out of my winter tires and strip my rims of those white-ish gray rounds of rubber. I even switched out the clipless pedals for toe clips well in advance of any chance of snow. I had it all planned out; by December, I was going to be well bundled up and hauling around the commuter-converted-into-snow-bike. It was going to suck, but I was prepared to be prepared.



Instead, my grand plans of blasting Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up" while making the tire switch has apparently been put on the back burner. It's like when your date leans in for that first kiss and you're waiting and getting slightly nervous because you hope it's going to be a good one and then you wait...and wait...and wait...until you start wondering what the hell is going on??? Just get it over with, already! Stop making me WAIT!
Okay maybe it's not really like that, but you know what I mean. I'm thankful for the fact that I can entertain the possibility of going on a ride during turkey break, but a part of me wishes I wasn't just lip syncing in the mirror along with Elvis. True, that might be because my building has turned on the heat and my apartment currently feels like an oven [with windows open and everything]. Sometimes, though, I suspect I might like to bike in the snow [at least for a week or two]. On the other hand, I could just be a selfish bitch who wants the entire road to herself.
Personally, I like to think that it's really because freezing temperatures would give me the perfect excuse to polish my Costello Pump It Up Dance. Admit it, you've totally tried it, too.
[Friday! Rapha Scarf Friday!]

lounging regularly

I spent far too much time this weekend leaning over a particular counter in Allston. I'm working on wearing an indent into that space.
It's, of course, the IBC counter. And it didn't involve anything dirtier than bike grease and some of Herrell's heath bar brownie crumbs. Oh yeah, and chips. Chips are crucial.
Well, so are cookies. At least for the IBC Regular's Lounge that should be installed [mostly for my benefit]. Chris has already promised to fund the eternal cookies-and-chips supply for said lounge. I plan on warming the seats for other regulars. Eric, Erich, Jeremy et al. will be providing endless entertainment [possibly involving blood, even!]. It'll be one of the most coveted lounges in Boston.


To make things even better sweeter, I'd even consider busting out these cups [pictured above, not the other ones] for the really hardcore regulars. I got them in the mail as a late Christmas present from my best friend; they're a mid-West vintage find and seriously one of the coolest gifts I've ever gotten.
We agreed that they almost look like confetti cupcakes. Small and just the right size for really good hot chocolate or hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick poking out of it, I'm almost glad it's still winter. And with five in the set, it's the perfect number for a solid group of good [bike] friends.
Can someone start a petition for the Regular's Lounge? A big cup of Irish coffee wouldn't hurt either, especially after a ride in this snow...


It's good to know that some things remain consistent. Like the schizophrenic weather.
Oh, New England, why is the weather here as fickle as a slightly overweight BC undergrad in unfashionable Uggs and leggings? It was in the 40s a day ago - and now this. More snow.
I stubbornly rode in today, and rode home, patting myself on the back the whole way about how foolishly lucky I was to buy the first single-speed bike that came in my size which just so happened to be a 'cross bike. Seriously, the bitch can take anything.

Well, almost anything. When my tires got clotted with too much snow, I ended up having to walk some of the way. A nice gentleman even rolled down his window and slowed down his minivan as he approached me, and asked,
"Which way to BC main campus?"
Yeah I guess some things - like Boston drivers - remain consistent too.


I'm sure most of you who read this are fully aware of how disgusting it is outside.
When I left this morning, the snow was coming down in all it's pretty white flutteriness. There was just enough on the ground to make the commute kinda messy, but there wasn't any slipping and sliding involved.

I figured the fun part would come later in the afternoon with a predicted 5-8 inches of snow. Hauling my ass up Heartbreak Hill in that kind of snow? Come on, what's not to love?
And then the weather decided to turn legitimately disgusting. I got drenched on the way home. Not so much because of the rain, but because of the huge puddles that formed along Comm Ave, and the cars that decided it would be a great idea to race through them.
I think my toes are finally thawing. Ride safe - and stay warm!