Monday, January 27, 2014

A Tough Crowd

The temperature at the start of Sunday's Giro was in the low 40s, but the 90+ percent humidity made it feel colder. I heard the nastier weather on the previous morning had kept attendance to seven. About 30 showed up Sunday. The mostly uneventful ride out to Venetian Isles was at a seasonally appropriate pace with little, if any, surging.

The hardest part of the ride was the headlong dash off of Chef Hwy and up the service road, which caught more than a few riders dillydallying a bit too long between the Chevron station and I-510. I was fortunate enough to see the lead riders weren't going to slow into the service road, picked the right wheel to sit on coming out of the turn, and then hung on as Brian B. (not MD) doggedly pulled us up to the handful of riders who had sprinted off of Chef.

Heading north on Bullard, red lights1 at I-10 and the service road spread the group out over a couple of blocks. As we approached Hayne, a little knot of cyclists was in the middle of the road and it was obvious there had been a crash. I could see the OWNHB face down and motionless on the pavement. Two of the locals who often are seen socializing in the apartment complex parking lot were in the street recounting what they had seen. "He was out of control," said one. "He was going pretty fast," said the other. "What happened to his handlebars?" asked the first.

Matt and someone else tried to help him to his feet. "Noooooo. Don't touch me. I have broken bones," declared the OWNHB. Brian B. MD was attending the patient, presumably doing the old oriented-times-three test. "Do you know your name?" "Do you know what day it is?" "Do you know your bike has no handlebars?" Eventually, Brian B. MD was satisfied EMTs and ambulances were unnecessary. VJ offered to go get the barless one's van.

The Giro regulars can be a tough crowd, and somewhat merciless. Once it was determined the OWNHB was not headed directly to the hospital but was merely dazed and bloodied, the goofing commenced: As the injured cyclist stood gathering himself at the curb, Matt put the handlebarless bike in a nearby garbage can and Rich assumed the Deliverance-squeal-like-a-pig stance behind the bent-over, moaning cyclist. The two locals, one obviously dressed for church, were aghast with disbelief at the scene playing out before them.

As he started to slowly, unsteadily walk in small circles in the street, the OWNHB shakily said, "My hands got cold and came off my handlebars."Soon he decided he could ride in and a couple of riders stayed with him as an escort.

The group rode in at a conversational pace. Later I heard the OWNHB was sore but okay.

 = =
1. It was interesting to see one of the young orangemen (Daniel, I think) loudly expressing his  understandable frustration, on Hayne going out and again on Bullard coming in, at the pack's dangerous and illegal disregard of red lights. Orange One, your youthful idealism is admirable, but I have been there in the past and achieved nothing beyond self-inflicted hypertensive stress. I encourage you to continue in your worthy undertaking, but, unfortunately, I do not think this behavior will change until 1) someone gets flattened in the road; 2) the police start dishing out tickets as they do routinely in civilized areas of the country; 3) we scare, inconvenience, or piss off the wrong politician or political contributor and the ride gets shut down (as group rides have in other cities).

2. When the OWNHB made this statement I began wondering about the efficacy of Brian B. MD's orientation assessment. I am not sure how to describe the thing protruding forward from the stem of the OWNHB's machine, but I'm certain handlebars is just wrong. Or perhaps the OWNHB's strange declaration was not concussive befuddlement,  but rather evidences a basic misunderstanding of what handlebars are, which would explain his responding with a blank stare to my countless suggestions to him in the past that he consider buying handlebars for his bike.

[Note: This blog isn't intended to disparage or offend anyone. If anything contained herein is believed to be inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment. Any such comment may change nothing, but will be stark evidence of your right to free expression of thought and opinion, much as this blog evidences mine. Thanks for visiting.]

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chilly, NHL ride, and my pivoted tongues are in tip-top shape, thank you very much.

It turns out the Bashful Artist (aka Racer X) was all wrong. When my freehub started making dreadful, dying-animal-grunt noises during Sunday's Giro, I received two wildly divergent opinions about how to remedy the defect. Big Rich said my hub required servicing. X said I needed a new bike. While at first blush the latter suggestion was decidedly the more attractive, X's plan about how to accomplish said option (petitioning the purser-in-chief) seemed unrealistic and unlikely to succeed. I dropped an unsubtle hint that X might consider organizing a new-bike fundraiser, but days passed with no word about the formation of planning committees, the dispatching of site scouts, or any other indicia of a forthcoming charity event.

In the meanwhile I received further advice from Randy which comported with Rich's, and contained a detailed description of the cause of my problem, including the possible non-engagement of one of my two pawls. It is a little embarrassing to admit that unless you count slathering Simple Green on the chain and cassette, in situ, and then hosing down, drying, and lubing the drive train, the entirety of my experience addressing mechanical problems which beset my bike has heretofore consisted of rolling it into a local bike shop and negotiating for a quick turnaround. I did successfully replace my bar tape once, but I'm almost certain that doesn't count as mechanical. While I found Randy's comments interesting, I had no clue what he was talking about or what a pawl was. Here's what Merriam-Webster had to say:
pawl: n. a pivoted tongue or sliding bolt on one part of a machine that is adapted to fall into notches or interdental spaces on another part so as to permit motion in only one direction 

That didn't help me much so I did a Google image search for pawl, and it was instant recognition: Oh, sure, the little thingy that drops between the teeth of a gear which allows it to turn only one way. Of course, a pawl. Now that I knew what we were talking about I could address the issue. So I decided to take my wheel as soon as possible to the bike shop and request prompt hub servicing, and please, make sure to check my pawls.

Before I could get to the bike shop Rich kindly offered, conditioned upon my purchasing a Shimano cassette tool (Rich is all Campy), to show me my actual pawls. So with wheel and newly acquired cassette tool of the Shimano variety in hand I proceeded to Rich's house.

With regard to certain aspects of his life, e.g. the interior of his car, the dirt- and debris-free nature of his driveway, the alignment of logo-adorned socks, and everything whatsoever to do with bicycles, Rich can be fairly described as a tad fastidious. Actually, more than a tad, we're talking OCD-textbook-case-study fastidious. So I don't think it is in any wise an exaggeration when I tell you that as I handed him my rear wheel and he looked at the cassette, his face became contorted, in an almost unnatural way, in profound revulsion, much as you might imagine the countenance of a non-parent opening the malodorous diaper of a baby fed only pureed spinach for a week. As he removed each sprocket from the cluster, he would shake his head then hold it up in front of my face. "Look at the filth on that," he said. Over and over, the same thing, "Look at the crap on this thing." I had to cross my eyes to focus on the cruddy teeth almost touching my nose. He put me to work with degreaser, a rag, and a wire brush.

Not my actual pawls - generic Mavic pawls
Eventually, after many, many more look-how-grimy comments, my pawls were revealed to me. Rich declared them to be in fine shape and gave them to me to clean. He cleaned and oiled the hub body and put everything back together. The whole process took about 20 minutes, which, according to Rich, was considerably longer than usual, the extra time made necessary by the wretched condition of my cassette.

Thursday morning it was  44 degrees at KMSY at 5:00 am, technically a no-ride day pursuant to the Law of 45/15. But it was close enough, especially with my being somewhat buoyed by a freshly serviced freehub and sparkly cassette. Triceps Dave, Big Rich and I met Brian, Randy and Danielle, who were waiting in two cars, in the parking lot of Sno-Wizard at River Road and Oak.

My clean cassette

The plan was for the cars to ride, hazard lights blinking, behind the bikes for the mile or so to levee access near Causeway Blvd. It worked pretty well until a massive dumptruck came roaring around our escort just as Rich was turning into the levee access. He missed being squashed in the road by a hair, but the truck driver saved himself eight seconds. Dave and I went straight for another 50 yards to another access and climbed the levee without threat. It was a little scary.

Ray was at the playground. NHL. So it was a steady, if a little chilly, ride out and back interrupted briefly when Brian flatted. At ride's end, we just took the lane on River Road, which in daylight and congested with morning commuters wasn't too bad.

My freehub sounded smooth as silk. And it was good to see what my pawls look like, and to learn something about how my bike works rather than just dropping it off at the bike shop. Although Rich's garage is not unlike a bike shop, except he doesn't carry Shimano parts, and if you show up with dirty components, you may have to endure a lot of tut-tut-tutting, head shaking, and sternly worded admonitions.

 [Note: This blog isn't intended to disparage or offend anyone. If anything contained herein is believed to be inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment. Any such comment may change nothing, but will be stark evidence of your right to free expression of thought and opinion, much as this blog evidences mine. Thanks for visiting.]

Monday, January 20, 2014

Help David Get A New Bike Fundraiser -- Date TBA, Please Contact Racer X For Further Information

An early check of the weather revealed Sunday's Giro would be a pleasant respite from the recent run of cold mornings, with temperatures predicted to be in the 50s throughout the ride. The only troublesome thing for me was the west wind, which tends to make unpleasantly fast the mostly eastward first half of the ride, when legs are fresh and the expression of testosterone-fueled aggression is more likely.

Warm-up of Sunday Giro
 Big Rich was late to show up at the gazebo at Spanish Fort. He was a little out of sorts as well, not only because of his tardiness, but because the battery of his Garmin computer had failed during his ride out to the lake1. I blame both circumstances on his dogged effort to cling to his faded youth by attending each year the Radiators' reunion show within the close confines of Tipitina's with other aging free-spirit-wannabes who believe it is still a good idea, well into middle age, to expose themselves into the wee hours of night to dank, dark environments which are too crowded and too loud for good health.

After a brief hiatus from Giro participation, which he attributed to illness and a weak resolve, Ray C. returned sporting Red-Sox-like facial hair and whining about the probability of his getting dropped as a result of his layoff. But every time I noticed Ray during the ride he was at or near the front or moving forward seemingly to consider giving one of the sprints a go.  

The  ride east to Paris Road and then down to Chef Hwy. was indeed fast-paced, but I managed my position within the group well enough at the turns to stay comfortably with the bunch. I became a little unnerved by a development which began on the service road: Each time I free-wheeled I could feel vibration in my feet and my bike made a noise like a failed attempt at shifting an 18-wheeler from first straight into sixth gear without using the clutch. Rich said my free hub needed servicing. The Bashful Artist said I needed a new bike 2.

Shortly after we get going on Chef, I'm staring down between my legs and spinning in reverse and reproducing this horrid grinding noise which has replaced the sweet staccato riff of my free-wheeling hub, when I look up and see Vega wildly swinging his arm, like a side-arm pitch, back to front, pointing first at me and then at the tail end of the group, which is now twenty feet up the highway and slowly pulling away.

So I go around Vega and get on the back of the bunch by the skin of my teeth. Then, of course, it is a matter of staying and convincing myself that things will slow down if I only hang for 30 seconds. So I hang for 30 seconds and then a minute and then two minutes, and it doesn't slow, and I'm toast. I rode alone out to about Highway 11 when a little grupetto of five riders caught me and we continued on until we saw the group returning, near Venetian Isles.

I turned and soft-pedaled, waiting for the approaching group. Suddenly, I heard a commotion behind me and then HL complaining that I bash him in this blog and then, as if that wasn't enough, tried to run him off the road. I was unaware of what had occurred, but accounts of the incident gleaned from others thereafter seemed to indicate HL was trying to pass me on the right as the group was overtaking me on the left. Even after my cursory investigation, I have been unable to discover why HL felt it necessary to ride on my right, between the solid white line and the rumble strip. Thankfully, his prodigious bike-handling skills allowed him to overcome the hazards of the rumble strip and safely regain the road. In my never-ending pursuit of improving my riding, I googled the phrase "dangers of passing cyclist on right," and while I haven't had time to peruse the links returned, I did note there were more than 11,000,0003 hits which the powerful search engine found relevant to the inquiry.

During the ride in on Chef, I found myself on the wheel of a rider unknown to me in Peake shorts who had been shepherded around all morning by Eddy D. He (the unknown rider not Eddy) seemed somewhat unfamiliar with riding in groups and it slowly became apparent he subscribed to the Clayton C. style of riding, trying always to stay no less than ½ and no more than 1½  inches from the wheel in front. When this problematic proclivity revealed itself to me, good sense would have dictated that I move up in the group immediately, but good sense is something I have on more than a few occasions been accused of  wholly lacking. Another unusual aspect of the rider's style, which I don't know if Clayton C. inspired in any manner, was his way of correcting an approach closer than ½ inch from the wheel in front by grabbing two handfuls of brakes and squeezing for all he's worth, a move which nearly sent me and Vega, who was on my wheel, to the pavement. Having survived the incident upright, Vega and I both moved forward in the group.
While it had been a pretty eventful morning to this point, the indubitable highlight of the day wasn't to occur until ride's end, at the bottom of the Seabrook Bridge. As usual it was fast between the bridges, and as we approached the Seabrook, Brett was on the front. Being just a couple of riders behind, I had a good seat for what followed. VJ comes up the left side of the line with the One With No Handlebars (OWNHB)4 close on his wheel. When VJ clears Brett's wheel he pulls in front of the line. Then the OWNHB immediately pulls over behind VJ, before clearing Brett's wheel, almost running into him and causing him to slow. Brett screams something at the OWNHB and takes off after him. Well, I've been around long enough, and know enough about the personalities involved, to be convinced that, at the very least, invectives were going to fly and maybe even fisticuffs would ensue. So I killed myself to stay close. Between fumbling to get my camera out and the wind noise, I couldn't catch much of the exchange beyond the OWNHB threatening Brett with bodily harm if Brett insisted on cursing at him, and then an ineffectual and rather effete backhanded swipe at Brett which missed by a mile. The OWNHB, with venom in his tone, then said, "There is only one champion out here, and it's not you5." He rode ahead of the group to his big white van, parked near the east side of the Paris Avenue circle, and as we passed he was standing astride his top tube with arms outstretched,  deeply bowing, his rear wheel repeatedly lifting high into the air like the ass-end of a feeding dabbling duck.
 A gesticulation of emphasis, not the attempted poke.
= =
1. It is widely known that Big Rich gets a little anxious without ready access to satellite time.

2. The Bashful Artist (aka Racer X) went so far as to ask who he needed to talk to in order for me to get a new bike, and I referred him to my spouse. He then said he would forthwith seek whatever number of signatures were necessary to petition successfully for my obtaining a new bike. While I appreciate the willingness of the Bashful Artist to undertake the arduous task of securing such a petition, I believe he would have a better chance of success by organizing, promoting, and holding a Help David Get A New Bike Fundraiser at the McMurdo Research Station on Antarctica.



5. The OWNHB could not have known when he made this statement that I won the gold medal in the seventh grade speech contest at CBS in 1964. So, indeed, OWNHB, there were more than one champion on Lakeshore Drive yesterday.

 [Note: This blog isn't intended to disparage or offend anyone. If anything contained herein is believed to be inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment. Any such comment may change nothing, but will be stark evidence of your right to free expression of thought and opinion, much as this blog evidences mine. Thanks for visiting.]

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Multi-denominational Brick

I completely understand and wholeheartedly accept the fundamental truth that much of the when, where and how we catch flats is driven by star alignment, Karmic justice, and plain old juju. While some may argue wet weather and worn tread are the most likely explanations for my five flats in seven rides, I am convinced it is the playing out of some Karmic debt or there is true sorcery, bewitchery, and diablerie at work. After all, three of the five flats occurred on brand-new Continental GP 4000s.

Holy Name Church
 On Sunday, while sitting in my study watching Manning and the Broncos dash San Diego's playoff hopes, I was interrupted by the loud phhhhsssssssst of a rapidly deflating tire. My bike was sitting in the hall just outside my study and the rear tire had spontaneously flatted. I have on occasion found a tire flat when preparing for a ride, but this was a first for me -- a violent, noisy flat hours after a ride, within earshot. After investigating the unusual event and discovering no obvious cause, I resolved to change the flat on Monday in plenty of time for Tuesday's ride and returned to the game.

Of course, my dawdling skills being of world-class caliber, I did nothing about the flat Monday except to repeatedly remind myself of the bothersome task which awaited, expending much more energy in the procrastination than the actual chore would consume. Tuesday morning, when forced to address the tire, I found I had no tubes but the one in the underseat bag on my bike. So I changed the flat, inflated the tire, and then gave the front tire a few pumps to bring it up to the 120 psi I normally ride. Off I went thinking only of how the Uptown group would mount the levee since access was now closed all the way to Ochsner Hospital.

Temple Sinai

Near the intersection of Nashville Ave. and St. Charles Ave. my front tire started a barely perceptible bump, bump, bump, like it was out-of-true or a spoke had broken. The bump-bump-bumping worsened until I pulled under a spotlight in front of Tulane to check it out, and discovered the bead of the front tire had unseated somehow and was bulging out. Obviously this was not good. As I dismounted to deflate the tire and re-seat the bead, the tire blew. 

With no spare I began walking my bike the twelve or so blocks back home. I wasn't looking forward to walking a mile in cycling shoes, but I didn't know whether my wife was still asleep and didn't want to wake her. It took just a block or so to rethink this. I called the house and let it ring once and hung up. I figured if she was awake she'd call back. She didn't and I began gathering photographic evidence of my predicament. About two blocks later, my wife called in a frantic state, having heard the phone and trying several times without success to call my phone, which was busy at the time being a camera.

St. Charles Presbyterian Church
It was something of an education clopping slowly along St. Charles Ave. in the dark. I was amazed at how many more runners are out than I had ever estimated while speeding along on a bike. And although I have passed the Jim Bob Moffett mansion almost daily for the last 47 years or so, I have never been at its front gate. As I stood peering into the grounds of the huge estate, I heard a nearby rustling and found myself staring at an elderly gentleman just a few feet into the yard, bundled against the chilly morning, raking leaves in the dark. It looked like I scared him. I said good morning, and he silently maintained his cold stare. Jim Bob lives in Arizona now, and I don't know who is in the home, but this was no gardener. It was a little surreal. So I nodded at the staring figure, now standing statue-still, and clopped on.

 Although she was happy to come get me at State St. and St. Charles, Denise was more than a little annoyed with the scare provided by the manner in which she was notified of my need for a ride. She rather forcibly suggested that I buy no less than ten tubes this very day, a position I was unwilling to take issue with under the circumstances.

So, it was a one-mile, three-block brick this fine Tuesday morning, and a trip to the bike shop for some tubes.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Giro (in a far-flung style)

In a far-flung style:

not much happened
jackson day race
runner in br's gazebo
about 28 riders at cold start
20 degrees warmer when done

looked like saturday not sunday
fast going out but steady
would have been slower but ownhb off front w/ orangeman
we chased til they were caught
a few went to slidell

orangeman bonked on service road
needed frappuccino to keep going
rich said orangeman needed sugar knock
never heard term
googled it and read

about sugar ray knocking out
adam price at caesars palace
we are all called
it was a beautiful day
embrace life

 [Note: This blog isn't intended to disparage or offend anyone. If anything contained herein is believed to be inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment. Any such comment may change nothing, but will be stark evidence of your right to free expression of thought and opinion, much as this blog evidences mine. Thanks for visiting.]

Friday, January 10, 2014

Never Eat Sour Watermelon

Ride-starved from not being on my bike for a week, I blatantly disregarded the Law of 45/15 and hit the levee Thursday morning in spite of the 41° reported by KMSY. With the normal levee access closed for construction, we huddled on the shoulder of River Road waiting for everyone to arrive so we could proceed up River Road en masse and minimize the probability of someone getting squashed in the darkened road. In attendance were Brian B, Big Rich, Triceps Dave, Scott S, Randy L, and Danielle L. When we got on the levee we were joined by a guy with aerobars I don't know, or at least didn't recognize in the dark. As we approached the playground, just mounting his bike at his car and whistling to alert us of what was in store, was HL. I can't explain why a group sprint didn't spontaneously commence at the whistle, but we softed it until HL climbed the levee.

Shortly after we started, shortly after HL's first turn on the front, shortly after Danielle and the guy with aerobars got dropped, I had settled on a theme for this blog post. It was going to be a humorous piece about a recipe for the perfect winter training regimen which included intervals. Take six guys willing to rotate steadily at 23 - 24 mph and lightly mix until a smooth paceline is achieved, then add an extra large measure of HL surging to 27.5 and voila -- you have a 20-second-on/120-second-off interval workout.

But as I was contemplating lists of pithy adjectives which might accurately describe HL's dead-of-winter riding style (which, it turns out, would be equally accurate during racing season), a series of events began to unfold which demanded that I abandon the fertile subject of HL and focus on the troublesome, even perturbing, failing on the part of certain cyclists to exhibit even the most rudimentary understanding of the physical world in which they have somehow managed to survive for many years, decades.

Attempting to enlighten these Certain Cyclists (CC) is important since a matter quite dear to me is implicated by their behavior: my personal safety. In order to do them any good it is apparent the most elementary of principles needs to be covered. I fear, however, my efforts may be in vain since most of what will be discussed herein,  about which these CC show an utter lack of comprehension, is universally included in the various curricula of school systems across the country (even in Louisiana) at the earliest levels, and, almost without exception, are matters of common frigging sense.

Not actual picture of wind
The glorious combination of gases which makes up the Earth's atmosphere and allows for our existence and for that matter all fauna and flora on the planet, extant and extinct, is colorless and cannot be seen. It is called air. At a basic level, which I think it advisable to maintain here, variations in temperature, atmospheric pressure, and the Coriolis force cause the air to move at various speeds and directions. We call this movement wind. Stay with me, now. Wind does not look like the figure at right. It, like the stillest of air, cannot be seen. Nevertheless, it is perceivable in many, many ways. Perhaps most germane to our discussion here, we can observe the wind's effect on objects around us. Moreover, its effect on us can be sensed. We can feel the wind. CC, will you kindly read this paragraph several times and try to absorb and incorporate it principles. I can recommend further reading on any of the concepts mentioned, if necessary. Also please pay particular attention to the notion that wind has perceptible direction, as this is important and understanding this point is essential to grasping what follows.

By convention, direction is divided into four cardinal points: north, east, south and west. These terms are often represented graphically on what is called a compass rose with north being at the top. The other directions proceed, clockwise from there. . . Wait -- a familiarity with a clock and the movement of the hands around its face is assumed. Again, further reading can be recommended. Clockwise from north is east, south and west. A popular mnemonic useful to little children, and might also assist CC, in remembering this is Never Eat Sour Watermelon. Okay, so picture watermelon, sour, sour watermelon. Next, we'll discuss several of the concepts we've learned today and how they are important to cycling. So it may be wise for CC to review this paragraph now. Also, I have provided below a written quiz(1) on direction to aid you in your study. Please do your best to answer the questions and mail the completed quiz to Big Rich for grading. Don't worry, the results will not be published.

Here is a graphic which I would ask CC to peruse carefully (take as much time as is necessary):

Click on image for larger view
Although Ormond (the turnaround) is generally west of New Orleans (where we start), so that the route of the levee ride is generally west on the outbound leg and generally east on the inward leg, the route actually changes directions thousands upon thousands of times. Most of the changes are imperceptible and inconsequential, but as is evident from the graphic above, significant directional alterations are made throughout the ride. The red arrows represent just ten of the many significant course changes.

Okay. These next couple of concepts are somewhat abstract, but if CC try their best, I'm sure they can eventually get these pesky notions underhand. While our direction changes often during the two hours we are on the levee, the direction of the wind changes very little, if at all.  During Thursday's ride, the wind varied no more than 10 degrees. It was always between 70 and 80 degrees. That is between ENE and E, but for simplicity's sake, let's just call it east.

Listen up, CC. This is important to grasp. Please carefully examine the above map. Can you see that during the leg of the ride marked with the arrow labeled 2, or in other words, when traveling NNW, an east wind, just like Thursday morning's wind, would make it advisable for the rider on front to move all the way over to the right side of the path to allow those following to echelon on his leeward side? Can you also see that if you found yourself on the front again during leg number 4 of the ride (heading SSW) it would then behoove you to pull as far to the left as possible, allowing some protection for your fellow riders?

As a concrete example, near the end of Thursady's ride, on leg number 10, heading NE, a CC of considerable and admirable strength took a long, fast pull. However, one would assume that such cyclist, or any cyclist of generous spirit, who desired to work in concert with his fellow riders (keep in mind that the Tuesday/Thursday levee ride, despite HL's riding style, isn't a race), would ride as far as possible to the right. However, this CC was riding on the left side, causing everyone following to ride in the left gutter and precariously choose between a draft and the precipitous and sometimes hazardous drop-off into the grass/dirt/whatever.

More disturbing were other occurrences involving another CC, who repeatedly pulled on the windward side of the path, as is appropriate, but got off the front by blithely gliding leeward across the path and across the near-crossed wheel a foot or so behind. This is not aerospace engineering or neurosurgery.  Another graphic may help.

 Isn't it apparent that the pulling rider should get off the front by staying windward and dropping back instead of moving leeward into echeloned riders? CC, green checkmark: good. Red X: bad. That is green checkmark means happytime, and red X is a no-no. Red X bad. Very bad.

This ridiculous, recurrent habit by someone who has been riding for better than a decade is inexplicable and much more disconcerting than not offering fellow riders the best draft. It is dangerous. So learn, dammit. After more than ten years of riding in groups, you should know better. Please learn, and never eat sour watermelon.

l to r: Rolan, Big Rich, Randy, and Certain Cyclists

= =

[Note: This blog isn't intended to disparage or offend anyone. If anything contained herein is believed to be inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment. Any such comment may change nothing, but will be stark evidence of your right to free expression of thought and opinion, much as this blog evidences mine. Thanks for visiting.]

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Where's the commitment?

This morning's weather check showed very light winds out of the NNW and a balmy 56°. On the NWS site for KMSY was the  CYA-Who-Knows?-It's-Anybody's-Guess  smorgasbord of observations, the triple threat of Light Rain, Mist, and Fog. The last couple of times I've ridden when that trio of two obscurations plus a precipitation was listed it has been more fog and mist and not so much light rain. Once I got out in it this morning the slushy mess was heavier on the light rain. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of fog and mist, but it was definitely raining. About ten blocks from home I started to question the wisdom of my decision, but I was already wet and had only ridden my bike twice in more than two weeks. I was going to ride.

As I was trying survive the fog-shrouded blind curve on River Road just before the first levee access, I was surprised to see a blinking light between the pump stacks. It turned out to be Seattle Mike, currently in New Orleans visiting his brother who lives here, but, it turns out, is currently in North Carolina. (There is a very reasonable explanation.) Anyway we stood around in the light rain and for several minutes squinted through the mist and fog both upriver and down levee expecting another rider or maybe a few. No one showed.

Seattle Mike

Turns out Mike used to live in New Orleans (Jesuit '84 and Tulane Law) and he is also a photographer, so it was a pleasant 19/20 mph conversational ride out to the Big Dip. After ten or so miles the weather improved considerably and, except for my flatting, it was a thoroughly enjoyable first ride of 2014.

It was a little disappointing more people didn't show for the ride. Years ago, when people failed to show, I remember D. Reeder would ask, "Where's the commitment?"
I could post here the familiar image of a supine Vega, but it would be unfair to single him out for not showing this morning. I would suggest that we, each of us, allow ourselves to be photographed while re-enacting the famous Vega pose so that those images could be used to memorialize individual lapses in commitment during 2014. What do you think? Right, right. No way. Absolutely no way. It would disrespect, dilute, and cheapen what is possibly the most beautiful cycling image ever captured.

[Note: This blog isn't intended to disparage or offend anyone. If anything contained herein is believed to be inaccurate or offensive, please leave a comment. Any such comment may change nothing, but will be stark evidence of your right to free expression of thought and opinion, much as this blog evidences mine. Thanks for visiting.]