The season is rapidly approaching its half way point and with it comes low resting pulse rates, increased metabolisms, irate drivers, and a tan so defined it is laughable to the uninitiated. As July gets underway, the miles continue to climb and our passion for the bike and the time we spend in its presence is reaching a feverish crescendo. The cycling lifestyle is everywhere around us and, at times, all encompassing. Not only are there hours dedicated to riding and racing and talking about the sport, but with the Tour beaming worldwide we now dedicate even more of our already scarce time to cycling. With all of this time spent deep in the cycling mindset, our loved ones and friends can arrive at only one conclusion: cyclists are nuts!
Well, we agree wholeheartedly, we are a passionate bunch and to some that passion can easily be mistaken for an obsession. I mean, who in their right mind says “no” to the second piece of cake? And, yes, we know lycra (“spandex”) is funny to everyone but us. With the time we spend riding our bikes, talking about bikes, preparing our bikes, or shaving our legs we could easily dig into something more substantial like solving world hunger or at the very least finishing that bathroom renovation.
Here in its simplest form is our excuse: cycling makes for a healthy body and mind (as well as alienation of those who are not indoctrinated).
So…to our friends and family, our jobs, and all the non-cycling outlets that make up our busy lives: thank you for your understanding and your patience. Thank you for affording us the additional hours to fit our 10 pounds of passion into our 5 pound days. Your investment in us insures you get us at our very best.
July is a tough month for us, trust us when we say that we miss you too and we look forward to reconnecting. August will be a quiet month, we promise.
September on the other hand…
Getting rundown is as inevitable as bonking. It happens to us all. It comes unbidden, in surprising new ways each time it happens.
That we get rundown isn’t the point. It’s like bonking; the only real question is, “What next?”
Why, you plug the A/C adapter in, dontcha? It used to be that all I needed to recharge was a few long days in the saddle; knock out 250 miles or so and my head would be screwed back on straight.
More and more, I’m noticing that if my bike isn’t just right, from a clean chain to perfectly adjusted shifting and brake throw, I’ll be struck with a need to give my ride a thorough going over before I’ll feel ready to ride.
Spending time in the garage has always been soothing for me. IPod cranked, a special mix serenading me, easing my concentration, I’ll happily putter for hours on a weekend afternoon, cleaning bikes, parts, making adjustments or upgrades.
Lately, I think I’ve been experiencing the male equivalent to nesting. I’ve got years of accumulated parts and until recently they were stashed in boxes with no real organization. I knew where things were, but that was only true if a remembered I had them. I forgot about tons of stuff.
One day I opened up a little organizer the better half brought home for me. Suddenly, the little plastic dividers weren’t just more work, but rather a means to serenity, a way to find calm in a mountain of unused stuff.
It became a game of Concentration. I reunited a set of titanium water bottle bolts (Wow, a complete set of four?) and then discovered a cash of batteries for bike computers I thought no longer worked (So maybe they did take four years to dry out). Rather than just wasting my time sorting things when I could be doing real work—like truing a wheel—it became therapeutic and each emptied cardboard box felt nearly as good as a post-ride Stella.
With an array of ordered nooks, dividers and containers, it feels like I’ve got more now, and I’ve discovered a number of items I can spare for friends or keep around to start whole new projects.
As compared to some sports (notably, surfing) cycling is a sun-soaked desert woefully shy of art depicting its heroes in action. It would be easy to attribute the shortage up to the fantastic drama of the reality of racing itself. John Pierce, Cor Vos, Graham Watson, James Startt and Chris Milliman have all shot incredible images that capture epic moments of human suffering and triumph that seem more reliable and trustworthy due to the actuality of the circumstance.
It may be that cycling’s lack of art is related to the amount of fiction being peddled as memoir. The thinking with the acquisition editors is that if it’s true, it just seems, well, truer. As a society, our appetite for reality in television, books and the rest of our lives lacks imagination.
From the protagonists themselves to the landscapes and of course, even the machines, cycling is deserving of a truly heroic treatment by artists who appreciate those efforts, those sacrifices and, of course, those wins that come at the end of monumental days.
So when we were alerted to artist and graphic designer Cynthia Lou’s poster treatment of her beau Sergio Hernandez (a rising star on Rock Racing), we were both excited and relieved. Excited because we found her take on the heroic to be fun and fresh and relieved because, for once, it was nice to see someone give cycling some attention.
We’d love to see her take on Johann Museeuw, Tomeke, Fabian Cancellara, Eddy Merckx, Paolo Bettini, Rik Van Looy, Roger De Vlaeminck and Eric Zabel … for a start. A series perhaps?
Here’s what we like best: Cynthia is taking commissions. Commemorate your achievement or the high-flying coolness of your sweetie with some of her work.