Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Bible Lesson

"When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.'

"And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.

"Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of the man becomes worst than the first.”

Then some woman starts shouting about Mary's blessed boobs.

Luke 11: 24-27 NAS, Red Letter edition.

In 2007 I had my last bike race.  I had spent several months getting my weight down and training.  It was a Cat 4 race so the training was pretty much riding up and down the driveway, but anyway.

I had been in a couple of dozen races, but this was the best shape I had ever been in.  For one, I wasn’t smoking.  It was a road race out near Mt Michael.  I think it was 7 laps.  On the second lap, I was sitting comfortably in the front, pulling.  I had been drafting for a while, but the pace was so slow, I was beginning to fall asleep.  Riding along, 2 riders “attacked.”  I saw them flying forward and almost laughed.  It was such a violent and stupid acceleration, it was obvious it would go nowhere.  And then for some reason I will never understand, one of the attackers (He must have thought he was faster than he was) swerved his back wheel into my front wheel.  I went down.  So did the guy next to me and about 10 other people who were yelling at me for not holding my line.  My back wheel was trashed.  I had a spare in the wheel truck.  After about 10 minutes I was going again.  I was bleeding in a few places.  I was alone for the last 5 laps.  I think about 30 miles.  Then I saw a lone rider ahead who slowed down so we could work together.  Which we did until he dropped me on the last lap to go for 20-somethingth place. 

I would not have bothered to finish at all except that this was part of a 3 race weekend and I was told I had to finish this or forfeit the other 2.

Later that day was a Time trial.  I didn’t have a time trial bike.  I had a steel road bike with clip-ons.  I went home and showered and tried to clean my wounds and went back for the time trial.  I finished 8th.

I'm breaking so very many rules here.  But in my defense, they didn't exist yet.  Look how fat I was.  Jeez.  That explains a lot.  That was 3 pounds more than I weigh now.  But it was beer weight.

Next day was a downtown crit.  I woke up that morning very sore from the accident the day before and a little nervous about crashing again.  Jason Kingsbury was announcing for some reason so that was kind of fun.  He was like a poor man’s Ryan Feagan, but if I’m being honest, Ryan Feagan is totally a poor man’s Jason Kingsbury.  I’ll let everyone else fight that one out.  At the crit, I was dropped immediately.

Notice the different color back tire.  If you count three spokes to the left of the seat stay, that is the one that broke.  Bastard.  Look at those huge bidons.  Good thing I brought along that extra K or so for the ride.  Oh and seriously.  Dude.  Get your fingers off the brakes.  Those aren't the GO things.

Very shortly after that, I was pulled from the race in disgrace.  Just to add insult, as I was slowing to the side of the road, I broke a spoke on the back wheel.  This was the spare wheel from the day before.  What bothered me was that I had lost 2 wheels that weekend and if that spoke had had the decency to break about 5 minutes earlier (before I got dropped), I would have had an awesome excuse to lose the crit so dramatically.  As it was, I had torn up clothes, damaged equipment and humiliating losses.  That weekend ended up costing me about $300.  That’s when I realized how incredibly not worth it bike racing is.  At least for someone in my situation.

So I quit.  I also quit biking.  I started golfing.  The unclean spirit of cycling left my body.  It was glorious.

For about 4 or 5 years, I was able to keep diligent watch, protecting myself from the evil spirits.  But then, sometime in late 2011, I visited with a cycling demon as the fall approached.  What harm could it do?  I flirted with the demon until spring of 2012 when the cleansing purity of golf and all its beauty washed me anew.  Welcome back, golf.  Thanks for rescuing me from that torture and evil that is cycling.

So in the fall of 2012, I figured, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad last year.  I think I can handle this winter cycling demon and get rid of it next spring in time for golf.”

Unfortunately, during the summer, the cycling demon told 7 of his friends he needed some help with me. 

I have been lying to people.  Saying things like “Oh yeah, Ima do this ‘til golf.”

Nope. I’m stuck.  Like never before.  I am 48 years old.  I would literally ride any version of me from the past right off my wheel.  I have 8 cycling demons driving me.  Thank you Jesus for your wisdom.

Oh yeah.  And fuck golf.

What will be interesting to me is to see how the golf demons respond.  Bring it, golf demons.

Friday, February 22, 2013

And the winner is ...

I don’t like to argue.  Not seriously, anyway.  A lot of times when I “hijack” a comment thread on Facebook, it is because someone has posted something that borders on controversial.  There are usually a lot of comments going back and forth in favor one idea or another.  I almost always have an opinion.  I almost never genuinely share it. 

Since the massacre of children in Connecticut, there have been roughly 2 schools of thought on how to keep it from happening again: 

1) More guns.
2) Less guns.

 Both sides want to somehow blame the heartbreaking tragedy on the philosophy of the other side. Both sides agree that the number of guns is wrong.

I hate these sorts of arguments.  They never go anywhere.  Neither side will concede a valid point by the other. 

I’ve always enjoyed considering all sides of an argument.  I hear it’s called wishy-washy to change your opinion.  I guess that’s what I am.  See that?  I “guess”.  Take a stand, Cube!

When you stubbornly hold to an opinion, you miss out on some really cool stuff.  In fact, I’d say if your opinion is not movable, it is not an opinion.  It is faith.  There’s a difference.  There’s nothing (much) wrong with faith in and of itself.  Just don’t call it your opinion.  It is something you’ve decided to believe regardless of any external evidence.

Sometimes people vow restricted behavior for the rest of their lives in misguided loyalty to a position they held in some ridiculous argument.   I think this is done to be the “winner” of the argument.

Here’s an example from real life:

There’s a man.  Let’s call him “Bob.”  Bob likes chocolate ice cream, but it is not his favorite kind of ice cream.  His favorite kind of ice cream is strawberry.  It always has been his favorite.  Sometimes though, he purposely buys chocolate instead of strawberry, because he’s just in the mood for chocolate.

Bob’s ex-friend, “Joe” prefers chocolate, with similar feelings about strawberry that Bob has toward chocolate.   Bob and Joe are talking about ice cream one day and it ends up in an argument.  To illustrate his point, Bob never eats chocolate ice cream again and Joe never eats strawberry again.  What Bob and Joe just did was not technically an argument.  Technically, it was just stupid.*

The members of the current incarnation of the U.P. lunch ride have always been gracious enough to allow me to ride with them from time to time on a strictly probationary basis.  I was initially required to be accompanied by a “sponsor.”  Someone who is a member of the ride who would be responsible for me or who would vouch for me until such time that I was accepted into the group.   This is for the safety of all involved.  It is also a joke (literally), but anyway …

I have now been on enough rides with the members of the group, that my probationary status has been lifted and I am considered a full-fledged member of the group ride with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto, yada yada yada.

Or at least I was.  Until the taco incident.

On Thursdays, the U.P. Lunch ride goes to a taco truck in South Omaha.  These are good tacos.  I mean, it’s South Omaha.  Duh.

I have always loved and appreciated all kinds of different food.  Mexican food is no exception.  I have tried dozens of hole-in-the wall places and big chains.  Surprisingly, sometimes the chains do a decent job. 

Unfortunately, my vast taco experience damaged my membership status on the group rides.  I did not know I had to agree with the group that those were the best tacos I ever had.  So yeah, I’m back on probation.  Probably permanently, now.   The taco truck tacos are excellent.  I said as much.

But in this black and white world of “It’s either the best or it’s the worst.  Too many guns or not enough guns,” I’m once again, wishy-washy.

I can rate the tacos high without feeling the need to call them the best ever – but not if I want to ride freely with The U.P. crowd.

Truth is, I’ve had tacos very similar to those from many other places.

There is a range of taco goodness in my mind.  It goes from roughly “Taco Bell” on the low end to “Jose’s Mom’s tacos” on the high end.

There may be (and probably are) better tacos than what Jose’s mom made, but I’ve never had them.
When I worked down at the Cajun restaurant  downtown, there was a kid who worked there named Jose.  He had been born in Mexico.  His parents spoke no English.  He told me that he and his brother learned to speak English from watching Kojak. 

One day, he brought in a cookie sheet full of tiny little tacos.  They were simply a thick homemade flour shell with some seasoned ground beef inside.  There was no cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, or any other chunky thing in the tacos.  The shells were dark with oil.  The tacos had been baked on the pan all overlapping each other.  I’ve never had a taco close to as good as those.

In 1986, I was commuting to Butsy Le Doux’s (The Cajun restaurant) on my new Bianchi Campione D’Italia.  So I carried a dozen or so of those tacos home in a paper sack where my roommate and I ate them and stared at each other, marveling  at their unbelievable deliciousness.

Tacos so good that 25 years later, they alter my social status among a group of local bike riders.  I don’t care who you are, you have to admit that’s a damn good taco.      

But that’s not what I came here to talk about.

I used to work as a computer operator at a place called Intellisell.  I had been there for a couple of years when we got this new guy as a Computer operator.  His name was Sean.  He and I quickly became pretty good friends.  We had a lot in common.  Especially taste in Movies.  I was always glad to get a thumbs up review from Sean on a movie. 

“Hey Cube, I saw the most funniest, awesomest, hilariousest movie of all time past, present and future last night!”

“Oh Sean, You must tell me what it is so that I may rent it and enjoy it as well!”

“They have it at Blockbuster.  It is called ‘So, I married an Axe Murderer,’”

“Great.  I’ve heard of it.  It had that Wayne’s World guy in it, right?”

“Yeah. You’ll love it.”

“I’ll rent it tonight!  Yaay!”

So the next day I didn’t really bring it up.  I liked the movie ok, but it was just more of Mike Myers doing his thing, which is fine, but nothing real earth shattering.  Here’s the hard part.  I didn’t love it.  I didn’t think it was must-see.  I didn’t think it was an instant classic.

Sean hit the roof.  I didn’t have any sense of humor.  I had no taste in movies.  Pearl Jam is the most overrated band of all time, etc. etc.   I tried to explain that I did like it ok, but overall, it didn’t really do it for me.

A few months later, I was at school (UNO), and somebody was giving out passes to see “Paramount Pictures, Braveheart.” There were instructions to show up a half hour early to ensure getting a seat.  So I went with my ex-wife (she wasn’t my ex-wife yet) .  I loved that movie.  I thought it was one of the best movies I had ever seen.  I was very excited to tell Sean about it.  I knew he’d love it.  He was of Scottish descent and that was a big part of what he liked so much about “Axe Murderer.”

Since I had seen it as a promotional thing, the movie wasn’t actually out yet.  So even if Sean wanted to see it, he couldn’t.  That didn’t matter though.  He told me that he would not see it because if I liked it and didn’t like “So I Married an Axe Murderer” it was only logical that he would hate it.

Well it wasn’t logical.  Here’s why:  If Sean liking a movie is A, and me Liking a movie is B, then me not liking a movie is ~B and Sean not liking a movie is ~A.

If (as in one case)

A -> ~B

Then Sean is saying B -> ~A, which is the classic modus tollens, and fair enough.  But here’s the problem.  Up until the “Axe Murderer” fiasco, Sean and I had agreed on many movies that we both felt were “quite excellent”.  So clearly, his assertion “A ->~B” is false.  It’s as if he’s saying “every time it’s cloudy, it rains.”
Well sometimes it doesn’t rain, Sean.  Sometimes it snows.  Sometimes it snows.

Then Braveheart came out for the general public to see.  They (the general public) loved it.  Sean’s wife really wanted to go see it because all of her friends were telling her how good it was and how much they thought Sean would love it because he loves all things Scottish.  But Sean stood firm.  “If Cube likes it,” he insisted, “I shall not see this movie.”

At this point, I really didn’t care if he saw the movie or not.  I think if I had said, “Oh hey Sean.  I just found out I had low blood sugar that was messing with my sense of humor the day I saw the Mike Myers film, so I watched it again and you know what?  It might be the funniest movie I’ve ever seen.  Haggis! Oh my god.  I know, right?  That’s some funny shit.” Then Sean would have feigned illness, called his wife and been in the front row for the very next showing of Braveheart.  But yeah, I didn’t do that for him.

Then a few more months went by and the Academy Award nominations came out.  At that time, the one thing that Sean and I had always done (not together – but we shared a similar love of film) was go see every movie nominated for best picture.  This way, we’d have our own informed opinion when the winner was announced.

I was not surprised when Braveheart was nominated.  What I couldn’t believe was the power of stubbornness.  Sean – you are not hurting me.  I’ve seen the movie.  I don’t care if you do or not.  But he wouldn’t.

I asked him if he’d go see it if it won for best picture.  He told me there was no point.  He wouldn’t like it.  As I write this, I feel like I’m making it up.  But this is pretty much exactly as it progressed.  Also, as this went on, I went from ‘kind of liking So I Married an Axe Murderer’ to thinking it was the worst piece of trash ever put to celluloid.  Every chance I got, I talked about what a travesty it was that “Braveheart” won for best picture and “So I Married an Axe Murderer” wasn’t even nominated for anything at all.  This didn’t move Sean to want to see Braveheart and by this point, I didn’t want him to watch it.  I’d come in to work and say, “Hey Sean, I watched “Braveheart” and “Axe Murderer” last night.  One hilarious and one excellent movie, I’ll tell ya.

Which brings me to the point of this post.  The Oscars are this weekend and I don’t give a shit.

*Stupid because chocolate ice cream is far superior to strawberry.  There can be no discussion on this.  Anyone who thinks differently is an idiot.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wakey Wakey Mr. Lion

Some events of the last few weeks have reminded me of something important.  Before I continue, I would like to offer my humblest apologies to all of the local, strike that, regional cyclists.  I know you've been training well and seeing good results.  I know that you have hopes that this will be your breakout year.  I know that even some of you have gone so far as to join Lincoln Plating 2.0.  Not to rain on your parade or anything, but you may as well quit now because no matter what you do, you will find yourself coming up short this year.

And it's all my fault.  Well, maybe some of the blame is Boomer's.  If Boomer had not told me about Strava, I would not have started training in earnest this year.  And fuck*, I've gotten better.  I mean, I'm seeing some outstanding numbers.  Look out.

Recently, I took a test drive on a plastic bike from Olympia.  I'd never been on one before.  It is 1000g lighter than my Cannondale.  Wow.  I was climbing hills in big gears and just laughing and laughing at how easy it was.

So now, I can imagine you saying, "Uh, whatever Cube, actions, words, etc."  And that's fair, but it's not what I'm talking about.  Most of you are too young to have seen me race and I'm going to admit something now that I've never admitted before.  Up until 2006, I was always a smoker when I raced.  In 2007 I was in my best form and I could keep up with the front of the (cat 4) group with ease. Now?  Oh yeah.  I'm stronger than that.  A lot stronger.

But that's not what I'm talking about.  I'm not your problem.  I'm just the source of it.  Well maybe some of the blame is Boomer's and some of the blame is Brady's.  But most of it is squarely on my shoulders because without me putting in the actual work, the Lion would have stayed blissfully asleep, leaving all of you pretenders to think you actually have some talent on the bike.  Well sorry.  Truly.  For bursting that bubble.

Mr Lion has been asleep for a while.  Mr Lion was tired.  From time to time over the past few years, he'd briefly wake up, look around, shake out his long golden mane, eat an antelope and roll over and go back to sleep.  This last time he went to sleep, most of you said it was for good.  Most of you thought, "That's nice.  Can I get back to training now?"  Most of you except Shim.  Shim is one of the first who ever found out what it meant to wake the lion.  Shim made the tactical error of pointing out that if you're going to be a lion,  you should not ride on the bike seat of a lioness.

What am I talking about, you ask?  How the fuck should I know?

As I've discussed earlier somewhere on this blog, Shim's quip incensed the Lion so much, he was forced to reveal his true power.

I first met Munson after he won a cat 5 time trial.  I went up to congratulate him and I could not believe the person I met.  He was truly humble.  He was so nice, I was shocked.  I was a cat nothing at the time, but I thought of all cyclists as snobby leg shaved freaks.  I'd been ceremoniously belittled in bike shops around Omaha my whole life.  I was never part of the "in" crowd, and the bike snob can be real intimidating.  Going up to Munson to congratulate him on his win, I expected to get some sort of brush off.  But I still wanted to meet the winner of the race I'd just came in 11th or 12th or whatever it was.

Munson was there saying stuff like, "Oh cool.  Yeah, we should totally go for a ride sometime"

I was floored.  I had only met one other person as nice as Munson my whole life (until I met his parents, and wanted to be adopted), and that was my mom.

The survival thing in my brain doesn't believe people that are that nice exist.  The nicer someone is, the less I trust them.  That's why I have absolute unwavering trust in anything Shim says or does.

So over the years I've realize that the purest form of evil is manifest in the physical form of Munson.  When I decided to get back on the bike again (this time personal), I decided to try to bring Munson with me.  I think the first time I tried it went something like this:

So we went on this ride.  Munson was finally there.  And I was really proud of myself.  It was my doing.  Now as long as nothing happens ...

So we decide to take the icy trail and about 14 seconds later, a dozen or so cyclists, including Munson go down on a rather slick patch.  Munson is laying there.  Not moving.  We are not sure if he'll be alright.  I learned one thing that day.  Munson likes to talk about his coccyx.  Even though he had fallen hard and was in obvious pain and was about 25 feet from his house, he got back on the bike and did the whole ride.  "somebody please hit the snooze button,"  yawned The Lion.

Well now I felt bad.  I mean even though I hadn't pushed Munson to the ground (I swear), I had encouraged him to unretire.  So I decided to leave him alone.  If he wanted to come back out, he would.

And he came out.  Sort of.  He decided to go out on a fun ride.  For those of you who may not know this, some people think riding a bike is about "fun".  These people go to great lengths to have this "fun" when they go on bike rides.  I am not one of those people and neither is Munson.  I am one who finds that the more pain in my legs, the more blood taste in my throat, the quieter the demon voices in my head.  Since the fun ride was leaving same time/place as the exorcist hill ride, I figured it was time to poke the Lion with a stick.

So then he went on the fun ride.  And I mean fun.

Seriously.  At this point, I'd be stabbing my thighs with a butter knife in an attempt to drive Lucifer's horde from my skull.

And I know for a fact, the voices are louder in Munson's head.  That smile you see.  That's the same one he used to flash as he'd pass you around a corner in a crit at 45KPH.

But did I learn from any of this?  Yes I did, really.  Until Brady reminded me to bug Munson again.

What was that Munson?  Dangit?!?  Step back people.  He's hit snooze for the final time.

And that brings us to last week.  One last show of bravado from me.  But I'm starting to get nervous.  Everyone be really nice to Munson or prepare to deal with the business end of his newly cleaned guns.

So he did not respond to this.  He claimed he never saw it.  What he did was just showed up on the ride.  He and I made an agreement that we'd turn around and ride back from Glenwood together.  While we were on our way to Glenwood making the deal, Brady decided to do a little Lion nudging himself.  For quite a while now, Brady's been asking Munson when he'd return a CD Brady loaned to him.  Munson has been saying He doesn't even remember it.  He's been tearing his house apart looking for it.  So on the climb to Glenwood, Brady says, "So Munson, can I get my Hiromi Uehara CD back?"

Then after Munson profusely apologizes for not remembering ever borrowing it and how can he make it up to Brady, Brady admits it was all a prank.

At that moment, I lose my line a little as I anticipate Munson's reaction ...

"Oh that's good," He says with relief, "Because I really cannot find it."

What?  Not "You fuckin' twatwaffle! I've been looking for that Goddamn thing for months.  Dick."

Which is the appropriate response by the way.  Well we have a good laugh at Munson's good naturedness and ride on in to Glenwood.

Then on the ride back home,  just to make sure everyone's season would be ruined 4 months hence, Spence, Brady, Spence's friend and I picked up the pace, inadvertently losing a couple of guys along the way (including Munson).  And because we're just assholes (instead of pure evil) we carried on.  I felt a twinge of guilt until I found out what Munson texted to Brady after he got home.

"Munson just texted.  He wanted us to know that he and Kevin went their own route.  He also said that was a swell ride."

But even Brady understood the pot we'd stirred, because he was able to translate Munson's message into literal:  "Reverse-Munsonated translates to 'Thanks for dropping me Mother-Fuckers'"

So yeah - we're all in big big trouble.  Just sayin'

* You're welcome for another gratuitous 'fuck'

Thursday, February 07, 2013

The BCM Pep Talk


I have read a series of historical fiction books about Genghis Khan. It is wonderful.  It is written by Conn (short for Connald)  Iggulden.  The Mongols would cover their faces with mutton fat to protect their skin from extreme cold.  When I was riding in the cold last winter, I thought I'd try it.  I had no mutton fat on hand, but one night while finishing off my third skin of airag, I got the idea to substitute Vaseline for mutton fat.  That is why I call Vaseline mutton fat.    


After thanksgiving of 2012, I started riding more regularly again [ Obligatory: But this time, it’s personal, blah blah blah ].  We had nice weather until the first snow storm on the afternoon of December 19.  It was a lot of snow.  Wow.  I had really had a pretty good thing going for about 4 weeks.  Now it looked to be interrupted for at least a few weeks.  Possibly longer if the sun didn’t come out and do a little snow melting. No way I could get a ride in with all that snow and ice on the ground.  Who does that?

Turns out, lots of people.  At least 11 every weekend.  But of course they switch from road bikes to cross bikes.  They ride on wonderful gravel trails around the area.  They have lots of fun out there while I sit on my rollers.  Bored.  Miserable.  Yeah.

But I have a cross bike.  In fact, last year, I somewhat resurrected my old LeMond Poprad for winter riding.  I cleaned it all up, got new tires, etc.  Then I barely rode it at all. See, I was afraid to ride on anything other than mostly dry streets.

I always see people out there, doing the gravel, snow packed ride thing.  But I’ve never done it.  I didn’t actually understand how it was possible.  I have very few hours (minutes) riding anything other than a road bike.  Road bikes don’t work at all on anything other than the road.  Intellectually, I understand that a cross bike with cross tires would give you “more” traction.  But I had no idea how much.  I still tend to coast over icy patches the same way I would on a road bike. 

Now – don’t misunderstand – You will slip and fall over hard if you hit a sheet of ice on your cross bike.  I think studded tires are your only option at that point.  But you really don’t want to ride around on studded tires most of the time because in the words of Rene Descartes, “It sucks balls.”

Studded tires suck zee balls, zerefore Je suis

But for nice crunchy packed snow or chunky ice, mixed with gravel, “Pas de probleme." 

But I didn’t know that.  It was only my desire to “stop being such a pussy” and also “get some use” out of my “winter cycling boots” that I decided to “take the” plunge, go for “it”, just “do” it and join the winter ride.  It made sense.  I’ve been dropped in the Summer for years.  I needed a good Winter dropping.  “Winter dropping” as many of you know, was actually my nickname in high school.

So, armed with extreme fear and trepidation, I did what I always do when I’m looking to go on a group ride.  I texted Brady to see if he was going.  I prefer having Brady there, especially when I’m unsure of a situation because no matter how bad my form is or how uncomfortable I am in the pack, I can always count on Brady for two things. First there will be a humorous anecdote about SHIM or Charlie Burton and Shim or Munson and Zach Somebody or Pirates who ride bikes and have a profound Pirate sense of Pirate fair play.

Yeah – that’s the first one.  Next, whenever I’m feeling insecure or scared, I can count on a healthy dose of what I call the BCM pep talk (BCM stands for Barry Conald Murphy). What kind of a name is “Conald,” I can hear the people shout.  Um, Irish or something.

So after some action packed texting with Brady, I decided, what the hell.  You only live once.  I’m doing it.  I’m going to go ice biking.  No worries.  Yeah!  Effin A!  You are the fuckin man, dude.  Oh – I should mention at this point that I was evaluating just how incredibly manly I was for making the decision to go on a studly ride in the horrible conditions.  I was using a big mirror for this evaluation.  Yeah, there was a lot of finger pointing going on. 

The next morning I woke up invigorated. I’d been living in fear my whole life for no reason.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Yeah.  The worst.  Hmm.  Let’s see.   Slide on some ice into traffic and die, leaving my 2 young sons fatherless.  Must text Brady immediately.
“Chickening out.  Too much vaginal pain to ride today.  Goodbye”

To which Brady replied, “Ok, but I already smeared mutton fat on my face.”

I conquered China, but yeah, riding on ice?  No thanks.

So it didn’t happen.  I sighed heavily and grabbed a pair of bib shorts for my appointment with the rollers.  The roller ride was brutally boring.  Even though nobody was around, it was humiliating.  Mostly because the mirror was still there.  And it was not done with the finger pointing.  The misery of the indoor trainer ride was later compounded by the Facebook.
One of the more expert riders in the area is a photographer by the name of Lucas Marshall.  He took a bunch of photos of the snow ride I had chickened out of.  It looked like a lot of fun.  As I dabbed at my sweaty forehead with a gym towel, I clicked through all the photos looking for one thing.  It wasn’t there, so I decided to definitely go the next week.  I was looking to see if anyone had slid into traffic, creating orphans.  If it had happened, Lucas Marshall had not put the photographic evidence of it on the Facebook, so I figured I was safe.

That was it.  Next week, I was going no matter what.  So what if it’s cold and slippery?  Other people are doing it, so it must be OK.  So [ like always ] I texted Brady and told him about it.  I asked if he was going and if I should meet him at his house so we could ride down to the coffee shop together.  His Spartan reply was “yes and yes.”

I was thinking that since Brady was a veteran of the icy ride, he’d be a big help to calm my nerves.  Also, I thought he might be able to give me pointers.  What I had forgotten about was the revolutionary brand of pep talk Brady employs.

I arrived at his house plenty early, thinking the ride down to the coffee shop should take about 15 minutes on a good day and it was not a good day.  It was really cold out.  Brady wasn’t ready.  He hadn’t even put any mutton fat on his face yet.

Once we started rolling over the packed snow and ice, I again expressed my apprehension about riding on the ice and how I sort of didn’t actually believe it was possible even though I can see photos of people doing it.  This was when I got my first dose of the BCM pep talk.

I expected comforting words from the experienced.  After all, he seemed to come through last weekend unscathed, so how bad could it be?  Somehow, his pep talk addressing my fears seemed to have the opposite effect of what I was expecting.

“Oh yeah.  It’s pretty scary cube.  I literally thought I was going to die as I lost control down this one hill where there is no way to stop or slow down.  Once I got the speed going, I could do nothing but weave through the crowd of riders, saying my goodbyes as my certain demise awaited me at the bottom.  You see, There is a stop sign at the bottom of this T-intersection.  You have to just hope no traffic is traveling along the highway it spills into because there’s no fucking way you’re stopping.”  I’m pretty sure Brady sensed my thoughts.  He could tell I was thinking about just turning around and heading back home, so he calmed me with, “Don’t worry, you’ll see what I’m talking about because we’re going the same route today.”

So there it is.  The BCM pep talk.  A couple of weeks back, it was really cold, but the streets were clear enough for road bikes.  Soon to be World Champion cyclocross mens 40-44 division, Mark Savery was going to be there to "stretch his legs" before he headed off to conquer the world.  According to Mark, a few of them (probably just Mark)  had decided it was a good day to "Joe Friel" your ass up a shit ton of hills.

I had no idea there were so many climbs in this area.  I don't know how many we went over, but I was immediately in all kinds of trouble.  I was in my smallest gear pushing as hard as I could and going backward with incredible velocity.  After each hill, Brady was there to comfort me with a new and improved pep talk.  I think while he was climbing the hills, he was composing his next little "Win one for the Gipper" speech.

I'd coast on down to the patiently waiting pack and we'd start rolling again.  Brady would come up beside me and say.  "What'd you think of that pimple?  Because by the time we get to the top of the next climb, you'll be begging for that last one.  And you know what else?  You'll just think you're at the top.  The truth is, you will turn a corner to find that the landscape fooled you and you're not even halfway up.  Oh wait hang on ... What?  We're turning left here?  Oh ok.  Sorry.  Never mind.  I thought we were going straight.  And I'll tell you, if you ever get out here again and go straight.  You'll see what I mean.  That is one bitch of a hill I thought we were going up.  Nothing compared to the one we're actually going up, but still  ...

And so on for every single hill there was.  Problem is - he wasn't lying.


Savery returns from CX Worlds on his new "steed".