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Posts tagged ‘playing bikes’

lizard life

I went out to Southern Utah and played bikes with a crew of women. Southern Utah has crazy weather, on the whole. Last year when I was at Tour of Utah for Bicycling, it was all thunderstorms and flash flooding. The Dodge Dart did not like the flash flooding. This time around, it was rain. And hail.

But we rode bikes anyway and ate a lot of great food and drank beers around the fire. And then we rode bikes some more. Western Spirit handled the food and trail guiding and Diamondback dialed in the bikes. I recommend Southern Utah for all your bike riding and camping needs. It’s good out there.

My friend Kate wrote a story about our trip out to the desert for Cool Hunting and you can see more of my pictures from the trip there.

Back home, out of the desert, hammering keyboards, wearing the letters off. My keyboard is missing a bunch of letters. It’s totally fine. Nothing to worry about.

the stories we tell

Tell me a story, I say. Anything will do. He looks surprised and has to think about where to begin. There was this one day, he says. It was ten feet and glassy, I paddled out with my best friend.

I’m not sure where we are anymore. We’ve been riding up this hill so long it is starting to feel like my whole life has been spent here, just riding. I know I’ll dream of it later. I’ll awaken in a sweat, haunted by the vision of these endless corners, each one concealing then revealing another pitch upward. The road is inexorable, existential. There’s no exit and I feel like a cockroach.

There was a big set, I was caught inside, he’s saying. The story comes to me from a long way away, as if through a dixie cup connected by a long string across the span of our bedroom windows. The words skip and jump. Some of them are missing altogether.

I picture the boiling sea, imagine its push and tug, the way it toys with you, helpless. It’s like gravity, the sea, and just now, gravity is not exactly my favorite thing, riding up a road someone decided belonged here, absurdly high on a mountain. Gravity pulls at my legs, dragging me backward, pulling me under. I’m drowning with only my legs to save me.

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the laughing group


The jokes are better at the back. That’s what I’ve learned. There’s time to look around. There’s time to tell silly stories and laugh at one another’s jokes, even when they’re stupid. Especially when they’re stupid.

I used to ride at the front. I used to surf my way through the field, slipping through the gaps between riders until I found just the perfect wheel. Following the right wheel will cover any number of fitness sins. I’d put my chin on the stem and just go.

And there’s sweet satisfaction in making a bike go fast. The pavement blurs beneath your wheels. You can hear the guy next to you breathing and the thunk of the gears as the pace ratchets up. You come home thrashed and glowing.

But you also miss a lot along the way, because going hard on a bike is the same no matter where you are. You pedal hard. The world streaks by in abstract lines. There isn’t much time to look around, and there’s certainly no time for jokes. The other riders are just riders, a wheel to follow or an obstacle to pass. They aren’t people, really, just riders.

Last week with a fast group ride looming, I decided it was a good day for a grupetto. The route promised great scenery and beautiful roads. But in truth, this was a decision driven by necessity. All the group ride savvy in the world was not going to cover for three weeks of surfing and no biking.

So I set to work rounding up a group of likely suspects. This is a key step in forming the grupetto. The perfect grupetto riders say they’ll ride slow and actually mean it. When the group starts to go hard, they can sit up and let it go. This is suprisingly difficult, actually. Our cavepeople brains don’t like to be left alone. There’s bears out there, you know. The perfect grupetto riders also know a lot of good jokes.

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You’d think by now I’d know better, but it turns out when it comes to bikes and climbing, you never learn. You might get faster, but you never get smarter.

And so when John and I decided to take a day away from our keyboards and internet tethers, I naturally decided we should go ride the Figueroa Mountain Loop, one of the local climbing rides. I’d done it before, but John never had. I’ll admit it right now: It was all my idea.

I wanted to ride to where the world couldn’t reach me. That part was easy. It was getting home that was the hard part. … — Read more at Paved. 

This ride is silly. But I guess the best ones are that way. 

one of those days

Today was one of those days when I just kept reaching for the gear that wasn’t there. But, the descents were so much swooshy goodness, they more than made up for the climbing.