OVER THE HUMP: GATES PASS.
It’s “Hump Day” so I’d like to write about one of the more memorable hills in my cycling life.
If you head west out of Tucson on Speedway Boulevard, under the highway and past, well, everything, then you’ll eventually begin the long, gradual climb toward Gates Pass.
It’s not particularly challenging, as climbs go, but it’s unrelenting in the heat.
If you’ve got to suffer in those conditions, you may as well do it with a view.
It was my first legit hill conquest as a cyclist.
It was the first time I got “you climbed that? On a bicycle?” from a passing car.
The one that allowed me to identify juuuuuuust a little with my cycling heroes as I watched the paltry, half-hour, weekend Tour recap on Wide World of Sports.
I haven’t done it in over 20 years and I doubt I’ll ever get another shot at it.
But I’d like to thank that hill for all the good times.
Now go punish some other young, upstart cyclist.
They’ll thank you later.
OVER THE HUMP: GATES PASS.
CYCLING SAFETY: DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.
Don’t lock your phone.
If you carry your phone as a safety device on rides, there’s no need to passcode lock it.
But there are many, many reasons not to. Here’s a big one.
When I had my latest bad crash, my phone was locked.
For the first couple hours I was in and out of consciousness. Mostly not.
In one of my rare moments of consciousness, face-down in some rocks, a stranger was holding my phone in front of my face begging me to remember the code (and my name). I got lucky and entered the right one (on the third try) and dialed my wife’s number. Then, went nighty-night again.
I get it wrong and my wife may not have known what happened.
I. Got. Lucky.
So forget the passcode.
Because heaven forbid, you may forget the passcode.
THE WEATHERPROOF WHEELED WONDER OF WOODLAND HILLS.
He’s out there, non-stop, all-day on his old Merckx riding the hills in that thick coat.
No matter the weather.
Even this weekend.
Even in 107-degree, national-news-making heat.
My wife contends that it’s better for you to stay in and eat bacon.
I can’t tell if he’s insanely-dedicated or insane.
Then again, I can remember times in my life when that line got a bit blurred.
So in fairness there’s only one thing to say:
And drink plenty of fluids.
CYCLISTS FIND THINGS: MUSIC.
An entire CD box full of classic album rock.
From AC/DC to Zep.
I have, on occasion, wanted to launch a friend’s music out of their moving car but everything in this case is so benign.
The Eagles, for God’s sake.
Guess this person chose the wrong passenger.
Guess that’s just life in the fast lane.
CYCLISTS FIND THINGS, INVENTORY: MORE BALLS
We head out on our bikes to find a little peace and perhaps to find a better version of ourselves. Clearly what we’ve been finding is other folks’ lost balls.
Lots of them.
And they’ve become a reminder for me. Those balls stand for one thing: Fun. Because that’s what casual ball sports like these seem to represent to me.
What they’re reminding me to do on my bike.
So I owe a debt of gratitude to some anonymous folks out there.
Because if we remember to have fun, then they didn’t lose their balls in vain.
Their loss is our gain.
CYCLISTS FIND THINGS, INVENTORY: AMERICA’S PASTIME.
One of our Universal Truths of Cycling is that cyclists find stuff out there on the road and trail. Over the next few posts I’ll be showing the last six months’ haul.
Now, if we come across an object and the owner is obvious, we won’t put it in our jersey pocket. For example, if one of these baseballs was in front of a home where it was obvious that ball-playing kids lived, we’d leave it alone or even toss it back onto their lawn.
But these baseballs were found in odd locations. One was even found on some singletrack (???).
So what now? We believe they should be used. Bur our kids don’t want them.
Do we find some kids and offer them up? Nope, too odd.
Ride next to a little league field and drop them off? Nope (see previous sentence).
Until we figure it out, we’re open to suggestions.
C’mon, let’s hear some chatter out there.
A FAN’S EVOLUTION.
Grand touring season is in full swing and how I watch it has changed completely.
Since I first saw Greg Lemond and Monseur Fignon, I watched each race rooting for a specific rider or team.
With age and wisdom, I go into the race cold and wait for the stories to develop naturally.
As with any sport, if I decide to follow a specific athlete I can be let down by injury or controversy. But I’m finding that, if I go into it without any expectations, without any agenda or goal, wonderful things happen. Stories. Heroes. Courage.
Example number 1,000,000 of how racing is a lot like life.
(Image courtesy of Rapha)