30 December 2007

Where Have All the Bikes Gone?

I finally asked that today. I'm in Colorado Springs for the winter break, and have been so for the past ten days or so. And there are no bikes out!

It might have something to do with the fact that the temperature has been ranging from a solid 0 degrees F to a freaking balmy 32 degrees F, several high wind 'advisories,' several snowstorms during the high wind conditions, and a little thing called ice. But for some reason I've been out riding everyday. Maybe this is finally the evidence that I need to support my claim that I'm a 'committed' athlete.

Well I've been riding everyday, save for the day after arriving here when I was waiting for my bike to arrive. It was in the 50s that day. I was driving to a trailhead on a road that has a rather nice five-mile climb (perfect for repeats since it has no stops, a great view the whole way as it rises above the city, no traffic, varying grades, etc.) and I spotted one of the legitimate pros out riding (incidentally on a bike like mine...apparently what's a dream racer for me is a winter beater for a pro). I know that I shouldn't say this because he's, uh, a pro and, uh, thus pretty badass...but he was decked out like the freaking Michelin man on a sunny 55 degree December day in Colorado!!! Tights (the super heavy ones), long-fingered gloves, winter hat, thermal jacket upon enough layers to make him look like a linebacker, etc. I couldn't help but to wonder just how he was even able to wear that much while putting out the many hundreds of watts that he was producing at the time without starting some sort of fire in his pants.

Granted, I too have been imitating the Michelin man a little bit recently...namely three days ago when it was snowing and in the teens and I had a nice two hour cruise. Maybe I'm just an idiot youngster punk trying to pretend that I'm badass and I don't realize it, but still I've only encountered FOUR other cyclists out there riding in the past ten days. In C. Springs, normally I'll see easily a dozen cyclists at the very minimum on any spring/summer day.

I think this is just bugging me a bit because it seems such a waste to forego the training mecca of Colorado roads for a trainer in the basement just because it's below 60 degrees F outside.

I can understand if one would not want to spend fifteen minutes getting dressed, only to get your seat shoved up your butt fifty times because of Thayer Street potholes in the first minute of the ride, ten minutes later crash on black ice on the Henderson Bridge and get tetanus from making physical contact with whatever industrial waste has been rotting on its shoulder for the past thirty years, realize while heading past Seekonk High that you hate yourself and should've thrown yourself off the side of the Henderson when you had the chance, and then turn back when your waterbottles have frozen solid a half mile later, and top it off when somebody gives you the finger without provocation in Wayland Square. New England does suck in the winter. The entire state of Rhode Island just looks cold, if that makes sense. Providence doesn't look right when it's sunny and warm...it HAS to be freaking freezing cold for it to seem normal.

But Colorado. It looks warm. Even the white snowdrifts look warm. The colder it is, the warmer it looks. I know it's counterintuitive, so maybe this metaphor will help in a nonhelpful sort of way: it's like that inhumanely difficult class taught by the most amicable, enthusiastic, and friendly professor, thus ensuring that you never once realize how hard the class was. Only amicable, enthusiasic, and friendly doesn't describe Colorado; the proper three descriptors would be wicked hilly, wicked high-altitude, and wicked hilly.

If you don't mind the occasional frozen gears (you'd better find the best gear beforehand!), snow-clogged brakes (if you're riding on snow you'll be going slow enough that stopping can safely be achieved by unclipping and sliding for foot on the ground, or merely falling over), and sliding uncontrollably on the occasional patch of ice (again keeping a constantly controlled speed is a must, control can be regained by unclipping and sliding the foot, and keeping your hands completely off the brakes is the key) - then you don't ever need a trainer in Colorado.

I don't have one.

No comments: