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Posts Tagged ‘Organizations’

alain delon the hitman le samourai the samurai

While having my coffee and reading my email this morning, I receive a phone call from my LBS. It is the owner, Matt. He is speaking as if what he has to say is urgent; “Three tri-guys from the town over just bought Madones, and are now talking smack. They invited us over to their stomping grounds for a… gentleman’s ride.”  Mark explains how he and his employee went on a century ride the day before, and still feel like toast. “Andrew, come with us and show those Ironman wannabes what Rule 42 really means. We could use your help.” At this point, I had late night flashbacks of Alain Delon in Le Samouraï, imagining me being a contract killer… but on a bike. Yes, my guns were for hire.

I was pumped. It’s getting to that time of the season where the legs are peaking, and rides are showing who took the time to train. Like Jean Reno’s character in The Professional, I took time to prepare and polish my guns, before use. Lunch time; I decided the leftover steak in the fridge could wait, and had a bowl of zucchini and pasta. Up until the minute we departed, I was checking my blood sugar on the hour, every hour [yes, diabeetus]. Nothing was overlooked. I wanted to be able to dish out enough pain that these tri-guys would be scared straight and never wear wetsuits on a bike again.

My body was prepared; now to do some maintenance on the steed… I made sure that the bike’s summer filth was removed, and shone according to my very discerning eyes. The drivetrain was as quiet as a mouse, shifted as calm as a Hindu cow, and as fast as Di2 possibly could. The bike spoke for itself by the silence that filled the garage. It was ready.

Our crew of three met at Matt’s shop, and departed to the meeting point given to us by the tri-guys. Once there, we were greeted by three men in sleeveless jerseys and one of them even had a double carbon bottle cage setup behind their saddle, eventhough there were already two cages on his bike. This was embarrassing. I felt like I was in the presence of something wrong. Something very wrong… These tri-guys just ride for better splits in their little swim, ride, run game. There was no feeling these so called cyclists honored the the way of a grimpeur, and I felt the obligation to fix that. I’m sure these wetsuit-wearing cycling poseurs had names, but I never took the time to listen to their greetings. I performed one last gun check in the parking lot, and we rolled out.

Our group set the tempo first by laying the hammer down. This trio of tri-guys kept up fairly well, and to my surprise, they could hold a line. *Gasp* We were coming up on the first climb. Quadbottle jumps off the back of the pack, and goes for the peak of the hill. I look at Matt, and ask him if I should make a response. He calmly says no, as we summit. What was directly in store for us left Matt and his employee attempting to shift into their lower chainring. Benched, false flat… Here, the climbing truly began. Matt gave a knod, and set me off of the leash like a dog chasing a car. My cadence was at the perfect tempo, and my stroke looked like Anquetil himself was pedaling. I was in the zone, and nothing could stop me. Quadbottle’s other friends came after me, and eventually caught up. They were a little more adept at this non-aero bar riding than I thought. I wouldn’t goof up and misjudge them again.

I brought the guns to the party for a reason, and here I was, getting ready to fire. The pain was brought with magnificent exuberance as I climb a couple hundred meters. I meet up with the ringleader of the three on the next to last hill, and see he is maxing out his gears. I ride past him, and look upon his face turn three different kinds of ugly. He grits his teeth, frowns, and shakes the dripping sweat coming off of his helmet. The feeling of passing someone with ease, and having gears to spare is a wonderful experience. Knowing you could be pedaling easier, but not needing to, all while those behind you are suffering… It is a beautiful thing.

Someone must have entered a cheat-code for infinite ammo, because the tri-guys were hurting, and my guns were still firing with no problem. I made it to the end of the ride with a few minutes until the next rider could be seen. It was a great moment; not only was I able to represent my LBS and town with honor, but also showed these tri-geeks what cycling is about. My buds were proud of me, and I was still feeling strong. Their training ride turned into a breeding ground of turf rivalry, and tough learning; they let me go off the front, knowing I was genuinely nearly peaking.

There was no one around me. I had slain them all. All that was left was to get home, give the legs a break, and enjoy some fine dinner. I didn’t stop exuding greatness until the Velomihottie laid the dinner plate in front of me while I kicked back in the La-Z-Boy. Just as I started to indulge on the steamed dumplings, I received a call; it was Matt. He stated, “Good work, you killed them all.” Apparently the tri-guys phoned Matt and wondered if this is how every gentleman’s ride unveils.  With a straight tone, Matt replied, “Of course, what do you think we are? Triathletes?

the hitman

In the end, I was hired to lay down the law, and teach these weenies a little something about riding a bicycle, and I did just that.

My reward? A new nickname: The Hitman

*Note: This post is a piece of quasi-fiction~

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trainer winter riding, trainer, winter riding, bicycle trainer

This picture is is very important. In three months, this exact location will be a crime scene. My motivation for cycling will be murdered here, and lie dead until Spring.

Any cyclists know this punishment. It is no more difficult than the steepest hills, but hurts so much more just because the action is happening indoors. There is nothing as bad as the trainer. If your friend says he enjoys riding his trainer, he is a liar.

I can only think of three things worse than the trainer:

  • Jogging
  • Stationary exercise bikes
  • Exercising on anything made by Tony Little

 

What about you guys? When are you going to start your routine of masochism? I wish you the best of luck, while we envy those in Florida or Anaheim together…

Don’t forget to check this out: http://www.thesufferfest.com/bike-torture-chamber/

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I am having a conflict of interest in determining of what to think of cyclists that ride in the rain. Putting miles on the tarmac while the precipitation is on is a job for professional cyclists, but what about for the sportives and enthusiasts? Are we crazy for thinking that our favorite loop ridden in the rain somehow makes us closer to the riders on a Pro Tour team? Does riding in the rain have any advantages that over-weigh any disadvantages? To further investigate this inner struggle of mine, the following issues will be discussed:

  • Motive for riding in the rain
  • Skill
  • Gear/Maintenance
  • Positive/Negative aspects
  • Alternatives? – If any…

First off, why are you wanting to ride in the rain? West Virginia has on average 210 days (+/-15 days) with less than an inch of rain. This means there is more than enough time to ride in perfectly acceptable weather. Why would someone want to expose theirselves to rain? I can understand if you don’t want to miss those much needed training rides, or you hate the trainer; I hate the trainer too. Camaraderie between friends while being exposed to inclimate conditions is also an acceptable circumstance in my opinion. It sucks to miss group rides, and facing something like a rain shower can make it even more fun. All of these reasons are pretty badass, and can be rationalized without looking too crazy…

On the other hand, just because you have visions of cobbles, and self-torture after watching a rainy version of one of the spring classics doesn’t mean you should go out and try to re-enact scenes in your head by riding in the rain… This is where it starts to get silly. You are not Sean Kelly, you do not have a contract; you are not contractually obligated to ride in the rain. Heck, you may not even have the gear or talent to maneuver well enough in the slop that the roads are slathered with during a shower. Your petty dreams of Belgian cobbles are a fantasy in WV, and keep it at that, otherwise you will be placed on my crazy people list.

Okay, so you are kitted up and have your layers on or whatnot. You think you are prepared for the WV roads ahead of you just because you have your cycling cap on, and a pair of knee warmers. What about the grit, the loss of grip on the road? Do you know how to properly thermoregulate while on the bike? Handling? How does your bike change when the roads are muddy, or just overall slick? Are these things you have encountered before, or are you just going out willy nilly; with all concerns being thrown to the wind? If you haven’t done this before, start slow. Don’t pump your tires up before the ride; keep them about 10psi lower than usual. Cut the ride length by about 20-30% for a first rain ride.

Bring a spare tube and co2, and please….. Please tell me you know how to change a tube, and won’t whine about changing it in the rain. I’m already waiting for you to start pedaling again; I don’t really want to hear you complain. If I wanted that, I could have just stayed home and listen to the family complain about the noise my trainer makes.

Also, if you are a newbie rain rider, be sure not to crash into me on the downhills. Prep your brakes before you actually plan to brake by tapping them a few times first. This gets some of the water and muck off the machined lip of the rim, and makes braking a little more effective. Lastly, if you didn’t bring a splashguard, or fenders, stay far enough away from me that I don’t have to be sprayed in the face continuously by the water coming off of your back wheel.

The skills of riding in the rain are pretty common sense, and most people with an IQ level higher than the number of teeth on their outer chainring catch on pretty fast. Just don’t be afraid to slow down if you need to. Better to get home safe, than to have to call for a ride to get back.

Bikes – They’re tools, not jewels.

You should still maintain them like they are a Smithsonian-quality artifact, but don’t be afraid to ride it like you stole it. Pros don’t do a thing with their bikes after they cross the finish line. On the other hand, you do, and will have to be prepared to inspect and clean things appropriately. Make sure rain isn’t going into your seat tube, clean your chain, and get the grime off your drivetrain/pedals, and make sure all of the pivoting parts on the bike are in good shape. If for some awful reason you are riding a steel bike… make sure to bring it inside post-ride. Rust is a terrible thing. Trust me.

I am having a conflict of interest in determining what kind of cyclist rides in the rain. Putting miles on the tarmac while the precipitation is on is a job for professional cyclists, but what about for the sportives and enthusiasts? Are we crazy for thinking that our favorite loop ridden in the rain somehow makes us closer to the riders on a Pro Tour team? Does riding in the rain have any advantages that over-weigh any disadvantages? To further investigate this inner struggle of mine, the following issues will be discussed:      * Motive for riding in the rain     * Skill     * Gear/Maintenance     * Positive/Negative aspects     * Alternatives? - If any...  First off, why are you wanting to ride in the rain? West Virginia has on average 210 +/-15 days with less than an inch of rain. This means there is more than enough time to ride in perfectly acceptable weather. Why would someone want to expose their selves to rain? I can understand if you don't want to miss those much needed training rides, or you hate the trainer; I hate the trainer too. Camaraderie between friends while being exposed to inclimate conditions is also an acceptable circumstance in my opinion. It sucks to miss group rides, and facing something like a shower can make the bonding process even stronger. All of these reasons are pretty badass, and can be rationalized without looking too crazy...  On the other hand, just because you have visions of cobbles, and self-torture after watching a rainy version of one of the spring classics doesn't mean you should go out and try to re-enact scenes in your head by riding in the rain... This is where it starts to get silly. You are not Sean Kelly, you do not have a contract, you are not contractually obligated to ride in the rain. Heck, you may not even have the gear or talent to maneuver well enough in the slop that the roads are slathered with during a shower. Your petty dreams of Belgian cobbles is a fantasy, and keep it at that, otherwise you will be placed on the crazy people list of mine.  Okay, so you are kitted up and have your layers on or whatnot. You think you are prepared for the WV roads ahead of you just because you have your cycling cap on, and a pair of knee warmers. What about the grit, the loss of grip on the road? Do you know how to properly thermoregulate while on the bike? Handling? How does your bike change when the roads are muddy, or just overall slick? Are these things you have encountered before, or are you just going out willy nilly; with all concerns being thrown to the wind? If you haven't done this before, start slow. Don't pump your tires up before the ride; keep them about 10psi lower than usual. Cut the ride length by about 20-30% Bring a spare tube and co2, and please.... Please tell me you can change a tube, and won't whine about changing it in the rain. I'm already waiting for you to start pedaling again; I don't really want to hear you complain. If I wanted that, I could have just stayed home and listen to the family complain about the noise my trainer makes. Also, if you are a newbie rain rider, be sure not to crash into me on the downhills. Prep your brakes before you actually plan to brake by tapping them a few times first. This gets some of the water and muck off the machined lip of the rim, and makes braking a little more effective. Lastly, if you didn't bring a splashguard, or fenders, stay far enough away from me that I don't have to be sprayed in the face continuously by the water coming off of your back wheel. The skills of riding in the rain are pretty common sense, and most people with an IQ level higher than the number of teeth on their outer chainring catch on pretty fast. Just don't be afraid to slow down if you need to. Better to get home safe, than to have to call for a ride to get back.  Bikes - They're tools, not jewels.  You should still maintain them like they are a Smithsonian piece of art, but don't be afraid to ride it like you stole it. Pros don't do a thing with their bikes after they cross the finish line. On the other hand, you do, and will have to be prepared to inspect and clean things appropriately. Make sure rain isn't going into your seat tube, clean your chain, and get the grime off your drivetrain/pedals, and make sure all of the pivoting parts on the bike are in good shape. If for some awful reason you are riding a steel bike... make sure to bring it inside post-ride. Rust is a terrible thing. Trust me.       P.S. Not My Bike   Better yet, take your rain bike/cross bike out instead of your main steed. You do have more than one road bike, right?  Depending on the temperature of the rain, you may want to add a layer or so extra clothes to what you are wearing. Just remember to keep your head and core warm, and keep moving. Rain is cold. It will be cold on you. Not much you can do about it. Kit up and don't complain. You were the one who wanted to go out on a rain ride...  What are the benefits of riding in the rain? Any? The novelty of it is pretty exciting, but once that wears off, what is left? The acquisition of superior bike handling may be the only key element that can be gained from such training. Falling or getting sick due to the weather are the main negative consequences, and the prior is more of an eventuality than a potential consequence. Falling happens, you just have to be ready for it, or be lucky enough to catch yourself.  Even with the threat of looking crazy, having to prepare a bit more, and chances of getting hurt, there aren't really any alternatives to riding in the rain. Stationary trainers are just about the most unmotivating thing you can do. I think I would rather not ride than ride a trainer. Seriously. As long as it isn't too cold or intense, get out there and ride in the rain. Keep your awareness up, and enjoy the ride. Stay warm, ride hard, and enjoy being outside.

P.S. Not My Bike

Better yet, take your rain bike/cross bike out instead of your main steed. You do have more than one road bike, right?

Depending on the temperature of the rain, you may want to add a layer or so extra clothes to what you are wearing. Just remember to keep your head and core warm, and keep moving. Rain is cold. It will be cold on you. Not much you can do about it. Kit up and don’t complain. You were the one who wanted to go out on a rain ride…

What are the benefits of riding in the rain? Any? The novelty of it is pretty exciting, but once that wears off, what is left? The acquisition of superior bike handling may be the only key element that can be gained from such training. Falling or getting sick due to the weather are the main negative consequences, and the prior is more of an eventuality than a potential consequence. Falling happens, you just have to be ready for it, or be lucky enough to catch yourself.

Even with the threat of looking crazy, having to prepare a bit more, and chances of getting hurt, there aren’t really any alternatives to riding in the rain. Stationary trainers are just about the most unmotivating thing you can do. I think I would rather not ride than ride a trainer. Seriously. As long as it isn’t too cold or intense, get out there and ride in the rain. Keep your awareness up, and enjoy the ride. Stay warm, ride hard, and enjoy being outside.

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