The weather this weekend was just too delicious to pass up, so I got my butt moving early Saturday morning and finished the yard work in time to get Mrs. 20 Prospect’s bike ready for the upcoming season, so that I could borrow it for a ride. Yes, it is quite a bit too small, and an hour was about all I could stand of it before I started getting crampy. So on Sunday I just swiped the wheels off of it and put them on my old road bike, and went out for a glorious 30+ mile ride.
It was in the upper 70’s and sunny here in the cites as I made my way down through Northeast Minneapolis, and picked up the river road. I was happy that I was running her 28 mm tires as the roads are in deplorable condition. Yeah, I shouldn’t bitch and moan about potholes on the day of Paris-Roubaix, but I’m into my 40’s, and I have had the honor of riding the hallowed cobbles of East Flanders once upon a time so I feel like that gives me some leeway to bitch and complain about the roads in town.
I couldn’t find time to watch the race live on the internet before mass so I resorted to reading the live blog play by play on Cyclingnews. It was a strange race, and a disappointing one, no offense to the winner. Dry, dusty Paris-Roubaix are usually fast, and fail to force a real selection at the front. For some reason all the favorites sat and watched each other while a group of 17 rode away, and some lowly Belgian domestique won the race. Not unprecedented. About 1 in 5 editions of the race end this way. But I would have preferred a bigger name win amidst a festival of mud. Mostly though I was cheering for “Not-Tom-Boonen”, so I was content once he had dropped out of the race after his 2nd crash 50 km from the finish.
What do I have against Tom Boonen? Well, beside the fact that he is another insufferably arrogant Flemish rider, he’s won the damn race 3 times already. Only one man has won it 4 times. Mr. Paris-Roubaix, the great Roger De Vlaeminck.
They don’t make cyclists or sideburns like that anymore. May his record stand forever.
But I’m digressing… it was a glorious weekend. It felt so good to be out riding in shorts and short sleeves. It was downright intoxicating. By the time I hit the 25 mile mark on Sunday my legs were aching so sweetly. I was drenched in sweat, suffering like a dog, trying to get up to the top of Deming Heights in Northeast Mpls., and feeling the first twinges of hunger knock. This is the point at which my mind shifts from the Zen like state of riding into the enlightened state of sugar deprivation. I can always tell when I reach this point on a ride because I usually break into song. Suddenly every idea I have seems like the GREATEST IDEA EVER! My bike wobbles side to side, and the fog seems to lift on the entire world, revealing it in all it’s technicolor glory.
The amount of time it takes for me to hit this point is how I judge my fitness. Only in the severest of circumstances, usually races, have I made it past this point. What lies beyond the transcendent exhaustion, is the full on Bonk. That’s the point at which I start having visions and realize that something about my judgment just isn’t quite right. I call this the “talking to Jesus” phase.
Beyond that lies collapse, and vomiting. It is not a pretty sight. The fact that I have been able to push myself into these regions without any good reason, is kinda telling about the masochism that cycling induces. Although, aside from being pursued by wolves, or saber tooth tigers, I can’t imagine what a “good reason” for such exertion would be.
I am usually only pursued by self doubt. Not quite as intimidating as a pack of wolves, but every bit as lethal.