To celebrate the first week of the darkest month of the year, (last week) Pedal and I thought it might be a good idea to start pretending that we're training for something big and scary (Pedal has a wild imagination...) instead of just screwing around. Naturally, this thought exercise led immediately to guilt and despair about our waning ratio of fitness:pie and we resolved, rather prudently, that we should consider an ideological lean away from the free portion of the freebase duo. After about 10 hours of this "training" of which everyone speaks so highly, I'm pretty sure I'm seeing a difference: Everybody that gets within 10 feet of me on a road bike wants to race, including Eric (though that's about as surprising as a rat in the Central Square subway). After much deliberation and careful experimentation I've come to the conclusion that base miles have a distinctive odor that get roadies excited -- sorta like pheromones, except harder to get out of your jersey.
As with your typical love-musk, the less regularly you've been getting your mack on, the harder it is to resist a good pair of legs. Case in point, we're coming back from a ride out to Bolton or so, cruising down Mass Ave. at a medium pace, and not one, not two but THREE different guys in various states of non-fitness and oddball-dom tried to get me to race them down a busy street at dusk with no lights. Of course, the worse off the guy is athletically, the more aggressive he'll be about taking you down.
The best (worst) of the three was all spandexed out, complete with optional hi-vis reflective construction vest, on what looked like a winter commuter bike (a flat bar, 32c tire sort of deal). I roll by without really paying him any attention and before I know it he's examining my backside at point-blank range. I could tell he was working on wearing me down by the intense expression on his face as he hunched down close to his bars. The hunching must have been squeezing out the last bit of aerodynamic advantage he wasn't getting from riding my 6'4" nearly-180lb ass. After a couple minutes of sitting back there waiting for something to happen, he must have taken my total disinterest in him as a sign of weakness because he blew by me on all three and a half cylinders at a cadence high enough to whip cream (and yes, he had gears). I was all set to watch him blow up in a puff of smoke and cruise by triumphantly when he mistimed a red light, solidifying his place off my back wheel before I had the chance to enjoy the show.
Speaking of guys making trouble on the roadways during training rides, our buddy Seth came out to play with us again on Saturday. He hasn't had time to get out with any frequency of late and has begun self-identifying as fat (see image), which is to be taken with a grain of salt, of course, since we're all cyclists -- a demographic among which eating disorders are more common than software developers at a Star Wars convention. Seth is the best sort of guy to have as a riding buddy because, at least as far as I can tell, he really enjoys kicking the crap out of himself. We'll be riding along 2 by 2, and he'll be up front with you saying how he's about to blow up at the pace you're going, but he'll keep pulling until he's totally shattered and hanging on to your back wheel by a thread, the whole time with this giant grin on his face like he's having the time of his life. You can never count him out either, no matter how bad he's suffering. He'll wait until you're wondering if he's going to need a ride home on your handlebars and the moment you're least expecting it he'll break a sprint up a hill into the wind that's hard enough you need to give it everything you've got to keep him from the pleasure of catching you off guard. He's even sneaky with a camera (not that I'm photogenic when I am paying attention):
This is the Bolton General Store, which totally rocks. The pumpkin spice muffins in the picture are SCRUMPTIOUS -- grilled and covered in butter just the way we like 'em (and the hot chocolate comes with whipped cream on top).
Coming up: Ride Report from our first snow ride and all those tech articles I've been promising.