Yesterday was my first bike ride of 2011, and the first ride on my road bike (other than on the trainer) since October. I remembered everything for my ride except a helmet, so I went Euro style, sans casque with just a cap on my head. Here are some observations:
- Riding without a helmet made me hyper-aware of traffic. I did not want to crash and die or get injured so that the commenters on KSL.com* could flay me for being stupid and go on and on about how I had it coming and they wish all cyclists would get off the road, and that any child dumb enough to be born to a parent who rides a bike deserves to grow up without a father**. Two blocks from my office, when I was finally starting to feel like I’d made it through the ride safely, I discovered that just because a car signals a turn doesn’t mean they will actually turn. Glad I waited.
*Yes, I realize KSL has put their comment boards on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean the commenters who would have said those things aren’t still thinking them.
**Actually, my real fear was not that I would get hit by a car and die. I don’t particularly fear death and have enough life insurance that I’m more concerned about a serious injury that would leave me severely disabled or in a vegetative state. Time to draft that living will—wonder if I can put a clause in there that even if I could remain alive without life support but had little or no quality of life due to my injuries that my caretakers would just leave me alone in an apartment with no food and just a big bottle of vodka and lots of razor blades.
- My wool cycling cap with ear flaps, a Christmas gift from my kids (that I helped them pick out), has intensified my love for wool clothing.
- MTB and cross both have their appeal, but there is nothing that compares with the feeling of speed one gets on a road bike.
- This was my first ride on a Fizik Antares demo saddle. After ~25,000 kilometers, my Specialized Toupe Gel finally got a crack in the shell at the end of last season and needs to be replaced. To their credit, Rico said Specialized would warranty it if I took the saddle and a receipt to a Specialized dealer, but since I bought it in 2007, I can’t find the receipt. So how do the saddles compare? The Toupe took some getting used to. The Fizik did not. Which is not to say I like the way the Fizik feels better than the Specialized—jury is still out on that one—there just wasn’t a 10 ride break-in period. My big concern with the Fizik is that without the cutout, I will get sleepy-peepie. I had no numbness yesterday, but I was only riding for an hour. I can get better pricing on the Fizik since they are a team sponsor, but after so much time, I am used to the Specialized and may stick with it, even if it means paying retail.
- The nice thing about riding in cool weather is that it requires tights, which meant I didn’t have to shave my legs. If I’m still wearing tights in June, you will know why.
- Is it that unshaven legs look less toned than shaven legs, or is it that my legs really are less toned in the off season? (If this is not an admission that cyclists shaving their legs is driven by vanity, I don’t know what is.)
- Taking four weeks off the bike after Nationals was probably the minimum amount of time needed to ensure recovery and restored motivation. It felt good to be on the bike again, but not so good that I’m ready to start racing again in six weeks.