are sometimes smooth and silky, and other times tired and tight.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time is on my side

No matter where you go, there you are

Buckaroo Bonzai.

I’ve often been asked what it’s like riding in Europe, and if it was much different than the US. I could go on about the cultural differences, or the differences of type of races, or style of racing... but I don't. Nope. the biggest difference, to me, is that most of the people I ride and race with grew up with the sport.

While I can’t say the same, I have been riding for a while. Long enough to know what racing with toes clips and down tube shifters is like. I once even managed to race in a white patent leather Cinelli hairnet, but that was a one off in Belgium. Done mostly so I could say I did it. Sad I know. Old, but not ancient. That’s me, or so I’d like to think.

One of the benefits of age is experience. Granted, I’m not the ‘wily old vet’ I wish I was, but I’m not a babe in the woods either. At the very least, I can spot a good thing when I see it, which brings me to a race from this past weekend, where I found myself in a breakaway, with something like 14-15 other racers.

To those who don’t race, finding good breakaway companions can make for an easier race. At least that’s the theory. If things go according to plan, all you have to do is take your turn in the rotation, and everyone will be happy. This is what I attempted to do, sometimes more successfully than others. After all, I’m only human, and I’m not exactly a spring chicken.

As you may also know, if you spend enough time with breakaway companions, you tend to notice small things. It’s like being stuck in an elevator, or a sleeper car on a train, with strangers. Normally you check out the bikes they ride, the quirks of their pedaling technique, the fact that the stitching of their chamois has popped, etc.

On Saturday, the one thing about my breakaway companions that left an indelible impression was how young they appeared. It's difficult to keep your morale up when you're groveling on the wheel of a poster boy for clearasil. It's even tougher when you get called squirrely by a someone who's probably young enough to be your kid. It was only later, after the race, when I was able to check the results that I learned that there were a few who were born around the time I first applied for a racing license.

Old, but not ancient? Hmmm… Maybe, one of these days, I might even be able to call myself wily.


Arron said...

''or a sleeper car on a train, with strangers''

does this happen to you often?

for the record i am forever 25.

Shaver said...

often enough.