Monday, October 19, 2009

Slow and Easy

Today was supposed to be a day off, which would mean a long ride, but I had a sick sixth grader to deal with. She had what I think of as Student’s Disease. The progression of symptoms runs something like this:

Sunday 8:00 pm: The child does not feel well. The symptoms are vague and could indicate not enough sleep in the last 48 hours, an allergy, a cold, influenza (choose the strain you like best), mononucleosis or possible bubonic plague. Announcement of the symptoms is usually followed by, “Mommy, if I feel this bad in the morning, can I stay home?”

Monday 6:30 am: Symptoms are markedly worse.

Monday 12:00 pm: Symptoms are largely gone and the child is exhibiting symptoms of boredom and the beginnings of cabin fever.

Monday 3:30 pm: Child wants to go to a friend’s house and play

Early Monday afternoon, with symptoms progressing as expected, I decided I could sneak in a short ride. With the temperature at 57 degrees and the wind blowing 10 mph, I decided tights and long sleeves were called for. This was one of those days when I was properly dressed as long as I was in motion and too hot whenever I had to stop.

The cars were generally not bad, except for that guy behind me who suddenly realized that, if he didn’t pass me right now he would have to wait an additional twenty seconds or so for that oncoming car to go by. (Needless to say, the road was empty all the way to the horizon after the oncoming car.) He slammed the accelerator to the floor and roared past me in a whirl of noise, passing me way to close for my comfort but, presumably, not for his.

I reached an intersection and thought about turning to make a big loop, but the cars kept on coming and kept on coming and kept on coming and I finally decided to just turn around and go back the way I had come, which was when I noticed an odd (and annoying) thing about the wind.

Has this ever happened to you?

The wind is at your back, but it is a gentle zephyr which might be adding a tenth of a mile per hour to your speed, then you turn around, and the windspeed picks up until it resembled a force 3 hurricane which is literally blowing you backwards as you try to pedal into it. I don’t know how the wind knows that I have turned around, but it does.

The ride was quite nice.

As I was spinning, I thought of the book French Revolutions by Tim Moore which I mentioned last week. Well, I’m afraid that I’m going to score a DNF on this one. I have abandoned the book because the author annoyed me. (I am sure that, even if he were aware of this, Mr. Moore would be largely untroubled by it, which is as it should be.)

You see, he dedicates the book to Tom Simpson, about whom he natters on almost endlessly. Now, Tom Simpson’s end was probably tragic. Some people find it heroic as well. Read up on it and make up your own mind.

The author, after talking about how much he admires Simpson, decides that he will dope to make sure he can get up Mont Ventoux. He indicates that, if he’d been able to get EPO (and could be certain of living through the experience of using it) or HGH he would have used that, but, since he can’t, he makes do with more easily obtained and less effective means. I’m not interested in reading about this.

His justification is that every successful pro in the history of cycling except Gino Bartali has been a doper, so, even though he is simply riding (part of) the Tour de France route on his own as an amateur, he might as well dope, too. All of this annoyed me sufficiently to make me put the book down with no intention of picking it back up again. It can go back to the library and broom wagon can sweep me up. I’ll find a new book.

Tomorrow, with Student’s Disease well on it’s way to being cured, I’m looking for a nice long ride. I hope it’s as nice as today’s ride was.

See you on the road.

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