Milan – San Remo

I’ve mentioned it before, but I completely dig pro cycling. It’s the combination of history, guts, beauty and bright colors really sucks me in. Today’s Milan-San Remo race had absolutely everything necessary to make one for the history books – a potentially successful breakaway, epic climbs with cool names, breathtaking scenery, and a passing of the guard (kind of).

I’ll leave the real wrap up to folks who know a bunch more than I do, but if you want to see pure, unadulterated expression of determination and power, take a look at the face of Alessandro Petacci, the race winner, as he’s approaching the finish line. He’s leading a group of about 20 of the fastest non-motorized men in the world (and I think that’s not hyperbole – the cyclists are nothing but human powered) and he’s opening a gap as he approaches the end.

The passing of the guard really happened a year or two ago, but today rocked. Mario Cippolini, the coolest man on earth, was in the bunch for the finishing sprint, but didn’t really figure at the end. But the dude’s 38 and still figuring in a race after over 6 hours in the saddle.

Sound of Silence

Thanks for all the great wishes for the boy’s birthday, and good words on training. Bouncing back seems to be kind of a trend; all well and good, but it’d be nicer to to just keep meeting goals.

Deciding to take a mulligan for this week was good for the psyche. Probably should have scheduled last week as a recovery week in any case; kind of funny how things work out that way. Next week is going to be busy, but I think I’ve got most things worked out.

My Cannondale, my 19 lbs of aluminum and carbon sweetness, got put back together on Friday. All degreased, all re-greased (very, very thin), new tubes and a new tire on my backup wheels, and the primary set of wheels at the bike shop for a little bit of truing. I’m comfortable working on pretty much anything on the bike (the secret is good grease, and not much of it) except for the spokes. I ran into my pastor while dropping them off – he’s in great shape, though, and his riding brings him closer to God in pretty much opposite the way that mine does. Though at the end of this season, hopefully I’ll be feeling God’s presence on the bike in the good way. Shaping the temple and all that.

Saturday was, quite possibly, the best day I’ve had in a long while. Woke up, just plain woke up not tired, not due to an alarm, not due to a screaming kid, not due to my wife kicking me since I was snoring, but just plain woke up at 6 AM. Kind of pinched myself. Luckily, I’d stashed my cycling gear in the kitchen the night before. Tiptoed out, dressed, carried the bike down the back stairs, and clipped in.

Darn it was cold.

And I’d forgotten my hat.

Screw it, I’m out for a while anyway.

Headed down the hill towards River Road. Darn, it’s cold. And now I can’t feel my ears. Hmm. Scratch the easy/fast ride along Route 1.

So, I climbed. Turned around and headed up the hill down which I’d came. Climbed up to the top, realized I could feel my cheeks and ears again, then gritted my teeth heading downhill. Turned around as soon as the ground leveled out and started up a different hill. Kept it up for an hour (computer magnet’s on the spokes of the wheels in the shop).

Man, I love the bike.

The sound of silence came in about halfway up the second hill – I clicked into a bigger cog, and suddenly realized that it was the first sound I’d heard from the bike in about a mile. Was a moment of serenity, as all the time and skinned knuckles of the last week or so paid off in a finely tuned machine.