Speed Ride

3 05 2007

Another Wednesday, another speed ride. With the next brevet more than two weeks away I’ve been able to train like a bike racer again. Its felt great to get the speed up but I’ve been feeling my single minded training program in pitiful high end. As with every Wednesday night I rolled up to Whitehall and Nixon wondering if this would be the night I got dropped, but this time I was feeling pretty relaxed about it as I had a damn good excuse for not being fresh and I’d gotten my speed on for the week last night on the trail.

When I pulled up, it was all Penn State: a couple of the boys from the PSU A squad and Whitman back from the Tour of Virginia last week. Cycling tends to breed a peculiar sort of arrogance that, on the surface, seems like it should come with an equal measure of humility, but rarely does. That we ride bikes around in circles, barely naked hardly makes us hard men in the eyes of the general populace, but as in any sport, the fish grow big in their little pond and that fantasy of size tends to cloud their perspective. I know you should let kids be kids and cockiness is a defining characteristic of the 20 year old male, but there are limits and when the locker room humor turned to the casual and “humorous” usage of the N-word for its shock value I put my head down and withdrew from the conversation. What do you do in that situation? Do you reprimand the offending party, do you chalk it up to youthful ignorance, do you ignore it? I chose the latter, not wanting to stir the pot ahead of the ride, focusing on my own selfish goals for fitness, and frankly I feel guilty about it. I’d like to think I won’t do that again, but the world is a complicated place and you can never predict what will happen next time.

My minor ethical dilemma was distracted by the arrival of new riders as the parking lot swelled to a size I’ve not seen at the speed ride in a long time. AccuJoe, Strauber, CJ, and Billy, still sporting his rack and rear light from the weekend, rolled up. Chris, Taylor, and a bunch of Penn State kids. The highlight of the start was Tig rolling up with his new girl and giving her a big smooch before the roll out (if you were going for a psych-out with the spandex clad girlfriend, you certainly succeeded in distracting many in the field!).

The roll out started slow and picked up. With 20 riders in the group, the trip down 45 was eerily smooth. Without a computer I had no idea how fast we were going until I tried to shift up and realized I was cranking in my 53×12 and had nowhere to go. The group slit up halfway down to Marengo and made the left with closer to 10. From there we slowly whittled the field down as we headed around the course, getting down to 6 for the final sprint on 550. All in all a good speed ride, with a nicely sized group. As with the last time, Chris was pushing the pace on 550 and Tig and I struggled to follow his lead when he pulled away. We never managed to snap the elastic but definitely succeeded in keeping the pace high. Coming into each of the sprint I looked into the tank and found myself with nothing. I had the legs to ramp up to speed, but as soon as it as time to stand up and spin up to a sprint I heard Scottie yelling to me that there was no more power. Hopefully these last two days of speed work will help wake the legs back up.




3 responses

3 05 2007

“First the Nazis came…
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Martin Niemöller (1892—1984)
Youthful ignorance and stupidity only goes so far. Of course, you can guess my tolerance for who is likely the offending party. Its interesting that he is now on a team with Ramon Benitez, who was involved in a very public racial incident several years ago at a crit in MD. But I guess when you are just a want to be pro, you can be a jackass as well.

3 05 2007

Though I’m sure the offending speaker would also like to be a pro, it wasn’t Whitman who was playing fast and loose with racial identity for comedic effect. I realize that by naming him specifically i the group I may have given that impression, but he was well behaved (by his standards) .

4 05 2007

I find now when I hear comments like that it’s so out of the ordinary, that i am more flabbergasted than anything else. I had a similar situation coming out of a bar last week. This creepy old scary dude was sitting on the deck in the corner, and he asks me, “do you know how to get to rising sun?” I point down the road and tell him straight shot 25 miles. He asks me, “anything interesting in rising sun?” I tell him no pretty mellow town, although I’m not local. he tells me” The KKK is strong in rising sun, that’s pretty interesting, you interested?” I sputtered out, “no, not my bag man, not for me…” and walked away. My wife was so pissed she wanted to call the cops or the bar. This was in the middle of Newark, a college town. And here was hte KKK sitting outside a bar recruiting. I didn’t even know what to say. It was pretty awful. I wish I had said something cool, or better than, “not my bag”… weird world sometimes. How different can rising sun be from newark? only seperated by 25 miles. Ignorant bastard. Kinda made me sad. sorrry so long.

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