Monday, January 24, 2011

The Meteor Shower

I recently had an epiphany that was over 40 years in the making.

It started Thursday when I picked up my new time trial bike from Gran Fondo (a.k.a., the Bestest Ever Establishment Selling Anything Bike-Related Everwhere -- or BEE SABRE for short). It's an Orbea Ordu, black and silver and really time-slipstreamy. It's my first carbon fiber bike ever. Beneath the collosal quads of Max Watzz, it has the potential to go very fast this year.

Lynn Greer spent over an hour fitting me to the bike, tweaking the saddle forward, then down, then changing the stem, then moving the bars a bit, then moving the saddle again, then yadda-yadda. Eventually, he had everything set that I was very aerodynamic and able to put lots of thrust onto the pedals, plus bent painfully doubled into a position that I can (hopefully) survive for an hour. In time-trail land, this is called "good."

Now, you know what it's like when you get a shiny new gee-gaw. You immediately want to go play with it. And, as I rolled the bike out of the shop Thursday afternoon I soooo badly wanted to go out and ride it.

But it had started to snow. Again.

We've now officially had more snow in middle Tennessee so far this winter than in the past 25 years. It's the kind of snow that sticks, too ... not just the stuff that falls pretty and melts when it hits the grass. This junk stays for days. The Department of Transportation puts salt on it to turn it grey, then pushes it to the side of the road so that it can last a long, long time. It melts a little in the afternoon, and the runoff water freezes that night into black ice. Ice that lies in wait for cyclists, so it can make you fall so hard that you're sure that you've broken your hip.

Of course, I had to work Thursday afternoon, so I just put the bike in the back of the car and headed for the office. That evening, I took the bike out and put it in the RandoCave. It hasn't moved since. It may not move for weeks. And I'm okay with that.

I was nine years old when I got my own first bike. Until then, I would borrow my brother's bike, or sometimes my sister's, but the Christmas of 1968 I got a big, blue bicycle that was all my own. It wasn't a road bike, but one of those kid's cruisers that were popular then. It even had a headlight built right into the frame.

Most of my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins lived in Florida back then, in and around Ft. Myers. Most Christmases back then we would drive down to Ft. Myers as soon as school let out, and come back just before school started up again. This was why I didn't even see the bicycle until we came back from the trip in January. We walked in late that afternoon and found that Santa Claus had come while we were away (I have no idea how my parents set that up). I immediately rushed outside with that shiny blue and silver wonder, and started riding it around and around the wide spot outside the garage at the end of our driveway.

It started to snow then, which was very rare in Atlanta. It was just flurries, or course ... the good kind of snow that doesn't stick, and doesn't become grey heaps along the roads, and never turns to cyclist-thwarting ice. I don't even remember it being particularly cold. All that I remember is that the snow became a meteor shower to me, and I was piloting the Jupiter 7 through it. I dodged snowflakes until it was dark enough to turn the headlight on, and then watched as the beam created a magic cone of tiny white wafers, appearing from nothing and dropping almost immediately into their sodden doom.

Eventually, my mom made me come inside. I probably opened other presents then, and I apologize now to my mom and dad and brothers and sister and whoever else gave me stuff that year. I'm sure that they were wonderful; they were just destined to pale in comparison.

You could say that it would be foolish of me to take my new carbon fiber time-trial bike out in this kind of weather. Snowy grit would clog some things, while road salt would rust others. And that nice time-trialing position that Lynn grooved for me would not be a comfortable way to dodge snow meteors. So, I'll keep the Orbea in the RandoCave until the roads are clear and the weather warmer, when I can properly begin training for the new racing season.

But, I gotta admit: It sucks acting mature.


  1. Was the revelation that it sucks acting mature?

    Good ride Saturday in Memphis. I wish I could have hung on your wheel longer. I tried for a little while.

  2. "Acting mature" is the right way of putting it for me. My acting skills are on par with Yahoo Serious.

    It was good to ride with you too, Jeremy. My wheels fell off about mile 90, when my injured hip started acting up. It sucks being old, too.