swatting at the stars

11 09 2009

i was in a happy place. the tailwind was perfect, my cadence was zipping me along at 18.3 mph, and the sun was whistling a happy tune as the fields danced. then i felt another rider breeze by. at first, i thought it was one of my friends, looking for a game.

then i realized it was actually a spandex-clad weekend warrior, ripping along at 25+. there was no wave, no hello, nothing. just the grimace that is so familiar on road biker’s faces. at first, i let him pass. then after watching him blaze an 1/8th mile lead, i realized that this was the moment i had been waiting for, and stood up. three repetitions were all i needed to set my pace, and then i waited.

when most people think about fixed gear, they think about descents. “how do you make it down a hill without coasting?” “why would you do that to a bike?” “are you fucking stupid or crazy?”

hey, rhetorical questions, that last one was over the line.

for me, the best part about fixed gear is climbing hills. specifically, hills up to a 15% grade. i can tear up shop with my eighty gear inches, and that’s exactly what i did. as soon as we reached the first big hill, i stood up and hammered into the base, keeping my speed. the road biker geared down, and in the process slowed his pace.

i put my head down, grabbed my drops, and concentrated on cadence. a moment later i was drafting. the roadie glanced back, and then stood up and tried to get away.

i chased him up the hill, watched him pull ahead on the descent, and then caught him again on the next incline. a few miles later, i realized that i had been keeping a pace of well over 20 mph up and down the hills.

it was then that i decided to let him go, and dropped back down to a more comfortable pace. i was 75 miles into my ride to santa cruz, and knew i had to ride home eventually. i ended up knocking out 96 miles, with the last three fairly buzzed. still haven’t hit a fucking century, but there’s always next weekend.


this saturday i’ll be racing the wildcat in downtown santa cruz. it’s an event to benefit the bike church, and joshua muir of frances cycles will be giving away one of his most-beautiful-in-the-world framesets.

let’s fucking party.




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