Tuesday, February 10, 2009


There are lots of terms that I use primarily to describe cycling. Spalm, for instance, is one that I rarely, if ever, use unless I am with a group of cyclists. "Knackered" is another one of those terms.

After riding Saturday and Sunday, I was knackered. This is a state of complete, total and utter exhaustion. It is past tired, spent, toasted or wiped out. It is a state of mind and body that only athletes or people in extremis can fully comprehend. A guy who spends the day doing yardwork can be tired or even exhausted, but not knackered.

I do have a problem with athletes who think that this somehow exalts them though. There are times when I can't decide whether pushing yourself to such point of exhaustion is a good idea. On one hand, there must be something to this idea of civilization and progress. We don't have to chase woolly mammoths across the land for our food, so do we really need to ride our bikes at sustained high speeds until collapse seems imminent? I don' t know, but for some reason, I enjoy it.

Saturday: Rider 2 and I met a former racer who now spends his cycling time tending to twin 3-year olds. As anyone with kids can tell you, it tends to cut into your free time if you are doing it right. Or even wrong. For me, this caused me some hope that Rider 2, not known as Quicksilver, would have less opportunity to ride me into the ground. It was false hope. Did I mention that Chris, pictured below, was a former racer? It is the case that bikes don't lie, but people who have learned to suffer on a bike retain this ability well beyond the ability of their muscles to recall their last set of intervals. Chris suffered admirably and, as a result, I suffered, although less admirably.

From Rides

Sunday: Rider 1 and Rider 2 lured others out for a ride, promising 45 degree temperatures and a no-drop endurance ride. These were false promises to go along with the false hope of the day before. We should have known what the day would hold when the discussion of the ride went like this:

How long are we going to ride?

Don't know. A while.

Where are we going?

Don't know. Where do you want to go?

I don't care where we go, this is one of my first rides of the year so I don't want to go too long.

Don't worry. It'll be fine.

The temperature hovered between 32 - 37F, but there was dearth of sunshine and an abundance of intermittent winds that kept it feeling colder than the stated temperature. Despite this, we headed out and decided to ride towards Cheney. At each intersection where we could decide to go farther or less far, however, Rider 1 or Rider 2 optioned for the "farther" direction. My friend Bob used to like to add a side trip past a group of unrestrained Rotweilers to every trip, no matter what part of town. On one point on Sunday I would have taken Rotweilers over yet another series of rollers, like the ones both behind and ahead of us in this picture.

From Rides

That group is surprisingly good looking, isn't it?

We finally made our way out and back, taking about 2 1/2 hours and covering almost 50 miles in less than favorable conditions. I made the mistake of taking only one water bottle and not eating anything. Here is a picture of the post-ride coffee with Rider 2 offering insightful analysis to someone off-camera. I think he was saying, "And then Nelson Vails and Kevin Bacon were racing to see who could deliver the package first . . ." The most surprising thing about this picture is that I was not laying on the floor to take it. I managed to stay upright and pretend that I was sentient despite being completely knackered.

From Rides

Speaking of sentience, I am thinking about taking up ice fishing. Rider 1 made it sound warmer and more appealing than the ride we took.

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