My Bike is a Toy

~60 miles this morning. Dirt loop from town. Usual suspects +1 very tall friend of a friend. No wind shadow behind him, as the wind went under his torso and into mine.

In the background - a Custom Ti IF cross bike for a tall rider. Paul Racer Brakes, Shimano something, stiff wheels! - up front - my very small bike.

I had a spoke nipple pop on the way to our start – which happened to be a friends garage. Field replacement and upside down bike truing stand and we were rolling on time. Now to track down why this wheel was hand built with aluminum nipples… when I spec’d brass…

Pedal on Dave…

A Vermont cyclist lost his life today doing what he loved – riding his bike and being ‘out there’ in the wild. Dave Blumenthal, who rode our Champlain 300k last year, was descending a pass near the Colorado / Wyoming border while racing the Tour Divide. He struck a pickup truck head on and suffered serious head injuries. He has a wife and young daughter. More information at the TD website.

Dave heading down the causeway on the 300k
Dave (in yellow) aboard the bike ferry, with friends and bikes.

He wrote this on the last post from his blog before he left for the Tour Divide:

I also tried my best to be there for Linnaea, soon to be 4. She will miss me in ways an adult cannot truly appreciate, and I hope that our love will not be weakened by my absence. I hope that local friends will come to play, visit, and support Lexi and Linnaea while I’m gone, so that their time without me is happy and fulfilling.

I do not know Dave’s family – I’ve only seen them out and about in Montpelier on a chance meeting at Positive Pie. I’ve followed his blog and rode with him for a bit at the start of the 300k last year… but from those brief encounters and from his writing I could tell he was a good man and someone whom had a deep spirit for adventure. Reading his last post brings tears to my eyes – my biggest fear when I head out on the road is that I will leave behind a loving wife and a little one… and knowing that the things we do – whatever they may be – can all come to an end so quickly.

Pedal On Dave, and may your family and friends find Peace.

VT Brevets – Press

We snagged a bit of press for our local Brevet series. Check out the article over at Seven Days.

*Note, the author did a fair job of translating our rambling interview into print. The one niggle I have is that I stressed the meditative aspects of long distance riding were similar but not a replacement for the experiences I have had while sitting. My limited experience through the Rochester Zen Center was inspiring and humbling. Zen is Zen. There is no substitute for practice, but there are many aspects of life that can be practice – working meditation, mindfulness, etc. To me this translates to the bike – when the mind clears and the focus is on the present. If only one could live an entire life in the present and mindful.

Father’s Day

A good day. Trying to keep things in perspective – but I struggle often with where my riding, free time, and fitness have gone. In the end – I wouldn’t trade back. We spent a family day on the bikes Saturday to the Farmer’s Market and then to American Flatbread for lunch followed by Ben & Jerry’s on Church St. A nap on the way home for the little one let mama and dada score some easy cruising miles.

Monday afternoon Ava finally decided it was time to ride her scoot bike all by herself. She’s out on it now with our nanny, cruising up and down the sidewalk. Life is good.

NERds VT 100k

We had 20 riders start the first RUSA sanctioned brevet in Vermont – the VT 100k Cafe Cruise. Lots of fun. Thanks to all participants, and special thanks to Old Spokes Home for providing us with a launch and landing pad. The early morning bagels did the trick to get folks going.

Start photo compliments Chris McCown @ Old Spokes Home

If we handed out awards, we would give them to:

  • 2 riders from the NYC area who road tripped to experience some good VT backroads and fine cafe food (stops at On the Rise and The Village Cup)
  • A tandem team who came over from the lakes region of NH for the ride.
  • 1 rider from Montpelier, VT (40 miles+ or more one way) who rode to the 7am start @ Old Spokes Home, finished the event, then rode home. (He’s doing the NJ 600k this week)
  • 2 riders who battled a mechanical and made it in just at the buzzer.
  • Climbing Stage Rd. - up and up on the dirt. Photo compliments Chris McCown @ Old Spokes Home
    Finish photo compliments Chris McCown @ Old Spokes Home

    First riders were in @ 4h20m from the start.
    Last rider in just at the buzzer after fighting a tube / tire problem.

    Getting it Back

    More please. Of this, when I didn’t blink to stay up late at a bonfire, ride a century the next day, then drive 6 hours home. Or this. Or this. Life is about balance. I need to recenter about the bike, for sure.

    I just jumped off the coffee wagon, something I do on a semi regular basis now it seems. I’m getting my head sorted out. Mood is up (when I’m not in a sans-coffee induced stupor). Weight still needs to drop by 20 ‘pregnancy’ pounds (most of it was gone last fall before I blew out my back and my foot). And I need to claw back my fitness. Intensity needs to climb, as I slowly get a base back under me since getting the pneumonia out of my lungs.

    It will come. I’ve been here before. Mind over matter. And then maybe I’ll get some of it back. Feeling like you can climb mountains all day long. Riding all day long and then some. Floating on the pedals. Chasing down your friends that took off uphill. I remember. Gotta work on getting it back. The clock cannot be turned back. But the body can adapt.