This weekend had a bit of excitement, a bit of drama, and a bit of everything in between. Mostly, though, there was an incredible amount of mud at Sunday's HPCX, the ninth race in the MAC series.
I decided to race HPCX on the tails of a very successful Saratoga Spa Cyclocross, and then girded my resolve to race after having a good night last Wednesday. It seemed to be a fairly obvious decision: I was enjoying a wave of late season fitness, and I've been having fun on my Focus test bike, so, what the hell? Besides, I was already going into the city to help a friend celebrate her birthday (and Halloween),* and the race was in the general direction of home. I even goaded Travis into coming out and working in the pit for me. He got some photos, which I'm looking forward to sharing soon.
But, there were some complications. First of all, as predicted, snow began falling on Saturday afternoon, and accumulated throughout the region overnight. Then, it got warmer on Sunday in many places, causing said snow to melt throughout the day. The result, as far as the 'cross race was concerned, was a variety of gooey, slippery, squishy and otherwise treacherous surfaces -- all of it at a cool, liquid 40 degrees, not quite frozen, but pretty damn close. There was a brief stretch of pavement, and a few sections of path that remained hard, but for most of the course, we were racing through a river of mud. No uphill was rideable, and downward slopes were only navigable by means of locating the most solid-looking of ruts, and trying to guide the bike down by keeping the rear wheel from sliding too far to one side or the other. I found that I could kind of pedal on level ground, but that in a lot of places, I only went forward one pedal stroke for every two strokes. It was maddening. I've raced in mud before, but never anything like that.
After starting on a brief, paved uphill stretch, I ran for what felt like five minutes before I was able to even get on my bike, and even then, found that I was quickly off it again, trying to run. The relatively tenacious Continental tires on Focus quickly got packed with mud, leaving me without any traction to speak of. Shifting lasted a bit longer, but the cassette soon became too jammed to work reliably. I had a Blue Norcross SL with Travis in the pit, and I briefly considered switching bikes, but the Hutchinson tires on that bike surely would have provided even less traction, and that was not going to be the ticket on this day.
So, I kept slogging it out. In all, I think I rode three or four laps, and avoided being lapped by just moments. The greatest tragedy of it all was that it was a course that I think would have suited me very well in dry conditions -- it seemed that there was a lot of climbing and sections on which I could have applied some power. Oh well. Perhaps it'll be drier next year -- if the park wasn't so ruined that we 'crossers are banned and told never to return.
I did learn something, though: so-called 'cross geometry, with a high bottom bracket, does make some sense when you're pushing through mud that's encroaching on your hubs.
After the race, Travis helped me clean off the bike, while I wiped the prodigious mud off my self, and threw my ruined kit, shoes, helmet and glasses into the trunk before we headed out for food.
Back in Emmaus, the storm had downed tons of trees, leaving the city dark, and my electrically heated apartment at about the temperatures of a meat locker (I know this because I used my meat thermometer to measure the air). Clearly, I did what any sensible bike racer would do in this situation, and found the nearest hose, using it to remove as much mud as I could from my dirty kit. Then, I unloaded the car by the light of my headlamp, wrung some more mud out of clothes in the kitchen sink, took a cold shower that failed to thoroughly clean the mud out of my hair, ate some summer sausage and cheese by candle light (electric stove, too), then blew out the candles and got into bed, where I feel into a deep sleep at about 10 -- the earliest I've gone to sleep in months.
Today, the office was closed, so I slept in before decamping to Erin's mother's place, with Erin and Meghan, where we enjoyed the heat, electricity, and left over Halloween candy. Later on, Professer Hostsetter schooled as all in Scrabble. Arriving back at home a little after 8, I found that the power was back on, but that the heat was not (I hadn't turned it on yet this season). Hours later, I can no longer see my breath in here. So, although many of the roads are still a mess, life is returning to normal -- whatever that is.
*I successfully drank a lot, ate poorly, slept hardly at all, and endured jeers from my friends after I opted not to wear a skimpy costume, in favor of something warmer, if uninspired -- "Was he always this lame?" asked one friend upon meeting Amanda, who arrived dressed as Mini Mouse ("yes," was the answer, obviously). But remember, it was snowing! I believe that I made a good decision, especially as there will be plenty of later opportunities to embarrass myself more fully in the future. Also, the drive from here to the city took about 50-percent longer than usual, due to the crappy road conditions and shitty drivers who insisted on crawling along at 20 miles her hour for no apparent reason. I know that not everyone drives a four door sports car like I do, but it's not like we've never seen snow before!
Monday, October 31, 2011
This weekend had a bit of excitement, a bit of drama, and a bit of everything in between. Mostly, though, there was an incredible amount of mud at Sunday's HPCX, the ninth race in the MAC series.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I'm learning that a key thing to successful riding 'cross bikes at speed is a willingness to let the bike to what it wants to do -- to an extent. Hold onto the bars too tightly and your own rigid arms can lead to the bike bouncing around too much, possibly moving you off your line. When you relax, though, the bike is more free to flow over the bumps and ruts, sticking to its line.
Sadly for me, it's not easy to undo years of training myself to stay rigid on the bike while grasping the lever hoods in technical situations. I found last night, while racing Fifth Street 'Cross, that a beer led me to a much more relaxed stance on the bike. More than just a social lubricant, one beer seemed to loosen my elbows and hands. Read: I had an OK first race, sitting for most of the four-lap affair just behind the leading quintet, fighting for sixth place. A little bobble near the end of the fourth lap cost me the battle for sixth place.
Then, after cooling down, I applied said lubricant, and when the second race started, I somehow found myself riding at the front very early in the race, and seemed to be turning much better than usual, flowing effortlessly around the sinewy turns. Of course, "much better than usual," is still pretty awful, and I'm sure that I managed to annoy all of the much faster racers around me -- both with my going really slowly through turns (no matter how fast I thought I was going) and my accelerations every time the course was uphill or straight. That's basically the only move I have in a 'cross race, I had to play to my strengths, you know?
In the end, after one racer flatted, and another bobbled, I wound up racing in a group of four, along with Ryan, Jasen and Steve. At some point, Jasen and Ryan got sick of my antics and pulled away in the turns. Steve tried to come around me on the last uphill drag, but I successfully held him off and made it to the line in third. My fist 'cross podium, ever. My previous best effort was that time John out ran me at the Bethlehem Cup, and that was in 2008. It's been a long dry spell for 'cross results, indeed!
Even better, I capitalized on a three-rider pile up in the dash-for-cash, and took the $20 prize at the end of the night -- and promptly spent it on a pulled pork sandwich at Volpes. If there's a better way to celebrate, I'd like to know what it is!
So, that was fun. I'm doing a real 'cross race on Sunday, and will hope to find some way to loosen up, without resorting to drink. After the activities planned for Saturday evening, I have a feeling I may not want to drink much on Sunday. And, drinking before a race that cost me more than $10 feel like a bad practice.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Bestowing awards upon deserving racers
Even better when they're attractive and fast!
In the parlance of these times, I straight ran out of bandwidth last week. Besides the usual stuff going on at work, things were ramping up for Spa:CX, and I was suddenly out of time for anything. Strangely, or perhaps not, it was a pretty joyous sensation, to be so totally consumed and distracted by a task outside of the usual, day-to-day stuff.
The first part of the week got me settled into a steady rhythm: Spend the day at work, doing work stuff and checking our bike reg page every few minutes to watch the number of riders increase. I'd come home after work and cook dinner, then spend a few hours exchanging emails with John about the race, in which we'd rehash well-trod details. There wasn't really much for us to do -- all of the preparations were set, we just needed to wait until it was time to drive stakes and assign numbers.
On Thursday, I left work, loaded the car, and made the trip up to Saratoga. We spent Friday overseeing the first of the set-up duties: A big, 20x40 tent, and prota potties. We made some adjustments to the course, installed barriers, and parceled out prizes. It was all very fun. Later, I assigned numbers, then John and I ate our combined weight in pizza while assembling registration binders. It was a bit of work, but all part of the fun of promoting a successful event.
The real work began on Saturday, when a crew of volunteers joined us to drive stakes and run tape. The course went up fairly quickly, and after a few drinks at the end of the day, and some time spent riding the course in jeans and without a helmet, I convinced myself that racing was probably even a good idea -- provided everything went well.
Sunday started out early, with some more volunteers arriving to the venue in the pre-dawn dark. Registration went smoothly, t-shirt sales went smoothly, the first races went off more-or-less on time, and kids made use of both the kids' course and bounce-house all day. Can you ask for a better combination? Probably not.
I showed what bike racers are all about by simultaneously giving an interview to a local paper and changing into my kit, and then proceeded to embarrass myself for an hour. Two things I know about racing 'cross: those damn pedals are hard to clip into, and standing on your feet for three days while drinking heavily is not a recipe for successful racing. About halfway through, I got lapped by the leading trio, and then just about everyone else. Forgetting that others were actually racing while I was just there to please my adoring fans, I took a beer hand up, and nearly took out someone lapping me while I concentrated on drinking instead of riding. Oops. Sorry!
Promoter's prerogative, or whatever.
The race ended, and despite crashing twice and having enough bobbles and stutter steps to rival the entire C race, I managed not to be last. So, that's something.
Also, the course came down quickly with lots of help, and the race committee ended the day basking in the sun and enjoying some of New York's finest. Wayne, you may not have won, but you earned our respect. Jenny and Aurora, I can't understate how cool it is that we had two Saratoga winners this year!
On Monday, as I oversaw the removal of the potties and tent (and spent hours trying to make the balance sheets balance), John pointed out that work just wasn't as fun without our big extracurricular going on simultaneously. It really was true, though I didn't feel it until today, when I went back to work (to a mountain of stuff to catch up on!) Good thing there's next year to look forward too.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
People typically talk about internal clocks in terms of biology: "It was an OK date, but I could just hear her clock ticking," or, "My clock just wakes me up after five and a half hours, I'm used to it," etc.
For me, the internal ticking has mostly to do with real estate: I've lived at my present address for eleven months. About three weeks ago, my internal alarm clock started ringing, and earlier today, I decided I could push "snooze" no longer. Besides, someone spilled beer on my white carpet during Saturday's parade party; it's time to move--otherwise I'd have to clean the carpet.
Just about every year since graduating college (and during college, of course) I've packed my shit into bags and boxes, bribed friends with large vehicles and schlepped across town or the Mid Atlantic. My various moves have been pretty well documented here, of course. What I haven't really written about is why I've spent so much time bouncing between locales.
Usually, it's been about necessity: I moved from my first apartment in Saratoga across town when I broke up with my live-in girlfriend, and could no longer afford the rent. A little more than a year later, I moved out of a modest two-bedroom in a great neighborhood when I broke up with a wonderful room mate, who was moving across the country, and couldn't bear the pain of trying to find someone else to take up her half of the rent. Downsizing seemed prudent.
Then, of course, came the move to Emmaus, for my job. Again, as much as I would have liked to stay in Saratoga while working in Pennsylvania, commuting four hours each way to work would REALLY have cut into my riding time.
I was pretty lucky to find a nice apartment overlooking the triangle in Emmaus, where I can keep an eye on the burgeoning Occupy Emmaus movement, and track folks going in and out of both the Golden Trigger and the ice cream parlor. It's pretty sweet. But, I've always hated the aforementioned white carpet, and my pathetic attempt to obscure part of it with an area rug has proven futile. More importantly, the huge, lovely windows that sold me on the place when I first saw it (so much light!) don't keep the cold out very well, or keep the heat in. In other words, this is not really an affordable place for me to live, especially in the winter.
I've been looking around a bit, and will need to kick the search into high gear in the next few weeks. Just today, I saw two apartments a block away, in the same building as Armetta's and South Mountain Cycles -- a major plus! But, one would leave my bikes in the living room (a major flaw!), and had no laundry. The other would be a great place -- if I could afford it on my own. With a room mate, the bikes would again be taking up precious couch space. And, again both have those white carpets. Why do land lords think we want that ugly crap?
So, the search continues. I'm a bit hamstrung by two factors: My paltry housing budget and my insistence on being able to ride to work in less than 10 minutes. Finding the right place is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but if you see anything for rent in or near to Emmaus, please let me know!
Oh, and by the way, the next place I live? I'm hoping to stay a while. I mean, I've said it before, but I mean it this time--I'll just have to figure out some other reason to go through all my crap and throwing all everything I don't use next year, a process usually mandated by moving.
Monday, October 17, 2011
I've been so excited about Spa:CX over the past few days that it's been hard to think about anything else, let alone to focus on any tasks not directly related to the race. And, while we're on the topic, you should probably go ahead and register here. Buy a T-shirt, while you're at it!
Things that I either did not do this weekend, or substantially delayed doing due to my distracted state of mind:
-Vacuumed my apartment after a Halloween Parade party here on Saturday
-Folded my laundry
-Paid my corporate Amex bill (actually, I should probably do that).
-Looked for a place to move to when my lease runs out next month
-Etc. I think you get the picture.
But, there's a lot to be excited about. Improvements over the 2010 version of Spa:CX include:
-More prize money for elite men and women, plus bonus prizes for the top cat 3 man and cat 4 women in the open races -- thanks to our sponsor, Bicycling Magazine!
-Course tape and Kid's prizes courtesy of another sponsor, Shimano!
-Even more kid's prizes from our sponsor Clif Bar!
-Improved course. Last year, we thought we had a difficult run up. Then everyone rode it. Not this year, friends. We've also added about three minutes to the lap, for your enjoyment.
-Better food. You liked last year's wood-fired pizzas? Then you'll love Lilly and the Rose and the Fortunate Cup!
-The most-awesome T-shirts in NYCross.
-Better inter-state representation. At least one PA resident (other than me) will be present and racing Sunday.
-Step-in stakes (Well, we had them last year, but now we own half of one-third of them, so that's cool. It's a long story. Buy me a PBR some time and I'll tell it to you.)
-A registration tent! You won't get wet while signing your USAC waiver (OK, this one's mostly for me and John and the other volunteers, but we're still pretty excited about it).
All that, in addition to last year's racing action, kids' fun, and wheel-sucking sand. Don't miss out!! (Two exclamation points on one sentence, you know it's going to be good!!!)
Now that I've got some of my unabashed excitement out of my system, here's a very formal press release, which was released to the press earlier this evening. I wanted to post this before my cell started ringing off the hook with interview requests (any second now....). See you Sunday!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saratoga Spa Cyclocross sets the stage for racing action and family fun at Saratoga Race Course
250 athletes, 350 spectators expected for third-annual event
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Beginning at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, cyclocross racers from New York, New England, and beyond will converge on the NYRA Lowlands, on the grounds of the historic Saratoga Race Course for the third-annual Saratoga Spa Cyclocross.
Cyclocross is a style of bicycle racing that evolved in northern Europe, as a way to keep bicycle racers competing through the fall and into winter by moving them off of roads and onto muddy paths and open fields.
Racing places demands on both a competitor’s fitness and dexterity. Cyclists using specialized bicycles with road-style handlebars, but wider, knobbed tires will complete multiple laps on a mile-long course that will force them to navigate obstacles, jump over barriers, and to dismount and run up hill while carrying their bike. With a course marked by tape, fans will have their choice of vantage points – exciting fast stretches on open terrain or on the run-up, where racers will look for a cheer (or jeer) to get them over the top of the climb.
One of the highlights of the day will be a free kid’s race will take place at noon, open to children younger then 10 on a cyclocross-style course. A kid’s practice course will be set up in the expo area for children to ride throughout the day. A bouncy-bounce will also entertain kids while parents take in the racing action (and lunch).
True to the best European tradition, Spa:Cx will be a complete spectator experience, with food available on site from Lilly and the Rose and the Fortunate Cup cafe. An industry expo will feature displays from Serotta Competition Bicycles, Luna Chix, Gore Bike Wear, Sigma Sports (cycling computers and lights), K. Bedford Custom bikes, and HandleBra (locally-made leather handlebar wrap), PrestaFlate Cycles, Aurora Massage Therapy, and the Saratoga Mountain Bike Association.
“After an exciting year at our new venue in 2010, we’ve made improvement to the course that will enhance both the racer-, and spectator experiences,” said promoter John Onderdonk. “Sand is expected to be a pivotal factor in high-level races in coming seasons, and we’ve got lots of it to get Spa:CX racers ready! Best of all, our expo area is located at the bottom of a huge, natural amphitheater – a spectator standing in the expo area eating lunch will be able to see most of the action from one spot.”
Athletes will compete throughout the day in categories broken out by age or ability. Races for children 10-14, and beginner’s categories for adults begin at 9:15 a.m., to be followed by races for master’s athletes competing in 35+, 45+, and 55+ categories at 10 a.m. Intermediate men will follow at 11 a.m. Elite women will race at 12:30 p.m., elite men close out the day at 1:30 p.m. Registration is available on Sunday, or pre-register to avoid a $5 late fee at www.bikereg.com, search for “Saratoga.”
“Saratoga Race Course proved to be an excellent venue for our race in 2010, and we’re really excited to return this year,” said promoter Andrew Bernstein. “By hosting events like ours, the race course shows that it is a vital part of our community, even outside the famed Saratoga meet. We couldn’t have planned a successful event without the track’s generous support, and that of our sponsors, and we are looking forward to a great day on Sunday!”
Sponsors include Elevate Cycles, Blue Sky Bicycles, Bicycling Magazine, Bonacio Construction, Sigma Sports, Gore Bike Wear, Chomper Body, Aurora Massage Therapy, the Saratoga YMCA, and Stone Industries.
This year, we are also proud to have partnered with two charitable agencies that work local and nationally. For the second year, we will raise funds for the Backstretch Employee Service Team, which provides services to backstretch workers at the Spa, and other tracks around the country. This year, we are also pleased to announce that we will make a donation to Team Billy, a Saratoga-based not-for-profit that raises funds to support research into brain tumors.
“Thank you for including Team Billy as one of the recipient charities for the Saratoga Spa Cyclocross. Team Billy has funded over $1,250,000 in brain tumor research through the Billy Grey Research Chair at the National Brain Tumor Society. We welcome interested riders and walkers to join us next Spring on Sunday, May 20, 2012 for a 50-, 25-, 10- mile bike ride and a 3-mile walk at High Rock Park in Saratoga Springs (see teambilly.org for more information). In the meantime, good luck to all the participants at the Spa on the 23rd!” said Ken Grey.
For media inquires, please contact Andrew Bernstein at 917.414.8424 or Bernstein.email@example.com. Interview and photo opportunities are available. For more information please visit our blog: www.spacx.blogspot.com.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I did a good job hurting myself tonight; and not just in the sense of putting in a good honest effort on the first night of Fifth Street 'Cross (although I did that), but also in the sense of riding hard on an unfamiliar bike, and now my hip and back hurt a lot.
Unfamiliar bike? My prep time before tonight's race consisted of taking the bike off a hook in the Bicycling workshop, adjusting the saddle height, and installing my pedals. Then I rode from the office to the Emmaus Recycling Center on Kline's Lane, stopping briefly at home on the way.
When I got to the race, I'd learned four things about the bike: The fork was stiff enough to resist chatter pretty well; the bottom bracket was pretty high; there was too much air in the tires; and the saddle was too far forward. Fortunately, I had a multitool along to adjust the saddle position, and you don't need a tool to let air out of the tires, FYI.
It was still light when I arrived at the recycling center, which marked, I think, the first time I'd ever been there in daylight. Night falls fast these days, however, so we all switched on our lights and the race started. I'd seeded myself near the back of the 25 riders who showed up, because it's more fun to pass slower riders than to be passed by faster riders, or to get in their way.
I did manage to pass some people, and I daresay, the second lap of the first three-lap race was some of the best 'cross I've ever raced. I even passed Matt, who possess impressive handling skills. Of course, we were solidly in the middle of the field, but it's still awesome to feel like you're racing. Heartbreakingly close to the end of the race, I had a pretty bad bobble, and both Matt and Taus passed me. I managed to get ahead of Taus by the finish, but Matt out-meh'd me to some unknown placing.
The second race started better. Since the first race was three laps, I felt safe in assuming the second race was only two laps. You know, because the second race is always shorter than the first. Except for tonight. So, I raced two really good laps of 'cross, passing a lot of people and making reasonable turns (for a roadie, in the mud, anyway). Then I got to the line thinking I'd ridden a great race, only to be told that there was one more lap. At that point, I became completely unglued, as if riding one more lap was the equivalent of being told to move a pallet of cinder blocks across town, by hand.
But really, I fell totally to pieces: I was taking all the wrong lines, loosing my front wheel, and then, insult of insults, I forgot to complete the last turn in the candlesticks, and crashed into a bush. Yup, gotta watch those bushes, they really jump out of you. Needless to say, Bowman passed me; Matt passed me; Taus passed me; even though he was presumably at home and not racing, Yozell passed me; and finally some toddler on a trike passed me. It was still fun.
At the end of the night's racing, I drew the follow conclusions: 1) As awesome as the X-Fire is, the Focus Mares CX2 is better suited to my preferences, with its lower bottom bracket. 2) Riding a new bike for the first time at a race is a recipe for extra pain in the joints, brakes that need to be toed in, and poorly adjusted shifting. 3) Cat 4 'cross skills + cat 2 fitness, divided by two = Cat 3, which, incidentally, is my 'cross category. 4) The effect of applying Rapha's Winter Embrocation is fairly pleasant, and it's not at all uncomfortable when you forget that you've just applied embro and then go to adjust your package. However, the effect on your legs (or, presumably, on your balls) is intensified when you slam into the ground. Also, I forgot to remove the embro before getting into the hot shower. Ouch.
All that being said, I'm looking forward to next week!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Then, my watch would help hide this ugly beast
I'm glad it's there to remind me, but don't need it to be on display
It was really warm in Emmaus today (for Oct. 10, anyway), so I wore shorts to work -- this is a chief benefit of our informal workplace, especially in summer, or summer-like weather. Also, I spent the morning running around moving and washing bikes, so shorts felt especially appropriate.
I'm not sure why, but for some reason I got caught up looking at my left shin, which bears a line of five small scars leftover from my crash at the Tour of Sommerville. These scars were caused by a chainring that bit into my skin in that pile up. At the time, and still now, the wounds, though they bled profusely into my sock, seemed minor when compared to my shattered wrist.In fact, I didn't even notice I was bleeding until a passerby pointed it out to me as I sat chatting with EMTs about my other issues. Even the scars seem relatively minor when compared with the surgical scar on my wrist, which is unfortunately located in I-tried-to-kill-myself-and-knew-what-I-was-doing position.
They are now small and gray, arcing across my skin
Incidentally, a matching set on my right shin, from 2006, has mostly faded
And yet, there are my scars, slashing across the front of my leg. Cycling forges the body of all who dedicate themselves to it: Twiggish arms and sculpted legs, slouching shoulders on many of us, and boldly contrasting tan lines. Then there are the unfortunate consequences of the sport; the blemishes and imperfections that come as a result of painful encounters with the ground and machines.
While not generally considered attractive, there's no denying that a scar stands for more than just regrown dermis -- there's a story behind each one. At this point, the story behind my shin is pretty well-trod, the large, splotchy gray mess on my knee is the product of not one, but three crashes that ripped the same skin open again and again. The larger discolored patch on my hip has been similarly disturbed multiple times. The oblong splotch on the top of my wrist is, fortunately, mostly obscured by hair. And now that I'm trying to think about each time I've rent my skin, I find that I can't recall each incident -- just the truly awful crashes, the ones that I hope never to repeat.
In that way, I'm grateful for my scars -- they serve as reminders of past experiences, and hopefully of lessons learned.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
It doesn't matter how much you ride, you're still susceptible to careless errors.
One day last week I rode to work on my Champion System, as I often do. In fact, I've done the ride so many times (nearly every day) that I sometimes fail to think about what I'm doing -- just pedal and go. There really aren't any challenges along my mile-long route to work. No real hills, no bad pavement, and not even that many cars.
My commute ends with a few pedal strokes across the office lawn to, then a bump up onto a concrete pad in front of the bike room door. Then I hang up my bike, roll down my pant leg, and march upstairs. One day last week, after an otherwise unremarkable ride to the office, I forgot to lift my bike's front wheel onto the concrete pad, and must have had my weight carelessly forward -- instead of rolling smoothly from the grass to the concrete the bike stopped dead, bucking me off the saddle.
I was wearing sandals, so the force of stopping my forward momentum became slightly painful -- to say nothing of my crotch hitting the stem and the handlebar catching on my legs. The worst of it, though, was the saddle coming up and hitting my tailbone, right above my ass crack. I wasn't going fast, but it was still enough translated momentum to make the saddle come up with enough speed to hurt, a lot. A week later, it's still pretty tender.
The first thing I did upon realizing that I'd landed on my feet was to look around to see if anyone had seen my less-than-graceful stumble and dismount. Fortunately, no one had, so I don't have to endure tales of my poor handling. I just have to endure a tenderized coccyx to remind me.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
In my life as a reporter, there were days when I couldn't go grocery shopping or to the coffee shop without hearing from some reader who either wanted to compliment a story, or tell me how to better do my job.
At times, it was helpful. At other times it was a pain in the ass and made me wish my work was less public. Such was the life of a reporter in a small town with a highly engaged public. I still live in a small town with a highly engaged public, and while many more people read Bicycling than read The Saratogian, and I have much less contact with any of them.
So, it was, I thought, pretty remarkable that nearly 1,000 readers showed up to ride around the Lehigh Valley today with the Bicycling Magazine staff -- despite the rain and generally crappy weather. In addition to being a fun ride, it was a good chance to hear from a few readers. Those who I met were enthusiastic about what we're doing, but were still willing to share their thoughts on future directions.
So, thanks everyone for a great ride! Of course, I wouldn't have objected to better weather.