4.17.2010

A Sunday in Hell (perhaps)

Fabian Canceralla celebrates on the velodrome after crushing the field at Paris-Roubaix last week. I will not look anything like this tomorrow, and may in fact end up considerably dirtier.

I'm riding the Waterbury "Gravel Grinder", an annual fundraising ride to benefit local trail networks. This is the third time this event has been held: For the previous two events, the weather was cooperative, and the main challenge was pedalling my heavy and undergeared 1x9 mountain bike over the local hills, especially quite early in the season.

2010, however, will be different. It is wet and cold, and 28 hilly miles promises to be a struggle against the elements. There was snow here this weekend and the forecast for Sunday morning is not promising. I haven't raced a bike in five years but I do remember racing in bad weather and do not recall it as being a particularly pleasant experience.

I still have some embrocation (hot cream and waterproofing for the skin) from my racing days and will be slathering some on my legs before heading out into the cold and wet.

The stuff is powerfully fragrant and the aroma (capsicum) will definitely hurl me back in time to when I regularly pinned on race numbers: The remberance of races past, or something like that (stealing from Proust).

Finally, I made a video of the 2008 Gravel Grinder ride (here) which is just about my only claim to fame (or recognition) among the local cycling community. Somewhat disappointly I have found that mountain bikers seem to be even more clique-ish and insular than road cyclists, where bonds are forged on group rides, in local racing series, and travelling to races -- at least in my experience.

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