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The "Crank"





In light of our spring expectations I think we have all been adversely affected to some extent by the recent weather.  Slight windows of sunshine prompt the texts and emails to start flying.  But once on the road we find ourselves at the mercy of the times as storm fronts roll in. 

This is how I encountered a lone rider in a complete whiteout heading to Ophir last Saturday.  As we pulled up in our truck, I realized it was Noah battling the elements.  “Man, I’m jealous” I said as my wife rolled down the window.  “I texted you!” said Noah, then I looked at my phone and realized that I was sleeping on the couch most of the afternoon and therefore missed the message.

Oz, shared a similar story of starting the climb up the Monument in GJ in somewhat decent weather only to find himself battling vicious elements and flirting with episodes of hypothermia. 

We live in the mountains and as the first ride report showed, the meetings between Time and Weather are often beyond our control and we find ourselves playing the role of powerless spectators.  We make the most of it by watching the radar closely, but once out, we are at the mercy of our circumstances.

Going into a situation with great and valiant intentions only to find myself at the mercy of unexpected turn of events is nothing new to me. 

Growing up in the Midwest I learned early on that Reality never cared about what I thought and had no bias inclination whatsoever in meeting my Expectations.  Throughout my growing up, an interesting pattern ensued where often my Expectations would “zig” while Reality would “zag”.

Perhaps the most memorable instance happened to me in my teenage years as I recall my heart being completely captivated by the girl of my dreams.  We were on our summer break and a group of us were at my best friend’s house.  His family lived in a nice neighborhood and so their house became our basecamp for the summer.  My friend’s dad was a successful professional and jolly as could be.  Always in a good mood and almost like a little kid, he would burst out in laughter and make some off the cuff remark which, needless to say, made him extremely cool in our teenage eyes. 

His wife, Lana on the other hand was quite the opposite.  An appendage to her husband’s success, she was always distant towards us, choosing to identify herself with high society bridge games at the local country club and fake tan applications that left her legs looking very orange.  Our teenage group and she would keep clear of each other and should any discourse be required of her, it was always cold, sour and short.  I recall the convincing feeling I had that each morning for breakfast, Lana would pour skim milk over a bowl of rusty nails and that would be the source of her sourness throughout the day.  How else could someone so naturally take the human feelings of warmth, nurture and passion and mold them into the prickly demeanor of a cactus?!  Beyond me…

Well, on this summer evening, as we were loitering about, the girl I was in love with and I decided to get to know each other a little better.  Overwhelmed by teenage drives, we went to my friend’s room, put on Pearl Jam and slowly started smooching.  Hee Hee… The gal and I were enraptured by each other’s company basking in the ambiance, as love floated on Eddie Vedder’s lyrics which permeated every corner of the room.  Slowly the ropes mooring us were cut and we drifted out into that open sea of infatuation as the waves of love pushed us further and further from the shore.

All of the sudden and without any warning, the door to the room flew open and the lights turned on as my friend’s mom, Lana, marched in with the sensibility of a storm trooper.  Killing the vibe, she triumphantly stood above us and asked “What are you guys doing?” 

Now, most questions are posed to receive an answer.  In this situation I doubt there was any sincerity in the nature of her question and I further doubt that she actually wanted me to answer her, as it was very plain and clear what was going on and by having turned the lights on, little was left to explain.

She stood there aloof and victorious watching me squirm, and I, my face stinging from such embarrassment, sizzled under her gaze.  I simply wanted to disappear somewhere… anywhere.

Well, that was that.  Somehow, after that episode, I hung in there and ended up marrying the gal I was with and she has continued to be the woman of my dreams for the last 20+ years. 

As to Lana, I suspect she has further polished her fake tan applications as well as her acidic demeanor.

In my opinion lessons in cycling parallel life lessons but in slightly more compressed periods of time.  The weather may look nice, then turn bad, then back to nice again.  If you stay in it, you will end up in situations you hadn’t planned on attending, but hang in there chap, and you will catch it on the upturn.

The last two weeks we have had some unpleasant forecasts.  Tuesdays around 5:23pm heavy clouds were hanging and the roads were wet.  Two weeks ago, while people were sitting around talking about why they were not planning on going out, Max pulls up and skids in the gravel.  Wool Jersey and a Saturn Timex rain fly, he joins me to what ended up being one of the best rides up Redhawk under clear skies.  I learned a few things about this guy who is so passionate about cycling that no bad weather will hold him back.  In no specific order here is my abbreviated description of Max:

Vermont, Burning Man, Seattle to New York Ride, Ski Trip to Telluride, TeleRoubaix, Durango Associations with Russel, Bailey, Monty, Joiner (my old boss), Steel Frame with Deep Dish Zipps, Inset Drops Similar to the Banned Spinacis, Fearless Descender, Lover of All Bikes.

Last Tuesday had a similar scenario, with big cold drops of rain falling close to riding time.  Oz send me a text saying “I’ve been riding in the rain the last 4 times so what’s another?”  Ha!  Love it!  We ended up heading to Lizardhead and back under completely clear skies.  Good Times!

BTW there is a speed trap coming down Lawson so slow down.  Noah and I hit a double number that looked like an “S” with a “4” after it but couldn’t quite tell what the actual reading was…  could have been 24?

The road isn’t the best so be careful folks and as always please obey the speed limits.