Full Lycra Jacket

Souvenirs of the 2019 Santa Fe Century. I should’ve gotten 666 for a bib number, but the organization has apparently forgotten about me.

The dozens of balloons dotting the western sky looked like fat exclamation points, the kind that nmroads.com uses for traffic alerts, as I swooped down Tramway toward Interstate 25 and the Santa Fe Century.

It was too bloody early, the weather was screwy, and I had no idea what I’d need in the way of kit to do a rolling 50-miler south of the City Different. So I brought everything, and in some cases two of everything.

And as usual, I chose unwisely.

In my defense, the menu was extensive. Short-sleeve and long-sleeve jerseys. Bib shorts and bib knickers. Tights. Leg warmers (two pair). Arm warmers (likewise). Knee warmers. Low-rise and high-rise socks. Full-finger and short-finger gloves. Bandana and tuque. Even a light jacket, the need for which often causes me to leave the jacket hanging in the closet and the bike in the garage while I skulk about the house, muttering to myself around mouthfuls of this and that.

Decisions, decisions.

In the end, when I linked up with Khal, Pat and Andy at the start-finish, they were all wearing jackets. Uh oh. It being far too late for me to stay indoors and eat everything, I likewise pulled on a jacket, along with bib shorts, leg warmers, high-rise socks, long-sleeve under-jersey, and short-sleeve Mad Dog Media jersey, dragging a pair of arm warmers over the under-jersey’s sleeves because (a) they give you that two long-sleeve-jerseys’ worth of warmth, and (2) they are a lot easier to pull off and stuff in a pocket than an actual long-sleeve jersey.

I started with the tuque and full-finger gloves because I hate cold ears and hands the way Darth Cheeto hates anyone who doesn’t have his butt on their breath, but carried the bandana and short-finger gloves just in case it warmed up.

Which it did. And in short order I filled up my jersey pockets with jacket, arm warmers and full-finger gloves. I’d have stuffed the tuque and leg warmers in there too, but the trunk was full. So nobody got to see my black Evil socks, white calves, and commie-red bandana. Shoulda done knickers, short sleeves, arm warmers and headrag. But as you know, I will never be smart.

One Mad Dog deserves another. Photo: Khal S.

The ride itself, you ask? I’d call it an unqualified success. The wind wasn’t really a bother until the very end. The roads were in much better condition than I recall from my glory days pounding out the kilometers with the Sangre de Cristo Cycling Club. And, unlike some of our fellow cyclists, we suffered no punctures, mechanicals or painful get-offs.

For my money, when all was said and done, Andy and Pat took the top two steps on the podium. Andy and his wife, Liz, flew from the flats of Florida to southern Arizona to meet up with Pat and his wife, Sandy, and then the four of them drove the 500 miles from Sierra Vista to Santa Fe — the day before the lads were to tackle a 50-miler at altitude with 2,485 feet of elevation gain.


Khal gets the bronze for eating the lion’s share of the wind out there, along with a few kilos of PB&J. He scored bonus points for getting a post-ride blog post up most ricky-tick, and for snapping a photo of me when I yelled, “Hey!”, pulled off the road just before Lamy Hill, and pointed to the Maddog Drive sign.

And a note for anyone planning to race the Iron Horse on Saturday? I’d bring the jacket. Just sayin’.


13 Responses to “Full Lycra Jacket”

  1. JD Dallager Says:

    Tres bien, mi amigos! Congrats all around!

    3-5 inches of white stuff forecast here tonight/tomorrow in the Bibleburg area.

    And yes……always have a good wind-shell/jacket w/you for the Iron Horse!!!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We got lucky with the weather, JD. If that ride had been held today, we’d have been gnawing on the Wind from Hell, with a side of our own livers. I saw a couple cycle tourists on the way home and can confirm that they were not enjoying the ride. Also, and too, now it’s raining.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Its been spitting rain and wind up here all day. supposed to get worse tomorrow, too. Like Ike on D-Day, we had a narrow window in which to accomplish our sacred mission, to wit, eat all that PB&J.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Now that was what I call epic fun! Thanks, Pat, Patrick, and Andy for a great day.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Andy was a real trouper, que no? The rest of us have been there and done that, but he was diving headfirst into the Unknown.

      I believe I did my first century in 1985 … probably the Front Range Century, which I think I did twice. So I’d have been in my early 30s. But I’d spent more than half my life at altitude, barring a couple-three years in Oregon, and that Front Range Century was a pretty flat ride, as I recall. Whole other kinda deal.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Andy killed it. That was impressive.

        My first century, quite unofficial, was circa 1983 or 84 as three of us left Port Jefferson on Long Island and headed east along the hilly North Shore. My PhD advisor had a really nice Bianchi racing bike. The other two of us had, shall we say, Fred bikes.

        Little did we realize the ride east was so easy due to a tailwind. We rode out to Shelter Island, hopped a couple ferries, and then headed back west on the South Fork into a nasty headwind. The ride back was a search for whatever food we could find. I’m surprised any of us ever got on a bike again. But we did.

  3. Herb from Michigan Says:

    I had no doubts you lads could knock off that fiddy miler and in fine style too. Bet you looked like pros. My first (attempt) at a century was in cut off jeans and purple Henley shirt. No, I didn’t even hit the fiddy mark before everything that could, did go wrong. The flat tire and broken spoke weren’t the worst of it. That feckin Brooks saddle was.

  4. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Khal is right, Andy killed it. After we had to stop for a breather on a big climb, he got back on when it would have been easy and understandable to SAG in. And down the next descent, I was behind him at 41 mph watching him carve corners on his hybrid bike. He was holding his line and not touching those brake levers. Dropping like a stone is what!
    Mucho gracias to our guardian angels Khal and Patrick!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Delighted that you gents and your better halves made the long drive to Fanta Se (and for yis two gents, chapeau on a long bike ride to boot).

      Next time around we’ll have to do a little sumpin’-sumpin’ down to your neck of the woods (h/t to Sandy).

      Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying better weather than we are. It’s 38 at El Rancho Pendejo, winds of 20-30 mph are in the forecast, and the furnace has already been on at least once this morning.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Aye Matey! We are back and doing fine. Andy and Liz are jetting there way back to Florida right now. I am not sore except for a sore ass from sitting in the Rav4 on the return to here yesterday, and the drive we did this morning at the “butt crack of dawn” (stole that from Andy) to The Tucson airport and return. The wind was kiiller the whole back back from Santa Fe, but luckily there were no major dust storm on I-10 West of Deming. I think the folks going to the east were no so lucky. Huge dust cloud in the rear view mirror as we entered I-10 at the Deming.

        The weather here stunk at sunrise with 41 degrees and breezy. Shit.

  5. Libby Says:

    Congratulations! Great story and photo! One of your fans named the street!

  6. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Glad y’all had a great time! Piedmont Cycling Resort is open for business!

    And once the car was all shaped-up and most of the other work done, we went out for a short ride on real road bikes under sunny, blue skies. Tomorrow we’ll hop in the car and head over to Novi Ligure to see the Giro stage finish 🙂

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