Gravity and its opposite, comedy*

Looking down toward the valley from just below the tram.

Herself wanted to do a 30-mile ride this morning, so I laid out a loop east of Tramway that took in a few of the “fingers,”  a scattering of popular short suburban climbs that rise from the northbound rollers toward the open space east of us.

Grind up, fly down, next finger. You get the idea.

As suburbs go, this one ain’t half bad.

We were not breaking any speed records, and we skipped more than a few fingers, as Herself is a 95-pound recreational cyclist on a 23-pound steel cyclocross bike, while I am a feeble old fart on (in this case) a 31-pound steel touring bike (before I strapped the Arkel TailRider full of spares, tools and rain jackets onto the rear rack).

Anyway, this young roadie comes roaring up on us as we were doddering along, and I’m expecting the blank fuck-you-I’m-training face, but what we get is a hearty greeting and a brief give-and-take before he rockets up the road.

A little further along, here he comes again. “I’m really not stalking you!” he shouts, then zooms off.

And again, a bit later: “OK, now you’re stalking me!” Zip, etc.

I’ll confess that I found this oddly cheering. There may be hope for the species after all.

* Stolen from Nino the Mind-blogger via The Firesign Theatre’s “Everything You Know Is Wrong.”

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14 Responses to “Gravity and its opposite, comedy*”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I finally did my full 33 mile ride to the Ski Basin today. It actually felt pretty good, unlike the last ride a few weeks ago when I stopped a little ways past Forest Road 102 and gave up in misery, using the black thunderclouds as an excuse, but not realizing I was only a mile or so and about 200 vertical from the top.

    Wave Dynamics ™ has deteriorated, but there are a few cyclists who still behave like we are all in this together. Some time ago I was lumbering up Hyde Park Road to the ski basin and was passed by a gaggle of racers all kitted up who whizzed past me. Exchanged a bit of banter. I said “hey, you guys are making me feel so slow” and one shot back “don’t worry, we are all on e-bikes”. They were not, actually, but we all got a good laugh.

    Little things like that help.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    You meet the nicest folks fooling around on bicycles!

    • SAO’ Says:

      When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
      ~ Arthur Conan Doyle

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      I think we have the same cycling quote book. I was riffing on one of those quotes, now I have to find it.

      • SAO’ Says:

        Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.

        ~ H.G. Wells

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          “There is something uncanny in the noiseless rush of the cyclist, as they come into view, pass by, and disappear.”
          Popular Science Magazine, 1891

          I got that from a book called “The Quotable Cyclist” by Bill Strickland. I use some of the quotes for signatures on my email. It’s a fun book to have around, and read on the patio with a cold beer at hand.

          • SAO’ Says:

            My copy is in the basement, in one of the 45 boxes we never unpacked when we moved here. Still trying to get the Barbies and Legos off the floor of the living room so we can set up the bookshelves.

            Last year‘s move was my 23rd, and because we knew we were in temp quarters the year before that, can you get used to stepping over boxes and living the gypsy, transient lifestyle. Never really unpacking made the next move easier, but we sure picked up some bad habits

          • SAO’ Says:

            “… kinda got used to …”
            not “… can you …”

            ( hey, Siri, I am a big enough idiot on my own, I don’t need your help.)

        • SAO’ Says:

          The steps of one’s progress are distinctly marked. At the end of each lesson he knows he has acquired something, and he also knows what that something is, and likewise that it will stay with him. It is not like studying German, where you mull along, in a groping, uncertain way, for thirty years; and at last, just as you think you’ve got it, they spring the subjunctive on you, and there you are. No — and I see now, plainly enough, that the great pity about the German language is, that you can’t fall off it and hurt yourself. There is nothing like that feature to make you attend strictly to business. But I also see, by what I have learned of bicycling, that the right and only sure way to learn German is by the bicycling method. That is to say, take a grip on one villainy of it at a time, and learn it — not ease up and shirk to the next, leaving that one half learned.
          ~ Mark Twain, Taming the Bicycle. 1884.

    • SAO' Says:

      Met nothing but the nicest folks this weekend at the FOCO Fondo. Signed the kids up for the 10 miler, and hit the finish line right when the 101 milers were coming in. Warms the heart to hear a bunch of pros who just spent 5 hours on the bike gushing over a 7 year old who did an hour on a single speed with 16″ wheels. Both kids mentioned how friendly everyone is at bike races. Of course, free grub from Rio Grande and free beer from New Belgium doesn’t hurt when it comes to positive vibes.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    So the guy was doing hill repeats? Years ago we were going up to the Passo Mortirolo, though not the super-hard way they go in the Giro. We saw a guy doing hill repeats, passing us just like the guy you described. I thought I recognized him and sure enough, it was Andre Tchmil.
    I don’t even remember how many times he went past – in both directions! He certainly wasn’t stalking us.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Exactly, Larry. But all these “fingers” (short out-and-back routes in the foothills ’burbs) are a little less boring than traditional hill repeats (same hill over and over again). Each climb is a little different.

      So as we stuck mostly to the main rollers that lead north to the tram, he was doing the “fingers.” That slowed him up a bit and he’d catch us again en route to the next one.

      Here’s one way to do the “fingers,” as documented by the New Mexico Touring Society. You can get a ton of low-traffic vertical in a fairly compressed space this way. One of my routes has 2,300 feet of up in 24 miles.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        OK, but I’ll stick to hills – up and over, unless the other side leads to France or Switzerland, then I’ll ride back down the same way. In Sicily it’s hard to ride along the coast (flat) except in one direction, otherwise going inland is going up. The farther inland you ride the steeper the climbs get…and the best part is coming back is almost always downhill so even a headwind is not so bad.
        We kept Piedmont Cycling Resort open in August this year because we had many requests…but so far, no reservations. Now folks are asking about September! Go figure.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Its funny. We have those short hills up on the north side heading up into TanoLand and towards Tesuque and sometimes I find those tougher, mentally, than The Big Climb. Seems I want to sprint all the little stuff. OTOH, I get into a mental Zen and do a two hour and mumble mumble minute climb to the ski basin (the road heads UP as soon as I turn left from East Alameda) and don’t seem to feel as tortured mentally.

    Yeah, I know RealCyclists(TM) do the climb in a little over an hour. I’m not a RealCyclist(tm)

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