Tom Milton passed away while riding the Devil Mountain Double on April
24, 2010. Tom was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of
Fame in 2009 in recognition of him completing 50 Double Centuries in
the California Triple Crown Series. He was also known to many cyclists as the owner of Selle An-Atomica.
There’s not a lot I can add which has not already been said better by those who knew him more closely.
The California Triple Crown blog has created an entry for folks to share stories and reminisces -
There are also some very fine recollections from members of the San Francisco Randonneurs in a couple of different threads here - http://groups.google.com/group/sfrandon
Events like this always give me pause, and are such a strong reminder to look around you each day, find those who mean much to you, and share those thoughts and love with them.
Each mile we get is a gift.
Somewhere in the redefinition of google id’s back in ‘07, a blogger
slot appeared in my cyclofiend at gmail profile. Since I’d already been posting here for a while, it had more
or less been sitting as a placeholder since then, quietly pointing readers to this blog and the Cyclofiend.com Gallery pages. It finally dawned on me that I might have a use for it.
My plan starting in April of MMX is to use this to feature new additions to the Cyclofiend.com Galleries. I’m not
quite sure how that will manifest; maybe picking a new entry from the
batches as they get uploaded, maybe highlighting an earlier entry which catches my attention
I’d been posting updates over on my twitter feed, but that requires folks follow that, and putting photos in a post is problematic. Yeah, you can link to a photo, but what I really want to do is show a photo and have that link to the Gallery entry.
It also lets me get around some of the issues with this blogging setup I’m using here. While it was pretty danged good in ‘05 when I started doing this, my hosting company hasn’t adapted or updated it. There’s another version for blogging software they are now making available, which may mean an entirely different stream. Haven’t pursued it enough yet to know the trade offs and potential issues.
Right now, this blog is not robust enough to support even the slightest add-ins or modifications. It won’t work with google analytics (can’t get under the hood far enough to post the code), won’t let me feed in an RSS from twitter, doesn’t seem to play with any kind of monetization setup. That sort of thing.
By using the Cyclofiend.blogspot.com venue, I can separate things out a bit. This venue has always been musings to the side of the Gallery, and now I can focus the other one on what is happening within the Galleries.
Because it’s a blogger-based setup, it’s pretty easy and familiar if you want to tap an RSS feed from it, follow it via Facebook or what have you. I’m sure it will continue to be refined as things move along, but for now, there it is.
I do love Paris-Roubaix. It’s been run 100-plus times over the nastiest excuse of “roads” that can be imagined. While there is a sense of this heritage in the other spring cycling classics, most of the others use topography and routes which have some concessions to aesthetics - picturesque towns, cobbled climbs which lead past ancient churches, winding country roads.
Paris-Roubaix is just hard. It runs through the fields over stone paths. In the rainy years, the muck and goo running across the pave creates some of the most enduring spring classic imagery.
That is not to say it is without beauty. I do find it beautiful. You have the Arenberg forest, and the classic finish at the Roubaix velodrome. It’s just that it is also a hard, brutal and simple race. Not “simplistic”. Simple. A long flat course that zigs and zags and lies open to the winds. A huge component of the race is chance. Ill-timed flats and inexplicable crashes on the pave have taken down more than one leader on the course.
But rarely do you get to see a better example of how a moment’s inattention can cost the race than in this year’s edition. Fabian Cancellara, a Swiss rider on the Saxo team, was coming off a big victory in the Tour of Flanders (have I mentioned I love the Spring Classics?) from the previous weekend. The Flanders/P-R double is a tempting prize.
Tom Boonen was aiming for his fourth Paris-Roubaix win, trying to equal the record of Roger De Vlaeminck, another Belgian who used to dominate the spring races. Boonen had been summarily dropped by Cancellara the week before, after the two of them broke away at Flanders.
In this video feed (including a few angles which the Versus broadcast didn’t provide), the first action is a breakaway of three other riders. Boonen had been attacking repeatedly, but hadn’t managed to get a gap and Cancellara and the rest would just smoothly roll back up to him. After the three breakaway, you can see how Boonen (wearing the black, yellow and red Belgian national champions jersey) takes a moment to recover and refuel and doesn’t react to an acceleration by three or four other riders. (Arguably, Boonen’s choice of tactics were problematic - he had been the only one to be making the charges, and the group was big enough that it was hard to shake anyone out. All of which had to have taken a toll on him.)
Cancellara, who had astutely rolled forward, sees or senses that Boonen isn’t there and just freakin’ guns it. It’s a jaw-dropping example of power. Cancellara is suddenly up the road with a gap, manages to catch the break before the next set of cobbles and then drops them sequentially as he ramps up the power on the dry and dusty cobbles.
If your Flemish isn’t spot-on, you should note that he does this with 47 kilometers to go in the race.
Forty. Seven. Kilometers.
Of course, the last thing you want to do is let the World Time Trial champion get a gap on a flat, windy course. Boonen, who had looked confident and strong in the 15 minutes before this happened, doesn’t react quickly, can’t bridge the gap and loses the race in the space of one or two minutes.
I found it to be nicely thought-provoking and inspiring. Makes me want to support Tim. It’s encouraging to find the kind of quiet commitment that he demonstrates.
He also demonstrates a beautiful spin in a couple of side view shots. You don’t just hop on a bike one morning and move like that. It comes from years and miles of honing, gaining efficiency, finding the right balance. Just beautiful.
Had the Quickbeam down off the hook, rigged and ready to go. Had just finished lubing the chain with some new wonderslick stuff which I’d been wanting to try. The winds were already up at 8:45, blowing the branches around and confusing the heck out of the early season fruit buds.
I’d laid out the rain jacket, the Rainlegs, my warmer hats, shoe covers and a pair of wool gloves. Then I just stared through the kitchen window for a few moments as the rain began. Thicker clouds to the west, which is the way storms usually come in around here. Thought and pondered a bit. Sighed. Walked outside. Rolled the ‘beam back in and wiped off the raindrops.
Pulled the plug and invoked the Costanza Rule.
I’ve used this to guide me over the past year. It’s easy to let enthusiasm overwhelm reason. Which means it’s relatively easy for me to throw a leg over the bicycle and go, even when I’m beat down exhausted. Serves one well when out on the course on a 200k, but it tends to get me into trouble when trying to balance life.
To clarify, my application of the rule popularized in a long-ago episode of Seinfeld has roots in the idea that George Costanza tended to - um - mess things up with unerring consistency. So, he decided to do the opposite of whatever idea came into his head, with truly impressive results. It was a brilliant bit of writing, funny and true.
So, when dummy me wakes up on Saturday morning at around 10:45 am (normal wakeup around 6:30-7 am), still feeling exhausted, naps a bit in the afternoon and generally pokes around, then decides he really wants to ride the new wheel he’s set up on the Quickbeam on Sunday, even though he’s not feeling absolutely on top of the world, some shred of coherent sanity pulls the lever and the Costanza Rule bell goes off.
While I was standing at the kitchen window, watching the rain fall, it struck me that while I wanted to ride. I didn’t feel like riding.
Which is probably a pretty good indicator.
It’s been kind of a crazy pace. Been auditioning like mad the last couple weeks. Hammering to work and back. Hitting the yoga classes. Getting some new entries up on the Gallery pages. Looking back now, I can see how it was a pretty brisk tempo.
But, the only reason I realize that now is because I took the step back and didn’t roll out today.
Because if I had headed out, I’d be that much more ground down before the start of the week. Which would have been easy to do. Once out there, the muscle memory kicks in, then the endorphins make you feel good. The heart starts pumping a bit more full, and the breaths come deeper. You are free and rolling, stripping away the thoughts and the indecision. Most of the time, that is great - no - restorative. But sometimes, like today, it’s destructive.
We all, perhaps, crave that which is a bit bad for us.
And it takes the conscious act to pause. Breathe. Not make the action.
And there’s a time when that is the right choice.