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09/10/07
An Attempt At Perspective
Filed under: general, rides
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 8:59 am

Short and bizzy-bizzy week last week, followed by an all day class on Saturday, so suddenly it’s Monday again with only one “good” ride in the tank… Plus, my calf annoyance morphed into a full-blown yew-h’ain’t-gonna-be-runnin’-no-more-boy chewyness on Thursday, and I pulled up lame.

bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch… maybe a bit more coffee will help.

The calf thing is a little weird, but it’s been bugging me for a while. I felt something go a tad twingy on one of the mixed terrain rides a couple months ago, and never really, y’know, dealt with it. So, now, I’m finally treating it like an “injury” - icing and massaging, stretching and trying to avoid that horrible athlete-idiot move of doing too much, too fast, or trying to push it a little further to see if it hurts when I do this. We’ll see how it goes.  It vexes me just a bit because the running was starting to feel pretty comfortable, and the local CX race is only a few weeks off.

But, the fact is I did manage to put in a decent loop on Sunday - not brevet decent, but far enough to take some time and hard enough here and there to breathe heavily. I keep saying this will be the “last” week for the road-style Quickbeam, but no word yet on the Hilsen, so fixed-gear driven smooth tires still meet the concrete, and the appendages of front rack, bags and bottle holders remain in place.


For whatever reason, though the pencam was onboard, I didn’t feel the need to take any pictures. So, this one from a previous ride will have to suffice.

The rides have just started to take on the hint of fall, after a bit of a dry and hot couple of weeks. My route scribed a lazy local meander, choosing a minimum of climbs and following the connections of towns that run through the various valleys of the county.  Arm/knee warmers and a wool jersey, under a thin wind vest. Overhead haze from the fires combined with  over-achieving coastal fog and made things bright, but softened. Humming along for an hour or so, I finally took a short break off of the Mill Valley Bike Path, in the secret rest room that has indoor bike parking. On the way out, a few other riders were gathered outside, and as I threaded past them, one asked, “How do you like your Quickbeam?”

Now, you probably already know that I like my Quickbeam.  As of today, over 200 of my Flickr photos are tagged with Quickbeam (which, frighteningly enough, is more than half of the all  the photos on Flickr tagged with Quickbeam). Although - unlike my dog - I do not carry photos of it in my wallet, I am perfectly capable of holding forth on this subject for way too long. But, they say that awareness is the greatest agent for change, and I rein things in a bit, alluding to its comfort and versatility in direct sentances.  He asks me about some specific features, and I try to answer his questions with only a few arcing digressions of flowery exuberance. For some reason, I become convinced that the bike is set up with six gears, but correct myself quickly.

About then, he says, “I don’t agree with everything that Grant has said…” before pinching my Pasela 32’s and saying that big tires make some sense.  But, it seemed like there was a bit of an edge to the first statement, and it stays with me as we head off in different directions.  I find myself considering why it was he had to clarify that point, although it occurs to me even less of a clarification by stating it.  What doesn’t he agree with - bike fit? clothing? frame materials? lugs? water? food? running up hills with your bike? S24O’s? versatile designs? fork rake and trail? helmets?  Maybe the “Tips for Happy Riding”?

There’s a pretty broad spectrum of topics which Readers and Catalogs have touched upon, and I find myself thinking how unnecessary it was to specify disagreement before citing a helpful example.  To me, the whole of the topic was saying that you found the change to large tires helpful. Qualifying it seemed a bit odd.

I’d bet that Grant doesn’t necessarily agree with everything Grant has said.  Do we expect certain people to say the “right” thing every time they put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? How long does it have to remain “correct”? Will it float up in the future as an error, and if so, does that in any way undercut the veracity of an unrelated,  more curent idea?  Worse yet, these things get balled up into a massive construct, and our society seems to force us to AGREE with the whole deal, or deride it in its entirety as looney and wrong.

It’s rare that folks take the time to make subtle points. In my reading, I’ve never really noticed that GP said, “you have to do it this way…” and indeed, he seems to go out of his way to couch things carefully, to present them as possibilities, rather than absolutes. To me, the importance of those ideas are the fact they are being presented at all.

Plenty of people will tell you that you need clip-in pedals, integrated headsets, vertically compliant carbon chainstays and any number of other gee-gaws that may have some technical importance under a specific set of circumstances, but probably don’t matter for the bulk of the folks doing most of the riding.

It is - and I can’t really stress the importance enough - up to you to find the balance that matters.  Take the things you want. Use clipless pedals and bar-end shifters, Brooks saddles and high-tech shorts. Find the refinements which help your riding - whether they came 50 years ago or last month. Use ‘em and enjoy.

Maybe that’s what he meant, and it just came out clumsy. Or I just heard it with the wrong perspective.

Rolling further along the path, seeing rider after rider on carbon compacts, it struck me  - the important thing to me is that someone is clearly saying things that aren’t mainstream. There’s always plenty of pressure to have the newest, lastest, greatest, but too little emphasis on what actually has value.

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