Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Of dropped chains, turtles, and futility

Apologies for my absence. I've been blocked for about a month; in the aftermath of a furious bout of academic writing (and a freakish amount of public response to THIS), I moved house. I've struggled to work cogently on my project since then, so my blogging has fallen by the wayside, much to Bryan's chagrin.

Alas, Hobbit House is no more--a persistent leak in the basement's foundation led me to start looking elsewhere. I moved only about six blocks, but hauling all the kids' stuff--to say nothing of my absurd amount of books--was still a Herculean endeavor.

I've managed to race my bike a little; the outcome of the Nebraska State Championship Masters criterium is still too fresh to write about. I've drafted two race reports, both of which inadvertently denigrated the efforts of Joe Savoie, the winner of the event. I had a mechanical. He won. I didn't.

Bryan actually took my bike out of my hands after I finished the masters race, sensing my urge to do this:

I wallowed in self-pity for about an hour, but then Bryan reminded me that I had another event to race.

The Elite 1/2/3 crit was a smashing success for the team--we swept the podium.

Bryan and I strung out the pack for a few of the early laps and rode a pretty good tempo. I also launched an abortive solo flier that allowed Shim to counter-attack after our opponents chased me down. When HE was caught, Paul Webb and Lucas Marshall countered and established the winning break. The rest of us either sat in or covered bridge attempts. Team Kaos guys Vaughn Pierce and Jordan Marsh got decent gaps on the field at various times, but both seemed pretty frustrated to find me sitting on their wheel as they tried to get away.

Mark Savery patrolled the front for much of the second half of the race, spelled occasionally by weaker efforts from Bryan and I, and he eventually won the field sprint. Ryan Feagan and Brady Murphy scrubbed enough speed through corners to frustrate the chasers. It was a great team effort, motivated by the fact that these are all good guys both on and off the bike. I really like this group.

My mechanical in the master's race didn't reoccur in the elite race, but I was so angered by the slow decay the Fuji has displayed that I finally pulled the trigger on this:

It's a Trek 6.5 with SRAM Force components and Ultegra 6700 road tubeless wheels. I'll train on my Powertap / Mavic wheelset and race on my deep-dish carbon clinchers, so the new hoops are expendable.

I opted for the 6.5 becasue I wanted a Midwestern-made bike, and the 6.5 is built in Waterloo, Wisconsin. I rode Bryan's Trek 6.7ssl and found it just a bit too stiff for my back, which is a real shame--the black version of that frame is visually stunning. The 5.2 is also available in black, but it's made in Taiwan. I loved riding it, but again, this localist thinker wants a local bike. If I ever get back to Norcal, I'll buy a Seven.

Oh, and let's play "guess the metaphor." No, the obvious choice isn't the BEST answer. After getting dropped from the State Road Race championship (I dropped my chain, chased for 4 miles, caught the pack, brought back a break, and THEN got popped), I encountered THIS fellow shuffling along in the middle of the road. 
photo by Lois Brunner

The photo doesn't capture his size: his shell was probably 18-20 inches in diameter. When I tried to pick him up to get him off the road (The cat 4 field was about 5 minutes behind me), he tried to take my arm off. "It's in my nature," he seemed to say. 

There's a lesson: a lost turtle on a bike race course as a metonymy for me, I suppose. But I still couldn't help him.

 One last bit: today a friend of mine posted a link to a Katy Perry video. It valorizes the popular culture and fashion of the 80's in a way that really pisses me off. Here's what my postmodern retrospective of the 80's might look like. One which bears a passing resemblance to the conditions under which we all labor.

It wasn't much of a party, young ones. And it still ain't.

I'm off this weekend to a wedding in St. Louis; hopefully I'll be able to forgive myself for missing one in Guerneville last weekend. Then, it's four straight weekends of racing: the Nebraska State TT championship, a criterium on the KU campus in Lawrence, an omnium event in Clear Lake, Iowa, and Omaha Cycling Weekend. All the while, I'll be sending out chapters of the dissertation. Three by August 1, in fact.


1 comment:

  1. Eric, like you and legendary Turtle Rights Activist, Steve Tilford, I have always been an advocate for our herpeton friends. In past attempts at rescuing snapping turtles from automotive oblivion, I have learned that the "best" way of removing them from a roadway (while keeping all your digits intact) is to grab them firmly by the tail and then slowly (so as not to damage their tails) drag them to a place of safety (usu. a ditch or nearby pond). In this manner I have been able to safely remove several snappers from the road and I have yet to be so much as nipped. I once 'rescued' a 50+ pounder in this way, so I know it works.