Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Routes through the Old Town

There's not much to write about now that the racing season's over, and it seems my weekends have been too busy for epics, and now the ever-dwindling daylight has been shortening my post-work ride to about two hours. I'm restless as can be, and I've been sending out resumes trying to find a new that gives me a solid 3-4 hour chunk of ride-time, plus enough money to pay rent. That's the major downside of Asheville--it tricks you into wanting to play all the time, then you realize there are no jobs available, then you realize you can't afford to play, so you sacrifice some play time for work, and then you're like, wait...this much work stinks. I quit. Let's go ride bikes. Then you're broke. And yet so happy...

We had a grand ol' house party last weekend, up 'til about 3, then up the next morning at 6 to drive to ETSU for the collegiate race. It was awesome. I got Lexy all dressed and packed into the car, I chugged six cups of coffee and rocked out to country music for the hour-long drive over Sam's Gap, then the two shiftless college-grads that we are hung out and watched kids ride around in circles all day. I got in some circles of my own--three laps of the XC course, which is my favorite of the SECCC (at least until the one at Santos next month, probably) and even better on a singlespeed. Everything's better on a singlespeed, though, so that was a pointless comment.

Otherwise, the best riding I've been doing has been zipping around town with my man Alex. He's always on his "don't-call-it-a-fixie!" which he runs with a 42-17, which is exactly what I run on my townie, only that's not a fixed-gear, so I suck. But anyway, he is bold, and an amazing bike handler, and a trying to keep up with him through town is terrifying and awesome, and I think this is my newest mode of training. Sprinting out of trackstands at red lights is the best power training since BMX gate practice, in my well-formed opinion, and the amount of audacity and assertiveness it takes to dart in front of cars, slap a hood, or let out a whislte to let them know you're going, screw their 2-tons of steel death's good stuff. It'll make you a good rider by default, I think mainly because there is no way you couldn't fall in love with bicycles as you outsprint cars down a busy road, weaving in and out of traffic, hopping over urban obstacles like curbs and broken glass and stupid hippies and geriatric tourists. It just goes to show how awesome bikes are and how aweful cars are, and that realization alone is enough to make you fast on a bike. Somehow or other. But whatever about being fast...go biking in general. Swoon. I'm so in love.

But, being the well-rounded, multi-dimensional person that I am, I also just bought an automobile from my brother, and Dan F-ing Ennis barted me his roof racks, which means I have a new founded freedom to go drive ( gotta do what you gotta do...) to the woods and ride the piss out of my mountain bike. No more same ol' Bent Creek to Mills loop. Oh boy, am I excited for the fall! Pisgah riding is great year-round, but Pisgah riding in the fall. Holy crap. Indescribable.

I think I wrote awhile ago about the stagnation of my learning curve...that I didn't feel like I was getting faster or getting any better on the technical stuff. Then it occured to me that really my only goal is to become the best bike rider I can be, and that means every genre. What I'm learning on the BMX track has helped my mountain biking considerable, and what I've learned trying not to die while riding downtown has helped my cornering on the road. Soon I'll be building up a 'cross bike for the winter, which will become a track bike in the spring and summer. As much as I want to hate the Wal-Mart-ization of things (i.e. everythings there, but its all pretty crappy) this diversified generalization of bike riding is kind of appealing to me. I'll always be most "serious" about mountain biking, I think, but I'll dabble in anything that involves two wheels. It's just too much fun. And those two wheels include dirt bikes. Ahhh...some day!

Hero of the moment: Michael Mooney. This past weekend he attempted to break (shamelessly destroy, actually) the World Record for riding a tall bike. And a very tall bike it was...40 feet. "What?!?!" you say. "Uh, yeah, I know." is how I would respond. He didn't make it, though. Lost his balance about 2/3 of the way in, which is about as excusable as it can get, considering he was on a friggen 40 foot tall bike. But he's still a hero because he'll ride anything. A bike is a bike, an experience is an experience. Some may be more worthwhile or valuable or make more sense than others, but all of it is good, and all of it builds character, so none of it should be hated on. Except recumbants, which just lend themselves to ridicule.