"He fell behind."*
|The great legs makes me feel like George Hincapie|
It's not as goofy as it sounds. What do the guys on "Deadliest Catch" do in the off season? Go marlin fishing in the Keys. Billy Kidd, the great Olympic skier? Still skis down Mount Warner at Steamboat Resort every winter day at 1 PM, tourists trailing behind. Just because I often noodle a mountain bike three or four hours on a work day doesn't mean I let my road bike collect dust at home. It also doesn't mean I don't suffer.
This summer I've had the good fortune of more riding days than previous years. I even attempted Squaw Pass last weekend, a two-hour painfest from Bergen Park to almost Echo Lake. I say almost because the very fit young police officers who invited the old Sarge along left me well behind. That is, save the one friend who drifted back to keep me company for a while. What a nice gesture!
Still, I had no illusions of grandeur. My love of cycling is undiminished, even as a few extra pounds and the rigors of writing for publication have intruded. My usual riding partner, a good friend with whom I've shared thousands of miles, hours of great conversation and a near-death experience, has encouraged me away from the laptop and onto the bike saddle, with interesting results. Last weekend, at least I made it to the top of the pass, even if I intercepted the group on their way back.
Squaw was excellent, the company (when I could keep up with them) genuinely accepting of the old man along for the ride and at lunch.... Didn't kid me about nearly falling asleep.
What does that have to do with legs? It's an industry term. To have "good legs" is to ride like the wind. The blissful experience of good legs defies description. The miles vanish beneath whistling wheels and whiring gears, mindless of grade. Downhill and uphill merge into roadway gobbled by the front tire.
Today, I had great legs. My loop into Morrison was not effortless. Tour de France winner Greg LeMond once said cycling doesn't get easier when you have great legs...you just get faster.
I got faster. I owe it in part to the friends who got me out, got me on the mountain, and got me home in one piece.
Let's do it again!
POSTSCRIPT: Tempo ride today (9/15) with good friend Wil and his dad John. Great company, a demanding ride and.... I wish it was only spring.
*Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), Pirates of the Caribbean, 2003