Monday, January 20, 2014

It's 3 weeks until the Pantani Ride; do you know where your legs are?

As you probably know, if a thing is not on big blue, it doesn't exist.  So in a very figurative sense, shit just got real.

Of course, Pantani X was pretty real before that too.  In fact, it was real enough that plenty of folks were out doing recon over the weekend, gauging the course conditions, evaluating proper gearing, and planning their amphetamine doses for the most tactically advantageous moments.  All solid ideas.

A bit concerning, sometime yesterday morning Wilson from the RIC checked in with the following:
"About to SS some Pantani Pre- Ride. Gordon Kevin Dave Shawn. Is the 34-19 on 29x1.75 too small? I'll report back."

So far, no report.  And I saw some 1.75-ish tracks heading towards Simmons Gap at the far side of Fox Mountain yesterday, but none actually heading back this way.  So it's possible that the answer is actually no, 34-19 is not adequate, and Wilson is still out there.

Similarly, Scotty checked in with the following "I rode the Simmons Gap climb yesterday, and it's sloppy in places and snowy/icy in places."

Soon after that, Scotty no-showed for our group gravel ride at noon.  So maybe he's with Wilson somewhere out there, spooning for warmth, waiting for sunrise.
(Warm spooning, not pokey spooning.  There's a difference, and shame on you for judging because you weren't there and you don't know how cold it got.)

Anyway, it's been done before.  
Onward, the forecast is a little ominous this week.  Looks like the top of the pop might get 4 or 5 white, fluffy inches tomorrow (insert gratuitous Scotty/Wilson spooning joke here).  And it's gonna be cold.  So course recon might have to take a back seat this week in favor of, say, fixing the frozen pipes in your basement.  But relax.  Think of it as tapering, and we've got 3 weeks for the weather to take a turn for the warm, and these things always seem to work out in the end anyway.

Or they don't, and you've got to pokey-spoon with some guy you barely know just to stay alive.
Either way is a good story, and that's what matters in the end.

Also, as I watch the declarations of intent (note I don't call them registrants) roll in over on big blue, I'm struck once again by the level of real, pro-level firepower signing up to take part in this largely disorganized non-event.  Pantani X has the potential to be a big one, and a big one usually equates to a fast one.  So I'll throw this out there:  if the 3 hour mark is broken, we'll change the course for next year.

Why?  Well,  I'll answer that with a little description of Henri Desgrange, co-founder of the Tour de France from Road to Valor:

Desgrange famously said that his ideal Tour would be so herculean that only one racer would manage to finish it.  After the success of the first Tours, he tinkered with the race route constantly, making each year's race seem more arduous than the last.  In 1910, the Tour entered the high mountain ranges of the Pyrenees for the first time.  The course was so challenging that the riders nearly revolted.  A French racer named Octavio Lapize, who had won various stages in 1909, was forced to get off of his bike  several times because the weather conditions were so dreadful and the road gradient so steep.  As race officials watched from the stage finish line at the top of the Aubisque, Lapize screamed at them "Murderers!"
-"Road to Valor", Aili and Andres McConnon

"Herculean".  Use it in a sentence today.  Be cool.

Up, up, up.


  1. Okay, so let's be honest, I did in fact survive that pre ride. Mostly.

    I won't comment on warmth-spooning. Let's save that for the memoir.
    The 34-19 was indeed a doable gear; however, when it came to brokenback, my freehub disagreed. Apparently the frigid weather, slushy grit, and repeated olympic power-lifting squats of two weeks ago was soul (bearing) crushing for my american classic singlespeed hub. Fortunately, the folks down at american classic (in florida, those warm-weather-weenies) felt compelled to send me replacements for all of the clicky and whirly bits to plop in there. That didn't really make me feel better about the hike out Bacon hollow, dyke rd, markwood, davis shop, wesley chapel, and fox mtn. That's a lot of walking miles for my crabon bike shoes. They were making me crabby.

    I may be an idiot for trusting this freehub in another pre-ride attempt on the negative-one-week-anniversary of Pantani X. Only time and lack of judgement will tell if "the pop" requires one to have gear choices.

    With love, Wilson from the RIC

  2. No comment from me, either, on the spooning...