Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And My Eyes Were All Happiness

Storm flow leftovers

It's the bike I ride the least, but it needed to be ridden. To make my peace with the carbon fiber, a tenuous truce with the phenomenology of stuff-obsession. A test? A tryout, let's say. A hot Phoenix summer afternoon, trails and tunnels with standing water and mud, some nervous energy to burn-off. A TCT with a purpose. A whirlwind tour of three cities on a bicycle in the heat of the afternoon. Let's roll.

Indian Bend Wash performed its flood relief function, debris caught on the path fence

Water station, cold oasis on a hot and humid ride
I sought hills, to spin the gears and see if lighter weight made some difference. I ran over rough spots, down washes and through new gullies to check the frame's stiffness and compliance. I spun high rpms and tried swoopy turns on long runs of smooth blacktop to push it a bit, to gather some empirical data points, to run out some street miles to see what I could learn of characteristics of carbon fiber, some parts of this bike, on the road. 

It wasn't a race. It was an exploration of possibility.

This could have easily been a ride about stuff, the mechanicals beneath me, and about my reflections on the stuff, the black fibrous weave, the air hardened steel, the physicality of the tires running on asphalt. But I didn't make it that. I was shame-free on this ride, lone, pedaling hard but not tracking the speed, feeling hot but not taking the temperature. 

At the start: let's be honest, some work stress, some fatigue, some reluctance or resistance to ride, overcome by going for a ride. Looked in the mirror in the morning: is that me in there? Behind those eyes? Those were some serious "You really need a bike ride" eyes. Those were some light-has-gone-out, what's-going-on-here type eyes. There was some bike tuning up to do first, which is the warm-up. Torque the crank bolt that had loosened just a bit. Spoke tension. Melting handlebar tape. Eyes still not lit up. Got to ride, John, got to ride.

Seven years old, I think, still hasn't failed explosively

I put in the miles. Ate the Sport Beans with four bottles of water. Poured it over myself and shivered at the shock of it. An hour and forty-five minutes of good riding in bright sunshine on a capable machine. I can speak to that. Of that I can converse.

The real point is, though, as I poured my melted self through the door into my house and cooled down beneath the ceiling fan, still drinking even more water, I thought, what about those eyes now? Yes I felt good, but I didn't expect much, and neither would you, if you had studied my peepers assiduously pre-ride. Yikes, you may have said. Too far gone, past relief. But in the reflection of myself post-ride I was pleasantly surprised, that somehow a focused spin through some slightly flood and mud soaked lands on a semi-carbon fiber bike had charged up the joy batteries a bit. And my eyes were all happiness.


  1. That's the stuff. Nice post, J! "And my eyes were all happiness"... is that from something else or your very own line? I really like it.

  2. RANTWICK those are the words that I heard in my head when I looked at my eyes in the mirror. As far as I can tell, it's not something I've heard or read before.


Please feel free to comment here, almost anything goes, except for obvious spam or blatantly illegal or objectionable material. Spammers may be subject to public ridicule, scorn, or outright shaming, and the companies represented in spam shall earn disrepute and ire for each occurrence.