Yesterday morning, I woke up to the sound of rain. No matter. I dressed to ride to work anyway. I stepped into the garage and heard the sound of rain more clearly. That’s OK. I checked the tires’ pressure and lubed the chain (I’ve been using Dumonde Tech with good results for wet weather riding), put on my bike shoes and helmet, and opened the garage door.
Then I closed the garage door, took off my helmet and shoes, hung up the bike, and drove to work. It was raining that hard.
If I hadn’t given myself a big ol’ passel of races I want to do well at this year, that would be the end of the story. But I’m serious about losing weight and gaining fitness this year, so I promised myself I would ride the rollers that evening.
Back when I lived in Utah, I had gone to some lengths to set up an entertainment system for riding on rollers, with…um…mixed results. How times have changed. Last night I just took my big ol’ notebook computer — which comes complete with a 17” wide-screen monitor and a DVD drive — into the garage, set it up on top of a box, put down my rollers, and got down my fixie. I was ready to go.
35 Minutes in Hell
For my riding entertainment, I had selected A Sunday in Hell, a DVD about the 1976 Paris-Roubaix race, pitting Merckx against Moser, among others. The cover copy on the case said it was “arguably the best film ever made about professional cycling.”
“Moser against Merckx? Paris-Roubaix? Best cycling film ever made? Well, that should be a terrific film to get my blood pumping as I ride my rollers,” I thought.
Except it wasn’t.
Here are some of my observations about this film, or at least as much as I’ve seen of it so far:
- The film spends more than 20 minutes before it finally gets the race going
- The film gives waaay too much time to the early portion of the race, which is just a run-up to the pavé sections.
- The jerseys back then were much more attractive than the jerseys of today. Simple, bold colors with stitched lettering.
- The film is in love with the atmosphere surrounding the race, which is fine if you’re interested in watching old French women sitting on a blanket in the countryside, playing cards as they wait for the racers to come by.
- The film is in love with the organization of the race, and spends plenty of time making you watch people hang signs, and watching racers sign in, and making you watch the race entourage go by long after the racers have passed, meaning you get to hear the bored-sounding announcer say things like, “And there’s the press cars…and there’s the doctor’s car…and there’s some more press cars…and there’s the sweep wagon, so called because it sweeps up bicyclists which have retired from the race.”
After 35 minutes of this, I couldn’t take any more. I expected the biking equivalent of a kung-fu movie, and instead got the biking equivalent of a BBC documentary.
Maybe A Sunday in Hell is a good film for cyclists to watch. But it’s certainly not a good film to watch while biking.
So what will I watch next time I ride my rollers? The 2003 Tour de France, of course — which I contend is really the most exciting bike race film ever. And since I’ve got the 12-hour DVD set, I’m all ready for lots of good roller sessions.
Or at least as good as a roller session can be, anyway.
Winner of the Banjo Brothers Bike Bag Giveaway
When I wrote yesterday’s entry, I was thinking of lots of lies cyclists tell. As I read through the comments, though, I realized that we’re much, much worse than I thought. We have serious honesty issues.
I had to go with Jimserotta’s entry, though, for a couple reasons. They were all lies I’ve either actually heard or have said, and for the sheer volume of these cycling lies:
Athletic cycling is awesome, really. Meet me at my place 7:30 Saturday and I’ll take you for a little spin and show you the technique. You’ll love it. We’ll just twiddle along for a while and maybe do some small hills to kind of get you used to what it’s like to climb correctly.
We’ll probably only ride for an hour or so. The pace will be conversational and you will really enjoy this. It’s not like what you think to ride a bike like the racers do. Oh, another guy I know is gonna be there too. He’s kind of a serious cyclist but he is reasonable and he’ll go at our pace. We’ll just go easy and air out the old lungs. You’ll be fine.
We might have to make a couple of small adjustments to your bike so it fits you better. It’s really cool that you are getting into the sport like this. I’m sure that the bike you got on deal will work well; there’s no need to drop big bucks on a really nice bike until you are sure you want to.
Oh, remember to not wear any underwear under your cycling shorts and please don’t tuck your t-shirt into your shorts either. I’ll explain on the ride. Bring a little something to eat, like a banana or some grapes or something……
Congratulations, Jim! e-mail me with your address and which size of seat bag you want.
Nice Legs, Kid
MSN Spaces has been nice enough to include content and pictures from my blog as part of a brochure they’re producing, and last night I had an envelope waiting at home for me with a copy of that brochure. As you can see, there are lots of pictures from my blog on the cover page of this brochure:
I wouldn’t mention this, though, except for one thing. If you take a closer look at the top right corner, two of the panels in the montage form a verrrry interesting effect:
Hey, that kid has some serious quads.
Oh, by the way, I was lying when I said that I wouldn’t have mentioned being in the brochure if it weren’t for that panel. I still would have found a way, because it gratifies my extraordinary vanity. Although I am beginning to wish I would have had the foresight to call this blog “The Handsome Cyclist.” As it stands, I get to live with the large text on the inside front cover of the brochure:
“Dave is an aspiring actor, Tom is a struggling father, Bill is a mad dad, Siobhan is a perfectionist, Kevin has a wife with leukemia, Ian is building a dome home, Susan helps injured kittens, Kenny is a quadriplegic, and Elden is a fat cyclist.” (emphasis mine)
Or, in other words, “Here are a bunch of people nobly facing difficult circumstances, as well as one fat guy on a bike.”