Some Jersey-Related Notes from Fatty: Before I launch into my self-absorbed essay today, I want to mention a few jersey-related items, OK?
- Thanks to everyone who’s bought themselves either a pink jersey or one of the originals. If you haven’t gotten one or the other yet, they’re still available over at Twin Six. A lot of you were asking when various sizes for the original jersey were going to be available again, and now’s your chance: every size but XXXL (already sold out of those, need to make sure we order more of that size next time) is available, in-stock, and ready to ship. And, of course, be sure to check out the orange socks, pink socks, and t-shirts.
- A lot of people have asked where in the world the jerseys are going. Well, they’re scattered throughout the world. Lots of them in the US, of course, but you’ll also find them in the UK, Japan, Ireland, France, Germany, Canada, Malta, the Virgin Islands, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark (yes, every Scandinavian country is represented!) and — by far more than anywhere else besides the US — Australia.
- Guess how much I’ve spent on postage so far? No, seriously, guess. I’ll give the person with the closest guess (in case of a tie, the person who posts first wins) a jersey (limited to sizes I’ve got on-hand, which is everything but XXL and XXXL). One guess per person, OK?
- If you’re in the B7 and you’re doing better than I am, tell me what size of jersey you’ll want if you win. I want to make sure that anyone who beats me in the Banjo Brothers Big Bad Bulky Biker Bodyfat challenge will have a jersey in their size waiting for them. Not that I intend to let anyone win, but I at least have to be open to the possibility. Click here to read the thread and post what size you’ll want. (Oh, and if you’re losing, get ready to pay up, sucka. I ain’t letting anyone off the hook.)
What I Think About When On Long Rides
I recently went on and on and on about my experience riding the Kokopelli Trail in one day. One thing I didn’t talk about, however, was that there were long, long stretches of trail where there’s nothing to do but pedal. Nobody to talk to, no turns to make, no wildlife to dodge.
Ostensibly, this is why you do this kind of ride in the first place. It’s a chance to be truly introspective. Your body is busy, but your mind is not — a perfect chance to think, ponder, contemplate, and otherwise find out what’s actually inside your head.
So, then, what is it that occupies my mind when I have a chance to go deep inside myself? What is the substance of my sublime insight?
The answer would surprise you, I’m sure, except I gave it away in the headline to today’s post (stupid of me, really, since I’ve been building and building and building as if you didn’t already know where I’m headed).
I think about my shins.
But First, A Word About My Quads
I don’t start my contemplation at my shins, though. No sirree. I start with my quads. I do this because — even though I am riding through landscape with beauty so vast and exquisite that it should make a grown man weep — when I’m on a long ride, I tend to keep my head down. And when I do that, well, there they are: my quads. Moving up and down and up and down, endlessly.
A couple of observations about my quads:
- My quads are well-muscled. Thirteen years of cycling have yielded a very nice set of quads. They’re both large and well-defined. I would not go so far as to say that my quads are the peak of perfection, but if you were to pick 100 people off the street at random, demand they show you their quads, and then objectively compare them to my quads, you would probably get arrested. But you would also find out that my quads are nicer than 98 of those other random sets of quads.
- My legs now do the cycling motion without my thinking about it. Years of riding have yielded a not-half-bad pedaling motion. I no longer have to consciously do an upstroke; it’s just there. I no longer have to think about riding close to my limit without going over it. My legs know where that point is. And in fact, if I start thinking about the pedaling motion, that’s when I get into trouble. I start pedaling squares. I start pushing myself into the red zone. I smack my knee into my nose and then fall over sideways. That’s embarrassing.
- My quads are nicely tanned. The four-inch area from where my shorts end to my knees is a nice, golden brown. And why not? That area sees a lot of sunlight.
And that, you see, is where I start thinking about my shins.
My Shins Are Stupid
After adoring my quads for a moment, my attention drifts downward and I can’t help — no matter how hard I try — but look at my shins.
My shins, I am ashamed to say, are as pale as they were in February. They’re bumpy and scarred.
They are, in short, ugly.
There’s not much I can do about the bumpiness of my shins. And I’m even twistedly proud of all the scars. Those scars are story-telling opportunities (some of these stories are true, and some of them are interesting).
But I wish they’d darken up a bit.
The problem is, they’re always in the shade. My broad and well-muscled back prevents any sunlight whatsoever from getting to my shins. Plants die from lack of sunlight when I ride by. It’s that bad.
True story: Having thought about my shins for some time, when it came time to apply sunscreen during the KTR, I applied it everywhere except my shins. I wanted to see if I would get sunburned shins after riding with them unprotected in the sunlight for fifteen hours.
The result? Not only did they not get sunburned, but my shins didn’t even get a little bit of color. They stayed pasty white, as, I’m afraid, they will stay forever.
It’s a shame. A tragedy, really.
A Cry for Help
I confess: I look at other riders’ shins. Based on my observations, it seems that I am the only cyclist with pale shins.
The world is so unfair.
I ask: how can I bring my shin color up to snuff? Must I sit in the sun? Go to a tanning salon? Tattoo the entirety of my shins light brown?
I’m desperate here, people. Help me.
PS: Evidently, Team Shannifer — the team I asked you to vote for to be sponsored by Race Face for the Trans Alp challenge — actually won. (Click here, then click “The Teams” to see the results.) Furthermore, they evidently won by only a narrow margin at the very end of the contest, which is when I asked you to vote for them. I think it’s clear that we were the deciding factor in their victory, and they now owe us. Big time.