08 December, 2012

Getting there...

Das Pain, not to be confused with Das Boot
End of the week y'all.  Officially we have nine days left of school.  Went by quicker than what I remembered from the previous years.  Half the year nearly completed!  The school year's analagous to a well written novel (minus the mind numbing e-mails and district mandated accountability tests).  There are twists and turns (who's going to pass, who's going to fail, who's going to squeak by?), a convoluted but predictable plot ("Hey kids, contain your excitement but today...PHOTOSYNTHESIS!!" or who wants some VSEPR!  thought so!"), a climactic part (mid terms, finals, stress from grading), and a resolution (break!); then the next chapter begins...
Taking Delilah for a walk in Louisville, CO.  Crash wound under wraps from last week
 From the previous blog entry, my transition into riding the cyclocross bike hasn't gone (crash, crashing, and crashes) as well as I'd like so I've been riding with one of my best buds and new teammate Kevin (aka the "Son" from the Homey Trinity).  He has private, singletrack trails behind his house that are 'cross bike friendly (long patches of babyhead rocks is where I need to float but for now I'm a braking, quasi-hovering pilot barely flowing over that nonsense) and we've gone for a couple of night rides.  Kevin on his 26" Yeti dual boinger and yours truly on an Airborne Delta afffectionately anthropomorphised into a gal named Delilah.

Bandimere, before my crash.
Here's the hierarchy of skills from my humbled and limited point-of-view.  The best way to start off as young urchin/underling/journeyperson is BMX.  Did a little in Texas so I had some skill for the hardtail mountain bike.  Only then young grasshopper when you are proficient on the hardtail can you transcend to the dual boinger.  Some people on the dual boinger do just fine without cutting their teeth on the old school hardtail but you establish the basics more soundly on the hardtail.  Now it seems, I should've done 'cross in my earlier years after the road season ended to establish a more nuanced and surgical turning skill(s).  The fat mountain bike tires are so forgiving and confidence inspiring that I can really point and shoot it over any crud and I'll go there.  Like my Volkl Karmas, they're so fat under the foot and at the waist she just pushes the crud out of the way when I go off piste skiing.  Not so with skinny 700c tires.   Gotta be smoof like water in the lean and body english.  Gotta learn how to enter the turn keeping the speeds high so I don't have to brake.  I'm at that steep learning curve where the cost of failure is crashing (hello knees and hips, does that hurt?  yeah, I thought so.)

Riding with Kevin these last couple of night instilled my confidence again on Delilah.  He'd lead and I'd follow.  It's kind of cool weaving and bobbing in the scrubby areas of his trails where the singletrack topographically undulates while it twists and turns flanked by large flora that at night, limits your vision even more.  All the axes (X, Y, and Z) are coming at you and your brain has to interpret the data, sending feedback to my steering motor neurons (hands are in the drops, not confident enough to ride the hoods yet) and just enough watts to my size 42.5 cms.  Add the cold and it heightens your other senses to keep you aware from crashing.  Sometimes I lose track of my wheels, most of the time we're riding outside of our lights in the twisties but that's what makes it fun and a bit dangerous (re-cycling it back into fun-a perpetual cycle of endorphin/endocannabinoid release-how many times can I say 'cycle'?).

After an hour and half or so of this, even though we're wearing neoprene gloves and booties (I said, "booty"), sadly, our toesies get cold.  Cold enough to call it a deal breaker but all we do are loops and we're really never that far from his house.  It was fun.  Hopefully my skills are improving from chasing him.  I like it when I come up on sandy portions so I have to float at the last minute or the blind downhill corner where the babyheads greet me and where I be gotsta float.  If I do have to do emergency breaking (oxymoronic term) thank goodness for disc brakes.  My confidence'll eventually get here, but for now I'll ride and freeze until the snow arrives, which apparently is, later this afternoon.  I have rollers (but good Lord they ain't even remotely fun!).

State Cyclocross is coming up.  If I have enough gumption (and currency, minus snow) I'm a do it...

These photos are from Dejan Smaic's very cool website http://www.sportifimages.com

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