Wednesday, April 29

Something I forgot about over the winter

Summer is Awesome. Al Gore, if you're reading this, I'd like to thank you for, in addition to inventing the internet, inventing global warming. Let me fill everyone in that doesn't live in New Hampshire or just stays indoors all day reading blogs: Yesterday was beautiful. Yes, Tuesday April 28th, the weather in Portsmouth, New Hampshire reached over 90 degrees. I mean, the last couple of Fridays were pretty nice weather, but nothing like this. It was the perfect day for cycling and getting the year's first sunburn.

It was the kind of halcyon day that reminded me of my hay-day, last July, when I was just cresting the peak of my fitness. When my tan lines were deep. When I was a bronzed and brazen god of cycling, an unstoppable force of power. At least that's how I felt. And it's how I felt today. The seacoast was my oyster, and it was about to get shucked--big time. I tossed on my bike shorts and Tour de Cure jersey and headed out, just me, Rohan and the open road.

I ended up in Exeter and it was such a nice day out, and I was feeling so nice, you know what I did? I went to Wheel Power and I bought a new bike. Well, I put in an order for one. More on that later. After that I started making my way east but wouldn't you know it, just a kilometer or more outside of Exeter, I get a flat. Of course I hadn't brought a tube or pump or anything. First time I left the house for anything serious without my flat kit. I'd thought about a recent post on Sprinter Della Casa's blog about why tubular tires are so awesome including the fact that you can sort of ride them flat in relative safety, or even win a Cycling World Championship on a flat:

Ummmm except I don't ride tubulars, I ride clinchers. After walking the bike like 100 meters I said to hell with it. Inspired by the flattened world champion, I rode the rest of the way to the nearest bike shop, which happened to be NorEast Cycling's sponsor, Exeter Cycles. I figured if I put as much of my weight as possible on my hands it would probably keep the rear rim from getting too damaged, and besides the roads are mostly smooth in Exeter. I show up there, and having been there perhaps twice in my life (as it is out of the way--from my house I pass three bike shops to reach it), and not wearing my NorEast team kit or anything, they set me up with a free tube anyway. I filled up my tire to the proper pressure. I've read that you should pump it up until the next pump would cause it to explode. Finding this magical PSI takes finesse. I assume clinchers blow off the rim at 120.01 PSI.

That business settled, I plotted a course for the beach. Hampton Beach. Mind you, this is the first day above 80 degrees, nevermind the 92 that it was. As you might imagine, Hampton Beach was what we refer to in the biz as a shit show. I mean, route 1A was a complete and total parking lot from Route 27 to Seabrook. Cars weren't even lined up right, they were criss-crossed all over the place, cars trying to get in, cars trying to get out. I cycled through, weaving in and out between the lanes as needed at maximum smugness (and a fair speed). If there's one thing I love, and I think most all cyclists really love, it's being smug. I chuckled smugly to myself at the fools stuck in their cages in the blazing heat as I blazed by, a smug blur fading in to the mirage of endless traffic. It was great.

When I eventually got home, I realized that I'd been out for some five hours, and had a pretty nice sunburn. Nothing too bad, just the sort of burn where you feel like you're still outside in the sun later that night. The right kind of sunburn. I feel good. Feeling good is important.

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