To those of you who live in the United States, have a good Thanksgiving. To those of you who don't live in the United States...well...you're not missing much, so go about your usual non-American business. To the entire American readership: I hope your Tofurky turns out well, and I hope you manage to ride a bit this weekend in order to burn it all off. What's the smartest way to burn off a Thanksgiving meal?
I think these guys are on to something...a yearly race the Saturday after Thanksgiving with 13 brutal climbs (20% gradient and up, most very long) that includes the steepest street in the world at 37/38% grade, with cobblestones. You know it's a steep climb if you can hear people falling off their bikes, shoes coming unclipped, and that unique and beautifully intoxicating sound of lycra and scrotums ripping at the same time.
Now, a little story for all ya'll. Last Saturday, after doing a relatively short ride that featured hills with gradients in the upper 20s and (yes, it's true) mid 30's, I was very hungry. While neither my shorts or my scrotum ripped in half during said ride, I badly needed some food. Oh by the way, I tell you about the steepness of the hills not just to brag, but also to excuse the fact that I ate a burrito that was roughly the size of a rolled up sleeping bag. So let's be clear, I'm bragging about the hills, but not the burrito. Got it? Good. So, since the ride started and ended at home, I didn't have a lock or chain with me. I knew I would be inside the food establishment for just a few minutes, and I would be able to see my bike from within...but it was a bad part of town, and I'd heard of bikes being stolen there within seconds. What was I to do?
Since everyone who rides a bike is a pioneer and a genius (for example: riding track bikes on the street), I thought I would join my fellow cycling pioneers. I positioned the bike inside a gated eating area, and ran the front skewer through the fence, basically bolting my bike to it. I went in, and calmly enjoyed my food as I kept an eye on the bike. This "locking" method is not perfect, and is admittedly flawed in many ways...but it's much better than simply leaving your bike outside a coffee shop or convenience store and simply hoping for the best as you get a drink. In order to steal my amazingly so-so road bike, the person would have to know how to use a quick release, which is already challenging enough for most cyclists. The person would also have to sit there and unscrew the whole thing like a wingnut, which is exactly how most cyclists use quick releases. Just something I wanted to share, in case it ever comes in handy. Damn it to hell...there's no "off" position on my genius switch. It's seriously awesome being me.
Lastly, I thought about writing a list of things I'm thankful for, cycling related in particular...but my Colombian upbringing won't allow me to do so. Colombianos are highly superstitious people, and thus my brain is wired to make me believe that if I merely mention these things, they will all come tumbling down. The good things that are happening will stop happening, the bad that haven't occurred, will begin happening. So if you will, take a second...close your eyes and read my mind through the magic of the internet. That way you'll know what I'm thankful for, but I'll be safe. Right before you close your eyes, look at this picture of the most significant moment in this year's cycling season...Contador picking up a Dodge 300 rental car from Thrifty Rental Car. Looking at this picture will help you connect with mind through the internet. 3, 2, 1..go.
Did the picture help? Were you able to read my mind? I'm sure you did. Now you know what I'm thankful for*, and now you know why I couldn't share it with the world.
*Hint: It has to do with me being thankful for Thrifty still having full-size sedans when Contador showed up to the counter at the airport. He could have been stuck with sub-compact you know.