|Something's in the air...|
That's how it felt yesterday riding The Crazy Train. It reminded me why I love bicycles and cycling. Ever since I could ride two wheels, the bicycle has meant freedom and adventure.
Not that cycling 40 years later is any less fun, but it can get predictable. Yesterday's ride was different. It was put together with the wide-eyed abandon of an eleven year old, and it brought me straight back to those wonder years on a bike. Straight back.
|"Don't be a dumb ass and please|
don't sue us."
A megaphone broke the silence as one of the organizers climbed onto a pickup tailgate to give the pre-ride briefing. The usual stuff about maps and route markings, post-ride awards ceremony, and the obligatory speech about being safe. Then he summed it all up in ten simple words. Profound words. Words to live by. He said "don't be a dumb ass and please don't sue us." The crowd roared. The ride now had a decidedly campy, slightly illicit feel. We were eleven years old again.
Tangent: At registration I got #52. I turn 52 in March. I took that as an incredibly awesome sign. I was right.
First stop. Cheers.
|Urban Industrial Wasteland. We|
don't find many of these at
- Frozen doubletrack mostly through abandoned industrial parks and along old railroad beds. This was the even playing field where every cyclist was at an equal advantage (or disadvantage).
- Muddy singletrack with stream crossings, log overs, punishing climbs, and an ample supply of greasy derailleur choking mud. Watching some of the cyclocrossers get all tangled up on the logs was immensely entertaining and fat tire bikes ruled in the considerable slop.
- Just enough pavement interspersed throughout the ride for the roadies to draft and beat us fat tire riders down, remind us that a 27lb bike with big soft knobby tires and upright geometry is no match for the road. Occasional ice covered pavement sections helped to pump up the pucker factor.
- Railroad tracks. Three sections of relentless kidney-pounding railroad ties with an occasional narrow railroad trestle (no railings or guard rails of course) to break the bone-jarring monotony.
|Crazy Crossing. We would spend |
much of the day riding down these
tracks instead of across them. Ouch.
Tangent: We finished in under 5:30 at which point I had consumed two turkey sandwiches, two packages of peanut butter crackers, one package of shot blocks, one small package of fig newtons, one beer, one soft pretzel, one hundred ounces of water, twelve ounces cup of lemonade, and a pint of chocolate milk...and I was still hungry.
22,928 pedal turns of suffering without having any idea of what was around the next turn was the brilliance of this ride. And hours in the saddle gave me plenty of time to appreciate the Crazy Train challenge: "The terrain calls for you to ride three different bikes, but you can ride only one. Choose wisely."
Thank you Kirk for throwing this idea out there with enough time to make it happen, but without enough time to get cold feet, and thanks Mark for taking the plunge, I could/would not have done it without my DB wingman. And of course thanks to Lone Wolf Cycling for sending me back in time.
Tangent: I know it was 22,928 pedal turns because I stuffed a pedometer in my sock before the ride.
|The Heckle Pit complete with hash tag|
The story of the original Crazy Train http://wikimapia.org/21514741/Site-of-the-1921-Bryn-Athyn-Train-Wreck
“Like dogs, bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people”
-- Chip Brown
"Keep riding, Nancy. It's just water and dirt."
-- Huck And Roll