Home for the Holidays and riding around the farm in December of 2011. Perfect Cyclocross training or what? This farm road is the short cut. Shortcut to hell, that is. Maybe we should have a race here. Plenty of room for the beer tent.
Back on the farm for Christmas, with what's left of the family, I kept up my usual riding and training (hahahahaha!) routine rolling with good weather and long and malingering loops through around the farm, the fields, and visiting with the beasts that abound around the place. The thing that the bike is leaning against in the above photo is a giant food pellet for some of those beast, just so you city kids know what's going down ...
Here's what's eats them 'der big-ass hay rolls. I've probably ridden more of these crazy things than bicycles in my life. Looks like they're digging the training bike, huh?Nothing says home to me like barbwire.
A little farther up the road - these things. Smellier versions of horses with short necks and bad attitudes. They make a tasty burger, however.
Up in the north end of Genesee County, bordering Saginasty County, there are plenty of gravel roads to ride, but not much to see or climb. And there's never another cyclist on the road, except for the fleeting DUI cyclist heading to town for a 6-pack or to the "Pub"for a real fill-up. Over the past summer and fall I've shared a few photos of the dull and flat countryside - as well as it's strange East-Side road signage.
They tend to be a bit more "pictorial" in their signage as you come closer to Saganasty. Just so you get how the road goes from "PAVEMENT" to that brown broken up stuff called GRAVEL, I guess.
Other sights I've seen this past summer and fall - this guy and his dog at the Montrose 2011 Blueberry Festival. He claims the "Doggles™" aren't to protect his pooch's eyes from flying road debris or dust, but from cat scratches. Must be big cats somewhere.
In an effort to document my rides through this desolate part of the state and to capture the long lonely roads you can find I decided to take a few snaps along the way over the Christmas Holiday. On a chilly (not too bad) and windy Christmas Day I snapped this shot just crossing into Saganasty County. Finding nothing to prop the bike up with, I just dropped it down, snapped a shot, and continued to ride. That night I posted the shot on a thing called Face Book.
Christmas Day, Saginaw County, headed North. While trying to just show the desolation of the place, I got more than I bargained for by tossing this photo up on Face Book.
Shortly after posting the above photo on "Face Book" I was surprised at the reaction of some of my "Face Book Friends" to what I thought was just a so-so I'm going for a ride shot. I didn't even throw in my mileage, the temperature, the amount of climbing expressed in a ratio of feet climbed per mile, my heart rate, average cadence, top speed, VO2 max, or any of the other information I don't want to know people are always posting (I do think that when I posted the date, people assumed that was the mileage!)
Here, to my surprise were some of the reactions to this photo:
Adam York we need to show you how to prop up your bike and take pictures. tsk tsk. bike karma will make you pay for such disrespect of your steed.
Adam York is a well-respected (by me anyway, but maybe not so by some TMS trolls, but who cares about them) Elite Cyclocrosser and I was more than a little hurt to think that I had somehow "disrespected" some unwritten rule of bike photography by laying my "steed" down in the road for a quick snap. In addition to Adam's well deserved admonishment (as well as some kind of cycle-curse that was put upon my head), I also received other posts and messages shortly after the photo went up that were strange, to say the least.
"... somehow I feel sorry for the bike, but I don't know why."
"... that bike looks like it needs some love."
"That bikes looks so lonely. I feel bad for it."
So there appears to be a lot of bike love out there. People, it would seem, humanize their bike in the same way I humanize my dog. While I certainly care for my bikes, to make them faster, safer, and cheaper to operate, I don't know if I feel their pain, like so many of you apparently do. While I decided after this to try to be a better person from now on, and try and treat my bike like I would my dog, I don't really think there's much hope for me. However, in a lame attempt to make things right with my bike I promised myself that I would stop at the same spot and take another photo - this time with the bike properly "propped up" and treated with the respect it (somehow) deserves.
As you can see I found about the same spot on the following day. The only difference was the sunlight on the 26th (left), and the "found object kickstand." On the right the bike is laying there, in agony, waiting form a harvester to run over it and put it out of its misery.
After posting the second shot I started to get messages and comments wondering about the "kickstand,"what it was, and how 'I done it. Well let me tell you about the f@cking kickstand. On the first day I wanted a quick photo and looked around and didn't see anything handy to use for a stand. On day two, determined to mend my wicked bike-hating ways (I lay awake all night waiting for a knock on the door from Social Services, let me tell you!) I was going to find something and stand that f&cking bike up no matter what. Easier said than done my bike-riding pilgrim! That road up there is so lonely and abandoned by humanity and mother earth there wasn't a rock bigger than a dime or a stick of wood. Nothing! I searched about 100 yards before I found one beer bottle in the bottom of a watery ditch - I almost fell in the drink fishing it out.
Here's what I used to prop up the bike. It was the only thing on the road. Reading the label I soon understood that maybe I wasn't the only cyclist using this road for training.
Here's my bike stand technique. Putting the bottle to the pedal, or vice-versa, did the trick, even in the wind.
But back to the beer bottle. Did you read the label? Take a closer look. Do you recognize the brand? Seen it before in conjunction with a competitive cyclist? Who do you know that trains on this kind of beer? What cyclist would choose a lonely and desolate place to train like this beyond the prying eyes of the press and pro-cyclist-haters?
Maybe it's not about the bike, maybe it's all about the Michelob Ultra ...
Continuing my ride I finally came upon another biker - well just his or her bike anway. This was the only bike (below) I have seen in the area where I ride in months - And I don't think Lance was rocking this bad boy. (Notice how my now well-respected crosser is sniffing its rear tire in the photo below? disgusting!)
Nothing says DUI like a bike like this leaned up the outside of a bar on December 26, does it? At least the owner of this bike has a kickstand and doesn't need to carry a beer bottle for a stand. But I bet they do anyway.
As for me I've decided that to really give my training bike the respect it deserves while out on the road, searching for dramatic photo-ops, I've found a way to "stage" it without searching for "found kickstands" on the road.
That's right - just put a bird on it!
Anyone crazy or stupid enough to ride tonight? I'm thinking about getting in a short loop. I will be rocking the SS. I'm also looking for a new place to go for a beer after the ride - though if you want to go to the traditional hang-out I won't put any cycling-curse on your Crazy Bastard Ass. Hope you all had a great holiday! See you Bastards