Saturday, July 02, 2011
I would have been just flinging my penis around I said in response to Wheel’s question. He’d asked why I hadn’t mentioned my racing background while on a ride with another couple.
We were riding with the local tandem club, and this couple was one we hadn’t ridden with before. The ride was 72 hilly miles around a wide spot of the Mississippi...about 2000 feet of climbing and descending.
The man, in particular, seemed surprised that they couldn’t keep up with us on the downhills, and he latched onto the obvious: our size must have been our downhill advantage. We had 55-60 pounds on them, which is significant on descents. However, with your size you’re also going to take more wind.... The scenario wasn’t seeming to make sense to him. We must have gapped them more than he expected.
Later in the ride, Wheel and I waited in the shade by the side of the road so we could ride into town with the group. We’d had a good energy spurt after lunch and had put quite a gap on our new friends. As the couple arrived, Tandem Man again mentioned the obvious. You guys just rode away from us! Then to me, I’ve noticed on the downhills that you go aero...I’ve never seen a stoker do that. The statement seemed odd to me, but I said simply that it’s automatic. I also mentioned that I grab the top tube with my knees. He didn’t pursue that point, however.
Had he pursued it, he could have learned that grabbing the top tube with the knees reduces frame wobble and prevents forward momentum from being wasted on side-to-side motion -- it also increases safety and handing. He may have reasoned that it helps to distribute that weight at a point between the seat and the top tube (without actually moving forward on the seat and compromising safe positioning) and it gets the knees out of the wind. Had he asked, we may have talked about weight that’s forward pulling the bicycle forward--consider a fishing line and sinker. He would also have learned that being in the drops, pulling-in the elbows and positioning the crank arms parallel to the ground contribute to a faster yet safer descent as well. And a faster descent is a great setup for the next hill. He could have had a few miles to practice with his stoker and feel the effects.
But instead, the chit chat moved onto some bicycle component.
Earlier in the ride there had been brief talk between Tandem Man and Wheel about men and their penises in the context of cycling. I commented that both men AND women have testosterone surges. Tandem Man laughed and agreed, but added that women manifest it with much more grace and subtlety during a ride than what men seem to muster.
The conversation drifted onto other things: choice of fork, how we liked the disc brakes, what other tandems we’d ridden, their other tandem was a mountain tandem, their wheels are lighter than....
I used to race mountain bikes, said Tandem Man.
So, when Wheel later asked why I hadn’t brought up that I used to race, I told him that most people hear racing and think speed. What I learned from racing was how to use everything I can to my advantage, that subtle positioning affects performance in profound ways. Those concepts would’ve been lost. In the end, bringing up my racing would have been nothing more than me swingin’ muh penis around, I told him.
So instead, we buried them on the hills...
...grace and subtlety, my ass.
- The O testosterone? me?? B