Saturday, July 02, 2011

Member-ship


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

18 comments:

Groover said...

Don't you love swinging ya penis 'round a bit now and then? Not even a little?

The subtle bits and pieces about cycling you pick up while racing... it's like riding a bike itself! You can't really explain how to do it, you have to get on and find out for yourself, but once you know it ... well, as I said, it's like riding a bike!

Trying to explain it is wasted energy, just like riding out in the wind. ;)

Herringbone said...

Hi,
It's interesting how different sports have intrinsic nuances. Although I consider myself a washed up athlete and total hack biker, I could feel your downhill technique. Eloquent. It's cool that you 're reserved about your talent. Nice story. Thank you.

The Old Bag said...

@Groover -- in this case, I was enjoying the puzzling more...but yes, every now and again one must! :-)

The Old Bag said...

Thanks Herringbone and thanks for visiting. You're right -- every sport has its nuances, and until we're quiet enough to absorb those nuances we're chasing the obvious: looking but not seeing, hearing but not listening. Zen, perhaps?

Snakebite said...

Nice, ah, Johnson.

Ruby said...

Very nice.

Once Known as The Badger said...

Burying them on the hills is the most satisfying way to swing, in my opinion!

jeff said...

I love it! Even an old, fat guy like me can feel like a racer in a tuck on a descent. And feel free to fling your magic wand around any time you feel the need.

The Old Bag said...

@Snakebite -- you know what they say about the size of a woman's winter boots....

@Ruby -- always good to see you!

@Badger -- yes, then write about it...guess I'm not so reserved about it after all.

@Jeff -- with age, it seems to get tougher to fling :-). I think I need a nap!

rlove2bike said...

Great post. It put a big smile on my face, and as an added bonus, I learned about racing.

The Old Bag said...

@rlove -- glad you enjoyed it! :-)

SD_pedalpower said...

Nice post. Who knew education & humor could work so well together. Swing away.

The Old Bag said...

@SD -- thanks for the encouragement!

bikingbrady said...

To the tune of "Swingin":
I was riding on my 10 speed,
when my supporter broke.
I don't have to tell you what got hung up in the spokes. Just a swingin'..."

Vito said...

Hee! Hee! Laughing my ass off right now:)
Time go swinging on some single track.

The Old Bag said...

@ bikingbrady -- Yeeouch!

@Vito -- just remember, there may be someone out there swinging more than you are...and it may just be a SHE! :-)

Dee said...

This post really helped me think about riding smarter. I have a terror of hills, but following your advice and practicing lowering my centre of gravity should make be feel more stable on the descent. I sort of knew about all this stuff, but hadn't seen it so well described. Thanks. Training starts today.

The Old Bag said...

Dee, that's exactly what it is: lowering the center of gravity and being in a "ready position." Imagine any football, basketball, volleyball, softball, etc. player who stands straight up as s/he's playing the sport! Getting low and spreading weight over more area is the key to moving efficiently and safely.