The weather is here, wish you were beautiful

We’ve been enjoying the kind of weather former Bibleburger Robert A. Heinlein described in “Glory Road” as “the sort that Florida and California claim (and neither has).” If it weren’t for wind bringing us secondhand smoke from the jillion or so massive fires to the south and west of us, I wouldn’t have anything to bitch about.

But I can always find something. I’m funny that way. Maybe not.

Chairman Meow and Mia

Miss Mia Sopaipilla and the headstone on Chairman Meow's grave prepare for a two-cat team time trial.

Today I rode the Voodoo Nakisi south and west, climbing along the trails of Bear Creek Regional Park to Gold Camp Road, where shortly I was passed by a trio of roadies who spoke not a word as they rolled by on their plastic fantastics just past the Section 16 trailhead. They must have been fresh from the 26th Street/Gold Camp ascent, a popular and unofficial time trial in these parts, and I with my dusty steel MonsterCrosser®, burly tires and hairy legs no doubt offended their delicate sensibilities somehow. Maybe it was the VeloNews bibs. Who could know?

What I do know is that they weren’t nearly as nifty as they thought they were, because I was able to hold their wheels on the swift descent along 26th Street to Highway 24, and anyone who knows me will confirm that I do not exactly descend like Lucifer, “hurl’d headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky.” This assholy trinity may be better than me on the uphills, but then that’s not a very high bar to hop, either.

I didn’t recognize any of them, but then I don’t ride the road much, because it is mostly curb to curb with dickheads, some on four wheels, and others on two. On the trails folks say “Howdy!” to each other.

Welcome to the West, buckaroos.

25 Responses to “The weather is here, wish you were beautiful”

  1. md anderson Says:

    Oh god grief Patrick. You aren’t one of those folks who get their bike shorts in a twist if everyone you see on a bike doesn’t do the wave and say “hi” are you? A friendly nod is nice, but not mandatory. No need for name calling or assuming anything about their personalities.

    sign me a fellow westerner.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      MD, I’ve written about this before, and for years. A little simple civility greases the societal gears and thus keeps them from clashing.

      With the advent of the iPod and other personal bemusement devices some folks have lost the ability to distinguish between the real world and the one fed to them through the earbuds.

      I suppose I should write at length about this issue again, because recently I’ve had more encounters of this sort, including people who look you straight in the face after you greet them — on the bike, on foot, wherever — and then look away as if you’re some non-entity they’ve already killed in a video game. It’s rude, pure and simple.

      If more of us took the time to be minimally civil to one another — a simple head-wave, a nod of the noggin, the way my bros in the SLV used to greet each other when they weren’t hugging or punching each other stupid — I’d be as happy as a pig in shit. We don’t need to kiss each other on the lips, but we do need to get along.

      • md anderson Says:

        I agree on minimum civility, but there is also a faction that believes we must be brothers (or sisters in my case) under the skin just because we both happen to be on a bike. Again, this topic is discussed ad nauseum on bike boards. “Oh why didn’t that guy wave at me? He must be one of those roadie snobs.”

        Am I pleasant and smile at folks on the street or in the elevator or on a bike? Yes. Do I feel the need to acknowledge the mere physical presence of everybody? No. Do I get upset when someone doesn’t? No. I have no way of knowing what is currently going through their head or how their day has been.

        For me the issue isn’t about civility. It’s people assuming someone is an uncivil jerk just becasue they don’t act like I personally would hope. Are you waving to make another person’s day better or to receive personal validation? If your intent is the former then whether they respond isn’t the issue. If it’s the latter then the action becomes about you and not them.

        Reminds me of a zen story. Two monks, one older one young are on a journey. They come to a river where a young woman is standing on the bank wanting to cross. The older monk picks her up, carries her across, and sets her down on the other side. They continue on their journey. Several hours later the young monk finally says to the older one, “We are not supposed to touch a woman. How could you have carried her they way you did?” (or something to that effect) the older monk replies, “I set her down hours ago. why are you still carrying her?”

        In other words, let it go.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Chalk it up to being the new kid in school too many times, MD. Two countries, 10 states, 16 towns or thereabouts.

        Nevertheless, I still contend that there is a wide streak of snobbery running through the roadie subset of cycling, and will contend further that it makes the sport less accessible for noobs. Who wants to have to struggle to hang around with a bunch of assholes? Do bowlers act this way? Golfers? No idea. I just ride a bike.

        Happily, once I write something down it’s quickly forgotten (newspaper training, that is; today’s news is tomorrow’s history). Good Zen story, by the way — I believe I read it in “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.”

      • Libby Says:

        What you said, Patrick. What you said so eloquently. Goes for the workplace, too.

  2. James Says:

    As one acclaimed author once titled a book he wrote, Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut, of which I do believe this is a perfect example.

    Well, except replace “haircut” with “attitude” and you’d be spot on in my opinion.

  3. Derek Says:

    When I first moved here in ’92 I had to meet someone at the velodrome. Having never been there I rode my bike downtown, thinking it couldn’t be that hard to find, I did have a general idea where it was.
    While traveling east somewhere north of the velodrome I spy two guys in full kit on road bikes in front of me. I figure these guys must know where it is so I catch up to ask them (on a Giant Iguana, cut-off fatigues and sandals). I get not the time of day. They drop down a few cogs and stand up, almost in unison, pick up the pace, a little unnecessary in my opinion, and sprint off. I catch up again, request directions again, am wordlessly snubbed again, then circled back to find it on my own blocks west of me at this point. I know of who you speak, unfortunately they are still here, growing larger as a group, sort of like a fungus. They could certainly be a little nicer, who could it hurt?
    d
    p.s. Thanks for the heads-up on the Bike Clinic Too open house. I hadn’t heard about Peter’s saw accident.

  4. john Says:

    I don’t know why some roadies behave like such miserable wretches. The great BikeSnobNYC points out that they never seem to enjoy what they’re doing. Maybe they purchased BSNYC power meters, the ones that truthfully report, simply, “You suck!”.

    Maybe it’s a geographical thing. Around these pahts (rural New England) the roadies seem to be somewhat more friendly.

  5. SteveO Says:

    // “the sort that Florida and California claim (and neither has).” //. Damn near perfect sentence. That boy could write.

  6. John Says:

    Not that long ago I was riding a nice but somewhat remote road ride near here on a weekend when I encountered numerous other road riders who were completely unfamiliar. Despite many words of greeting, each rode by going the opposite way without saying a word; and if they weren’t scowling they were expressionless. This being a rather small road cycling community, and a really beautiful back country ride, I thought this rather odd. But then I caught up with one of them next to his car getting his shit together clued me in: they were all from some club in Denver and came over the hill on a club outing to do this ride. Ah, a stuck up Denver club, that explained everything.

    So now I have another reason never to go anywhere near Denver for the riding: the riders over there are jerks.

  7. Doug N Says:

    Its a COS thing. When I lived in Kansas City I’d purposely do group rides where I knew nobody and by the finish I’d have 10 new friends. I figured it was that way everywhere until I moved here and found a very different mentality. The friendliest riders here tend to be the ones who grew up here, which may be telling. Also the ones without coaches.
    Lately I’ve swapped the wheels for running shoes and found that the runners in COS are like the cyclists in KC…a lot friendlier and more fun to hang around with.

  8. Larry T. Says:

    Over here in It’ly, I must have said and heard “CIAO” and “Salve” 100 times Sunday morning as we made our way over the Passo Scoffero and on towards the Cinque Terre. TONS of folks on bicycles and more than a few on motos enjoying the same roads. We WILL do this ride on a Monday next year as even the nicest moto guys can’t help but blast past at high speed, friendly or not. We’ve seen two other American-based cycling groups as well and almost every time a friendly greeting is exchanged here. I do remember being a hairy-legged fred riding a touring bike 40+ years ago and getting the cold-shoulder from the roadies in SoCal…some things never change.

  9. BenS Says:

    As an aging, marginal roadie with asthma my peacekeeping thought when a ‘morn’n’ elicits no reply is ‘oxygen debt’.

    As a – just good PR- rule a hello to everyone including pedestrians, during warm up, seems to improve the mood.

  10. Downhill Bill Says:

    20-odd years ago, the racer types around here seldom acknowledged the existence of old fat tourist types (though by my current standards I was pretty skinny & fast then). Now they _all_ seem to speak or wave. It’s the yuppie “cycling is the new golf” Lance-wannabies who actually couldn’t keep up with the racers on their best day who don’t wave or speak. Pathetic and amusing at the same time.

  11. khal spencer Says:

    Recall Patrick’s post “Wave Dynamics”?

    http://www.bikereader.com/contributors/OGrady/wavedynamics.html

    Used to be a time when motorcyclists waved to each other regularly, too. Of course, that was back in the days when they not only waved, but stopped to help out a rider sitting on the side of the road with a broken bike. Something more common back when I was a kid or when my stepdad was putting lots of miles on old BMWs, Harleys, and Indians. Waving not only meant hi, but meant you could count on a fellow rider if you needed him or her (usually him, in daze past).

  12. bromasi Says:

    I have to agree with the dogg on this one, even though I’m a roadie I always say something or wave, if I don’t get any thing back who cares. there are alot of wanta-be’s out there who don’t know shit.

  13. khal spencer Says:

    Fresh off the NY Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/sports/cycling/altercation-between-lance-armstrong-and-tyler-hamilton-interests-fbi.html?hp

    The F.B.I. has requested surveillance video from a Colorado restaurant to glean more information about a recent confrontation there between Lance Armstrong and his former teammate Tyler Hamilton, according to the restaurant’s co-owner….

  14. Joey Ernst Says:

    O’G, you’ve apparently hit on a raw nerve with this topic. Not surprising, I suppose, as I also take issue with the annoyingly uncivil roadies out there, including around the Durango area.

    Quick anecdote for you: When I was still living in the Springs, I decided to undertake a social experiment of sorts one weekend. On Saturday, I went on a popular road ride loop, riding my carbon TCR (got rid of that plastic machine, by the way – they’re all steel now). I made sure to don my full national team kit, courtesy of my then-employers at USAC. Every roadie out there that Saturday waved back at me when I waved. The next day, Sunday, I did the exact same loop, on the same bike, but wearing a plain black t-shirt and cut-off capri Dickies. I waved at everyone, and received literally not a single wave in return. I figured I had proven my hypothesis pretty well at that point.

    Hope you’re well. Apparently you somehow mentioned me to Rob Gaertner (sp?) from Denver and, I’ll have you know, helped me out with some business plans, if unwittingly. Thanks.

    • Khal Spencer Says:

      Hi, Joey

      We just spend a weekend in Durango and the folks out there seemed nice enough to me. Once we got outa town, anyway. I need to go back there with a road bike instead of the tandem and kill myself on the highway to Silverton. Know anyone who makes a 12-56 Campy cassette?

      The cyclists in town were generally the urban kind–too busy dodging car doors and cross traffic to wave, swimming salmon on side roads, etc.

      • barry Says:

        Hey Khal, let me know if you find that cassette. I could use one too.

      • Joey Ernst Says:

        Hey Khal,

        Yep, mostly very nice people around here. That’s one of the reasons I moved from the Front Range to a smaller town… unfortunately, we still get smug roadies and crazed drivers occasionally.

        I like the idea of riding to Silverton – and it is a great ride – but anymore I prefer to go by trail, as the number of Texan-piloted RVs on Coal Bank and Molas passes sorta freaks me out.

        Hope you enjoyed your visit!

      • khal spencer Says:

        We did enjoy ourselves, and I wish I had realized you were up there. Woulda looked you up and bought you a beer at Carver Brewpub, or some equivalently nice place.

        I also wrote to the Durango Mayor and to some person listed as a bike contact by the League of American Bicyclists regarding Durango’s door zone bike lanes. For a Bike Friendly Silver community, I found those disturbing. Never got a reply. Here’s what I sent:

        http://labikes.blogspot.com/2011/06/durango-co-door-zone-bike-lanes.html

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