THE STORY OF I.M. SMOKED IS A SHORT ONE. It begins on a beguiling Saturday in December, 2017.
Why was it beguiling?
Because, December in Southern California is a beautiful time of year to go for a bike ride: the air is clear and crisp, the sunrise is a little later and the roads are tourist-free. The short days mean there’s pent up energy and fitness for the weekend.
Because, I.M. had a particularly rough week. There was work stress and family stress that needed to be released… and what could be better than a spin with the posse?
And so it began.
The weekly Big Loop, 80 miles and 4000′ of vert.
It started with the fellas riding to meet the Food Park group ride, I.M. and the others moved along at a good clip up the coast. The ocean on the left, the mountains on the right. Normally I.M. would wheel suck all the way up, but not today. Today I.M. was feeling frisky and leading the charge.
The 19 minute majestic ascent to the top of the world was chopped to 17 minutes… PRs for I.M.
Now the Food Park group ride isn’t just any group ride: it’s the most nastiest, the most adrenalinist, the most elbowrubbingist group ride in the county… maybe the state. It started out tame enough this fine morning until the group hit the new Tesla To Tesla Loop.
Previously, Tesla to Church was the most terrible 3 mile segment known to man. It’s not steady, it’s pitchy and will pop a rider off the back quicker than a finger-tweezing teenager in front of a mirror. Terrible, terrible, terrible…
Tesla To Tesla is a whole other kinda terrible: 11 miles with 500′ of gain and a surgey group averaging 25mph.
But, I.M. was still chugging… and truth be told, this is the perfect loop to fit I.M.’s weak super-powers. The runaway train up the canyon was shedding cabooses over every bump, pitch and turn… until it was just the big engine from CBS Cycling and a couple of little engines that could, including I.M. Steam was shooting straight up and bolts were flying off, but they were clear… long gone.
It was the kind of glory only a cyclist in need can appreciate,
Just a few moments at the front of the train,
With the lead cars,
MY SON STOPPED BY TONIGHT ON HIS WAY HOME FROM SANTA MONICA TO HIS IN-LAWS IN TEMECULA FOR A GAME OF CHESS. I said Bring it on, I’ve been playing the best players in the world on Chess.com since you moved and I’m ready to whack you.
That’s the kind of love we share… he drives out of his way to console me and I want to give him a beat down.
There are a number of weaknesses in my BeatMySonAtChess Training Program:
1. I’m playing 10 minute chess, so my moves aren’t too well thought out because we are rushing.
2. In 10 minute chess you can win just be having more men left when time runs out.
3. I rarely win. Mostly I get annihilated by faceless players in the ether, learning nothing in the process.
And that’s why virtual playing is virtually worthless… because my son is a very strategic thinker, with lots of patience, and he can read me like a book when I think I’ve got him cornered.
Tonight he won 2 out of 3 games… which sounds better than he won the two games we played. He told me to take solace in having a smart kid… I never get that kind of wisdom on the app.
If you’re going to be good at racing your bicycle, get out and race.
Zwift is convenient.
Strava is social.
Racing is real.
TO GET FAST, you have to ride slow.
Let your legs spin smooth and free.
Beach-cruisers cruise by.
Skaters skate by.
Walkers walk by.
… and then you’re free to soar,
WANT TO SEE SOMETHING REALLY COOL?… Go shave your legs.
The lower leg is easy, peasy. Just go crazy, whipping that blade quickly up and down.
The upper leg is pretty simple to. You can see 80% of it, and what you can’t see is smooth with no sharp points – like the shin or achilles.
But those knees… oh boy!
Shaving the knees is so revealing. Here you can kinda get a grasp at how marvelous our bodies are: there’s the knee cap that seems to sink as you straighten your leg and rise as you bend it… trying to shave this area is tricky, yet I’ve never nicked myself there. The skin in this area is so pliable and wonderful.
I prefer the shower shave, but when I was a newb I was a bath shaver.
I don’t always shave my legs, but when I do…
… I shave in awe.
IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PLAN A GREAT RIDE. This year I really wanted to ride Eric’s BLACK FRIDAY ride – 97k of country roads. But, it just wasn’t in the cards.
And, it may happen again.
But, what I’ve found is if it gets on the calendar it’s likely to happen… and epic rides like Eric’s Black Friday need to be on the calendar as early as possible.
So, there… I’ve planned my last big ride for 2018, Black Friday.
The first big ride will most likely be the Santa Barbara Road Race.
Then, HUNKR OC in March.
April is gonna be big: Sea Otter, San Luis Rey Road Race, and possibly Whiskey 50.
May will be CBR.
June will be HUNKR GMR.
July is always the unOFFICIAL TMWC.
Maybe, just maybe, September will be LoToJa.
November the final HUNKR of the 2018 series.
I love having big stuff on the calendar. It keeps me looking forward and keeps me taking care of my body.
Basically, the big stuff makes the small stuff easy…
… and the small stuff makes success at the big stuff more likely…
… like burning off the stuffing and pie.