Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bike Show Weekend Day Three

For my last trick at the NAHBS weekend, I hauled my ass out of bed at 6:30AM to meet at the Rapha wool shop by 7:15 for their West Hills Continental Ride. There were already twenty or so serious-looking cyclists, lots in stylish and expensive Rapha gear and by the time we rolled out soon after, I’d say the group was about three dozen.

I wasn’t the oldest guy there on the heaviest bike, but I’m pretty sure that if you added people’s age to the weight of their ride, nobody would have had a higher number than me.

I set out with the first clump of cyclists, emboldened by the fact that the guy next to me was on a Dutch Bikes Transport, the only bike there certainly weightier and utilitarian than my own. But I was soon at the back of the front group as we headed north through an industrial area before diving into the woods and up a street called Saltzman that quickly turned into an unpaved path switching back and forth about three miles and a thousand or so feet of elevation gain until we emerged at the top of Portland’s northwest hills, on the aptly named Skyline Avenue.

There, I split off from the group who faced at least two more big climbs to complete the whole ride, but I had had my “Rocky” moment as I arrived not nearly last at the summit and so, enough was enough and breakfast beckoned.

My favorite moment on the climb was getting caught by a Japanese guy who wanted a picture of me in my wool and steel and leather to put in a cycling magazine he photographs for in his home country. He sprinted ahead of me, leaped off, took the snapshot of me passing by and then, unhappy with the result, hopped back on his bike, sprinted past me again—farther on a bit—and retook the shot, second time a charm.


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