Wednesday, December 15, 2010


One thing that became abundantly clear to me last night as I pedaled along with the small group of riders leaving Red Square en route to this year’s Greenlake Race of Champions (as if it hadn’t been obvious already) was just how much slower than most people I usually ride.

Of course, it’s not like I’m unaware of this; I’m routinely passed on my commute home by pre-teen boys riding department store bikes and middle-aged women on 30 year-old ten speeds, but it’s easy enough to pretend that it isn’t really the case when I’m riding all by myself, as I most typically do. However, when I’m in a group of cyclists who are in a hurry to get somewhere, or simply tend to get there faster than I typically do, I can’t keep kidding myself.

It’s not that I mind; I’m building myself for comfort, not speed, but it’s a little disconcerting given my second place finish in the Tour de France a mere nine years ago. But that was before I became a full-time tenured philosophy teacher, so it’s not surprising, I guess. Even Lance Armstrong slowed down once he became all reflective and thoughtful; the more you think, the slower you pedal; at least that’s what I think.

My predilection for sluggishness was further illustrated when I decided not to stick around for the race even after we arrived. At the time, the turnout was pretty slim (although I did hear afterwards that six of the twelve monthly winners eventually showed up), and I had another holiday event I could go to, so I pedaled slowly away without taking in part what I’m sure was a successful event, organized by Little Fred with all the aplomb and vegan snacks he routinely provided all year long.

I couldn’t help but see it as something of a passing of the guard, though; Derrick was there, but wasn’t drinking, and no Daniel Featherhead to smoke the field.


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