Thoughts While Cycling

A week ago I had the rare opportunity to ride with Andrew when he came for a visit.  We went out to Herndon on the W&OD, then through some residential streets, back to the Trail on Dranesville Road, and back home.  You never talk or ride bikes with Andrew without learning something.   This time he showed me the adjustments I needed on the brakes of the Coda.

On the same ride, we saw a garter snake crossing the trail.   A good sized one, maybe 20”.  A snake out on the warm asphalt might be an omen that summer is coming to an end, that the cool night before the ride (mid-50s F) encouraged the snake to seek the heat.

In an amazing span of just a couple of days, the Park Authority repaved the trail from Crestview Drive all the way in to Old Reston Avenue.  That means that the entire part of the Trail that I ride between my house and Crestview has been resurfaced within the last two years.  It’s a good thing, too, because there were getting to be some nasty cracks across the asphalt out near Ferndale Avenue.  About a week and a half ago I had to turn back at Ferndale because the Trail was blocked by a truck.  Now I know what that was about.  I guess I could have gone right on Ferndale and worked my way back to the Trail, but I just looped back via Elden and headed home.

True Grit, Pro Peloton Style
My current inside workout video is the 2007 Tour de France.  In this one, the mid-race overall leader Michael Rasmussen is pulled out of the race near the end because of suspicion of doping.  He failed to report his whereabouts for a critical period, thus avoiding out-of-competition testing.  The result is that Alberto Contador wins the 2007 Tour, his first overall victory.  But where I am in my watching this hasn’t happened yet.  Rasmussen is leading, and his teammates are doing a great job of setting a high pace in the mountains to protect him and exhaust his rivals.  One of the best of those pace-setters is a young Thomas Dekker, who is riding his first Tour.  The commentator, Phil Liggett, keeps saying how a team “rises to the occasion” when one of them is the top competitor, comparing Rasmussen’s team’s powerful performance to the same relentless surge that Lance Armstrong’s team used to show.  (When the commentary was broadcast Armstrong had been retired for two years, and the scandals were still several years away.)  The huge irony is that we soon found out that not only Rasmussen but also Dekker and other team members were doping, just as we later found out that Armstrong and his team were.  Dekker, in fact, served a two-year suspension and is now riding, irony of ironies, for Garmin Sharp, one of the self-righteous anti-drug teams that has fired people after they voluntarily confessed to have doped in prior years.  But Dekker is too good a rider to dismiss on mere principle, I guess.  Anyway, it is very disillusioning to be reminded once again that what I, and Phil Liggett, once assumed was true grit, determination, and glory was in fact EPO and transfused oxygenated blood.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

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