Thoughts While Cycling

  • My last two rides have involved rolling down the concrete of our brand new driveway.  We’re having cement work done, and it’s been a long job, contracted at considerable expense.  The workers came a week ago Tuesday, and probably won’t be done until the end of this coming week.  But the driveway is a beautiful new thing, easy to back out of from either side.
  • Yesterday I saw a doe, a deer, a female deer, standing by the side of the trail.  She was youngish, and worse yet completely unafraid of me.  I would never characterize any deer as “curious”; they all seem a bit dim.  And they’ve been doing their annual number on our backyard plantings.  This one seemed characteristically incurious as I zoomed past.  She just sized me up in case I looked like a hosta-planting kind of guy, which I guess I must.
  • I am very happy about the apparent victory in the Tour of Spain (Vuelta Ciclista a España) by American cyclist Chris Horner, who calls Bend, Oregon his home.  The Vuelta is the third hardest stage race in the world, and well suited to Horner’s skills.  He does especially well on steep gradients, and the Vuelta offers some of the steepest in the world.  Today’s course, on the last stage before the ceremonial closing race tomorrow, featured sections of 15% up to 21% on the final climb.  Going into today, Horner led Vincenzo Nibali by all of 9 seconds.  Today he put 28 seconds into Nibali, all during the steepest final kilometers.  So he now has an unchallengeable 37-second advantage.
  • Horner gives hope to all of us older guys.  He’s now 41 (older than Lance Armstrong), and is riding as well as he has at any time in his bad-luck- and injury-prone career.  He wore corrective bandages throughout this race to help rectify lingering muscular problems from a bad knee injury that has kept him out much of the year since late spring.  But he seems to have been able to build upon a couple of strong domestic performances late this summer and arrive at the Vuelta in prime condition, at a time in the race calendar when most European riders, including his rival Nibali, have lots of kilometers in their legs.
  • My joy in his victory would be less subdued if there weren’t that lingering doubt about PEDs.  How can this guy be beating riders that he is old enough to have fathered, in some cases, when most such geriatric pros have waned or retired?  Except for his hard-man, formidable teammate Jens Voigt, who turns 42 in three days.  But Horner’s biological passport must have passed muster or he wouldn’t be riding at all.  So hats off to Chris Horner, now on top of the cycling world!

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2013.

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