Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Beautiful Beginnings

Vermont Fall Classic, Start
What is it about the start of these rides? The all-day rides with dirt and climbing. The rides that begin in the early hours of the morning. We should feel groggy and tense after a night of little sleep. But everything is so still and serene that we are alert and open. The air is dewy. Faces are dewy. Everyone looks beautiful in the milky fog. It is not possible to know the weather yet. Everything hovers. The plants exhale and the scent they release is so strong it is almost unnatural. Is someone wearing perfume? No, it is flowers, grass, leaves, wet earth. We relax and exhale too.

Vermont Fall Classic, Start
Bags bulge with provisions and spare pieces of clothing. There is a friendly look to them; happy and full. Everyone wants to know what everyone else has brought. A show and tell of contents, a peek into each other's little bag-contained world.

Vermont Fall Classic, Start
Steel tubes rest against shrubbery. Surrounded by foliage, they blend into the organic colour pallets, muted in the early morning light. 

Vermont Fall Classic, Start
Histories of bicycles are told and retold. Wonderment is expressed. Admiration is exchanged. The brand new feather-light racing bike is beautiful; we are envious. The hand-painted dump rescue with clumsy DIY braze-ons is beautiful; we are envious. Ditto for everything in between. 

Vermont Fall Classic, Start
As inky darkness gives way to tentative lilac daylight, we slowly feel that sense of readiness swelling up within us. If the start of the ride is timed well, it will correspond with the crescendo of that sensation.

Vermont Fall Classic, Start
And then, as if it is the most natural thing in the world, we will transition from a state of profound calm to a state of immediate action. No jitters, no nerves. Just a beautiful beginning.

24 comments:

  1. The talk about bike stuff is semi-mandatory but is secondary to the ride as all these people know.

    This is the time to check out each other's equipment...to make sure you don't follow the person who didn't bring fenders.

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  2. I think you just described the part I love the most about some of the best bike rides/races, canoe adventures, days spent with vintage airplanes and spindly old Model Ts. A period at the beginning where we realize that normal life is suspended and another grand adventure might be beginning.

    Even if the day ends up mundane or disappointing, there was that moment where we were ready for anything and anything could have happened. When a grand adventure DOES occur it makes the next 2 weeks back in Mundaneistan feel like an unfortunate but necessary period to be endured before we get to slip back into that other world. I love that.

    Spindizzy

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  3. I get the feeling that your interests are beginning to stray a bit from the racing bike rides in a paceline toward the mixed pavement/dirt rides??

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    1. Hey, there's room for both! Plus around these parts there is a lot of overlap between the two styles of riding. These are exciting times for cyclists.

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    2. lol! i know but you notice i said "beginning" !! lol! by this time next year i'm expecting to see you in cyclocross races!!

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  4. What a perfectly lovely sentiment...

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  5. You and your riding buddies sure have a great time riding. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Sounds and looks magical.

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  7. "No jitters, no nerves. Just a beautiful beginning."

    That. How long did it take you to get to that point, or were you never nervous to begin with? I get get real anxious before rides and I hate it!

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    1. Oh I get jittery before rides, but for some reason not these rides. And according to this, the jitters could be permanent!

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  8. I think you capture the mood well. A kind of calm excitement.

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  9. Those bikes are well worth discussing.

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    1. The fact of the Raleigh Portage was a new discovery for me; pretty interesting. Others, I have to admit I am getting desensitised - too many interesting bikes around me all the time!

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  10. FWiW, did a 4 day mini- tour over the weekend. Mid-ride second day I stopped for lunch in an empty park. There were a bunch of wild flowers near my seat. A large bumble bee was getting its lunch there too. Not sure how long - probably much shorter than it seemed - but for a time there was nothing in my mind other than the motion of the bee getting its pollen. Stayed with me the rest of the ride.

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  11. All beginnings are beautiful, how did it end?

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  12. want that handlebar bag!!

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  13. Desensitized -- all of these are pretty much the same and can not be parsed out by someone who is not the intended recipient.

    They get the job done if the rider is fit and/or good enough.

    I doubt you were thinking about lugs during this ride.

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  14. Quite the stable represented on that ride. A carbon bike or two, cross bikes, a few Ti bikes (one with aerobars), Classy steel If Club Racers, my Ti Club Racer in 'randocross' mode, classic steel, new steel, I think there was a mountain bike, a Redline, a Trek, etc., a couple of Surly CrossChecks, 2 VOs, the Rawlands.

    All good stuff.

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    Replies
    1. I was surprised to see so many modern IFs paired with front racks and Berthoud handlebar bags; I don't see that combination in Boston.

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  15. How was this ride in comparison with D2R2 in terms of scenery, difficulty, etc.? (Let's say the d2r2 100k for now)

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  16. PS I realize I met you last week, but was so tired at the time I didn't put all the pieces together to figure out where I knew you from. You were test-riding a nice bike (with some component troubles) by JFK park, I was on an orange Sam H.

    In any case: Hello, nice meeting you. Hope things worked out with the bike, the farmers' market, et al.

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    1. Nice to meet you as well : )

      I didn't do the 100K at the D2R2 so can't make a direct comparison. But the type of dirt was pretty different. I will have a ride report up soon; still recovering emotionally from the trip!

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