But some guys have it more interesting...
What would you do if one of your buds was gonna be on the podium in the Tour de France, and he (or his wife in this case) called you up a couple days before the end with a last-minute invite to the team's celebration party in Paris? Pack a bag, hop on a plane and go? Not many of us will have to deal with that question, but last week MarkZen did. After a few hours of waffling, he was on his way. Can't wait to hear the stories. And don't say something like "what happens in Paris, stays in Paris!"
More TdF... I had so much fun skewering Rasmussen that my mouse was twitchin' for another Photoshop round when the rumors were rampant about Soler testing positive. I was gonna morph these two photos...
...to produce some hideous, gawky creature that swoops down from the high mountains of Columbia to feast on almost-dead carcasses. Alas, the internet rumors were false and we can still hope that maybe he was/is clean. I loved his clunky over-geared climbing style and the way he seemed to relish his opportunity to be in with the big boys.
So yeah, until another shoe drops, I'll still be hoping that the young guns of this year's TdF really were legit.
Speaking of youngsters, it was refreshing to see some new'ish punks (affectionately said btw) out on the group rides this weekend. I bolted from the bunch on the first Casitas climb but was caught on the second one by Colter Cederloff, David DuBois, and Brandon Droese. Colter is home for summer break from UC San Diego where he studies Mechanical Engineering with a minor in spinning up mountains effortlessly at 110 rpm. David goes to Cal Poly and he's home putting in big mileage and getting really fit. And of course everyone knows about Brandon... racing age 15, and already putting the hurt on good folks around SB. Bright future, that one! And then on Sunday those youngsters were joined by Amy Chandos, a Goleta girl who's home from UC Davis. Apparently she just started riding a bike six months ago and already she's really strong and racing Collegiate A's. Add Steve Weixel and Chester Gilmore (both Echelon) into that group, and you've got six good-and-getting-better bike riders in their teens to early-20s. I can't remember the last time there was such a big and active group in that age range around SB. But best of all, these kids pull the average age of the group rides back down below the 40-year-old mark! Nice to have conversation topics other than about 401Ks, hemorrhoids, and divorce proceedings.
So how about that little lecture from the CHP before the start of the Sunday Worlds?!? Not that we don't need it--the ride has gotten pretty bad--but what irks me is that they seem more concerned about driver complaints than about safety issues. A couple Montecito housewives whine about being delayed for 30 seconds behind the group, and next thing you know the CHP is dogging the ride with a helicopter and multiple motorcycles to catch our moving violations. Yet when a 2-ton pickup truck roars past us on Foothill at 70 mph with just a couple feet separating mere anger from gruesome and deadly mayhem, there is indifference bordering on a well-you-shouldn't-be-riding-there attitude.
We do need to clean up our act. Taking up the whole road when riding at 17 mph is lame. I don't know the legalities of impeding traffic flow (as the CHP claims we do) but to me the more important issue is the public perception that we're above the law. They have to yield, stop, and wait, but we're out riding expensive bicycles wearing colorful outfits and we don't follow the rules of the road. A festering rage builds up inside those drivers with a few loose screws anyway, and then one day that 70 mph angry pass actually hits a few people sending body parts flying into the avo orchard. I have a sense of doom about it.
Bottom line, in my opinion, is that we need to move over quickly when holding up traffic. I think drivers will be patient if they see our efforts to help them pass. They'll learn that we're responsive and not oblivious to their presence. Further, when a car reaches an intersection before we do, we yield unless the driver clearly offers to let us go first. That's just common courtesy.