Hold That Thought- image by ride2monza

Rule #55: Earn Your Turns

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I did go out seeking endorphins and inspiration. These articles don’t just write themselves. A climb and descent might just get enough O2 to the brain to knock something loose. Descending from our climb I did get inspired. An article about Rule #55; a descent is enjoyed so much more if you climbed it first. Smoking down the route one just slogged up is some sort of justice. The universe is balanced out. A descent is barely enjoyed if done before the climb. That descent is fun infused with dread. I’m dropping like a stone, Il Falcone cannot enjoy this. He is going to have to pedal all the way up this thing. Il Falcone is gravitationally challenged. Madonna! Climb then descend or descend then climb. This issue comes up always when living on the side of a volcano. If I was a good climber and a uncommitted descender I would feel differently.

Done and dusted, I was thinking, another article generated from just getting out and cycling. Get home, shower, a refueling lunch and knock this out. Maybe lunch should include beer. Write with alcohol, edit with caffeine, a wise man told me. Too late, I had bike brain.

Bicycle Brain- [bīsikəl brān]  Torpidity and lack of mental clarity as a direct result of stewing gray matter in hot blood, carbon dioxide and electrolytes. He had such bicycle brain that he lost his wallet between the bench he was sitting on and his bike, two meters away. 

ORIGIN Old English brægen; related to Dutch brein. (of course the Dutch would be involved).

I should have known this would happen but that is how bicycle brain works. It’s treacherous. There is little point is going out for a ride, seeking inspiration for a Velominati post, when such ride wipes the frontal lobes clear and infuses the brain with the dreaded dumb juice. I like to think everyone gets this condition but the evidence is not there. Geraint Thomas finishes every stage of the Tour with some genius remarks for the press. Yeah, well maybe thirty minutes later, after a shower and snack, he is on the Sky bus with a thousand meter stare and a little drool cup pressed to his chin. God I hope so, then we would have one thing in common.

And yes I have lost my wallet between the bench I was on, removing my cycling shoes and the two meters to my bike.

// Musings from the V-Bunker // The Rules

  1. Oh dear! Hope the wallet turns up – the brain might take a while longer …

  2. I once could not remember the keypad code to unlock my car door. Needed rides home and back for spare keys.

  3. Tomorrow my first descent is a pass. It comes after 57km up a valley and 420m of vertical, is 7km of narrow, twisty off camber country road, so I won’t climb it beforehand, I will however turn and climb up to the pass again so that I can enjoy the descent once more.

  4. Crows Nest climb near my home, from my direction one must first go up it 4km before the descent. Thats the correct formula

  5. I don,t fully get this article ,could it be caused by bicycle brain ?

  6. @Kyle

    I once could not remember the keypad code to unlock my car door. Needed rides home and back for spare keys.

    That’s what I’m talking about!

  7. @Uncle V

    I don,t fully get this article ,could it be caused by bicycle brain ?

    Your punctuation might be caused by bicycle brain. Understanding the article, well, I wrote it with a bike brain so that is my fault. Overheating on a climb, which is what happens on every climb in summer, is what brings on this condition. Actually, I think just riding my bike does. Luckily, I’m a moron so no one notices.

  8. @piwakawaka

    I love how long the descent seems when one has just climbed the same route. It drives home the point how long the f’ing climb was. If you haven’t climbed it first you don’t recognize all the subtle landmarks at 55kph as they go by in a flash. I love that.

  9. I live more or less at sea level so any route will be climb first, then descend after.

    This is good.

    Did a proper steep climb with Mrs Sandy today, a budding Velominata. The road down was steep, narrow and twisty, and she commented at the bottom was that it was a waste of a climb not to be able to go flat out on the way down. Class.

  10. @Gianni

    @piwakawaka

    I love how long the descent seems when one has just climbed the same route. It drives home the point how long the f’ing climb was. If you haven’t climbed it first you don’t recognize all the subtle landmarks at 55kph as they go by in a flash. I love that.

    Conversely, I hate it when the descent is much shorter than expected (when one has . . .). It forces you to realize what an out of shape pig you are at the moment.

  11. @Kyle

    I once could not remember the keypad code to unlock my car door. Needed rides home and back for spare keys.

    This. Started and ended a ride after work yesterday for an hour ride from the top of a steep two-mile descent (77kph. Sweet!) into a river valley in southern Missouri. (35C at 4:00pm? On my feet all day. No problem, I live in south Texas! Pfffffff!). By the time I got back up the ascent, my legs were on fire and it felt like my head was going to explode. Leaned bike against a pole and made no less than 15 trips back and forth to car.

    Helmet, bike computer, bidens, lights. Throw into bag in hatchback. One item per trip. Walk around car. Look at bike. Change shoes, put in bag. Sit down in driver seat. Get back up and empty jersey pockets and gels into bag. Walk around car again. Turn on radio. Go back to bag for a gel. Go back again for half-full biden. Bicycle brain indeed. My brain was baked.

  12. Long ago, while on cycling holiday in France, my two companions had made me ‘the cashier’: Every third day or so, we put some Francs in a wallet that I carried around, to pay for our ‘shared’ purchases – i.e. meals, coffee, beer etc. along the way. On a scorching day somewhere in the Cevenne mountains, we rode up a fairly big one and bought groceries in a little shop at the summit.

    We then descended, planning to enjoy our lunch in the valley. At the foot of the mountain I realized I had left the wallet on a bench outside the shop, so I had to do the climb again – in the opposite direction. As I reached the top for the second time, I had just about forgotten what I came for – but the proprietor came running out of that shop, beaming, holding the wallet out in front of him. (All the money was still there, needless to say…)

  13. @Kyle

    I once could not remember the keypad code to unlock my car door. Needed rides home and back for spare keys.

    Very good. Still chuckling to myself. Paints the perfect image of being completely fucked from cycling – addled by activity.

  14. A little off topic on this thread but I figure this is where the most will see it.

    Hot Sauce

    Terrifically well written account of a mangy Canadian trying to make the grade in Belgian Cyclocross. Mark McConnell should be an inspiration for us all.

  15. White bar tape…

  16. Mangy is correct.

    The Rules apply only to the road. The other end of the spectrum is mountain biking where many/most of them do not apply for various reasons. CX lays in the middle, it’s where the lines are blurred. Road bike, dirt action and as such (there’s an article in there). I am confused as to the acceptability of the beard in CX

  17. @kixsand

    Cold, wet and muddy? Belgian CX is not attractive to me. Snow on the ground ?!? I can enjoy the occasional wet and muddy race. Ultimately it’ll mean a lot of time afterwards hosing everything off and maintaining the bike. But if get home and want nothing more than to get inside, cleaned up and warmed up? Uggghh. Down here in deep south of US of A our season is kicked off with hot and dry. Even needed a little sunscreen yesterday! Perfect for enjoying the day and the beer afterwards. Hotsauce earned himself a lifetime of experience. Good story/link. Thx.

  18. @Puffy

    Mangy is correct.

    The Rules apply only to the road. The other end of the spectrum is mountain biking where many/most of them do not apply for various reasons. CX lays in the middle, it’s where the lines are blurred. Road bike, dirt action and as such (there’s an article in there). I am confused as to the acceptability of the beard in CX

    I have no problem with beards in CX. It keeps them off the road.

    We passed and absolute abomination on our club run yesterday, apart from mismatched kit and a YHA (each to their own, we can save everyone) he was wearing a Giro Attack helmet along with a beard that was so long that he’d used a hair band halfway down it to keep it all together. Had it been much colder he could have tucked it in and used it as a scarf. I

  19. There needs to be a caveat to Rule #55 as Sa Calobra can only be climbed after descending it. Unless you walked or drove down first, but that would be stupid.

  20. Been working on a project all summer that requires laser focus. And not riding enough. And here I am working away on Labor Day (U.S.) BUT, with a good day, I’ll officially crush the project. Cycling of late has solely been about getting to my office to work, but it does give me time to brainstorm.

    I cannot wait to put my Bicycle Brain on for a few weeks and just ride and enjoy life.

  21. How then to explain the endemic nature of bicycle brain amongst those never to have thrown a leg over a bike?

  22. @Steve

    There needs to be a caveat to Rule #55 as Sa Calobra can only be climbed after descending it. Unless you walked or drove down first, but that would be stupid.

    I would contend Rule #55 is more about those who get a lift up and decend never to climb. If you have a situation where after the decent you are forced to climb – that’s within the spirit of the rule. I agree it is always stupid to involve motorvehicles where not completely necessary.

    As alluded in the Article, there is a school of thought in the next town south of here that the best thing is to drive to the top of their climb, decend and ride back up because you have no choice – you must complete the climb to get home. Personally I think that just shows a mental weakness, that they need that carrot. It also detracts from the enjoyment of the decent but seems you don’t have a choice. If I lived on a mountain top, I wouldn’t be driving down, climbing, decending, and driving home again… as you say… stuipd.

  23. A couple of years ago, towards the end of a long ride, I stopped to buy some water. The liquid was duly decanted into my bidons and a gel consumed. I then walked to the garbage bin to dump the bottles and wrapper. I set off for home only realizing about ten miles later that I’d left the bidons at the gas station. The staff brought then in a kept them safe for me.

  24. I live in an area of England called The Fens – flatlands that were reclaimed from the sea. The road that passes my place is one foot above sea level! so there is no chance of me embarking on a descent before a climb – unless there is a mineshaft nearby that I haven’t yet discovered. I rode a 61 mile loop the other day and my Garmin showed that my total vertical ascent was 4 feet! To what do I attribute my bicycle brain?

  25. @sowtondevil

    I live in an area of England called The Fens… …To what do I attribute my bicycle brain?

    Generations of inbreeding?

  26. I live near sea level, I have to climb something before I can descend. I like it that way around.

  27. Climb before you descend makes perfect sense. Three years living at the top of a mountain meant every ride started with a long, chilling descent and ended with a sweaty, steep climb. Overdressing for the descent was necessary if I wanted to reach the bottom rubber-side-down, but then I had to carry all that rubbish on subsequent climbs.

    Now I have the luxury of starting from (approximately) sea-level and from there it only goes up – unless I’m headed for the Dead Sea.

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