La Vie Velominatus: Rebirth

Spring blossoms in Seattle
Spring blossoms in Seattle

Wind is an asshole. I have no patience left for it. It has all of it been used up, gone, finished. It is the only force that I’m aware of (with the possible exception of gravity) that is more stubborn and less willing to listen to reason than I myself am. It blows me around on my bike, it embezzles speed from my Magnificent Stroke. No matter how emphatically I lose my temper with it, no matter the unprintable curses and insults I hurl in its direction, it just keeps on blowing like a big stupid blowing thing.

The weather systems that move in and out of the Puget Sound Convergence Zone are accompanied by a gale and, and as every Cyclist knows, gales blow exclusively against the direction of travel. With the changing seasons come the frequent storm systems and the unreliability of the meteorologists is amplified by the complexity of the weather patterns. Taking Bike Number One is a gamble during any of these times, but sometimes living dangerously feels better than it is sensible. Every now and then, taking #1 when you really shouldn’t can offer a bit of much-needed redemption.

Fall winds steel us for the arrival of colder, darker days. Winter around here comes with less wind, but with annoyances of its own. Our friends in more harsh climates than mine will agree: we have had a dark Winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. Seattle is a mild place to live, but even here the damp, cold, short days have taken their toll. The sun is down when I arrive at work, and it is down when I leave for home. With vitamin D in short supply, our moods sour, the chickens stop laying their eggs (there is no creature more entitled than a clucking chicken who refuses to lay an egg), and alcohol, food, and sloth start looking like viable plans of remediation.

But as Winter makes its slow exit, the winds begin to blow once again and Spring starts to dot hints that she is about to make her entrance. The redbud trees are in blossom, and the Earth is letting loose the green stalks of tulips and crocuses. The work we did over the winter was supposed to make us feel strong and fast; instead, trees bow to our arrival as the wind pushes against our face and robs us of the free flight that a Cyclist in form works so hard to achieve.

Nevertheless, this weekend I rode with bare legs, the strong headwind filling my senses with the fresh smell of damp, life-giving earth and budding blossoms. Rebirth is infectious and like the trees and plants around me, so too have I been reborn. 

Wind might well be an asshole, but when it signals warmer, brighter days it somehow seems more tolerable. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

Related Posts

166 Replies to “La Vie Velominatus: Rebirth”

  1. Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

  2. @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Looks like a decent machine but not ridden one. Hope you’re getting at a discount now the CX season is over. What are ‘vanishing mudguard mounts’ though?

  3. @frank I raced 24 mm Vittoria Pave’s last year and wished I had wider. This year was 25mm and was fine. Some folks have wider. One cat I caught up with after race ran 30mm. Some folks on canti cross bikes. Not a tremendous amt of pricey carbon aero wheels. Did see one set of enve’s… few sets of zipps. I raced HED’s Jet+. And had Ardennes+ in the wheel truck. I really dig the 25mm rim bed on these wheels. There is something very cool about 25mm tires at 90 psi rolling at 22 mph and hitting just the right size little stone at just the right angle and it shooting off like a little rocket in to a frame. Quite a racket going on. Stings when hits knuckles. The bike returns with a lot of character.

  4. @cyclebrarian cap and cheese… know it well. And I was on Eastern Shore every summer growing up and spent six years in Baltimore after graduating so down there every w/e… cheers, RC

  5. @teleguy57.  We have been through the coldest winter in Wisconsin in 35 years. I haven’t thrown a leg over my steed since mid-November. She’s been hooked up to the trainer, and I have had about enough of that thing (although I’m damn glad I have it). So (and no offense to Frank and his great works), Sweet Merckx let the Spring winds blow.

  6. @Jamie

    OK, OK, I guess I don’t know my own geography or meteorology. All I can say is that I have never been so effected by wind whilst cycling as I was during the four year sentence I served living a few blocks off of Lake Michigan in Chicago.

    Around here I hear folks complain about wind during a ride and find myself thinking, “Oh, they’re right, there is a little breeze today.”

    You might feel differently if you took a pull every now and again.

    I can remember many Chicago rides where falling off the back 20 miles North of home is the difference between a 70 minute ride in and a two hour ride in.

    Chicago is a windy-ass city, no arguing that point. Chicago being windy, however, does little to influence how windy Seattle is.

  7. @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Skit the discs and get the canti version.

    @wilburrox

    @frank I raced 24 mm Vittoria Pave’s last year and wished I had wider. This year was 25mm and was fine. Some folks have wider. One cat I caught up with after race ran 30mm. Some folks on canti cross bikes. Not a tremendous amt of pricey carbon aero wheels. Did see one set of enve’s… few sets of zipps. I raced HED’s Jet+. And had Ardennes+ in the wheel truck. I really dig the 25mm rim bed on these wheels. There is something very cool about 25mm tires at 90 psi rolling at 22 mph and hitting just the right size little stone at just the right angle and it shooting off like a little rocket in to a frame. Quite a racket going on. Stings when hits knuckles. The bike returns with a lot of character.

    Perfect conditions for my Arenbergs with 25mm Paris-Roubaix tires, it sounds like, with the Nemesis/Royce set waiting in the truck. I’m seriously stoked on this.

  8. @frank

    @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Skit the discs and get the canti version.

    While I agree, you care to extrapolate on that?

  9. @RedRanger

    @frank

    @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Skit the discs and get the canti version.

    While I agree, you care to extrapolate on that?

    BTW, in the UK the Crocket 5 only comes in disc brakes. toy get canti, you need to spend an extra 350 pounds and get stuck with SRAM.

  10. That race in MS looks sweet. Very cool.

    I got outside yesterday and rode for the first time (other than rollers) since fall. I was slow and my legs had little power but I was elated in just being outside and riding my bike. I reveled in the smells, warm breeze, and sunshine. In many ways, the best ride of the year.

  11. @RedRanger

    @RedRanger

    @frank

    @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Skit the discs and get the canti version.

    While I agree, you care to extrapolate on that?

    BTW, in the UK the Crocket 5 only comes in disc brakes. toy get canti, you need to spend an extra 350 pounds and get stuck with SRAM.

    Everyone I know who has gone disc has gone back to Canti. Especially in a sport with as much crashing and throwing about of the bike as CX has, those discs get bent way too easily and there is no straightening them back, so you wind up with rub and other annoying side effects.

    Nothing wrong with SRAM, you just have to use the right cables and learn how to adjust it. I like it only a little less than Record.

  12. Got out today for the first after work weekday ride of the year, thank you DST. Too cool for bare legs, but it felt great. Brought along the Stella mounted on the helmet in addition to the blinkies, just in case, and good thing I did. Stopped to help a woman who flatted. She had a tube and I got to try out my new Lezyne pump, which worked great. Turns out her and her hubby had seen me couple of weeks earlier and stopped to ask if I was ok, I was contemplating whether to trudge thru the snow to get into the woods for a nature break. I’ll take New England most days.

  13. @frank

    @RedRanger

    @RedRanger

    @frank

    @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Skit the discs and get the canti version.

    While I agree, you care to extrapolate on that?

    BTW, in the UK the Crocket 5 only comes in disc brakes. toy get canti, you need to spend an extra 350 pounds and get stuck with SRAM.

    Everyone I know who has gone disc has gone back to Canti. Especially in a sport with as much crashing and throwing about of the bike as CX has, those discs get bent way too easily and there is no straightening them back, so you wind up with rub and other annoying side effects.

    Nothing wrong with SRAM, you just have to use the right cables and learn how to adjust it. I like it only a little less than Record.

    Plus discs can just be a pain in the fucking ass that you just don’t need unless you’re on a mountain bike riding on actual mountains. I know it’s possible to go for a long time with them working well, but then for reasons only they’re aware of they get spongy and loud and hopelessly ineffective, and you have to bleed the sons of bitches and IMO that’s a pain in the ass. I’ve been riding my mtb with suck-ass rear braking for the last two months just because I have better things to do with my time. Like ride my road bike. Or sit upside down underwater in my kayak. Or make my VMH nice dinners. Just about any damn thing.

    One question, though, from someone who’s lived a sheltered life: why canti’s and not v-brakes like the TRPs that Marko has on his sick new gravel rig?

  14. @Marko

    That race in MS looks sweet. Very cool.

    I got outside yesterday and rode for the first time (other than rollers) since fall. I was slow and my legs had little power but I was elated in just being outside and riding my bike. I reveled in the smells, warm breeze, and sunshine. In many ways, the best ride of the year.

    Yes the best rides of the entire year are right up at the front. The windy ride that Frank hexed upon me Monday was also a day of timidly dealing with the saddle that “might-could-possibly be” all wrong. I brought the boiling point up to the final 1ok, the saddle had conceded an almost perfect position, and I think that I possibly held out on my fastest solo speed of the year for the last 3k. Only me and the bike know what had just happened. These special days aren’t supposed to happen all the time.

  15. @PeakInTwoYears

    @frank

    @RedRanger

    @RedRanger

    @frank

    @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Skit the discs and get the canti version.

    While I agree, you care to extrapolate on that?

    BTW, in the UK the Crocket 5 only comes in disc brakes. toy get canti, you need to spend an extra 350 pounds and get stuck with SRAM.

    Everyone I know who has gone disc has gone back to Canti. Especially in a sport with as much crashing and throwing about of the bike as CX has, those discs get bent way too easily and there is no straightening them back, so you wind up with rub and other annoying side effects.

    Nothing wrong with SRAM, you just have to use the right cables and learn how to adjust it. I like it only a little less than Record.

    Plus discs can just be a pain in the fucking ass that you just don’t need unless you’re on a mountain bike riding on actual mountains. I know it’s possible to go for a long time with them working well, but then for reasons only they’re aware of they get spongy and loud and hopelessly ineffective, and you have to bleed the sons of bitches and IMO that’s a pain in the ass. I’ve been riding my mtb with suck-ass rear braking for the last two months just because I have better things to do with my time. Like ride my road bike. Or sit upside down underwater in my kayak. Or make my VMH nice dinners. Just about any damn thing.

    One question, though, from someone who’s lived a sheltered life: why canti’s and not V-brakes like the TRPs that Marko has on his sick new gravel rig?

    I mean brakes mounted on cantilever points on the frame, I’m not recommending canti’s over V-Brakes or anything else.

    In fact, I use Mini-V’s as well and have canti’s on another bike; the difference being that the V-brakes stop the bike and the canti only stop the bike after it collides with a fixed object.

  16. @PeakInTwoYears I hear you on that. My MTB makes a horrible sound in the rear. Cant figure it out. I just brake less. I’m all about simplicity on a road/CX bike, which is why I went with mini v’s on the new one. I hated wanted Frank to explain it for Ivor.

  17. @RedRanger

    @PeakInTwoYears I hear you on that. My MTB makes a horrible sound in the rear. Cant figure it out. I just brake less. I’m all about simplicity on a road/CX bike, which is why I went with mini V‘s on the new one. I just wanted Frank to explain it for Ivor.

    Fucking Swype keyboard!

  18. @frank

    In fact, I use Mini-V’s as well and have canti’s on another bike; the difference being that The V-brakes stop the bike and the canti only stop the bike after it collides with a fixed object.

    Very well put. Why I asked.

  19. @RedRanger

    @PeakInTwoYears I hear you on that. My MTB makes a horrible sound in the rear. Cant figure it out. I just brake less. I’m all about simplicity on a road/CX bike, which is why I went with mini V‘s on the new one. I hated wanted Frank to explain it for Ivor.

    My ass-end brake started squealing like a motherfucker and stopped stopping me. Because there was pad material left, I assumed I’d ridden through something that had contaminated the pads. I did the rubbing alcohol plus sandpaper plus rubbing alcohol and a clean rag on the pads and rotors routine. Fuck all difference. Replaced the pads. Fuck all difference. Then I recognized and accepted the squishy nature of the lever feel and therefore the need to bleed the line. But I haven’t done it yet because I’m old and don’t have much time left and therefore have other priorities.

  20. @RedRanger

    @PeakInTwoYears I hear you on that. My MTB makes a horrible sound in the rear. Cant figure it out. I just brake less. I’m all about simplicity on a road/CX bike, which is why I went with mini V‘s on the new one. I hated wanted Frank to explain it for Ivor.

    Wait a minute. What the fuck do you do for a living? Hello? If you can’t figure this one out, I’m taking the fucking train, amigo.

  21. I chatted with a scientist who worked in Anartica. He said that despite that, the coldest he’d ever felt was on a beach in the NE of England with the wind ripping inshore having originated on Siberian tundra, and just for laughs picking up a wealth of freezing wetness on the last leg of its journey across the North Sea. And here too we count windless days as special. If there’s a redemption for me it comes in tiny slices: you turn and for a few moments you gave the wind at your back; then wind speed and bike speed match and you get… silence. For few seconds, peace and tranquility. Them back to the howling as the wind switches, and your fighting again.

    wind rips onshore after having

  22. As my friend Velomilurker David says, there’s no such thing as a bad wind. You have either training wind or helpful wind. V and VV. =)

  23. @frank

    @PeakInTwoYears

    @frank

    @RedRanger

    @RedRanger

    @frank

    @the Engine

    Okay – just about to press the button on this – opinions please on the Trek Crockett 5 Disc – the next n+1 fulfillment or poor idea leading to disappointment?

    Skit the discs and get the canti version.

    While I agree, you care to extrapolate on that?

    BTW, in the UK the Crocket 5 only comes in disc brakes. toy get canti, you need to spend an extra 350 pounds and get stuck with SRAM.

    Everyone I know who has gone disc has gone back to Canti. Especially in a sport with as much crashing and throwing about of the bike as CX has, those discs get bent way too easily and there is no straightening them back, so you wind up with rub and other annoying side effects.

    Nothing wrong with SRAM, you just have to use the right cables and learn how to adjust it. I like it only a little less than Record.

    Plus discs can just be a pain in the fucking ass that you just don’t need unless you’re on a mountain bike riding on actual mountains. I know it’s possible to go for a long time with them working well, but then for reasons only they’re aware of they get spongy and loud and hopelessly ineffective, and you have to bleed the sons of bitches and IMO that’s a pain in the ass. I’ve been riding my mtb with suck-ass rear braking for the last two months just because I have better things to do with my time. Like ride my road bike. Or sit upside down underwater in my kayak. Or make my VMH nice dinners. Just about any damn thing.

    One question, though, from someone who’s lived a sheltered life: why canti’s and not V-brakes like the TRPs that Marko has on his sick new gravel rig?

    I mean brakes mounted on cantilever points on the frame, I’m not recommending canti’s over V-Brakes or anything else.

    In fact, I use Mini-V’s as well and have canti’s on another bike; the difference being that The V-brakes stop the bike and the canti only stop the bike after it collides with a fixed object.

    And in breaking news an @theEngine simple question preceding a gentle telephone call to the LBS now gives me more choices than a sushi bar run by chefs with ADHD.

    The discs on the Crockett are cable operated so no hydraulics to bleed. System looks similar to my Trek MTB which has admittedly suffered from bent discs and fade and is beyond my simple mechanical abilities to fix in the field other than finding that if you turn the pads through 90 degrees they sometimes start working again.

    The canti version of the Crockett is more expensive and I am Scottish (and married to @MrsEngine) so this is a major consideration. It will also do service as a winter/rain road bike round these parts and the disc option may be the way to go for that given the speed that I’ve worn rims and pads through this year on the present #2 bike (rear wheel disintegrated on Sunday).

    As an observation I’m shit on an MTB so my default brake position is death grip snatch which may explain some disc issues.

    Did hill reps (ok one) this morning to see if that would help clear my mind on this – didn’t.

    Also did I mention that the LBS can’t stock Bonts for the time being because they have a local exclusive deal with a shop I don’t like…

  24. @the Engine ……………other than finding that if you turn the pads through 90 degrees they sometimes start working again.

    I’m trying to get my brain around which plane you are talking about.  As most disc pads (ie every pad I’ve ever come across) cannot actually be turned in the vertical plane due to locating lugs/pin this leaves me with the vision of jamming the pads through the holes in the rotor blades.  Granted that would stop you but does seem to be a sort of one off application followed by a Milligan-esque “fortunately my fall was broken by the ground”.  This could of course account for the bent discs……..

  25. @PeakInTwoYears like I keep saying, “planes are easy”

    Its been a matter Id rathet be riding than fixing. After I get #1 road and #1 CX ready to go, I’ll take a look at it.

  26. The downside to all this rebirth talk is when you’re sitting at work, looking out of the window at beautiful spring sunshine. I know what I’d rather be doing.

  27. @cyclebrarian

    @wilburrox

    @frank A visit to New Orleans for family AND Rouge Roubaix? (!) I can assure ya that there is most certainly a Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule attitude just about anywhere in Louisiana that carries in to the race. Early a.m. I’m squaring away start times and am informed by race staff that there is still time to get drunk. Probably only half serious I’m guessing. Anyways, someone from the master’s group posted this year’s race day blockhouse climb on youtube. This comes at mile 65 with grade in excess of 15% on gravel and the run-up road being lunar landscape. Last year was fresh gravel = deep and Hard. This year was washed out so FAST… therefore = Hard. That’s the old saying isn’t it? Doesn’t get easier, just faster. RC

    I just read about that event. And saw this pic and read about this guy:

    Apparently, he wiped out at mile 30 and rode the other 70 miles in this condition. Definitely Rule #5 compliant.

    Would anyone but a cyclist do this? Would anyone else but a cyclist understand doing this?

    Do tri-hards have rules too? (Rule 1: be annoying, Rule #2: ride your bike like shit, Rule #3: sleeveless jerseys and arm warmers together are ok, please make sure they don’t match…)

  28. @The Oracle hello to my northern neighbors feom MKE. Question for midwesterners….what does cold and rainy mean to you? Me…that means more effing snow

  29. @Mike_P

    The downside to all this rebirth talk is when you’re sitting at work, looking out of the window at beautiful spring sunshine. I know what I’d rather be doing.

    Well fortunately I’m WFH so will sneak out later.

  30. @tweed we had some flurries in my area this morning. Looks like tonights gonna be the last real cold snap for the winter.

  31. @tweed Are you referring to weather predictions?  Because if you are, then “cold and rainy” forecasts in March roughly translate to: “we have no fucking idea what’s gonna happen.”

  32. @RedRanger

    @tweed we had some flurries in my area this morning. Looks like tonights gonna be the last real cold snap for the winter.

    Great.  Now you’ve surely doomed us to freezing temps through the end of May.  I did a ride on June 2 last year where the high temperature was 45 degrees with rain and wind.

  33. @RedRanger

    @PeakInTwoYears like I keep saying, “planes are easy”

    Its been a matter Id rathet be riding than fixing. After I get #1 road and #1 CX ready to go, I’ll take a look at it.

    Just giving you shit. Let me know what was causing your issue. I need all the vicarious experience with those damned things that I can get.

  34. @Ccos

    @cyclebrarian

    @wilburrox

    @frank A visit to New Orleans for family AND Rouge Roubaix? (!) I can assure ya that there is most certainly a Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule attitude just about anywhere in Louisiana that carries in to the race. Early a.m. I’m squaring away start times and am informed by race staff that there is still time to get drunk. Probably only half serious I’m guessing. Anyways, someone from the master’s group posted this year’s race day blockhouse climb on youtube. This comes at mile 65 with grade in excess of 15% on gravel and the run-up road being lunar landscape. Last year was fresh gravel = deep and Hard. This year was washed out so FAST… therefore = Hard. That’s the old saying isn’t it? Doesn’t get easier, just faster. RC

    I just read about that event. And saw this pic and read about this guy:

    Apparently, he wiped out at mile 30 and rode the other 70 miles in this condition. Definitely Rule #5 compliant.

    Would anyone but a cyclist do this? Would anyone else but a cyclist understand doing this?

    Do tri-hards have rules too? (Rule 1: be annoying, Rule #2: ride your bike like shit, Rule #3: sleeveless jerseys and arm warmers together are ok, please make sure they don’t match…)

    I’m sure ‘merely a flesh wound’ was uttered many, many times.

  35. @Teocalli

    @the Engine ……………other than finding that if you turn the pads through 90 degrees they sometimes start working again.

    I’m trying to get my brain around which plane you are talking about. As most disc pads (ie every pad I’ve ever come across) cannot actually be turned in the vertical plane due to locating lugs/pin this leaves me with the vision of jamming the pads through the holes in the rotor blades. Granted that would stop you but does seem to be a sort of one off application followed by a Milligan-esque “fortunately my fall was broken by the ground”. This could of course account for the bent discs……..

    Which is why I’m not allowed to touch any part of my bike with any sort of tool unless there is no choice whatsoever.

    The pads are circular on my MTB and if you rotate them through a quarter turn by turning the knurled thing on the other site of the mounting from the pad they start to grip again – I am also aware that this moves the pad closer to the disc but its the change in orientation rather than their decreased proximity to the surface of the disc that makes them work.

    Have you been at the Puckoon again?

    Also note that I set you up for the tool gag of your choice.

  36. @Ccos

    @cyclebrarian

    @wilburrox

    @frank A visit to New Orleans for family AND Rouge Roubaix? (!) I can assure ya that there is most certainly a Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule attitude just about anywhere in Louisiana that carries in to the race. Early a.m. I’m squaring away start times and am informed by race staff that there is still time to get drunk. Probably only half serious I’m guessing. Anyways, someone from the master’s group posted this year’s race day blockhouse climb on youtube. This comes at mile 65 with grade in excess of 15% on gravel and the run-up road being lunar landscape. Last year was fresh gravel = deep and Hard. This year was washed out so FAST… therefore = Hard. That’s the old saying isn’t it? Doesn’t get easier, just faster. RC

    I just read about that event. And saw this pic and read about this guy:

    Apparently, he wiped out at mile 30 and rode the other 70 miles in this condition. Definitely Rule #5 compliant.

    Would anyone but a cyclist do this? Would anyone else but a cyclist understand doing this?

    Do tri-hards have rules too? (Rule 1: be annoying, Rule #2: ride your bike like shit, Rule #3: sleeveless jerseys and arm warmers together are ok, please make sure they don’t match…)

    That’s Rule #5 right there. Judging by the vacant stare, the concussion was kicking in nicely. He’s been studying at the Laurens Ten Dam school of hardmanship.

  37. @Teocalli

    @Mike_P

    The downside to all this rebirth talk is when you’re sitting at work, looking out of the window at beautiful spring sunshine. I know what I’d rather be doing.

    Well fortunately I’m WFH so will sneak out later.

    Git.  Welcome back by the way!!

  38. @PeakInTwoYears

    @RedRanger

    @PeakInTwoYears I hear you on that. My MTB makes a horrible sound in the rear. Cant figure it out. I just brake less. I’m all about simplicity on a road/CX bike, which is why I went with mini V‘s on the new one. I hated wanted Frank to explain it for Ivor.

    Wait a minute. What the fuck do you do for a living? Hello? If you can’t figure this one out, I’m taking the fucking train, amigo.

    +1 Badge to you, matey.

  39. @Mike_P  Yep, sometimes there’s a fine line between “bad-ass” and “dumb-ass”. (I’m erring on the side of bad-ass in both photos).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.