Storm smugness

As a late-season nor’easter dumps its load outside, the bikes and I are all snug, warm and dry (and smug) looking out the window watching those poor car people try to get their cars out of the parking lot.

Yes, we’re doubly smug here considering that the bikes—well, the Portland anyway—doesn’t have such trouble with the snow, and we don’t have to go out in it anyway. Naturally this will come back to bite me in the ass, but I’m enjoying it for today. Ah, time for another coffee, and maybe a cookie.

Late-season storms are the worst of the season, and over the past couple of years, the late-season has been creeping up into February. Which means spring is just around the corner.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been experiencing, not spring fever, but spring anxiety. I’ve fared really well this winter, and I’ve enjoyed it for the most part. But online whining is beginning to rub off on me and the racing season is due to start shortly.

I’m anxiously awaiting the Spring Classics.

The Spring Classics have become my favorite races. You can have the Tour, the Giro and the Vuelta. Give me Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. These are races over real roads like what I ride on, with stouter bikes, wheels and tires like commuters use, and weather. Lots of weather.

I can relate to the Classics.

More, the Classics are all one-day races, so there is racing. There’s none of this holding back today for another stage, or going for points instead of wins. It’s win or lose today, full stop.

In celebration of the Spring Classics, I have my own classics here in town. Just 15 days away on the 12th is the club’s first ride of the season, the traditional Tour of Ellison Park, followed on the 19th by Irondequoit-Durand Eastman and my favorite on the 26th, Spin Around the Bay. All of them rides with enough climbing that I’ll be sore for a day or two afterward.

That’ll work out the kinks.

As for the cobbled classics, I dug out my pics of the cobbled climbs in Mt Hope Cemetery from last spring. I replaced my usual wallpaper with them,

Pavé Every Day
the north climb on the left monitor,

Pavé Every Dayand the south climb on the right.

Click ‘em for the full 1980×1200 wallpaper size.

I rode through Mt Hope last week hoping for an early start on them, but the cobbles are not plowed in winter, and they hadn’t melted yet. I was on Yellow Bike that day, so the snow was out-of-bounds. We climbed the hills on the macadam instead.

But soon, soon we’ll be riding the pavé every day.

Bike report

Last weekend the bikes got their mid-February desalination and spa treatment. Then on Monday it was right back into the snow. Still, after a fresh treatment of either Nashbar’s Bike Bling or Pedro’s Bike Lust, the dirt and salt just rinse away. After four days of commuting in the snow and the wet, the Portland looks just as clean and shiny today as it did last Sunday.

Yesterday it was warm enough that I didn’t need my Lake winter cycling boots, but it was expected to cool to freezing by the ride home, so I rode the Portland with its studs. I’ve been thinking the studs have been sapping all my energy lately, but maybe it’s the shoes. With my lighter three-seasons shoes with booties, I really felt like my legs were flying.

Still, whether it’s shoes or tires, I’m glad the end is in sight. I want to carve corners again. I want to feel the bikes leap away from stoplights. And I want to be able to come home and hang up the bikes without having to hose them down first.

Last week on payday I ordered the new wheels for the Litespeed. This week I learned they’re on backorder and aren’t expected to ship until early April.

My first reaction was, “Fuck!” My second reaction was a much better, “That’ll work just fine.”

It takes a lot of the pressure off of switching components around on the bikes next month. All the components have to come off the Litespeed to be returned to Blue. Then the Portland gets its new bars, levers and cables. Finally the Portland’s old bars and levers go to the Litespeed along with its new components.

That’s a lot of work for a little time, along with trying to have a life in there and the promise of more and longer rides. Now I can stretch it out, take it easy and enjoy the process.

Meanwhile, I got the first miles on the 23mm tire on the front of the Litespeed. As you may recall, its Crud RoadRacer fenders are made to fit over 23s, and I run 25s. I had a little rubbing with the 25s, and it disappeared with the 23s. I guess it pays to follow the directions.

So it looks like I’ll ride the Litespeed for some of the club’s Spring Classics next month, and Blue for others. Depending on weather, of course. And it may be nice to have a triple on Spin Around the Bay for the optional descents to the bay on and the climbs back out.

But for now, I’m enjoying an afternoon off, sipping coffee, munching cookies and looking at shiny bikes inside, and the storm outside.

One Response to “Storm smugness”

  1. bikerjohn Says:

    Great Mt Hope images!