Words & Photos - J. Dunn
What's going on around here? Riding.
And you know what? It feels damn good, finally.
I even skipped going up to watch the always awesome MFG Cyclocross racing this past weekend to do it. Besides, we've got a SALE going on right now if you haven't heard. Seems like a lot of people have heard though, at this point. It was a conscious decision to do the sale now instead of trying to insert ourselves into the big box retail competition that happens at the end of the month. People look to those larger brands around then and us little folk are lost in the mix. Small Business Saturday - LOL. So, when you send an email asking for free shipping ON TOP of the sale, that's just weird, come on now.
Sale's are a weird thing in general, but I guess we can talk more about that later, let's get back to riding bikes.
Cycling is that weird sport where, if you haven't done it in a while, and the weather is cooperating, cruising around feels good for all the right reasons. Things like "it's really fun" and "it's a great way to quickly know people." Or even further out "one may be emboldened to interact with your environment in new and exciting ways" as illustrated by the second of these three rides.
There were three rides in quick succession that did this recently. One - riding out to the Trophy Cup to watch Cyclocross racing. Two - pub crawls aka riding around with Prince and Remy and the third one happened this past weekend, sort of the build-up to it actually - riding 70 miles on a random Saturday.
Ride One: Portland Trophy Cup.
This wasn't actually just one ride, it was a bunch of them. I didn't make all of them, but the weather was great for a number of them and we all know that riding out to watch races that you would rather be in, is way better than driving.
It makes the ride out there feel great — like you're not being a slug to support the things that you like — and the way back feels right because you're in the company of a whole bunch of really jazzed up bike racers. Which is a funny thing in and of itself? "We went through that dark section in the back and you can't really see what's going on, but you just sort of jam on it and hope for the best..."
I did crash after one of the races (I wasn't drunk, I promise). I had learned from a CT scan, and my doctor, that I was officially healed from my knee surgery. The stress fracture was gone, the cartilage and cadaver bits looked amazing. So, I figured that a good way to go about celebrating was to throw caution to the wind and ride with reckless abandon across a patch of gravel. I won't bore you with particulars, but my angle, combined with the overall enthusiasm was not a good combo.
There were also a lot of battles to watch and heckles to dole out (for those of you outsiders reading this, fear not, to say the verbal barbs being slung are lukewarm, tepid, would be an overstatement of the truth). But it was a good reason to be there. It's always fun to introduce the sport to people - "here's where you watch from! They're coming, they're coming, now duck under this tape and run across this field and we can see them come by again."
It's also super cool to go out to these things and see people rocking your gear, ink the races and on the sidelines! What's up Papa Tong!
Also, shout out to the Breadwinner Cycles racing team. We made Breadwinner Mismatched socks for them that just launched into the world and onto their feet. However, they were wearing our socks all along. I know this was tough for Stephen for making the leap from that one pair of all black lucky socks!
Ride Two: With Prince & Remy
I did a bunch of these rides over the summer. Light and easy and with a few "stops" along the way. Aka, let's drink a beer. Prince and Dan were my usual cohorts on these rides as they're always down for keeping everything light and fun. This is important. Plus, how good is Burberry and Cycling gear? So good.
On this particular ride, we took Remy on his first real road ride. He got this FOCUS all hooked up over the course of the past year(s) and was stoked to take it out and give it a try. We took him well into the night and had a few of those aforementioned stops.
After the final stop (it was maybe one too many) we saw a gentleman working on his car that was sort of halfway peeking out of his garage. With the previously mentioned boldness secured in our veins, we had no problem rolling up on him and inquiring as to what was going on. He was extremely happy to see us and was even more excited to tell us about the car that he was building for his son. The son had recently graduated from college and gotten a job out at Nike, so this was his present to him. Seems cool enough.
He then proceeded to tell us a story about a time many years ago when he was pulled over by the police. Apparently he was sitting on good ammount of the sticky green and it was very pungent. The officer knew right away what was going on and in a gruff voice said "Oh man, you're so busted. We're deporting you straight back to your country." El Mechanic was actually illegal at the time and told us in so many words that he was indeed about to shit a brick. He's laughing this amazing laugh the whole time that he's telling us this. Probably just from the looks on our faces.
"And then something totally crazy happened. The police officer said "nah man, I'm just fucking with you. Give me one of those joints and get out of here." It was the craziest thing of my life. But, you know, it was the 70's and different times back then."
Holy. Crap. That is amazing.
Ride Three: A Long One
Not sure how I can top that last one.
This past weekend I went out with a crew for something like 70 miles. This was the biggest ride for me in the past year. While I have been building them up over the summer, it still takes a little bit to put it into one ride. Especially when local crushers like Patrick and Anna Grace and Lucas Strain are there looking spry and motivated the entire time.
"I've been off the bike for a while, and on top of that I'm really hungover." When one of your group says that you tend to think that everything is going to be ok. Or maybe that just means he's going to go a little harder on the flats and definitely harder on all the climbs.
Gear Notes: Let's take a step to the side for a minute. Have you seen this Pas Normal Studios riding gear? Uh, yes, please. It's the creative brains behind the fashion label Wood Wood, which in and of itself would be more than enough to sell me on it. However, their gear, as illustrated by Patrick also stands the litmus test that we all give these new cycling things — "daaamn, that feels good." And then we paw all over him and fondle the fabric between our thumb and forefingers. It's a thing. The Long Sleeve Jersey in Burnt Orange is what he's rocking.
Pavé Bars from Chef Chris Cosentino. No idea where these came from, but they were hanging around the pantry and I took one along with me. Holy shit, these are amazing. Not sure exactly what they're made of, but they feel amazing and the little squares melt in your mouth the same way that the Honey Mama's Bars do. It's like a special cacao coconut mixture that these two have figured out. Food is gear when it comes to cycling, no one is going to argue with that, are they?
And just like that we're back on the road and rockin'. And by "we" I mean "me" and by "rockin" I mean something a little closer to riding. More my style. But hot damn if it doesn't feel good to move!