The Fastest Flannel in the West

If you recall my previous blog entry, I boundlessly (heh) preached on about galavanting around on two wheels in a non-competititive fashion all while donning flannel. I dug into those who color coordinate bottles to their bikes, those who obsess over training plans, and those who turn pedals over to beat those around them, neglecting all the other aspects of cycling. So what do I do come the long awaited flannel grinder? 

I solo to the “finish”.

9 minutes ahead of the next person.

30 minutes ahead my group of friends.

60 minutes before the taco bar was even done.

I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to tales of Joose getting buck wild going down Iowa hill on his canti-equipt Bridgestone that was WELDED before my existence was even a thought. I even missed Sherpa’s whiskey watering hole. I didn’t even get any photos of me looking all hip in my designer spandex baggy shorts devised to make me look hip and casual but really hide the fact that I’m a roadie. All things I missed out on because I got carried away and treated it like some timed event. At least I got to watch (and hear quite audibly) Max double pinch flat on his road bike within the first 10 feet of dirt. 

I don’t really make any apologies though. I hate to be that guy, but In the last 4 years, in 3 different crashes, I’ve broken both femurs, 2 vertebrae, a wrist, and a kneecap. 

While I missed out on all the fun, I rolled into the parking lot with a deep satisfaction of knowing I pushed my bike and body to the max. Which isn’t something I get to do all the time. 

I love pushing things to their limits, sometimes just to see where those limits lie. On the descents, smashing down Yankee Jims, trying to beat my PR, both tactfully and recklessly dancing on the edge of catastrophe. Soaking in the nihilistic euphoria of riding at threshold up a seemingly endless climb, where you’re HR is soaring, but your legs and mind are in total control. That "flow state" is one of the driving forces behind my bicycling passion. 

All this being said, I turned around on a race ride yesterday because I was tired of going hard. This all sounds incredibly inconsistent, but in this inconsistency, I have found balance. Go hard when you want. Kick it hard when you don’t. Having fun and enjoying yourself is the key ingredient.

Bikes are tight.

-Todd Stone

Chris Stastny