It’s hot. Really hot, and I’m cruising down the road warming up the legs for the Tuesday night sufferfest in 20 mph winds, smile on my face… When I notice a clicking noise. Sounds like it’s coming from the bottom bracket – and not just one click per revolution, more like 20 and all the way around.
After the warm up I hop off, lift up the back tire… Forward and back, same noise. It’s not the chain, nor the derailleurs. It’s in the bottom bracket or crank.
No Tuesday night club ride for me. I packed up my two-week-old, $3,000 bike and headed home.
I am not a happy fuckin’ guy.
I created another new page that I’ve been intending on publishing for some time now: My Noob’s Guide to Cycling covers everything from maintenance to safety to nutrition. The page is a compilation of everything I’ve screwed up as a noob and how I fixed or overcame it, presented in plain English so that you may learn from my (often humorous, sometimes boneheaded) mistakes.
This, of all of the photos I have placed on this blog, is my favorite. My wife took it while following me up the mountain road that the home we’ve vacationed at for the last two years is located – darn near at the top of the mountain. It sums up, in one picture, what my blog is all about.
First of all, my interest in climbing mountains originated with one blog, Steep Climbs. I loved cycling long before Aaron West stumbled upon my blog (or maybe it was the other way around, I can’t remember), but once I read a few of his posts my curiosity went through the roof. Why would anybody put themselves through that – on purpose!?
We don’t have many hills in southeastern Michigan, let alone mountains, so the first chance I had to check this phenomena out was a year ago July when we went on our family vacation to the mountains of northern Georgia, then North Carolina. I was hooked within the first mile of my very first ride.
Being a kid at heart, you might assume that the descent was what I really loved, that the climb was just a necessary evil to get to the descent, but you would be mistaken. Aaron is right – climbing a hill, as slow as six or seven miles per hour, can captivate even the most egregious speed-junky cyclist. I’ve enjoyed climbing ever since, enough to seek out every decent hill I can find in a 40 mile radius of my house.
Back to the photo and how it relates to my blog. Fitness and recovery are both exceptionally social animals, at least if you’re doing it right, yet once the talking is done and it comes down to doing the real work it’s just you, God and one foot in front of the other. Once you start up the incline, there’s no stopping or turning back. You have to muscle ahead and do what’s right in front of you until it’s done. If ever there was a photo that depicts that part of my life, that’s the one.
I started out very much a social runner then added solo bike training. A full year went by before I really tried riding with anyone else on the road. Cycling alone never bothered me but I did miss the social aspect of running. Today, cycling mirrors my recovery almost perfectly. I cycle socially once or twice a week, but when it comes down to the real training… Well, just look at the photo. That’s the other 573 words.