We are currently in the hardest two-week period of a calendar year in Michigan. We’re at least two weeks from riding outside again and we’re getting itchy. Strava and Zwift are showing our increased intensity as we prepare to finally get outside again… on the road bikes. And the weather absolutely sucks. It was -17 the other morning (that’s -27 in Euros), the day before we received a fresh new foot of snow (30 cm). It’s been a bit more than a month since I was last outdoors on my gravel bike.
And so, once a day, usually in the afternoon, I’ll walk into the bike room to stare at my Venge a little bit, sitting there looking all racy. I look at it from across the room, then walk over and brush my fingers over the tacky Serfas polka-dot bar tape, then the Montrose Pro saddle, that also has a sharp polka-dot texture to it so everything matches… the bike is in a gear I’d never ride it in, smallest up front, smallest on the cassette, so the cables don’t stretch over the winter. I hook the fingers from my right hand under the carbon fiber S-Works Aerofly handlebar and the left fingers under the saddle and give it a lift to feel the weight of my glorious sub-sixteen pound aero race bike in my hands.
The bike got new stainless steel shift cables earlier in the winter, so the shifting is outrageously smooth and crisp. The new stem and handlebar position looks slammed and racy… and the new seat post, and it’s already dialed in perfectly, just waiting to go.
I’ve never written about doing this before, but I’ve been visiting the Venge every now and again over the winter months for years. I thought I was the only one nutty enough to do that, so I kept it to myself. Then, on the way home last night, I called my buddy, Mike and we got to talking about the weather and a couple of upcoming road trips on the itinerary and he let it out that he walks by his good bike and pets the handlebar regularly, as if to say, “Don’t worry, it won’t be long now”.
It was then, just driving home from the office, I realized I needed to write this post. To reach out to my friends on two wheels and let you know that it’s okay. You’re not alone. We are all in this together in these difficult times… we’ll be outside, cruising down the road soon. Be strong.