As much as I hate to say it road bikes are where my roots are in cycling. I wish it was something cooler like Cycle-Ball (the pinnacle of cycling) but alas it’s getting decked out in tight clothes and riding skinny tires, and I loved it for many years.
I worked my ass of for a summer in middle school detasseling corn in rural Indiana and Michigan just to save up for my first road bike. It was a gorgeous blue Tommaso Tiempo made of good old steel. This bike took me on my first centuries and through dozens of crashes. This was at a point in my life when I wanted to be a Tour de France winner and I had this odd idea at the time that this old bike would miraculously take me to the top of the podium. No, Seriously I though the Tammaso would be my bike forever and would, without a doubt, win the tour. I want to say that’s cute and all but I know that even back then I knew damn well that bike was heavy and outdated but I was blinded by love, gross.
Anyways, the Tomasso was a great starting off point and was great, till it wasn’t. It was followed by a lovely Aluminum Specialized Allez, an outstanding Giant OCR (Outstanding because it was free, otherwise it was just alright), a classy steel Trek 1200, and then my dad’s exquisite steel Basso Paris- Roubaix. All of these bikes have thousands of miles under them and many more stories at that. But back to my main point, all of these bikes represent my roots as a road biker.
Road biking was the sole focus for all of middle school and high school. I would race cyclocross and mountain bike races as well but these races were all an effort to get in better shape for road season.
When I entered college I quickly discarded road bikes. I was in the freaking U.P. where cyclocross and mountain bikes are king! I would use the road bike for commuting when the weather was nice, which it never was, and winter training on my rollers but that was about it.
The training for the Triple Crown has forced me to revisit old memories of training and racing for guidance and inspiration. I quickly remembered the amazing benefits of riding on pavement and the joy it brought to me. Alas, the U.P. is not great for road bikes due the lack of its key ingredient, roads. But West Michigan ain’t too shabby.
While in Allendale, Michigan with Olivia’s family for the holidays we went for a short road ride. Boy was it fun! We found some gravel as well which is always a welcomed treat. Ya, that’s right I rode my road bike on some freaking gravel and didn’t die, imagine that? Road bikes are gravel bikes with different brakes, there I said it.
Anyways the ride reminded me of the hours I would spend riding the farm roads in Michigan. It was my meditation space, a time for me to clear my brain or think hard on any given topic. I grew up on roads like these and it was a joy to return to those roots.
Sadly I will be leaving the clear roads on West Michigan in a few days when I drive back up to the frozen tundra that is Marquette. But I am bringing back with me renewed energy and a belly full of food.
Till next time