Thursday, 31 March 2011


It would not be entirely accurate to say last Sunday's Grey Hair bike ride in Sonoma County's Dry Creek wine region kicked my ass. But, it did highlight, in exhaustingly certain terms, just how much training I shall have to accomplish between now and next Spring's End to End journey in the UK.

The Grey Hair ride has been an annual fixture for a few years. I don't know how many. I've been invited before, but had never participated until the latest edition. The point is for a bunch of geeky-purist-type riders with requisite grey hair, if any hair at all, to meet up to show off their wool jerseys, riding britches, vintage-ish or collectible-ish road machines, and then indulge in a relaxed-pace pedal around some part of the North Bay or other. Somewhere along the way, lunches are obtained, along with perfectly-paired ales or lagers, to enhance clarity and boost stamina.

I shan't bore you with an overly-wordy narrative of what happened on the road...but am more than willing to bore you with a 7 minute "documentary" video of the proceedings. For that, as they say, "click here."

For the science and stats of the cycling portion of the Sunday event, as they say, "click here."

(A tally of calories consumed this day has been withheld!).

I will admit to being suitably bike geeky for this ride...although I have no antique wool riding togs, no collection-worthy road machine with a French or Italian name on the downtube, and no intention nor desire for same. I usually ride in baggy bike shorts and a dry-release technical running shirt, on my British racing green touring bike that's only claim to "fame" is that I designed and built it myself. It's best suited for loaded distance, not speed. As fate has determined, somewhat like myself. My bike sports mustache bars and bar-end shifters, which are not wildly popular these days in the cycling world. Upon them I stake my "geeky" street cred!

Being slow is not fashionable, but it's not a problem for me. I do it very well. If you've run or ridden with me before you will know this. However, what bugs me to no end is slowing other people down. I greatly appreciated my Grey Hair pals waiting up for me as many times as they did. Had they not, I would perhaps still be out there, floundering about, trying to find my way back to the car! But, it's on days like that that I am thankful I enjoy bike touring and both are suitable for folks who don't mind being alone.

Having confirmed how much time I am going to need to spend on my bike over the next year, I am not so sure there will be much time for much running. I am considering canceling my plan to run another marathon this year, to free up that training time on foot for training time in-saddle. I also think the money I was going to put away for the marathon trip might be better earmarked for the trip to England, Scotland and Wales.

Life, as they say, is a fluid situation.



CewTwo said...

Hey! Sounds like you had fun!
Anyone else saying they built their own bike would be a so-so statement; but hearing it from you? Most excellent set of wheels!

Anonymous said...

hi michael, belated thanks for the shout in your last post. looking forward to your visit to the uk to and supping some of the local stuff.

Rachel said...

sounds like a fun ride! so cool that you made your bike - that alone gives you plenty of cred! and i totally dig the mustache handlebars : ) as far as running, a change might be just what you need - the end-to-end is an impressive challenge to take on, let alone while also training to run a marathon!