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Thursday, November 25, 2010


We rode in Cranksgiving on Sunday. There were a few glitches like when we learned that the gay panniers didn't clear my feet, then when we learned that the black ones were getting in the spokes because they didn't have a stiffener (a different rack design might have negated the need).

Which is to say we were late. Not so late we missed the start, but late enough I didn't get to say hi to everyone I knew. A lot of these are friends I wouldn't normally see in one place.

The urban cyclists, transportational and eccentrically practical mixed with the roadies who bring their delicate and expensive carbon fiber bikes in by car. It's the bike hauled in on a rack alongside bikes that have racks for hauling stuff.

Trial bikes of the mountain bike/stunt variety, tires fat enough for a motorcycle shouldered up to time trial bikes with aero bars. Fixed gear track bikes, bikes that were brought in a trailer, bikes that pull a trailer.

No course was fixed, we had a list of ten grocery stores and a list of items needed for St. Peter’s Food Pantry. Get a receipt, figure out how to stow the peanut butter, laundry soap, toilet paper, canned soup, etc. Be the first to get back with something from all ten stores and you win.

There are also prizes for heaviest load, Corinna's touring mate Brian won that. There was a couple on a tandem with a trailer that looked fuller, but they had a lot of toilet paper, where Brian favored family sized cans of tuna and whatnot.

Costumes were also awarded, I didn't get there in time to see who won, but Counselor Vance and Caroline were both obvious contenders.

I didn't realize how much conditioning I lost being off the bike the past few weeks since the surgery. Plus, Corinna is a very casual rider, normally riding as slow as I do when I'm solo. Her bike is kind of a tank with its Surley racks and panniers that sometimes include forgotten pieces of scrap metal in the payload.

But this was a competition, an alley cat race, her favorite kind. And the girl did not make the '96 Olympic team without a profound competitive instinct. See also those national championships. See also that silver medal in the Pan American games.

I was huffing and puffing to keep up, and I wasn't even, after awhile, keeping up. I asked a jogger if she'd seen a cyclist with a helmet poof and was told, 'Yeah, couldn't miss it, she went that way.'

She eased up a bit after a flat tire and seeing someone who was obviously much more in contention go by. But she didn't really slow down until I got cramps in my left quad on the way to grocery store #8.

It was interesting how the handling of my bike changed as we loaded up.

We stopped at Costco on the way back to her place so we could get a bag of food for her pup. While she was strapping the forty pound bag to her back rack, a friend called to say she'd seen me on the TV news riding in the event. She also told me she thought Corinna looked a lot stronger than me.

What can I say? It's true. Witness the lesson I learned when I tried to get her to pose for a cheesy shot in front of a shuttlecock at the Nelson.

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