On the Road: Road weariness
If you managed to delve beyond the daily reports of sculpted athletes criss-crossing France in a blur, you might have found my name in the fine print of our sports pages this week. Here’s a hint: It was close to the bottom of the list.Despite an aversion to anything that hints of timed competition, even if it’s just trying to do my grocery shopping while I have a load of laundry in the dryer, I was cajoled into participation in the Bicycle for the Cure last weekend.The cause was worthy (breast cancer research), which is more than I can say about my performance. For awhile there, I was in the running to finish dead last. It was only through pluck and determination that I beat 14 other riders to the finish line at Maroon Lake. There were, however, 117 competitors who crossed the line ahead of me, including all of my companions. Show-offs.Let me just say right now that I was one of a handful of riders on mountain bikes instead of those skinny-tired speedsters. Pedaling a mountain bike on asphalt is roughly the efficiency equivalent of trying to cut butter with the flat side of a knife instead of the edge. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.We started at Aspen Highlands, where I positioned myself comfortably in the middle of the pack. By the time we reached T-Lazy-7, I had the road to myself. I haven’t been passed by so often since my high-school classmates contemplated prom dates.Then, we hit a flat stretch and I managed to overtake a pair of riders who had passed me earlier. Heh, heh.With renewed vigor, I set my sights on the next bicyclist in front of me, who eventually disappeared from view – ahead of me, not behind me.I should have been focused on my good fortune – that breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, for example. Instead, I was cursing my fat tires.I actually own a road bike, a French-made 12-speed that’s older than some of my colleagues. I bought it right out of college and it was a good bike for its day, but my knees now prefer some lower gears.I’ve been meaning to sell it, telling myself I can’t buy a new road bike until I clear that one out of my storage space. Anybody looking for a good town bike, cheap?
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Aspen’s dirty downtown alleys are enough of a blight that the city government is taking the initiative to clean them up this week.