Sunday, May 2, 2010

A talk with Paolo

During yesterday’s windy, windy, windy ride with Team Revolution, I had to have numerous talks with Paolo.  He just wasn’t being his usual carefree self that charges up hills, bombs the descents, and takes on the wind with a devil-may-care attitude.  In fact, it seemed like he didn’t want to be there at all and he definitely was not interested in working with me to create an enjoyable ride.

Who is this Paolo character?  Paolo is my bike!  Yep, I name my bikes.  My carbon Specialized Roubaix is named after Paolo Bettini because he was an awesome all around cyclist who won numerous races riding on a Specialized bike.  My steel framed Jamis is named Phillipe, after Phillipe Gilbert who is a great rider on the cobbles of the spring classics and I just like saying his name.  My single speed is simply The Vegas (it is a Specialized Langster with the Las Vegas paint scheme).  Finally, there is the mountain bike, which I call the Sleeper because it mostly sits in the garage.

Yesterday, as usual, I was out on the road with Paolo.  From the time the ride started I wasn’t feeling it.  It seemed like I was working much harder then necessary to keep up with the group and get over even the smallest of hills. I am sure it was Paolo.  I never caught him at it but I think he was closing his brakes ever so slightly.  Or maybe he was deflating his tires just a bit.  Either way, he was not rolling with the smoothness I that I know he is capable of.

When I asked him what’s wrong, he says “Nothing!”.  But of course you can tell by his tone something’s up.  I keep talking to him and begin to realize he is kind of pouting.  Now I start to negotiate with him.  You know offering things like new wheels, fresh chain lube, or a nice wash when we are done.  I can’t even keep track of all the things I promised if he can just help me get home.  Nothing except for some snide remark about having Phillipe help me get home! 

Then it hits me.  He saw me getting Phillipe ready for the road and he’s jealous. You see, in an ode to the spring classics, Coach Tim has planned a ride for next Saturday called Sonoma Cols and Pavé.  We will be riding some of the worse piece of sh!t roads in Sonoma County so I am getting Phillipe ready to go.  Apparently Paolo isn’t happy with this since he wants to go on this ride.

Now I start to remind Paolo that while I don’t have favorites, I do ride him the most.  So far, he has seen over 1,300 miles of open road this year including trips to San Diego and Yosemite.  What has Phillipe seen so far this year?  The inside of our garage while sitting on the trainer.  And Phillipe’s big adventure was going to see the inside of Coach Tim’s garage. 

This seemed to do the trick.  Just before one of our favorite climbs, and descents, I felt Paolo’s demeanor change and he was back to his old self.  We climbed smoothly to the top and then bombed our way back down.  He was awesome as he helped me fight the 9 miles of cross winds to get back home.

Of course, you may be wondering why I am putting my hard ride all on Paolo.  It’s simple.  I woke feeling really good and it was a beautiful day to ride.  So the natural assumption has to be that my two colds, one crash, boat load of work, and overall lack of mojo so far this year had nothing to do with me not riding well.  I am also quite sure that all of the flat routes I have been riding should have perfectly prepared me for Saturday's hilly ride.  And if it wasn’t me then it had to be Paolo right?

Yet, even as I write this, the song Margaritaville keeps creeping into my mind.  Hmmm!  How does that last line go?  Oh, that’s right - “And I know, it’s my own damn fault”.


PS.  Sorry Paolo!  Can you forgive me?

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