Monday, July 28, 2008

You know you're a roadie if you wear tight shorts

This weekend the Tour de France ended and a new race, the Chicago Criterium, took place downtown. It's been a big summer for bicycling, at least for me. I rode up some serious mountains in Italy. I learned (er, started to learn) what it's like to ride in a group, inches off someone else's back wheel in the pace line, waving my right hand around to signal turns and stops to those behind me and yelling things like "Hole!" and "Door!" at the top of my lungs.

It's a new world for me, but it's one that I've been sucked into now, and I don't want to leave. I'd consider cycling the third sport I've now seriously pursued, in addition to running and crew, and I've noticed an alarming trend: all three of these sports require wearing tight and/or minimal clothing. While running allows the athlete to choose looser fitting attire, crew and cycling virtually demand that you wear spandex exclusively, at least on the bottom. This is something I guess you get used to, although if I were asked if I enjoy wearing this fabric, I'd have to say no. I do, however, appreciate the necessity of wearing it for both riding and rowing. To refuse to wear spandex shorts basically ensures extreme discomfort.

Meanwhile, my competitive side is getting anxious. While I have absolutely no desire to participate in a criterium, I am intrigued by the prospect of competing in an "ordinary" stage race or a time trial. Also, why not a triathlon? All that's really stopping me from doing one of those is the swimming. I can swim, but not fast, and I know my form is far from perfect. But at least I don't have to worry about adjusting to the uniform. If a small amount of spandex is what's required, then I'm more than ready to plunge in.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation

And why I wish I were still there...