Oh my gosh - i just came across a link to a video of the first 'vegan-athlete' public speaking engagement i've ever done! It was for Organic Athlete and IDA - two organizations i am a spokesperson for. Even though i'm embarrassed by my 'performance', here's the LINK for your amusement.
FINALLY, us Belgians have enjoyed a full week of wonderful weather - 70-80 degree F (22-28 deg C) days with boatloads of sun. It's been about one year, last april in fact, since we've had a full week of nice weather. So in my fear of wasting these precious days, I've been spending almost every second outdoors. In one week i went from bright white to dirt patch brown (i still haven't mastered the art of even layering of the sunscreen.) There are few feelings as satisfying as sun on the quads. I even salt-stained my shorts.
Last weekend i went on one of those organized cyclo-tourist rides. The course is completely marked with arrows or symbols painted on the pavement and the periodic supplemental signs taped on the poles to help you find your way. A typical cyclo-tourist ride gets 500-2000 participants average and the start time is whenever you want to take off between 7:30am to 1pm. They offer different lengths such as 30km, 70km, 110km.
My ride had about 1000 riders. We left at about 8:30am and the course was riddled with riders ranging from the 35 year-old weekend warrior - equipped with his fully weighted backpack filled with all necessary artillery to last the km's - to the once-a-year joy rider wearing his musette he must have scored in the 1956 Tour de France. As an avid people-watcher, I was having a rippin' time checking all the outfits out.
I went to the ride only with Jonas but during the event we periodically tagged along with groups passing by, while other times we were joined by the onesies and twosies we passed along the way.
When riding in a group with folks who may only ride in a group format once or twice a year max, the bike handling skills of many are a bit creative. Since I plan to enter my first road race of the season next week, this was perfect practice for me. I got to remember what it's like to have a dumbass ride up me and another rider (jonas in this case) and wedge his front wheel between us. He surely put a lot of trust in our not swerving by even a centimeter towards each other.
My favorite of all the cyclists had to have been the 75ish year old guy who rode with us for a while. He looked like a former pro racer; his clothes were neat and tidy, large saddle bag, cycling cap (no helmet), tubulars, pristine clean bike, curve in the back probably due to many thousands of KM's on the bike and excellent bike skills. Jonas and i passed him at about 75km into the ride and he tagged along as many others have. But this guy not only lasted on our wheel for quite a while but he worked in with us. We kept our 3-(wo)man paceline up for about an hour - up and down the undulating roads. He really impressed me with his power, poise, timing, and clean bike. Ok, maybe the last one doesn't go with the first three descriptions but i did think about the bikes cleanliness as we pacelined past numerous riders.
Today is yet another perfect day so i must go now to sit in the sun. When the weather turns again to crap, I want to be able to say that I at least made the best of it!
Thanks for reading!