Indeed they were, and indeed they are. I still hear his voice on days like today, when it's hot, it's been hot for awhile, and people seem to have only two modes--moving slowly, and fighting with each-other. I certainly heard it yesterday during my commute. It actually compelled me to stop on a Chinatown sidewalk, cool down, observe the street scenes I usually just ride past, and once again contemplate my lot. Unfortunately, though, my contemplations were drowned out by the sounds of a nearby homeless man engaging in his morning expectorations, so I just got back on my bike and started riding again lest I be forced to witness his blackened lung actually emerging from his mouth like a balloon covered in seaweed.
Still, though, these are definitely the dog days. It's been a long season. Even the pros are feeling it:
After grimacing across the finish line having vomited in his mouth from the effort, American Dave Zabriskie said he thought the course was not ideal for time trial specialists.
That's right, Dave Zabriskie threw up in his mouth a little bit--the same way everyone else did when he released a chamois cream named after his own crotchal region. Cadel, too is feeling it:
"With everything that's gone on in the last three months - I had tendonitis, a huge crash in the Tour de France, defending the yellow (jersey) with only one leg and breaking my anterior cruciate ligament - I was on crutches for three or four days after the Tour," he said.
Indeed, the dog days of summer have driven Cadel Evans, the John Coltrane of excuses, to finally take his excuse-making into the "sheets of sound" phase. It's one thing to blame injuries, but to flat out claim you only had one leg in the Tour de France (yes, I know he's being metaphorical, but I prefer to read it literally) is a statement bold and surreal enough to qualify as art. As time goes on, I hope Cadel adds to his exquisitely-wrought excuse canon. Perhaps he can also say he didn't have a bike, and that he was blind. Maybe he could also tell a tale of how a Succubus came to him in the night and stole his spirit, and how he was forced to waste an entire rest day journeying to the Carpathian mountains in order to retreive it.But really, who can blame Cadel? Riding your bike every day can become drudgery if you don't take steps to keep it interesting. I myself just put new tires on the ironic Orange Julius bike in order to put that proverbial spring back into my step. Actually, they weren't "new" tires, they were just different old tires. (An essential part of the IOJB's irony is that it does not ever receive new parts.) They were also knobbies, which I had consigned to the recesses of my parts bin as they had become excessively worn. However, I recently had a revelation, which is that a worn knobby is simply a new slick, so I excitedly re-shod the IOJB with them. And I'm glad I did, because not only do I feel like I'm riding a new bike, but there's also still enough residual knobbiness left for them to make that meditative Om-like humming sound on the pavement, thus reinvigorating my sun-baked soul.
In fact, I was feeling so vigorous that I took an entirely different route through Brooklyn to get to Manhattan. Sure, it was still incredibly irritating, but it was irritating in a totally different way. I even took the dreaded Williamsburg Bridge (mostly because I was afraid of encountering the guy on the Manhattan Bridge with the dog brake again). And while I didn't encounter anybody employing hairy mammals as brakes (their own legs excluded), I did encounter the world's most misaligned frame:
It may not look like much in this admittedly blurry and poor picture, but I can assure you that in person this frame was so tweaked it was disorienting. (I've added a little red bracket to emphasise the planar disparity between the front and rear wheels.) Lest you think it's simply the angle of the photograph, rest assured I examined the bike from every angle, and I promise you there's not an axis of symmetry to be discerned from any one of them. Looking at this bike was like looking over the edge of a really tall building, or at this. I don't know what happened to this bicycle, but I really hope this guy wasn't on it when it did.
In order to reorient myself, I had to look at a more run-of-the-mill bicycle:
As I've pointed out before, the popularity of Brooks saddles and their high price relative to the cost of the inexpensive bicycles they're usually affixed to has resulted in a new phenomenon: locking your saddle instead of your front wheel. I'm not sure why you wouldn't just lock the saddle as well both wheels, but perhaps the owner is looking for an excuse to purchase an Aerospoke. Then maybe he can try to set some kind of speed record.
By now I had regained my bearings. I was also back in familiar territory--the bike lane, with a salmon coming right at me:
The only thing more alarming than the approach of a bike salmon who seems more interested in contemplating his 27-inch front tire than the person heading at him with the right of way is the revelation that the bike salmon has also committed the hideous stylistic faux-pas of using what appear to be flop-and-chop handlebars with suicide brake levers:
Yeah, I was really pleased that this guy had a choice of four levers not to pull when he didn't see me. Actually, I'm hoping Cadel sees this. Maybe he can claim he was using the same handlebars, and they cost him the Tour.