(Gaiole in Chianti, the Retro-Fred Capital of the World, and also they make wine or something.)
Well, I'm back from L'Eroica! You may now commence rejoicing:
Ordinarily I would arrive home after an international flight gutted and laid bare, flensed of my humanity by delays and security checks and cramped cabins and jetlag and the painful abdominal bloat that always seems to accompany air travel. So transcendent was L'Eroica, however, that even something like 20 hours in transit could barely dim my mood. In fact, had a customs agent at JFK seen fit to administer a body cavity search, he would have been blinded by rays of Tuscan sunshine, which even now continue to emanate from my posterior.
Given the vast thematic and emotional scope of L'Eroica, which might very well have been one of the most enjoyable cycling experiences of my life, it will take me some time to cull the thousands of shitty smartphone photos I took and formulate some sort of narrative. So for that you will have to wait--though I can assure you a more thorough accounting is in the offing. In the meantime, I can tell you that gearing was in short supply:
Yet there was a surfeit of Italian dinner speeches, some of which no doubt continue even as I type this:
There were also thousands of retro-Freds (or, more accurately, retro-Frédériques) clamoring for water from picturesque fountains in medieval hilltop towns:
Riders of tall bikes equipped with wine bottle holders:
Nonplussed vendors of vintage bicycle componentry:
More classic bicycles than you can shake a stick at:
And other classic bicycles that arguably should be beaten with a stick:
Which is to say nothing of besotted Old Testament prophets with arks:
Or six-time Tour de France green jersey winners with shopping carts:
And I even affixed the Fly6 integrated tail light/camera to my bike in order to capture some of the hijinx on the fabled strade bianche:
So stay tuned for a more fuller report.
Meanwhile, even though I'm still floating on a L'Eroica-induced cloud, I expect New York City's considerable gravity to begin grinding my face into terra firma at any moment. There are few things quite as jarring as spending a few days in a country where they eat salami for breakfast and then returning to New York and catching up on the news. For example, while I was gone it looks like a cyclist creamed a police officer on the Brooklyn Bridge:
The cyclist remained on the scene.
Police believe there was no criminality.
Wait a minute. A cyclist hit a cop and they don't suspect any criminality? If you get hit by a car while riding a bike here the police will safety-pin a summons to your body bag. Did I return to the right city or did my flight get diverted to Portland?
And if this is in fact New York City, all I can say is the NYPD must really hate that cop. He's clearly some kind of modern-day Serpico. I'm guessing a few hours before the collision he was hanging around the precinct saying stuff like, "Maybe we should lay off the cyclists and concentrate on dangerous drivers instead. Waddya say, guys?"
"Well, this oughtta learn him," his colleagues are no doubt gloating.
I'm also surprised the Post didn't name the cyclist, though given the circumstances I'm assuming it's Barabbas.
And in other news, a reader informs me that the Wall Street Journal have neatly distilled the Fredly lifestyle whilst simultaneously quantifying the high cost of Fredness:
Mr. Wine spent around $6,000 on his Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 road bike. His Santa Cruz Tallboy mountain bike cost about $5,000. He spent $3,500 on his Ridley X-Fire cyclocross bike. His Sidi Genius road bike shoes cost about $380.
For mountain biking and cyclocross, he wears Mavic Chasm shoes, which cost about $240.
He had custom bike jersey and shorts made with the Juniper Books logo for $85 a piece. He usually wears a Bell Gage helmet, which costs $175.
Mr. Wine tracks his rides with a Garmin 510 and uploads the data to strava.com, which allows him to compare his performance with others who have ridden the same route.
Mr. Wine spends $140 a month on rolfing sessions, which is a form of soft tissue massage work, and $45 a week on chiropractor visits.
I was totally going to make fun of this guy until I realized I'm pretty much exactly the same as he is, except most of my bikes are made of metal and instead of riding with a Garmin and uploading my data to Strava I just ride with a smartphone and upload every single one of my useless brain farts to my stupid bike blog.
Also, I don't do the "rolfing sessions" (I always just assumed that was some sort of artisanal bulimia club), though I'm sure I spend at least as much every month on watching shitty iTunes movies while supping on bad wine and takeout--and nothing inspires a good "rolfing session" like discovering a cockroach in your sesame chicken while watching the latest rom-com.
Penultimately, in the interest of being more professional and/or corporate, I've decided while typing this in a jetlag-induced haze that I want to implement more regular features on this blog, so I'm hereby introducing a new pro cycling department called:
I THOUGHT HE ALREADY DID!
Ready? Here goes:
Uh, yeah, I thought he already did.
See how that works?
Anyway, here's more on his "retirement:"
Schleck has been out of action since stage three of the Tour de France when he crashed in the London finale and injured his knee.
Right. Arguably he's been out of action since all that "anger" in his stomach turned out to be cotton candy.
And finally, you know how there's this Philadelphia Bike Expo thing in Philadelphia where they exposit bicycles?
Well, I'm pleased to let you know that I'll be giving a "seminar" there on Sunday, November 9th at 12:00pm:
Not only have they pitted me against "Pedaling Professionaly: tips for dressing for your commute + your office (by women, for women)," but that is also the exact same subject of my seminar, so it promises to be a real sartorial cage match.
Anyway, I'll try to round up some hats and stuff to give away, so hopefully I'll see you there.
And now I'm off to wash my woolen L'Eroica jersey in Woolite®.