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The Absolute Horror of Starting Over by Rich Pink
By Staff
Date: 2/6/2003
The Absolute Horror of Starting Over by Rich Pink

Only now, with one full year of bike racing under my belt, do I take issue with the phrase "it's like riding a bike". Horsepuckey. Clearly this colloquialism came from a purely recreational cyclist. As if it were indeed "like riding a bike" then my first weekend back out on the bike wouldn't have had been begging to see an ambulance coming down the road ahead of me, so they could stop and help abate the mass exodus of fluid coming from all facial orafices, the absolute shriveling pain associated with frigid air slamming in and out of my lungs like ice pistons, and the writhing orgy of scorpions swirling around in my thighs. Holy hell that hurt. Now, I am the first in line for a good trip deep into the pain cave, I guess it's part and parcel of the reason I actually got involved with this sport, but my oh my...that was deeper than I've been in a loooong time. I guess it's starting over. Most of you faithful readers know my life had taken a ridiculous hard right turn, resulting in such G forces that I couldn't ride, nor did I want to. That, and my chosen locale, with it's -20 degree nightimes and 15 degree daytimes prevented me from even thinking about the bike. Like I wrote in the message board entry, we just kind of cooly stared at one another across the room like wounded lovers.

I am like most of you...just a schlep with a USCF license, and a passion for the sport. I will enter this year as a Cat 4, with my sights set on Cat 3 by late season, and then we may (MAY) think about life as a 2. We'll see. Unfortunately, like most of you, I have a real job, so I can actually eat and pay the rent and whatnot, so I am not sure if I'll be able to put forth the effort to be a 2, much less a 3. Too much airplane time, too much time away from the bike, and life on the road (at least how I live it as a 31 year old single male) is not exactly conducive to maintaining peak fitness. But, one can dream. Let's see how this season goes. And it started later than most people's season, with a few LSD's (long, slow days) this past weekend. Like riding a bike, my shiny white, effervesent butt. My handlebars shimmied all over, I actually went off the road once because I had an attention lapse, and I maintained a rhythm that, if translated into human movement, would have looked worse than Bill Gates (read: white, older dork) trying to boogie to some old funky James Brown. Yuck, it was ALL bad. All ugly. Even the tailwind parts hurt. At least my new uniform from my new team looks cool. I need not wear it until I can actually look like I know what I'm doing, so not to sully this new team's image or reputation before it even has a chance to solidify. 

And where did I land, you ask? Well, after last year's team imploded amidst a field of lies and treachery, and after my long term girlfriend and I split up, (heretofore to be referred to as "The Split") I wasn't really concerned with whose jersey I'd be wearing come springtime. I was more worried about having food in the fridge, a bed to sleep in, and getting my mind on a somewhat even keel. By happenstance, in passing emails with a few of my roadie acquaintances, I found a new team, with a cycling ideal close to mine, with an emphasis on a team ethic I adore and good riders, some of whom I actually knew and respected. They offered, I accepted. It was touch and go there for a while, for lingering ramifications from The Split had me thinking relocation (west? east? who knew!), but after all the dust settled, I found myself a member in good standing with the newly minted (drum roll, please) Project 5 Racing Team ( I dragged one of my old Groundhog teammates (Matt - winner of Snake Alley last year, Cat 5) with, and I know two of the other guys, both of whom used to regularly thrash me at most of the events last year, so I am most happy to be wearing the same kit as they are now.

My job description will be much like last years: worker bee. And I am just fine with it. We have guys who are capable of winning right now, and I won't be visiting Mother Fitness for some time now......she and I haven't even scheduled an appointment yet. In fact, given the winters transgressions, I am not sure she'll even grant me an audience for a while. You know what they say, Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned, and I have done my share of scorning in this arena. Sorry Mother Fitness, please forgive me and bestow upon me legs of Iron. (I think I hear her laughing......chortling even). I attended the first team meeting I could get to, had some photos taken (my, what a bunch if pasty white pale young lads are we) and got to meet our new shop (, see our cool Bro Deals on things like Rudy Project glasses and others, and just joke around in general with the guys. A good group, and I have high hopes for all we can accomplish as a team.

Funny things about the off season.......mine in particular. Mine was long. Rollers? What are those? Indoor time trials? Excuse me while I double over laughing. Diet? Yes, I'd like the marbled steak please, and of course I'll have dessert. Beer? YES! T.V.? I love you, you beautiful box, you. Stay out all night watching live music in faraway locales? Sure, let me give you my Amex number for that flight. I could actually hear my leg muscles going into atrophy, and when I put them into a light workout this past weekend, I swore I heard loose metal, like the dryer going with a pocket full of change emptied into it.

Creeeeaaakk, craaaacckkk.....bling blong, ....uh oh. It will be a long uphill battle this spring. However, I temper my trepidation with hope, as last year, on Feb. 26th, I laid on a surgeons table, 25lbs overweight, with a scope stuck in my knee like the American flag at Iwo Jima. My retinue consisted not of fellow cyclists and fitness heads, but bandmates and the subterfuge associated with playing regularly in a rock band, reefer, and lots of scotch. So, if I could rehab from that, this should be child's play. But child's play that indeed hurts like hell, involving what feels like 13 inch hypodermic needles shoved in every moveable limb. Knees, ouch. Wrists, ouch. legs....owee owwee......Excuse me while I call for my mother.

So I will continue you to update you as the struggle goes along, with stories and viewpoints I hope you the reader and I the author can all associate with. I will continue to shoot straight, and shed light on issues facing the common cyclist, not some pro somewhere who could ride God himself off his wheel. I'm just a poor kid on a cheap bike, who loves this sport as though it were a member of my family. Actually, given the time and money invested, it is indeed like some sort of stepchild: blood, snot, the whole works. I came home from Sunday's 30 mile jaunt with a most impressive frozen snot mosaic spread across my jowls.

And before I excuse myself to go suffer in these 34 degree mid day temps today on my extended lunch break, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to those that continue to write me, even in the off and old. Everyone is encourage to continue to do so, I will read and respond to all. You're actually the reason I came back to write, as the well had heretofore been dry as an Englishman's humor.

Time to ride...

Rich Pink

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