Friday, February 08, 2013

Old and New Shoulders, Hips, and Handlebars

I said right, or at least I thought I did. We never go left anyway. And the right is always a more than 120 degree turn so you have to turn hard. Austin thought we were going left and I went right. We collided. Hard. As in it was painful. But knowing each other well enough, we bumped into each other and sort of just bounced off each other. Both staying upright without much concern. I may have cursed, probably didn't. He complained that his shoulder hurt. We rode our normal route, at least what I thought was normal.

At this point I thought I was going off the road. LG was just "showing" me how to lean into someone without crashing. I didn't think he knew I didn't know how to lean back effectively. And LG is a guy who knows how to handle a bike. Finally he reprieved just as the shoulder of the road dropped off and I would have not been riding in gravel--I would have endo'ed into a bush. He explained some more. Pushing with some person and eventually I would lean back and not go down. LG would explain how to find that point before you "over" push and make yourself fall down.
LG always makes everyone around him a better rider. Between shenanigans of holding seat post rails, leaning into you just for kicks, or riding uncomfortably, comfortably close, you learn to be better and more comfortable. You learn to not freeze up and be scared. You learn to be comfortable with discomfort.

I asked Brevans to do a few laps around the fitness park. I still wanted to learn leaning from another person. Another perspective. An out and out trackie in many ways, he showed some of the more "subtle" ways of moving someone. When he first headbutted me with our handlebars almost touching I jumped a little inside as I heard the smack of our helmets. I thought I might be dead very soon. Or lying on the ground. I headbutted him, moving my handlebars almost into his and slightly swerving. He calmly moved a little to the side and gave me room and explained that  there isn't a whole lot of bike/body movement as much as head/neck movement. He leaned into me, showed me how to "pedal poorly" to gain some room and how to protect a spot.

The story goes, before I joined Cycledrome, that they met on mountain bikes in the field at rodale to do some practice pushing, shoving on bikes. Steve showed up late and as a greeting LG just ran him over. Not pushed or pulled, just rode full steam into Steve, and Steve cursed up and down and then pushed and pulled later. The story is better told by Steve. Ask him some day.

Maybe because I am soft spoken, I couldn't tell. It felt like LR and 8+2 were "leaning in" the entire ride. I finally realized that it was mid January and I had just got done riding with guys/bikes for a few weeks I hadn't known. Guys from Lamprey I would get to know and will get to know, but bikes that were still unfamiliar at the time
As a close friend is close, you almost ride that way on the bike with familiar bikes/friends. Able to ride handlebar to handlebar or wheel overlapping wheel or huge gap to huge gap without concern. Without pause or burden to think about where to ride. It was almost awkwardly close. In a good way. Because it's been a while since I road with people who I have ridden with for a while. And the close never actually feels close and the awkward simply is the norm.  Just natural. Like a conversation where you no longer worry about the silence or lack of topics. So it all made sense, later that day, the way 8+2 and LR rode, similar to how we always ride. 

Next--as in this--year I am joining Lamprey Systems. Turns out a lot of them are neighbors and are beginning to be friends. Another great group of riders. Certainly riders who I will get to know well.  Riders who will become familiar. More people to share the road and shenanigans with.

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