A decent chunk of this blog has, so far, been devoted to capturing experiences past, to have or recall in the future. Whether this has been done for posterity, or portentous pride, I am unsure. But high on the pompousness of hindsight, I see that at times I am doing no more than capturing an experience or an emotion of a time. Today, it is brow furrowed into the forces foresight that I recognise a missive of memory for my own future cherishing.
This time very nearly one year ago I was riding Lady Huck and Ol’ Bess (depending on who was in functional fettle) for both work and play. Lady Huck was cobbled together and holding on through sometimes no more than tenacity. Ol’ Bess was in slightly better shape, I cleaned and re-greased things, I adjusted cones and replaced chains… But still, fundamentally, they were both ancient bikes; attacked by time and neglect; scarred by salt and sand. I loved them, but every pedal stroke was a fight against friction inherent in old components. A clench of the quadriceps resulted in feedback and resitive force from seizing pedals and chattering cranks, before the intended power even made it as far as chains and hubs.
5th October 2013 - I was on Ol’ Bess and attempting an attack on Ballyhacket. I rode 15mi to the bottom of the hill and then began my climb. It was only 200 meters over 3 kilometers but the last frame bending push was 13% - in a gear more suited to breezing on coastal roads than climbing anything. I remember the entire physical effort required to get each crank past TDC and forwarded, my hands almost unable to hold to the bars as I pushed so hard on the pedals. I hope I remember this day for a long time, because there was nothing quite like collapsing on the picnic table at the viewing point atop the peak, gasping and feeling my entire body course with blood, knowing that me and something I had built conquered a minor demon.
24th September 2014 - I was on Edith and utterly surprised by the response rewarded in pedal strokes. A brand new bike, albeit attenuated by compromise. She’s a catchall bike, robust commuter, rail trailer, light tourer and cafe-in-jandals-machine. Still, she is new, tight and freshly greased, unsullied by rain. Each and every effort into the bike results in a tangible reward of speed. I rode from work to my sister’s. I leapt in through a window and ate the leftovers in her fridge before carrying on to the northern boundaries of town, crossing the river and working my way south on the river path. I didn’t even change gear at short sharp inclines, a rise from the saddle and a few purposeful pushes and I was up and over. I found a part of town I never knew existed, I dropped into my climbing gear and meandered, seated, up 10% for a little look at the top and then coasted back down. I rode home and felt lovely and fresh, a good little shakedown ride, 20km and it felt like I had been to the dairy and back….
Now I find myself excited and brimming in anticipation at what I can do with Genevieve’s new build… She is a sound chromoly frame and I have dreams of her draped in new 105 and weighing less than 10kg. Just where to get started!