Harden up

Wind, rain, and snow, plenty of. Midway I began to fear my toes would freeze. Chainset and sprockets started to malfunction just in the middle of nowhere, with heavy snow falling on a beautiful white for once landscape. A shame all these worries didn’t let me fully enjoy the ride. Pretty decent times for all the trouble. I feel increasingly safe on the bike.


My last morning ride came with an unexpected pleasure in the form of a little fatty robin I came across on the road. Not that I ‘d say the bird in question is rare or difficult to spot; but it was there, it was beautiful, and the encounter if you can call it so had some kind of intimacy about the way and the scenery and the slightly rough weather conditions at the moment it took place.

Erithacus rubecula by Bernard Dupont at Flickr

Rides are becoming a bit more adventurous as the winter little by little comes in. Roads are dangerous —always; now much more, even intimidating to tell you the truth. I learned it the hard way a few weeks ago.

These days, one very small slip of the mind is all it takes for you to be off and out and bruised if not broken. Concentration on the bike is king. Beware each and every moment if there’s wet on the road, on your tires; dirt in the form of pebbles, or fallen leaves, rocks, twigs, whatever. Mind the bumps and potholes; factor in the sharpness of the oncoming bend and the varying width of the road and find the right line while bending —incline at your own risk. And pray for gusts not to enter into the equation as the unknown.

Riding is less fun this way. But then there is the increased silence and quiet on the road and the thrill of both solitude and grayness on the hills, along with the welfare you get from those sunny winter mornings whenever you chance upon one on the right side of the mountain if you do.

And the robins of course.


Saturday morning ride, as Strava puts it. I spot some doodles on a traffic sign, Kill cyclists, then mended, Love cyclists.

FELLOW BIKERS. I can’t help noting most of the cyclists I bump into on the road are old men; that leaves me wondering in misery, whether this is just and old men’s sport or if the routes I take are so insultingly easy for the aficionados that younger cyclists avoid them altogether.

DEAR FELLOW BIKERS, young or old. Since a smile is obviously way too much to ask of you, what about just a simple, trifle, uncompromisingly merely-acknowledging nod when we run into each other? Won’t settle even for that?

ON THE ROAD. But I ride like a pro this time for the first time! I enjoy my way hills up, even attacking them although briefly at certain spots. I try to swing my body left or right on my way down and have a pleasant feeling of the road and the wind as a result. I don’t set my foot on the ground not a single time —and when I arrive at my destiny goal I feel strong enough to keep on going a little further up.

Saturday afternoon. Zidane orders Cristiano out of the field. He shows himself braver than I thought, but less intelligent?

Saturday evening. Steve Jobs—the film, the one from 2015. A fine work of dramatization, which manages to keep a high level of tension from start to end—kudos to the film editor and to the great performances both by Seth Rogen as Wozniak and Kate Winslet as Hoffman.


And be like Johnnie too good

Saturday morning. I go biking. On my way out of the city I see a female coworker in her way in to the city to waste some hours doing overtime at the so-called parking day in which some streets are emptied of cars and children are invited to be expected to what? Don’t play soccer don’t play rough don’t play un-inclusively no competition allowed everybody has their prize don’t dare go to the street beyond don’t do anything without adult supervision if you’re wronged come here my darling and tell your teacher. But at least she’s worth looking at, in passing.

Although I’m out of form, I try na Burguesa, the tallest peak around. I fail at 2/3rds of the summit. No fellow cyclists around, by the way, and definitely none of the ones carrying 3000 euros worth of equipment on them. Just one mountain biker on my way up and two on my prudish and ridiculously-paced way down.

Saturday evening. Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some. You end up wondering if you’ve been cheated into thinking you’ve just seen another no-brains movie or if, on the contrary, a very inconsequential film is infiltrated with very interesting dialog and scenography to make you think this isn’t another no-brains movie.

Sunday morning. I try my new gadget to clean windows—a windows sucker. You apply your ordinary windows cleaner to the glass and then you proceed to vacuum. And it works, actually better than expected.

Sunday afternoon. Rio Conchos. Not a bad story made into a very watchable western whose very most merit lies on the way their heroes are not.