I came home from last weekend’s Rapha ride with an ever-so-slightly irritated knee — 13,000′ of climbing and leading a ride-train through many miles of tough headwinds can do that. When I say “ever-so-slightly,” we’re talking Princess-and-the-pea level of discomfort — barely noticeable. It hardly warrants a mention.
But, stupidly, I *did* mention it — to my coach.
And apparently he transforms peas into plagues.
And once your coach has diagnosed you with the plague, you’re screwed.
Prescription: Take it easy for at least a week. No climbing. No racing. Basically, “no fun for you, CZ.”
Feh. I argued and whined, but I also listened and ultimately capitulated to his wisdom, which went something like this:
You love your bike and if the world was coming to an end, you would go out and train one more time, dead-set on hitting some kind of new personal record. But you know what? The world isn’t ending and you are not a paid professional athlete with a first-class medical staff on hand and money in the bank for putting your body on the line. If you don’t let your body recover properly, you can suffer chronic pain, debilitating injuries and hefty medical bills.
He alluded to mutual acquaintances and seasoned athletes who ended up in worlds of hurt both real and metaphorical because they tried to “ride through” their twinges and pains. He urged –nay, mandated– that I “be smart” and ordered me to “Stay safe, go flat, take it slow, and keep it easy.”
Safe+flat+slow+easy = Beach Path. And I have had it UP TO HERE with the Beach Path. He banished me to the BP for months after I got hit by the bus. He knew that I would unleash the Wrath of the Lich King on him if he tried to pull that isht again.
So with a move most deft and devious he suggested that I check out CicLAvia today and to sweeten the pot, he even offered to join me.
This is unheard of.
Coach and I don’t ever ride together, unless I’ve begged him to set aside 30 mins to drill me on some sort of specific skill (cornering, standing, climbing on gravel, etc). He is way too good and way too fast to drag my slow fat ass behind him. But there it was, he was fully committed to riding CicLAvia with me.
OK then, game on, Bike Boss. If it’s good enough for you, clearly it’ll be plenty good enough for me, too.
When I told Jay that I would be doing CicLAvia on coach’s orders, he just about choked on his dinner. Never in 1,000,000 years would Jay have predicted this. Jay is a die-hard CicLAvia fan. He’s gone to every single one. He crows about them each time. In exchange, I give him a dramatic eye-roll before heading off for my next suffer-fest.
Apparently, Jay is such a die-hard CicLAvia guy that he –totally unbeknownst to me — ascended the ranks to become a “feeder ride” leader. This opened up a fantastically weird and wonderful line of conversation the gist of which was this:
Jay is a friggin’ saint and genius guardian angel.
Shortly after my skull smashing, Jay apparently joined the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (a major CicLAvia sponsor, but more importantly, the largest, strongest voice of advocacy in the local cycling community). He’s attended most of their meetings in our neighborhood in order to advocate for more and safer bike transit options. He’s making our streets safer.
He’s spending “several hours a month” making it safer for me, because he loves me.
How did I not know this?! And how crazy much a lot do I love, love, LOVE him for it??! I swoon!
I also digress…
Back to CicLAvia.
So, it was decided: I would roll with Jay from his feeder-ride start point until we ran into Coach somewhere along the main route, at which point Coach and I would peel off and do some nice, controlled, easy riding together.
None of us could’ve predicted what actually happened.
This CicLAvia thing was OFF THE HOOK.
Never seen anything like it. Never could’ve even imagined anything like it.
Part bike route, part block party, and 100% total referendum on the age-old question: “If we build it [safe bike lanes], will they come?”
Hellz-to-the-yeah they will come!
Good lord. They closed down 15 miles of road from 10:00am-4:00pm– made it bike-, skate-, and pedestrian- only from Downtown, across 7th Street, down Venice Boulevard all the way to the beach. I don’t know what the final numbers will be, but I’m guessing somewhere in the 250,000-range.
There were SO many people on bikes that at several points we got so deeply backed up at a cross-street traffic signal that it had to go through 4 cycles before we cleared it. We missed 4 lights because of a bike-based shoulder-to-shoulder massively happy and peace-loving traffic jam.
In terms of a “training” outing, this thing was an epic fail. We walked our bikes a lot (because there were so many people). We never took our heart rates over 95bpm. It took us something like 3.5 hours to do the ~30miles. It was all kinds of stupid in terms of athletic endeavor, but good lord it was AWESOME in terms of human performance.
L.A. loves bikes, that much is clear. Now let’s show the bikes some love, too, and make the entire city safe for them — every day. Not just one Sunday per quarter.
I give all kinds of mad props to Coach for putting this cultural phenomenon on my plate and to LACBC for serving it up so nicely and, as always, to my beloved Bonus, Jay, for being the whipped cream and cherry on top and making everything so extra sweet in my life.
Get out there and ride, y’all!