Feeling Retro

As spring rolls around, the perennial question arises anew: Do you ride with headphones?  I read about people who declare that they would never ride with headphones because it’s dangerous or discourteous.  You can’t hear people on the trail or cars on the road, so leave the music at home.  I also hear about people that won’t ride without music.  Interestingly, I usually find that these people go for really long rides — like 5+ hours.  They claim there’s no way they could ride for that long without music.  Let’s come back to that in a minute.

I was reading a discussion over at the MMBA forums on “What’s in Your CamelBak“.  One guy carried all of the following:

  • Multi-tool (Crank Bros multi-17)
  • Small pump (Crank Bros power pump ultra)
  • One tire lever (Pedros Yellow)
  • 29er tube
  • Tube patch kit (Novara, w/ sandpaper and NOT cheese grater)
  • Small cable ties (~10)
  • Large cable ties (~5)
  • SRAM 9-speed PowerLink (2x)
  • Single segment of 9 speed chain (new, cutoff, leftover from last install)
  • Spare derailleur hanger for my Titus
  • 2x Nitrile Gloves
  • 2x Gels (emergency supply)

Everything but the kitchen sink.  Wow.  I read that and I wonder where these people ride and how long they ride for that they need that much stuff.  I have broken a chain exactly once, a frame three times and gotten a half-dozen flats in the last 6 years of riding, including long miles on the road in the last few years.  In every case, I’ve been able to call someone to pick me up and have been able to walk out of the trails I was on in just a few minutes.

So what’s the common thread between these two things?  In both cases, I am having a hard time with the repercussions of riding for a really long time.  Some people need music so the ride doesn’t get boring.  Some people carry ridiculous amounts of stuff so they don’t get stranded.  I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just saying I don’t understand.

I love to ride, but my attention span for riding is somewhere around 2 hours.  When I ride, I just want to focus on the ride, the sensations of my body, the sound of the world.  I don’t need to hear the same things I can hear sitting in my office.  Why would you bother going outside if you’re going to fill your senses with all the same stimuli you can get from a picture, a fan and a stationary trainer?  And if you can’t get yourself back out of wherever you are in just a few minutes, that’s just crazy.


In addition to returning to thoughts about headphones, I have been on three other retro kicks:

Trek Bicycles
Whether it’s because of the Leopard-Trek team, the insanity of Gary Fisher’s Tweets or the resurgence of coverage from CyclingDirt, I have been feeling lots of fond feelings towards Trek recently.  There had been a period where I was feeling fairly anti-Trek for various reasons — the quality of products, the relative unavailability of products, the lack of success of their riders and so on.  But recently I miss my old Trek LBS and I miss being a Trek die-hard.  I don’t know how I can reconcile this with my team affiliation, but I suppose I’ll figure it out.

I pushed myself through the “Downward Spiral” Sufferfest video this past week  and noticed a distinct shift in my attitude towards the Argyle Armada.  After they first posted the new jersey design, I just missed the old blue and orange argyle.  Riding along with the Sufferfest videos reinforced that by showing clips of that kit.  But when I did the workout this time, I was starting to feel like those jerseys were a little passé and that I wanted to see the new stuff.  And I was getting anxious to watch them hit the roads of Flanders and Roubaix in the coming weeks.  I spent the next two days in my Garmin apparel.

Tubular Wheels
Everybody says you can’t beat the feel of tubulars on the road and can’t beat the performance of tubulars for ‘cross.  So when we were finally able to get a full order together, I bought some Neuvation alloy tubular wheels.  No road tubeless or clinchers here!  Just old-school sew-ups.  Now I need to decide if I’m going to glue them myself or have the shop do it.

Our early Spring weather has largely been terrible.  I want it to warm up!  Oh well.  At least I won’t feel bad watching de Ronde on the trainer on Sunday.


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