Friday Group Ride #255

Friday Group Ride #255

The prompt was: July 4th at the North Pole, so Ian wrote, “A crazy clown was being chased by Bigfoot in the mountains.” But then he was stuck. Most eight-year-olds don’t struggle to tell outlandish stories, but writing them down is another thing. Their little hands don’t move quickly enough with the pencil to let their imaginations flow.

We had a crazy clown (good alliteration) and Bigfoot (strong, pre-developed character), but what happens next? I said, “Ian, the question when you’re writing is always the same…what happens next? See it in your mind. What happens?”

Spoiler alert: It was too warm for Bigfoot on the 4th of July, even at the North Pole. The clown got away. We got from the opening sentence to the exciting denouement in five sentences. Second graders are naturally more efficient than their windbag elders.

There is a story, widely attributed (probably incorrectly) to Hemingway that goes like this:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

Beginning. Middle. End. Hemingway probably repeated this as his own because it exemplified the brevity and efficiency he wanted in his own writing. He was also probably drunk.

Sometimes, when I’m stuck in my own writing I just try to come up with a title and ask, “What’s next?” The post, “In the Space of a Pedal Stroke” is one example. It feels like cheating to start with the title, except that it comes first. Most writers, I think, write the piece, then title it. I guess I do that sometimes, too. It’s just whatever you have to do to arrive, whatever trick of time, space or imagination is necessary to get the idea out of gray matter into black-and-white.

My last ride looked like this (in five sentences):

It shouldn’t be this cold, this late in the year, but it is. Layers get layers, maybe too many, but I’m not willing to shiver this close to spring. I warm quickly, as you do. The long way seems right this morning, with the sun higher in the sky. I unzip to dump some heat and wish I had further to go.

This week’s Group Ride asks, “What’s you’re cycling story of the moment?” What comes next? Keep it to five sentences. Do this instead of working. It’s a better use of your time.

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  1. Ransom

    A meta race against the clock; a broader Race of Truth? I think there’s still time to be faster than I’ve ever been. It may never be a high peak, but it would at least be my peak, waiting ahead of me. Time hasn’t picked a side, but the miles are friendly.

  2. Tom in Albany

    It’s late March in Albany, NY and I haven’t been for a ride, yet.
    My bike is unmaintained since my season-ending crash on Halloween.
    I broke a rib in that crash.
    My son rebroke it with his butt about 6 weeks ago.
    I’m getting pretty tired of spin classes.

    1. kurti_sc

      @Tom in Albany,
      It sounds like you have two stories there. Tell us about your son re-breaking your rib with his butt. I got an over exuberant hug from my son recently that had me breathing tenderly for about 3 weeks.

  3. Don Jagoe

    The turbo trainer has wear marks that weren’t there before this winter.
    The garage smells vaguely of sweat, not car.
    Snow stubbornly resists melting, despite a frigid, wan sun.
    The calendar says it is Spring.
    I’ll ride on the roads this weekend in spite of The Weather Channel.


    I will ride the Blue Ridge Parkway in May. 472 miles is a lot in 6 days. 48,000 feet of climbing will hurt bad. My right knee is already hurting. I am sad.

  5. Cory

    Havent ridden in four months with a divorce and new living arrangement and new second job. Rode Saturday with my father and a friend. First time in a decade my legs hurt and were empty just by turning the pedals over. Long two hours with men 20 years my elder. Cant wait for next time!!

  6. Rich

    Dirt road or pavement? That is the question. Wither tis nobler to ride with the most friends or suffer the bumps a bruises of the dirt road with a few.

  7. Bremser

    The first shaving cut of the year, to the left of my left knee cap. The blood dries quickly. But it does not keep the embrocation from seeping in, a few minutes later. A nice burn. Six months and ten days since the crash.

  8. w

    Rides all to infrequent for many years now. None-the-less a driving force in the balancing of my life. Im sick with my wife and both kids now (they are sweet but sad when sick). May not ride for two weeks depending on how it goes. Cycled for 5 days in the sun for the first time in a decade last week though.

  9. Aar

    Pain management. Losing enough weight to take the stress off of my knee until knee replacement is medically appropriate. Hoping that the weight loss makes cycling (and walking, and sitting still) less painful

  10. DaSy

    A year away from cycling now feels like a lifetime after 25 years without a break. Three weeks in, sees the return of some grit,if not the return of my previous form. Bravado tells me the Tumble mountain can’t be that hard, after all I still know my Cingles registration number off by heart. 30 miles in and a relentless 12% grade for the last few miles finds my legs shouting, but my mind is finally drowning them out with shouts of encouragement. It dawns on me that the mental strength is the thing I missed more than the physical, welcome home…

  11. Miles Archer

    A beautiful spring day as I leave the house.
    Halfway down the block, in the corner of my eye, I see a furry blurry streak from my left.
    It’s a squirrel and now it’s trapped under my pedals.
    Will it bite me? No, it waits two revolutions and tears out the other side.

    (It’s not Hemmingway, but then again, I’m not drunk right now)

  12. gregorio

    No returning to the indoor trainer. Now I’m wearing warmers under tights, neoprene shoe covers, poofy gloves and a helmet liner. Love for the bike compels me. Dreaming of warmer days. I’m done.

  13. Pat O'Brien

    Hair is gray and thin.
    Wrinkled hands have touched much.
    What have they witnessed?
    How many bars have they steered?
    One more set in the morning.

  14. kurti_sc

    My spring form was approaching, but a business trip and cold last week took me down a couple of notches. My first ride back from recovering was a 12 mile jaunt to a bakery with my teenage son. Much fun and his interest is peaked. What were my other goals anyway?? I mean, I can always get faster, but I won’t always be able to motivate and invigorate another individual to enjoy this wonderful sport.

  15. dusin

    Cohutta 100 is in 5 weeks. Dirty Kanza is 5 weeks after that. I have 10 weeks to get in 200-miles-of-gravel shape. This will not be easy. Kansas is going to a very, very long day.

  16. Paul

    All Friday afternoon I waited for the email that the Saturday morning ride would be on.
    Saturday morning the ride is a little more ON than I am.
    I’m eventually dropped after the pace ramps up.
    I finish about twenty minutes slower, but happy about a few of the later climbs at least.
    How about another thirty miles at my own pace?

  17. Matt K

    My bike is dialed but sits idle. 6″ of fresh powder last week. Put a gash in one ski that needed a p-tex fill. My kids watched me fix a ski base in the kitchen. My bike sits idle but ready.

  18. Plain Jim

    Wife’s away in Poland for a week. Move over, dining room table; I got a steel frame that wants some downtube shifters attached. This old-school new bike warrants some new tools. Youse-all can keep yer damn carbon fiber and black-box components; that rear derailleur probably costs less than two pizzas.

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