Seventeen Minutes and Fifty Seconds

“I feel like I’m my purest sense of myself when I’m riding…”

I know in Internet time, this has long since been dead. It’s more than dead even, it’s ancient history.

The Rapha Continental Film, released just this past year, was a revelation for me. Here I was, trying to type, photograph and capture just what it meant to be on a bike, and in a seventeen minute and fifty second film it was over. There it was.

The day after it was released online I went for what was quintessentially my best ride of 2011. I left early on a Saturday morning with two of my best friends, Tom and Amy and headed out for a century. We’d end up doing just under twenty miles an hour for the whole thing (19.9 to be precise) which bothered Tom to no end. Hills, plains, a coke and some salted almonds. In short, it was perfect.

Just two days later I would crash in the Memorial Criterium, causing me to break my first bone and dislocate my shoulder. My first ‘real’ crash of racing/riding my bicycle since starting in 2008. Needless to say the physical was one thing, but the time off the bike was another. I fell from the form I had and fell into my old habits. Weight came back and speed left – nothing too surprising – depressing just the same.

I watched that film what must have been a million times afterwards. I wanted that feeling again and would do anything for it. I’ve long felt like I was a patient man, I now realized I had no idea what patience was.

Slowly I got back up and on the bike (about five weeks earlier than I was told to) and started riding again. One handed for hours and hours, it didn’t matter. I just wanted to ride. And ride I did. T-County, Theo Wirth, Southside Sprint, Cuyuna, I devoured them all. A dent on my bicycle’s top tube (not structural I’ve been assured) and a sore shoulder all that was left from my season.

2012 holds many things. A new Birchwood RR, the second year of the Ox Yoke and Red Wing, my first trip to Colorado, etc…

But more than anything I’m looking forward to those perfect Saturday rides with friends. That’s what the Rapha Continental is all about, and that’s why I just can’t stop watching it.

Even if the internet says it’s dead.

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