The Road Back is Filled with F-Bombs and Other Wardrobe Choices
It was an “F-Bomb-sock” kind of ride for an “F-Bomb” kind of week, but let’s try to keep the scope of today’s blog to riding though, shall we?
These socks, a Christmas gift from Lex, wasn’t the only wardrobe choice of note for today’s 2-hour ride as I try to regain the form I had before a disk engaged in legitimate political discourse with my spine. As I picked through my basket of shorts and jerseys, I chose, for the first time, the BaseCamp jersey I ordered back in the winter. Even though I’ve been riding now for nearly two months since the extruded disk in my back sidelined me, I’ve resisted wearing it. Why? Well, perhaps a quick tutorial on the “fit” of bike jerseys is necessary.
Bike clothing has always tended towards a, shall we say, “economy of fabric”, but over the years, I’ve generally stuck with jerseys described as “club” fit—think form-fitting t-shirt. However, “race” fit jerseys—think sausage casing—are becoming more popular, even with casual cyclists. When BaseCamp, the online training program I’ve been using for nearly two years offered, some pretty cool looking branded jerseys during my winter program, I decided it was a good opportunity to update some of my tired and worn cycle clothing, despite knowing they fit would be pretty snug. In addition to getting a fresh looking jersey, I thought I should also upgrade the lower half. Most of my shorts have hung in there nobly after many, many years of use, but chamois’, like Dick Clark, eventually meet their demise, so I picked up a pair of the bibs too. I broke in the bibs in earlier this week. They are really light and comfortable, so when I reached for the bibs today, I thought, “Is it time to wear the jersey?”
The reason I’ve hesitated to wear this jersey is because since I raced Rebecca’s Private Idaho last fall, my weight has been climbing, and the two months of no riding after my back exploded made it worse. Because of that, I knew that that jersey would not look as good on me as it would have back in September. But without delving too far into my own self-image demons, I realized something today while out riding in my sweet, race-fit jersey, and that is, that the needle of judgement about what body-type is necessary for this activity or that activity seems to be slowly…subtly…glacially changing to a more enlightened view. So what do I care if my jersey is a little snug?
Back in May, I floated down a section of the Colorado River near Moab. The put-in was busy, as you might expect on a weekend, and as I stood there in my long sleeve shirt, worried about the sun, I felt my age, watching members of the younger, and prettier, generation load up on paddleboards, kayaks, and rafts with lots of exposed flesh. And to my surprise, there was one man wearing a speedo. Now, that’s a little unusual these days, but after my initial reactions of, “Interesting choice,” “Maybe he’s European,” and “Did he lose a bet,” I was like, “WHO GIVES A FUCK!”—obviously not the people we was with; and if they did, didn’t seem to bother their experience. Frankly, after watching him squeeze onto the bow of an already severely overloaded paddle raft, I figured if he’s comfortable enough to be like the figurehead on the prow of a ship, then the dude has something figured out that I don’t. And good for him.
I have a long journey if I want to get back to the form I was in last year at this time, but I like journeys, and as I’m traveling, I’m not going to give a shit about clothes fitting a little tight or the fact that my FTP has dropped. My mantra since I used the 2020 doom-shift made cycling, once again, the focus of my fitness, has been, “Just keep turning the pedals over,” and that’s what I’m going to do. And don’t be surprised if you see me doing it in a speedo.