2012’s Color Is White

I am excited to present a change to the Trek which will fundamentally alter its handling and performance.  It’s an important new piece of gear that I have placed a great deal of thought into.  Like most cycling equipment, this gear will wear out and I hope to come up with a new version each year.  With a little luck, this announcement will become an annual event eagerly awaited by you, Dear Reader.

I have changed the color of my handlebar tape.

Ta Da!

I thought it would be fun to change the tape color each year, if for no other reason than it will be easier for me to identify when a given picture was taken.  This is not a decision to be taken lightly.  The color of a bike’s handlebar tape says a great deal about its rider.  For example, the original color of black says, “I just want to blend in with everyone else using the stock tape that came with my bike when I bought it.”

The color white looks snappy (to me, at least) but it runs the risk of giving the impression that I am a “poseur.” Poseur is a French word for “poser,” which is an English word for someone who takes on the mannerisms and fashion of serious cyclists without actually having the ability to ride like a serious cyclist.  This is a very serious allegation in the cycling community and I will need to be mindful of this issue as I come into contact with other cyclists – an event which occurs about once per every 500 miles cycled.

I took the tape (along with the rest of the bike) on its maiden voyage yesterday.  Winter remains pleasantly mild, but much of the weekend was shot due to rain and personal errands.  With a few hours of sunlight remaining on Sunday, I shoved off for Quantico Marine Corps Base’s “downrange” reservation.  This is the part of the base west of Route 1 where field training occurs.  I had never ridden these roads and was alerted to their existence by Roger, when we met for a pedal last Fall.

Before reaching these new roads, I had to fight my way through the hazards of Dumfries.  I managed this with nothing untoward other than the elevated frustration levels which are normal for me in that place.  I stopped by one of Quantico MCB’s gates to take a picture of a replica of the Iwo Jima Memorial.  This one is considerably smaller than the original monument, which stands next to Arlington National Cemetery.  For those interested in a detailed account of this battle, I highly recommend Clint Eastwood’s Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima.

After enduring the swarms of traffic along Route 1, the back roads of Quantico were very refreshing.  The roads were quite hilly.  The first 3.5 miles were at a steady 7-8% grade.  This gave way to a series of rollers which had grades of 7-10%.  I think I’ve found a good place for some mountain training, which I’ll need for the Civil War Century this September and its 7,400 feet of climbing.  Sunday’s 30-mile circuit was 1,600 feet, meaning I’ll need to climb at approximately 1.5 times this rate for the CWC.  That is a humbling prospect.

Historical Marker Segment!

It’s been awhile since I have been able to bring you one of these.  This marker is close to the Iwo Jima Memorial outside of Quantico MCB’s gate.  Although I often drive by this spot, I’ve never noticed it before.  In it, we learn the ancient and glorious history of Quantico.  The nearby town of Dumfries used to be one of the largest and most important ports in America, due primarily to the huge tobacco crop which was exported from there.   This fact is remarkable to contemplate as the creek is no longer navigable and there is no remnant of the port facility that once existed.


Handle Bar Tape

As I mentioned in my last missive, the tape on my handlebar unraveled during the Crystal Ride.  This was disconcerting, to say the least, and it forced me to confront the issue of handlebar tape well before I was emotionally ready to take it on.  This is a cosmetic fix that could easily make my bike look like a wreck if done improperly.

The Problem

With little choice but to attempt the repair, I watched a couple of Youtube videos on how to tape a handlebar and gave it a go.  This is reportedly a complicated procedure, often requiring multiple attempts before getting it right.  I guess the handlebar tape gods smiled upon me, because I found the procedure to be very straightforward.  After inspecting my work at the halfway point, I was unhappy and started over.  On the second attempt, I was satisfied.  Total time: 15 minutes.

If only all bicycle repairs were this easy!

All Better