This is the story of the Little Mexican Truck that could. The Little Mexican Truck didn't start life that way. It was born sometime in the last century as a shiny new Novara Randonneur touring bike. The Man Who Bought It (we'll call him Kevin because that's his name) loved the Truck and took it out for long rides every weekday and sometimes at weekends too. Together they cruised the highways and byways of Central Texas. Kevin loved to ride up hills (even though there aren't many in Central Texas) and he and the Truck would fly up the climbs, with Kevin's feet just a blur.
Time went by, and the Little Mexican Truck and Kevin both got older. The Truck started to have some rust here and there (it's a very humid climate and Kevin tended to sweat a lot) and the shininess faded. Kevin still loved the Truck though, perhaps all the more because some unkind friends on newer bikes (we'll call one of them Andy because that's the bastard's name) laughed at it.
And then one day, Kevin came to Andy's house to pick him up for a ride and very kindly lifted Andy's bike onto his bike rack, next to the Truck. What a surprise for Kevin! Andy's bike wasn't made of good honest steel like the Truck, it was carbon fibre and weighed a lot less. The Truck was a bit embarrassed to be riding next to a bike supermodel, but it wasn't the Truck's fault that Kevin chose to put a 20lb carrier, full of goodness knows what, on it whenever he rode. Lifting Andy's bike made Kevin very thoughtful.
One morning Kevin looked at the Little Mexican Truck and realized that it was in poor condition, so he did something very kind. He took the Truck to the Bike Shop and they worked very hard on it, removing as much rust as they dared and spray painting the bare metal with grey primer paint. Kevin was very pleased with the Truck and took it to a ride with some of Andy's friends. Unfortunately one of Andy's friends was very unkind (we'll call him Kevin too, because coincidentally that's his name) and as a joke told everyone that Kevin's bike looked like a Mexican Truck - and the Little Mexican Truck that could was christened.
Kevin (the Truck's owner, not the other shit-head) kept riding the Truck as often as he could, but he knew that sooner or later he would have to replace it and that made him sad, because carbon bikes are very expensive. That made the Little Mexican Truck sad too because it knew that no-one on Craig's List would look twice at it.
But then - Kevin had a mid-life crisis! For years he and the Truck had gone on the two-day party which is the Houston-Austin MS150. In the early years they practically flew the 180 miles between the cities, more recently they had slowed down a bit, but the same thing happened every year when they reached Austin. Kevin would stand at the finish line (sometimes with Andy, sometimes alone) and say that one of these years he would just keep riding when he hit Austin, and ride clean out of the state. Sanity had always prevailed in the past, but this year Kevin was determined to do the whole 894 mile ride to El Paso, and he was going to take the Little Mexican Truck with him. The Truck was very excited to hear this, but also a little nervous. It didn't know if Kevin had it in him to ride unsupported all that way. It also wasn't sure that it could go that far any more, but after all, it is the Little Mexican Truck that could.
Will Kevin give in to his mid-life crisis? Will the Truck make it to El Paso? Will Kevin ditch it in a dark alley outside a bodega in Juarez (it is a Mexican Truck after all), fly home to Houston and buy a carbon-fibre rocket ship? I'll tell you in April after the ride.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Very good turn-out last Sunday at Zube - Paddy, David, Doug, Roy, Jorge, Richard, Debbie and me. A cold and windy start but we toughed it out pretty well. The wind was out of the north so the first 20 miles or so were a struggle, but what bliss when we turned south! We were cruising along at 26 mph without really trying, so Paddy decided to kick it up a notch and with a bit of effort we hit 30 mph.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
For another rider probably also on his/her way to the Waller County Fairgrounds for this year's Pedaling the Prairie ride. I saw some wreckage scattered across the freeway that looked suspiciously like bike parts - and then a little further on, a Porsche Cayenne pulled over in the left hand shoulder, with an empty bike rack. Another good reason to transport your bike inside rather than outside your vehicle. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, but cold (for Southeast Texas) and windy. Paddy, Marian, Paul, Tom and Gunilla were at the start when I finally got there. Jorge showed up soon after. The initial plan was to ride the 55 mile route, but Jorge had a mandatory bike safety clinic that afternoon and decided to ride the 45 mile routs instead, with some other friends. I was experiencing the "borrowed bike" syndrome because I'd had a custom fitting session with Tad Hughes the day before. He'd raised my saddle considerably, as well as rotating the handlebars, in order to create room for my freakishly long torso. He had also changed out the insoles in my shoes and recommended cinching the straps down a lot tighter. All this was meant to eliminate post-ride back pain, and in-ride foot pain - we'll see how well it works. When we finally got going, the first 10 miles were downwind, so we formed a peloton and blew past the fanny-pack set. The fun was soon over, as we turned west with a strong cross-wind. I was feeling pretty strong and so was Paddy, but the others were struggling in the wind (not Paul, he'd gone ahead with the shaved-leg set and was probably half-way round the 71 mile route). Paddy and I agreed to share the lead but we had to ease the pace frequently to avoid dropping the others. We got to the 19 mile break point and stopped to regroup. 55 miles was going to be a challenge for Marian and Tom, especially if we had to go into the wind for any distance, so we decided to modify the route, with the option to add miles if everyone was up for it.