Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Fin de Course

Broom wagons from all over... 

L'Equipe Belge packs it in...

Number please?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

A day with Colette

i've known Colette for about 30 years. We've grown older more or less gracefully together.

Colette was born in Beaulieu, France, and her origins help explain some of the quirkier aspects of her character. i'd guess her age to be a couple of years north of 40, but best not to inquire too deeply. Over the years she's undergone a couple of surgeries and more makeovers than any Hollywood actress "of a certain age" to the point where it's sometimes difficult to determine where Colette ends and the makeover begins, but she still has an elegant charm about her.

There have been times over the years we've drifted apart- times when i was drawn to the younger and more beautiful- but we always manage to drift back together eventually. Colette can be very forgiving, but she occasionally reminds me that she can also be humbling.

Yesterday Colette and i set out on a long day's ramble, north and west into some of the more rural areas of McHenry County.

The Rawson road bridge over the mighty Fox River- gateway to McHenry County.

...and Sandhill cranes who were posing so nicely near the bridge.
An encouraging sign, but Rawson Bridge Road is pretty narrow and busy.
The west bank of the Fox is the high side and the roads rise steadily as one goes on into the town of Crystal Lake.

Onward to Woodstock:

Coming into the town centre, one finds:
The First Bank, uhm, Church of Christ, Scientist... 

And across the street:
A re-purposed church...
i wonder how many Buddhists live in McHenry County?
Someday i'll have to go inside... the original stained glass windows are still in place; i bet  the interior is awesome...

One then comes into the town square:
Does this look familiar?

How about now?

The town of Woodstock also appeared in the film The Road to Perdition. Take a bow, Woodstock!
A memorial to the Civil War vets of McHenry County.
The lady at the visitors' centre was very nice and provided me a small county map. If you ever find yourself in Woodstock, take the time to hang out along the town square.


To and through Hebron, IL:
And don't you ever forget it!
And so further on to the edge of the Great Corn Desert:
This just goes on and on and on...

If you find yourself in Hebron someday, be sure to stop at the ice cream stand on the main drag. The folks there are friendly and the ice cream and malts are outstanding!

(i know... but it's worth repeating!)


By now you probably know that Colette is my 1970's era Peugeot PX10:

 i purchased her as a cannibalised shell of her original self- a frame with headset and seatpost and a nice set of SunTour brakes for about $100 from a wannabe triathlete who wanted something more "modern" and "aero." Over the years, she's had a new Tange fork installed, and had bottle cage mounts, cable guides, and a pump peg brazed on. The Simplex dropout with its problematic derailleur hanger was modified by the previous owner to handle a Campag style changer. She's been resprayed- twice, had the rear axle spacing taken out to 126mm, and had more running gear changes than i care to remember. And let's not say too much about 35x1 bottom brackets, 26.4 seatposts, and 22.0 steerers!

A bit like me, she also has her scars and age spots- a dent here, a touch of rust there, some pitted chrome over there. As i said, we've aged together as gracefully as we could manage. We are, after all, mortal.

As for humbling- i've had some epic crashes with her, and have the scars to prove it. These include two broken front teeth, thirteen stitches, and a couple of layers of epidermis... while she sustained no damage worse than scraped brake levers and some torn bar tape (a taco'ed front wheel doesn't count.)

Colette has served mainly as a century bike, and in later years, a commuter and occasionally a randonneuse.

Yesterday i took her out for the longest ride we'd done together in a while- 180km that took us into some of the nearer edges of the Great Midwest Corn Desert. i'm pleased to report that the old gal has a lot of life left in her. There may yet be a rando or two to come for her.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

"On, on, on..."

1965 in the Rainbow.
Yesterday was the 49th anniversary of the death of Tom Simpson on the slopes of Mt. Ventoux during the 13th stage of the Tour d France.

Tom's last ride, 13 July, 1967.
Popular lore tells us that his last words were, "Put me back on my bike." This is apocryphal...

Actually they were "On, on,on."

Tom Simpson was the first Englishman to win the World's Road Championship.

In better days...

Tom with his Peugeot team mate, a young Eddy Merckx.

On Ventoux.

The memorial on Ventoux.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

More turtles

A two-turtle ride:

Along Cuba road

Along Oak Knoll rd.
  i hate seeing roadkill. Anyone who's done any amount of road riding has seen more  than enough of it: the deer on the verge, the various slow squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, raccoons, innumerable birds...
Whenever i get a chance i try to rescue turtles, usually by just nudging them along off the road, or sometimes picking them up and dropping them into a nearby pond or stream. i don't know why these fellas saunter onto the tarmac- maybe because it's nice and warm, or it's just in the path to another marsh, or perhaps it's some reptilian curiosity about "what's over there?"
(Not to scale)
When they get to this size, i recon they've reached a pretty good age.
Some of  the roads i ride over run next to wetlands, and turtle sightings are not uncommon. Recently i encountered a rather large snapper -wish i'd had a camera. A passing driver stopped and we coaxed it out of the road with a long-handled shovel -neither of us were getting near that maw!

Behold the turtle! He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.