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When the Pin Hits the Shell

August 17, 2011

Today’s Ride: 107km—Kilbride, Moffat, Puslinch, Valens

Weather: Humid, warm, unremarkable

For some reason, I’ve had the Drive-by Truckers’ “When the Pin Hits the Shell” stuck in my head during the last few rides. It’s a moving song about a friend committing suicide, so I’m not sure why it’s coming to mind while I ride, but maybe it has to do with the first verse.


You can lie to your mama

You can lie to your race

But you can’t lie to nobody

With that cold steel in your face

I’ve written elsewhere about how the physical challenge derived from cycling further and harder is a welcome change from the sedentary life of an academic. I like the physical sensations; you can’t cheat on hills or distances. Maybe that’s it. When the pin hits the shell is the moment of truth; maybe there’s a (weak) correlation to the cyclist on the rivet. (Just my opinion, but only Mike Cooley can get away with lyrics like this. It’s too easy to make them sound corny; there’s an air of authenticity coming from the characters that Cooley creates in his songs).

Today’s ride was shaped by two themes. The first, endless road construction—on Cedar Springs and Sideroad 20, not to mention even more tar and chip paving along Collings Rd. and (now completed) Britannia Rd.—added a few kilometers to my ride, since I was unable to turn left on Sideroad 20/Wellington County Rd. 34 as intended. This after I had to get off my bike and walk around a massive hole that was being dug in Cedar Springs Rd. just before Kilbride. The road was closed, but I stubbornly pushed on. With fresh tar and chip paving—complete with loose gravel—on all the side roads, I would have had to retrace my ride almost all the way back to Waterdown to find an alternate route.

Then along McNiven Rd. almost all the way out to Guelph. It’s a nice road with rolling hills. Which, after the construction, allowed me to take in the second theme: new gloves. Giordana Formared gloves. Early sense is: very nice! They’re snug but flexible around the fingers (my older Cannondale gloves were very rigid in the fingers, and I found my fingers were tired and sore by the end of a longer ride). The padding is a little light, but the leather is good. I’ll hold off on a full review until I’ve worn them a bit more and see what I think as they wear in. I like the look of them, though: simple design, but sensible and stylish at the same time.

I’ll need to look for a better route after McNiven, though. Wellington County Rd. 34 and then Wellington County Rd. 35 leave a little to be desired. They’re actually very nice and smooth, but they are both main thoroughfares—albeit not too busy—and very straight and big in ways that remove rider from landscape a little bit. Valens has become a bit of a regular feature of recent rides. This time, though, I rode down Valens Rd. from Gore Rd. to Concession 4, which is further than usual. Pleasant if unexceptional.

Legs felt good today, even if I seemed to be spinning comfortably in a slightly lower gear than usual. I didn’t feel compelled to push hard, but managed a smooth cadence—higher than usual—and managed to maintain roughly the same pace as I normally do.

Indication that I'm on the homeward leg.

In the past seven days, I’ve managed to ride 383km. I’ve been riding within myself, but I doubt I will be able to maintain this kind of pace over the coming weeks. It’s been a nice addition to the Bikes to Rwanda total, but the longer rides do eat into family and work more than they probably should. Settling into a pattern of 225km a week would be good.

My older daughter loves horses.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. xyxax permalink
    August 21, 2011 2:14 am

    Nice looking gloves and I can always use a new pair. In your longer review, might you include wiping effectiveness during the two main cycling seasons: sweat and snot?

    • August 21, 2011 4:17 am

      Will do, though I’ve never been much of a “snotter.” Any sign of exercise and the mucus just dries up/clears out. More information than you probably wanted.

      As a matter of fact, the seam above the thumb split on today’s ride. But just a defect. Weighing between exchanging and getting them stitched. I do like the feel and look of them, though.

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