Twitter Rides

Last week, we missed our post from Mike Courteau, so this week it is a little bit longer.

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Twitter Rides by Mike Courteau

I started using Twitter as a way to follow my favorite personalities in the world of cycling. Predictably, the first person I chose to follow was Lance Armstrong. He tweets like he rides: zealously.

Soon, I began to follow other luminaries in the cycling universe. Levi Leipheimer. Johan Bruyneel. Paul Sherwen. Phil Liggett.

I suppose, after reading tweets such as “100 miles today. Got motorpaced/punished by @JimmyRiccitello all the way back from Hawi. Hurt like hell” by Lance Armstrong, I figured I could tweet about my own rides.

Reviewing my tweets since I started using Twitter in the summer of 2009, I realize that it has become, for me, a sort of cycling journal. Though not all of my tweets pertain to cycling, a great many of them do, and they provide a unique and fairly effortless way to chart my progress, my successes and my setbacks, on bicycles.

My very first tweet, on July 23, 2009, not surprisingly, pertained to Lance Armstrong: “Just uploaded ‘old’ Howie Day CD to new Dell Studio computer. Thinking about Lance’s chances in TDF.”

Like most Twitter users, my tweets quickly became self-referential. I first tweeted about my personal cycling on July 28, 2009: “Getting ready to ride on my Fuji. Livestrong!” Okay, so it’s not very clever, but it was a start.

Eventually, though, I began to document specific data about my rides: “Road 23 miles today along Mississippi in St. Paul. Coming back, road two straight miles uphill. Great ride.”

We cyclists know how the endeavor has a way of humbling us. Just when we think we’ve found our form, another rider comes along to put us into difficulty. This from August 9th, 2009:  “Road 18 miles with J Tidwell. I could (kind of) stay on his wheel on the flats. Fell apart like a Chinese mtrcycle on the hills.”

That day’s riding companion had been training for the Black Dog Criterium Time Trial. Up to that point in the summer of 2009, I had only ridden solo, so it was easy for me to fool myself into thinking I was in great riding shape. J Tidwell put me in my proper place: scrambling to stay on his wheel, puffing and wheezing.

Inevitably, all cyclists crash. I had done a good job of staying upright all summer in 2009. Then, on August 15th, 2009, I tweeted: “Road 17.5 mil. yesterday. Crashed twice. Fell at Mhaha & Cedar; locked handlebars with young lady who fell face down on Lk Harriet trail.” Thankfully, the girl was alright, but I rode very nervously for the remainder of that evening’s ride.

My last ride that first year of Fuji ownership occurred on Thanksgiving morning. It had been my goal to cycle 750 miles by the end of the season. I had recently surpassed it when I tweeted, “At Witch’s Tower. A 5 mil ride with cold north wind in face. Peddled squares. Maybe return will be better.”

With or without that tweet, I remember that ride distinctly. When I returned home and my wife asked me how the ride was, I said, “miserable.” It is largely due to that Thanksgiving ride that I vowed never to cycle when the temperature dips below 40 degrees. I have kept to that vow since.

Looking back to that first season, it now seems remarkable to me that I was still riding outdoors on Thanksgiving considering the punishing winter we Twin Citians have recently endured. Equally remarkable, though, is that my first ride of the 2010 season occurred on March 17: “First ride on the Fuji this season. 20 miles. All those spinning classes paid off. I hammered like never before for a first day.”

Invariably, an examination of my tweets reveals that I turn back to Lance when I have nothing to report about my own cycling. On July 11, 2010, I tweeted: “At Riverview Theater watching TDF for free. Big screen, big sound. Ready for big battle in the Alps.”

But almost as soon as the battle was “hotting up” as Paul Sherwen would say, I tweeted: “Lance crashed. Bad time. At the foot of the first ‘real’ mountain climb. Courage mon frere!” All cyclists crash.

My last ride of 2010 was nearly three weeks earlier than that final Thanksgiving ride in 2009. On November 4, 2010, I tweeted: “Reeled off 20 miles on Tuesday after a two-week hiatus. Felt like I could kick and kick again.”

Save for a brief, two-mile ride to Peace Coffee on a warmish day in February this year, I have not ridden my bicycle outdoors since.

I wonder what, and I wonder when, my first tweet will be this year.

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You can follow us on Twitter @cycletc

Mike Tweets too! @MichaelCourteau

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