Monday, March 5, 2012


Oh how I remember this time last year. Racing season was just starting with “practice” criteriums at SNOWCONE and SNOWBALL. And I was ALL IN and convincing Susanne that it was truly KOOL ‘n da GANG to hang out with me and my crazy friends in an industrial park. I truly miss those times . . .

But as it was, LANTERNE ROUGE Season III was kicked over by Mrs. O'Leary's Cow and my season, much like my home town of Chicago, went up in flames. Visiting Stan the Afghan from March through July does not a good bikeROCKstar make.

Although I worked my backside off during my deployment to return light, lean and eager to ride, I failed to capitalize on the increase in strength and the drop in weight as I spent the summer preparing to move across the Atlantic in September.

A TURTLE I am and my move, originally scheduled for early September, did not occur until December. The delay and ROCKSTAR (without bike) lifestyle brought back the 20 lbs lost in Afghanistan. Refusing to once again buy “fat-boy pants” . . . in October I told myself, “I can rebuild TURTLE. I have the technology. I have the capability to make the world's greatest Cyclist. TURTLE will be that clean-leg shaved man. Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster.”

Well, with great plans and desires comes much adversity. I finally moved to Germany in December (just before Christmas) and a stretch of bitter cold--temps at 0 F (almost -20 C) I failed to mount a bike, I failed to go to the gym, I failed to do anything but eat and drink and add to the extra 20 lbs of pure goodness on my frame. Technology failed, capability was wasted . . . I was worse...weaker...slower.

But I was laughing and enjoying time with great friends and My Monsters. It was a break from reality and off the chain!!! Repeats are needed . . . maybe.

But all great dynasties must some day end and so does my days of utter decadence and neglect for my rig. So on 3 March I ended the drought with my first ride since November 2011. Returning to my bikeROCKstar quest may have to wait until Season V to truly gain ground, but the quest is on . . . I’m back!!!

Here was the set up for Saturday . . .

WHAT: 55 KM loop with stop at Ritter Sport Cafe at the end
WHEN: 0900, Saturday, 4 March 2012
WHY: Well, that's a long story . . . see NOTES, WARNINGS, and CAUTIONS below

  • Visit to see Stan the Afghan is delayed and I'm getting way to PHAT!
  • Have not ridden since Nov 11 and can no longer make excuses for the 7 bikes in my basement...spent the evening unpacking my tools to ensure my bike is road worthy
  • Ride is a pure ZONE 2 ride for both heart rate (HR) and power (going to geek out and ride with a Power-meter) . . . if you hammer off the front you will find yourself riding alone!
  • Start and finish is Das TURTLE Haus in Waldenbuch . . . a stop at the Ritter Sport Cafe will occur as we re-enter Waldenbuch--riding for a kick a** hot chocolate I am!!! I will buy the first round
  • If you have a better route . . . share it! I am just learning this area.
  • Email or text my mobile (number below) if I am to expect you . . . It's time to get my bikeROCKstar status back! Will even shave my legs Friday night to get mentally in the game . . .

To my surprise I was joined by 4 others to include former VA FAT FROGS great, Jay Davis. At 19 years my senior, Jay is a bikeROCKstar and then some. But more on that later . . .

As three of the faithful Stuttgart Local Area bi-Cycle Riders (SLACRs) descended on my home (Jay, Will, and SLACR newbie Abi) I was crushed that SMILEY (Jeff Call, a SLARC plank holder) was called into work at 0500 on a Saturday and unable to join me on this intro spin.

Although I felt like a large bratwurst stuffed into my Evolution Cycling Club kit, laughter and “bike talk” entered my home for the first time since moving here. We all rallied in my under construction bikeroom to ready Abi’s bike for the ride.

Hands were getting dirty as I swapped ties on her CROSS-DRESS for a pair of slicks I had just laying around. It was awesome! It got better as the phone rang with words that SMILEY had just gotten home and was headed down the hill (he lives 10 min away) to meet us. SCORE!!! Happy TURTLE Dance!!! Well maybe not . . . I did look like an overstuffed bratwurst in my kit . . .

We scrapped the route I planned and followed SMILEY’s lead on a run down a valley as fog covered the hill tops. My legs started to remember the feeling of my pedals. My ears remembered the sound of gears shifting as my fingers clicked through my drive train.

The sun began to break through the fog and we all began to drop a layer of gear as we rounded a turn for the one gradual climb back over to Waldenbuch. Here Jay,THE GOD-FATHER, began his assent leaving us all to ponder. And of course I had to ask Will why he was letting Jay do that to him and off Will went as I hung back with Abi and SMILEY.

Soon I found my rhythm and in my zone I went as I closed the gap on Will. I turned a corner just behind Jay and it was the last I saw of him. I blew through my ZONE 2 ride following THE GOD-FATHER He spun up the climb like it was a parking lot and was out of sight. I thought to myself . . . one day, I will be just like Jay--but TURTLE will be “better...stronger...faster.”

We rallied for coffee, pretzels, and a Berliner for SMILEY (laughing as powder suger covered his face and he had to step outside to eat the thing) at the top of the hill and continued with more “bike talk.” We hung along a ridge line for most of the remainder of the 55km ride before dropping down for one last little climb . . .

As my backside began to speak (it had been a long time since I sat on a saddle), Abi reminded me that I promised the ride would end with Chocolate. I would make good on my word as we started a slight rise into Waldenbuch. Here I felt spunky and took off for the city marker out of the saddle. I was going to end my first ride in many months with style . . . I would be the first to enter my town.

NOT! Meters before victory THE GOD-FATHER pimped me. Jay spun past me still in the saddle reminding me that I need to up my game if I want to truly ride with the big dawgs and be a bikeROCKstar.

Hot chocolate from the Ritter Sport Cafe is heaven in a cup!

I’m back . . . I will be a bikeROCKstar!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great write-up Turtle! I was following along enjoying the ride, sounds like a great time ...