Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Essay: On Flahute!

(2015) The arid countryside of Bucks County has been recently flipped into a lush fall wonderland. Tropical Storm Joaquin has rescued this area from a dull fall. One week ago Bucks dwellers were walking around commenting on the sticky humidity and wondering if fall would arrive. Today the same population is wondering how fall could arrive so hastily. In one week, this area received two-and-a-half inches of much-needed rain and an arrival of a new season. This is cause for celebration because nothing is more beautiful than hardwood trees firing their last cannon shot of beauty before residing in dormancy. Which provides one with a conundrum: Wait for a sunny day, or ride through the rain.

Becoming a bit stir crazy, I managed to hammer through a couple miles in what is some of the most enjoyable weather: cloudy, cold, misting, and fall. So fall isn’t weather, but it’s a time to rejoice before packing indoors to await the return of daylight. With a mish-mash of gear, I threw together what I would deem comfortable in these conditions. In all honesty I would enjoy the ride even amongst a deluge.

On a belly of Homestead's Dead Man’s dark roast I hammered with a tail wind. How enjoyable life is with a tail wind. Flags pointed the direction I should follow. Trees leaned toward my path. It was all so beautiful. My Oakley Radar glasses fought off precipitation wonderfully. With the yellow lenses in, I was convinced the ride could go a few minutes longer.

The turn into a crosswind made me wonder if Belgium would find this desirable. It was cold, windy, and raining. All it needed was a path of cobbles, some puddles, and Tom Boonen looking sly and ready to pounce. I felt at peace with the stirrings of the world.

Despite hammering with a tailwind, I decided to enjoy my ride by pushing the pedals into the headwind. I didn’t push the pace. There was no traffic to create anxiety. It was a rider, a bike, and farmland to admire. At moments like this there is no need to rush. With a wildly spinning windmill on the route, along with the snapping flags trying to slap my face, I made the best of the wet headwind and tried to come up with a better way to spend an hour. There were very few ways.

It was nearly dark when I rolled into the driveway. The bike has a funny way of righting wrongs. Perhaps its gyroscopic therapy provides a centralization of thought. The world pauses around the rider. I’ve wondered if this is why motorists direct anger onto cyclists: it is the epitome of self-discovery or their transference of frustration. Everything had fallen into place despite the belief that a ride in cold rain wouldn’t lead to greatness.

I am convinced each person is assigned a certain number of miles in life; they may go unused but can never be made up. Starting my ride in the rain was of my choosing. I never intended to roll out seeking Flahute status; the possibility fell into my lap while pushing the pedals through suddenly green Bucks farms. Even if the cycling world didn’t give me a hardman medal, I decided that, for just a few moments, I had earned that status. And everything else would right itself accordingly.

Review: Schwalbe Marathon 700x25c Wire Bead Tire

Review: Schwalbe Marathon 700x25c Wire Bead Tire

Events: Central Bucks Covered Bridges Ride and Why It’s a Must-Do

Events: Central Bucks Covered Bridges Ride and Why It’s a Must-Do