Monday, June 8, 2009

Run What You Brung

Following the wisdom of readers of this blog, I went with their choice, my 1980 Fuji Gran Tourer, to enter in the 2009 Le Cirque du Cyclisme.

The morning, very early morning, of the event, my son and I saddled up on the Gran Tourer and trailer and headed out for Leesburg, about a 42 mile journey. Mrs. Otaku declined to join us, but did prepare some of her special cycling onigiri and other treats for the boys.

We headed down the Capital Crescent Trail and crossed the Potomac at Chain Bridge:

The Potomac is still a pretty untamed river, one is always surprised by scenes like these well inside the Capital Beltway:

We eventually hooked up with the W&OD Trail and started a 30 mile slog out to Leesburg. A lot of folks rave about this trail, but I find it pretty charmless. Most of the way it is accompanied by a lot of power lines. Admittedly, in Fairfax County, it goes through a few quaint town centers, but the banlieues of Loudoun County are a dreary progression of indistinguishable townhouses and McMansions that are much more "mc" than "mansion".

A bit after 10 a.m., we pulled into the parking lot of the Leesburg Best Western, the purported location of the event. This parking lot was suspiciously empty and after querying somebody with a bike rack, I discovered that this day's events were being held at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds, another six miles or so down the W&OD Trail. This had the effect of putting the day's total mileage just a smidge over 100 miles, which is a pretty good workout with a trailer full of 5 year old boy, onigiri, and other sundries.

We finally arrived at the Fairgrounds and chatted a bit with the lady selling tickets. She seemed amazed that I had ridden all that way (her words..) in unremarkable shorts, tee shirt, boat shoes. For those interested in such things, boxers, not briefs. She then posed with our rig:

We then rode up and into the large structure housing the show and swap meet and right up to the administration desk. I asked the woman in attendance if I could enter my bike. She appeared a little suprised at a ride in wanting to show, but after inquiring as to the year of manufacture said it was fine. After some discussion, we entered the bike in the "open" category, 1974 to 1980.
We unhooked the trailer, which the admin folks graciously stowed behind their desk and put the bike on display.

So here it is, my Fuji Gran Tourer on show:

We didn't win or place on anything, but I had a number of discussions with interested parties and some quite generous comments.

I ran into Sam Day and his s.o. Rak (sp?). Sam is now the owner of what used to be my Trek 620 and is keenly interested in vintage bikes/parts:

Sam helpfully pointed out a set of Suntour Cyclone track pedals on sale. I've been after a set of these for a while, so even though they were a little rough, I picked them up.

As one would expect, there were gobs of beautiful bikes. One that I particularly liked was this Bilenky mixte:

This is a Colnago sheathed in leather with snakeskin embossing.

There was a booth where this sort of leather was on sale should one want to give one their own bikes a similar treatment.

I handed the camera off to my son to take some pictures. He showed a distinct interest in the back of saddles:

And flashy wheels/components:

Around 3 pm, we called it a day and started the trek back. We stopped for some soft serve ice cream at the Herndon DQ and made it home in time for dinner, Mrs. Otaku's shabu-shabu.

Overall, a very fine event, well worth attending if one is afforded the opportunity.


gerv said...

Awesome story...

Hugh said...

I`ll second that

vintage said...

Good blog..really it's a awesome story!..