Sunday, August 17, 2008

Crushed: New PR for the pre-Shabbat Time Trial

32 Minutes over 9 miles at 16.4 mph.

Now of course, that isn't actually fast at all. In an actual time trial with roads closed and aerodynamic bikes, a nine-mile time trial would be ticked off in less than half an hour, twenty for the true speed merchants. But this is no ordinary time trial; this is the Pre-Shabbat time trial, a uniquely Jewish cycling discipline.

In fact, it's not really a time trial at all.

It's actually just my Friday commute home. The commute itself is brutal; the nine miles include a good deal of climbing - everything from a long, sustained climb to a series of short, steep walls, near-gridlocked traffic sections and the usual inconsiderate DC drivers, wearing a loaded backpack, and doing it all on a singlespeed with 42x17 gearing. Also challenging is that there is no time for this to be a leisure ride. As Shabbat beckons on the whims of the western horizon, this ride is a mad dash home where a litany of pre-Shabbat preparations await. Once off the bike, it's a matter of vacuuming the apartment, setting up the hot plate and timers, making the pre-Shabbat phone calls ("Hello Grandpa, nu, gut Shabbos"), taking a shower, and trading lycra for formal wear.

The goal? Ride home as hard and as fast as possible, get the chores and preparations done as quickly as possible, and then there is time left over to run out and stock up on good Belgian beer (Leffe makes for both a very good kiddush wine and a nice way to sooth the sore legs on an erev Shabbat). And of course, there's nothing like having those sore legs durirng Kabbalat Shabbat as a sense of accomplishment and pride of being a Complete Jewish Cyclist.

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