I rode on Wednesday with a couple of old friends, guys I’ve ridden dirt with since I started riding dirt. Feeling strong, I hit some of the hills pretty hard, but we also just sat and talked sometimes. The ride was an excellent blend of camaraderie and of hard effort.

On some of the hills I felt particularly good. Toward the end of the ride, I climbed Apple Lane one gear higher than usual and went right up. Having a little power to spare feels great. Thinking on it, my early season climbs remind me of the first time I drove through the Rockies back in 1982. Going uphill, I’d have my battered, 1973 Plymouth Duster floored, the 225 C.I. slant six giving its all. Running through my head would be words like, “Come on you piece of shit, make it up the hill.”

Things haven’t changed much. I just ride a bike now.  

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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