Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Writings for Randos - Descent

{Friday Writings for Randos - A weekly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This week it's an excerpt from:


By Keith Snyder*

Boy, do I love descending.

I laugh when things are funny, and I smile when one of my children does something that opens my heart. But basically, I’m not a smiler. In my experience, male smilers are mostly salesmen.

But around 35 miles an hour, downhill, my heart’s beating faster, and by 40 there’s a grin. At 45, it’s full-out, flushed, eyes-bright glee, the way people look after a really awesome roller coaster.

I hate roller coasters. But I love descending.

When my stomach’s flat and my hairy butt’s got no lard on it, I’m between 190 and 195. In the small print for bike parts, I’m “For our heftier riding friends…” And I climb like a banana slug. You’ll have time to call your friends to help cheer me on.

But descending? If everything’s lubed and packed, and I’m not too exhausted to hold the position and trust my reflexes? Newton was wrong. Gravity loves me.

* * *
 ACTS OF BEAUTY don’t get much more senseless than zooming downhill at 49 miles an hour with your jersey rippling and your gloved fingers on the levers. It’s pure. There is no manifesto, and you can’t get theoretical. Some beauty is simply itself.


*Keith Snyder blogs, rides and writes from New York City.  You can read the entire blogpost here.


  1. I love descending too. That's why I was somewhat miffed when you coasted faster downhill than I did on the "psycho chicken" permanent. I chalked it up to your new tires. You claimed that gravity loved you more than me. But if truth be told, my pride was hurt. Then when I later botched one of the high speed turns on the Hawk mountain descent, I really began to feel emasculated.

    HAHA! But just yesterday I discovered a tiny bit of rubbing on my rear brake. I believe this problem may have existed for many weeks. I'm now convinced it was the reason for my less-than-hawk-like descending. I demand a re-match.

    1. I am fairly certain that your finely tuned bikey sense would have detected the disturbance in the force that a brake rub must have caused, so that is not likely the cause. Plus, gravity recently reaffirmed her undying love for me when I last stepped on scale. However, I am game for a rematch. Be forwarned, I will coast with aplomb.

  2. 172 inches, 230 pounds. I live for descents and it is one of the few times my physique works to my advantage on a bicycle. I just wish all those skinny guys would stay to the right! :)

    1. Wow! You are tall! 14'3" - you must ride a custom frame. ;-)

      And yes, 220+ pounds in a tuck on a downhill does make for fast times - which probably explains why downhill skiers tend toward the XL sizes.

    2. How did that 1 get in there before the 72?!?!?

      No wonder why I eat so much. I'm as thin as a rail!!!


  3. I love descending too. But wuss out before those kind of speeds. Think I maxed out about 38 at the weekend, but I knew there was a hairpin bend looming...

    1. 38 on the approach to a hairpin turn does not sound wussy to me.