Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Say hello to "Wonderboy"

Boise Idaho. We got to Boise yesterday on a fiercely hot day. I didn't realize until I watched the weather last night on TV that they set a record high yesterday in Boise, which was good to hear (at least this isn't the norm). The forecast calls for cooler temperatures ahead. That is a bit comforting as the next leg of this ride has some daunting days next week.

So, after much contemplating, mulling, and procrastination, I have decided on a name for my bike. This is an executive decision (I am, after all, allegedly a so-called executive – HAH!). A lot of the names were wonderful, but I just have to go with "Wonderboy" (tm, all rights reserved).

Wonderboy is actually a French bike brand called "Time" and the specific model is a VXS Trans Link. This is a pro-level carbon bike. It was specifically developed for the rigors of the gruelling Parix-Roubaix race, a portion of which rides over cobblestone roads. It's been called the BMW-M Series of bicycles. Those cyclists in the know say it is an awesome climber, and I can tell you that it certainly helped me climb better on this ride than I ever thought I could.

Why the name Wonderboy? Many of you may get the reference to the book and movie The Natural. In this movie a young boy named Roy Hobbs (played as an adult by Robert Redford) dreams of being "the greatest ballplayer there ever was". Early in the story, a tree next to Roy's home is hit by lightning and Roy fashions a bat out of the wood from that tree. He emblazons the name Wonderboy and a lightning bolt logo on the bat and the bat helps create the near-myth of the ballplayer with so much talent that he is, of course, The Natural – the greatest ballplayer there ever was. Oh yeah, a young mega-foxy Kim Basinger also played the love interest in the movie. I mention that only because Kim Basinger (at the time) and my wife The Duchess are near look-alikes. In fact, I'll bet right now people are walking up to my wife at the Galleria Mall in Buffalo (where she and my son Adam are buying stuff for his NY apartment) and asking her "aren't you Kim Basinger – didn't I see you in the movie "The Natural"? Seriously. It happens all the time.

I certainly have no delusions of cycling grandeur. I ain't no "Natural". I actually may star in the cycling sequel to The Natural. They're going to call it "The Un-natural – a true middle-aged story". Like most sports I've done, I'm probably a mediocre cyclist at best (aside from skiing and snowboarding, I always seem to be a "50th percentile" athlete). Wherever I ride, I watch other cyclists glide across the road or effortlessly climb, but to me it's hard work. I had to train for over a year and lose 30+ pounds to prep myself for this ride. It's only 1/6th over and not one mile has been easy.

That's where Wonderboy comes in. He's super light, yet very durable and rugged. He helps make the riding a little easier. Hence the name. Hopefully Wonderboy will get me to the Atlantic Ocean in 6 weeks. This morning, I'm taking Wonderboy to a Boise bike shop for a "bike spa day". He's going to get a new mirror (my old mirror broke on I-84 the other day). He's also going to get a little tune-up, and perhaps a Garmin GPS bike computer as well.

After we got here yesterday, everybody's mood brightened. Talk about a much-needed respite. We said goodbye to 2 riders, Carl and Gayle (Cardiologists from Duluth Minnesota). We met Margot Weinstein's parents who came from Chicago (or was it Wisconsin?) to see their daughter and son-in-law Gary and to support her during the ride. Margot is going the whole way, but Gary is only able to do several sections of the ride due to work commitments. Then it was a delicious BBQ here at the hotel (here's a shot of kindergarten teacher Teresa from Pennsylvania finishing 3 helpings of apple cobbler for dessert last night – we're on vacation and riding like maniacs – we can eat anything we want!) . Because it is a day off tomorrow, we all thought about going out. A group of us went to see the movie Knight and Day (the new Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz movie). Perfectly acceptable crap. Some other people actually went to a Boise jazz club (I think it was called "The Easy Listening Finger" – that one's for you The Vancer!).

I'm blown away by how close this group has gotten in just over a week. I can't imagine what it'll be like 6 weeks from now, but it will be fun to see. I'm off to the bike spa with Wonderboy.


  1. Hey Mark, don't you think it's about time for a shameless plug for the post-workout recovery benefits of chocolate milk? Keep on keepin' on!

  2. Hey Mark,
    Great name for the bike. Now you can munch on Wunderbars while riding WonderBoy. Hmmm riding likely isn't the right word. Any how, I know you don't have a nickname for yourself, for the trip, so I thought I'd toss this one in the hat. How about CyclePath. Ride safe.
    Wayne Murray