People often confuse me with professional NFL player Dhani Jones. It’s not surprising – we both have more than a passing interest in non-American sports, we both put more care into our dress than most of our co-workers, and BikeSnobNYC’s description of Dhani’s most recent bike ride very much paralleled my own:

Jones goes to an Italian bike company and gets a fancy race bike; Jones eats pasta prepared by a sturdily-built Italian woman; Jones gets shelled in the first kilometer of climbing but manages to finish; Jones concludes that cycling is really hard and that Italy is awesome.

Just replace Italy with France.  I could barely keep up. Except the bike, which was made in Taiwan, not France.  But the Taiwanese have already forgotten more about carbon fiber than Europe has ever known.

Thierry and I skipped lunch Thursday to go out for a 35km bike ride. It was Epic.  Thierry got the full J. Gurian biking experience right away – I managed to fall over at zero kph before we’d even left the parking lot. This isn’t a particularly uncommon experience, it probably happens once a year.  That doesn’t make it any less embarrassing.  Thankfully, I’m not the only person this ever happens to.

It turns out Thierry spend two years at Georgia Tech.  It’s really a shame – we recruit all these smart foreigners to come to America for post-docs, and then we stick them in places like GT and UT.  Blerg.  Thierry said he enjoyed it there, so at least that’s good.

All of bike racing really boils down to work output.  It takes a lot more work for a rider to break through the wind than to ride behind them.  On a group ride it’s common courtesy forever to take pulls at the front so that everyone shares the extra work of blocking the wind for everyone else.   Only, Thierry has like 40 kilos on me – he’s as broad as a barn.  We’ve agreed that me wearing football shoulder pads to even things out isn’t practical…

When we arrived back at the lab, we talked to Daniel about joining in on the rides.  Have I mentioned that Europeans like talking with their hands?  I’ll let you imagine on your own what’s it like to have your French boss tell you about how his pulled groin is healing.

It looks like it’ll be a regular once or twice a week ride, which should be a lot of fun!  Yay for making friends!