Monday, November 1, 2010

All Night Long

...was the name of the first cassette tape I ever bought. Lionel Richie - good stuff. It's also what I hope to be doing lasting through in just under two weeks as I attend the Inaugural Han River Endurance Cycling Challenge.

What is that? Well, let me begin with yesterday, which I realize was Halloween, but certainly didn't feel like it, here. Had a lovely birthday evening with the rabbit, who turned an undisclosed age on Saturday, and then got-up the next day (Halloween) for a long ride south to Yeoksam, which is on the green line - one block East of Gangnam Station. I'm sure there was a quicker way for me to go - I ended-up riding to cross the Han at Banpo Bridge, which is a ways West of where I ultimately needed to end-up, but the thing I like about Banpo Bridge is that it has an actual pedestrian underpass along the water which connects directly to the Han River Park, or - right through to the thick of the Gangnam area near Seocho Station.

It just so happened that choosing this extended route was a bit fortuitous as I ended-up riding past a new (to me) bike shop called Biclo (바이클로), just about 5 minutes South of the bridge along Banpo Road. Had to stop-in and glad I did. Now that I'm swiftly on my way to becoming a biking nerd (like I really needed a new thing to be nerdy about), this place was rather heavenly. They sell all sorts of bikes, but mostly on a high-end, including Bromptons and all that go with them and theirs. I ended-up picking-up a Brooks Challenge Tool Bag because, unlike the place where I bought my bike, Biclo actually had a wide selection of Brooks product in-stock. I've been biding my time looking for the right bag to fit a spare tube and all of the keys and wrenches one would need when on a long commute or road trip, and this one was just the right size. It's all about the quality, too.

Anyway, great staff, great place - and a great source for nerding-out, it seems. In fact, I saw posters on the wall for a "Brompton Party" which occurred at the shop two weeks previous. What is a Brompton party? I have no idea, but I'm sure I would have gotten a kick out of it.

Best part of the day though was running-into Tim. Tim was just a foreign dude looking-around for some maintenance tools when I took the opportunity to ask if he knew of a minimum-requirement tool set that I could purchase for use with Brompton. Not only did he set me up with a good recommendation, but he also encouraged me to come out to the aforementioned "Endurance Challenge" on November 13th. He gave me his number and all that jazz, and I thought about it.

After leaving the shop, I road through Gangnam for the first time to meet-up with a friend I hadn't seen in a while for some board game action (Puerto Rico - cool game), dinner, and then a long ride back up North to my place. All-in-all, a 90+ kilometer day for the Davey. Not bad, but the ride to Yeuido the previous day might have been taking its toll.

So, this endurance thing - starts at 6:00PM on Saturday the 13th and then goes until the next morning at 6:00AM. Looks like there will be about 30 people riding, some in teams and some solo, for as long as they can. Tim was very realistic about it and let me know that most people would likely only be going until about 9 when the BBQ starts. Ha ha - sounds like beer soccer leagues back home.

I'm really looking forward to it, though. I'm a little concerned that my fatigue from the day will kind of kick my ass before I even get there (I need to be in Yeuido on Saturday morning to lead my High School class through an all-day Olympic Park field trip), but I think this will be a great chance to meet some good people and do something kind of crazy. Even if I do decide that I'm going to need to bow-out gracefully before the first 6 hours are up, I'll be able to wobble home and crash until Sunday evening.

Anyway, thanks to Tim and Brian for organizing this thing, and thanks for being friendly enough to invite a stranger. Living here, I've been extremely fortunate to have met good people through training and work, but as the transient nature of what I do here takes its toll and people I care about disappear, I start to give second thought to my knee-jerk distaste for "foreigner meet-ups". I never really understood the appeal of, as a friend put it, "standing around and asking the two questions we all ask: 'how long have you been here?' and 'So... what's up with Korea? Guffaw, guffaw..." with a group of foreigners I don't know. But as I have now rounded the 3 year mark, and groups get further whittled-down, it's probably not a bad thing to give this brand of socializing another shot - especially if there's initial common interest. Scary and refreshing to start over again - every time the calendar turns, it seems.

Oh, and here's a fantastic Brompton ad I saw in the store. Maybe hard to read and I didn't get a great shot of it, but here it is anyway. It says: "42 fewer cars." Nice.

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