Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Socks Make The Cyclist

Asking me “What should I wear today?” is the equivalent of asking me “how many cents per ounce is this detergent?” or “what looks better on the mantle, the votive candles or the wood carving we picked up in Durango?”  My mind goes blank.  I feel like the 2nd grader singled out in the classroom.  I try to find a beginning to the question to start the deduction, but any benchmark evades me.  My eyes dart through the closet, so at least I appear to be helping.  I end up with a confused look on my face that looks remarkably similar to being constipated.  “I’ll be right back.  I gotta go to the bathroom,” is my perfect out to these fearful questions posed by my spouse.  As many Banana Republic argyle sweater vests that I own, I put very little thought into planning an outfit.  The chances of running into a client and what matches the only clean pair of less wrinkled pants lying on the floor usually narrows my choices down to a singular logical choice.  Then all I have to do is pass the test.  If I kiss her goodbye without her saying “you wearing THAT,” I pass.  While my wife can easily spend an hour trying stuff on and re-reasoning with herself to find the perfect outfit for the day at hand, I can usually address my day’s outfit while half-asleep brushing my teeth standing in the closet with the light still off.  There is really only one item of clothing that I put any real thought into whatsoever.  That’s cycling socks.  I have 28 pair and a reason to wear or not wear every single one of them.

If my wife asked me, “What cycling socks should I wear on this ride?” Like an ESPN Sports Center analyst, I could spend a half hour crunching the options, split-screening with the experts and reasoning the perfect pair.  Racer ride, casual ride, commuting or coffee shop?  I happen to have a pair with a cup of coffee on them and they deserve their time in the daylight.  What’s the weather like?  Low cut hot, medium cut temperate, wool sock windy or just a little long sock cool?  Is the sun out?  Don’t want to risk a tall-boy sock high tan line.  Rain chance percentage?  I do have a neoprene pair in case of a hurricane on the Ohio River.  Are you wearing the road team, mountain bike team or other jersey?  Old green one or the new blue?  Team shorts or black ones?  Which helmet are you wearing?  Gloves?  What bike are you riding?  Is there a seat bag?  Which bottles you bringing, or are you wearing that baby blue Camelback?  Like fly-fishing and golf, cycling is half fashion show.  Are teammates, shop employees or team sponsors on the ride?  What about THAT GUY who always wears his “Hammer” socks.  Don’t’ want to be a bopsy twin with him.  You plan on riding hard or hiding out in the pack?  What socks do you want the person behind you seeing as you trounce them up the hill?  Ohio or Kentucky?  Might be an opportunity to break out the UK socks.  Any chance you’ll get caught out at dusk, cuz there’s a day-glo orange pair in the drawer somewhere.  Then again, those are kind of safety geeky.

Out of my 28 pair, there’s a pair and likely 2-4 that are perfect for any given day on the bike.  However, there are two pairs of socks that I’ll never wear: the red ones with the black devil silhouette on the cuff and a pair of long-boy world championship striped socks.  I get the heebie jeebies wearing satanic images.  Lastly, I believe only world champs or former champs should wear the rainbow stripes and the same goes for Stars and Stripes socks. 

I think my half hour’s up and I’m late for the ride again.


jaden said...

The reason you can't answer her question is that no matter what you say it will be completely wrong or at least mostly wrong. Despite your best attempt to help coordinate or plan there will be something you didn't think about or are overlooking. You have probably learned that over the years and it is now a paralyzing fear that leaves you speechless. . . At least that's how it is for me.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the "mudflap girl" socks!