There was no announcement. We never agreed. At some point the pace just went up, and I found myself at the (off the) back. A long, straight stretch of dirt and someone got their tail up a little.

Goddamnit Bruce!

This is what happens. You get to grambling with some guys, and then one or two of them get real legs under them, and then your gramble turns into a grammer, a gravel hammer. I used to really enjoy a grammer, but I was younger then, and I more regularly had good legs.

The real key to a grammer is: Don’t be the weakest link, but when is that ever not the key? The thing is, on a gramble, this sort of calculus need not be applied. You’re grambling. End of. But on a grammer, when things string out, it is psycho-emotionally better not to be the last one in line.

In the circumstances, this morning, I did my best to up my tempo, then I thought, “Well fuck it. They’ll stop somewhere ahead.” My bank of watts isn’t bottomless. I can’t just make all the effort all the time. And maybe my ego isn’t as unwieldy as it used to be.

I rejoined the group, and because I knew a way to connect from where we were to where we were going, I got on the front a bit. I pedaled. My legs started to come around, and so I grammered a little too. We never agreed, but we sorta agreed, because we were together and none of cares about much, certainly not each other, not on a Wednesday morning with no one watching.

A grammer rewards specializations, by which I mean, some people go up real well, and there are times, when that skill will reap benefits. Other people are technical, and when the trail gets twisty and rough, you can make some hay with that.

A gramble doesn’t much care what you’re good at.

I’m good at a few things, so I used them this morning, and I got a few little gaps and put a little hurt on some people I like a lot, mostly because I like them a lot. That’s grammering.

“Sometimes,” John Cougar (pre-Melencamp) said, “love don’t feel like it should.”

All this nonsense is brought to you by our generous subscribers AND by Shimano North America, who are also generous, with their patience as much with their cash dollars. Thanks everybody!

Join the conversation
  1. bart says

    I have to admit, I like Grammering. I like it when someone else does it to me, and I like doing it to other people. Yes, I’m that kind of rider. If I’m the one that’s dropped, I use it as a cue that 1) my fitness isn’t where it used to be, 2) I wasn’t paying attention, 3) I already burned my matches. In any of those scenarios, I don’t mind.

    1. TominAlbany says


    2. Emlyn Lewis says

      @bart – I like it too.

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