Los Angeles resident Sturgeon Palchewski expressed surprise yesterday at his daughter’s apparent lack of interest in cycling. Palchewski, a veteran cyclist of 27 years, was perplexed by his daughter Maribel’s reaction to his suggestion that they go out and “Do a few intervals before dinner.”
Maribel, age nine, was heard to say that she “Hates cycling worse than beets,” after which she began crying and ran to her room, slamming the door with what was reportedly a “horrific slam.”
Palchewski, who purchased a Pinarello kids’ road bike with Campy 11-speed electronic shifting for Maribel’s birthday earlier this month, couldn’t understand the child’s outburst. “She said she wanted a bike for her birthday so I got her a bike. We spent a week working on getting in and out of clipless pedals, oh sure there were the usual scrapes and scratches and bruises and she broke out a tooth, but she’s a fast learner and we were doing solid 20 – 30 milers in no time.”
Although he himself has never raced, Palchewski felt that it made sense to start his daughter doing junior racing as quickly as possible. “First of all, there are only three or four girls in the junior 9 – 11 field, so her chances of standing on the podium were huge. Huge. Second, and most importantly, in order to win you have to be able to suffer, and I mean suffer like an effing dog. That’s something you learn early, like those Belgian hardmen in the 60’s and 70’s who just came straight off the farm, you know, tough guys for whom a 300 km race in the rain and muck over cobbles was a hella lot easier than building brick fences and shoveling horseshit all day.”
Palchewski’s wife Tambrina was less convinced. “I think she just wanted, you know, a bike bike. Something she could pedal around with her friends. She was kind of surprised on her birthday, actually. You know what she said to Sturgeon when she saw the Pinarello thing? She said, ‘Daddy, I said I wanted a bicycle!'”
Along with the new bicycle, Palchewski also helped his daughter open a Strava account, and made sure the bicycle was equipped with an SRM power meter and Garmin computer. “Cycling now is data driven,” says Palchewski. “The days when you could just pedal on the cobbles all day and ride your way on to the Belgian national team, those days are gone.”
When asked his strategy for rekindling his daughter’s enthusiasm for riding a bicycle, Palchewski did not hesitate. “I think it’s the intervals before dinner that are getting to her. Maybe we’ll just focus on long miles with a steady diet of hard climbs, throw in a few jumps, duke it out for the city limit signs. Get her into some hard charging pacelines with the guys, you know? Kids develop grit when they’re on the rivet, get kicked out the back, and have to solo for a couple of hours. Maybe some windy days too, eh?”
At press time Maribel had slashed the tires of her new bicycle with a pair of scissors and was engrossed in her Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse set.
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