That's cycling as I came to know it in the '70s and '80s. It's cycling as it was when it hooked me, when it inspired me to decide to ride until I could no longer climb on a bike. The social aspect was as vital as the athletic or the competitive.
It was more important, really: you could quit racing or lose fitness, but you'd never give up riding with the guys. Cyclists who did not come up in a traditional roadie way don't get it. They ride alone or they ride in scraggly groups. Whatever.
I miss that aspect of the old days. I don't miss it once in a while. I miss it every day.
Lance has come back to racing. It's my hunch he missed the guys, the riding along two by two and chatting the miles away. I've told you I miss it. If you're an old roadie and you find good social cycling difficult to arrange today, I'll bet my best floor pump that you miss it too.
I'm going to think about this more and write about it again soon. Please comment if the urge arises....