Author Archives: Joe Steele

Joe Steele

About Joe Steele

Raised in Brooklyn, USA, Joe Steele (aka the Lizard) has been riding in Prospect Park since the days of banana seats and pedal brakes. That was before the introduction of basketball, college, Hip-Hop and engineering when the thoughts of cycling got temporarily displaced.

Following a seemingly innocent conversation with a co-worker about how I hadn't had a bicycle in 15 years, I grabbed a hybrid and started training for my first century. As with so many things in my life, if I like it, I'm going to do it to the utmost and riding was no exception. That first century lead to the purchase of my first real warhorse (Ye Olde Cannondale) which was soon joined by the other stable mates (catch me on the road...). And I used to laugh at guys who had more than one bike...

Schooled in the "Ways of the Road" by the mighty Major Taylor Iron Rider veterans, I followed the natural progression of things and started racing in 2007. Linking up and pooling energies with some of the cooler fellas I used to race against was a straight blessing and I'm looking forward to Archifying the fields in these upcoming seasons.

What I want to be when I grow up: another 9W tale

OK…so it’s been a long slow Spring. Haven’t had that much time to train until the last month or so but I’ve been putting in as many miles as possible so as not to let the squad down when I finally jump back in the races.

Following the torture-yourself-into-shape-quickly mantra, I’ve felt the legs kick in lovely over the past week or so. Decided to test em’ out on a nice little hilly run up to Rockland (from Fort Lee). Met up with Lorenzo by Strictly Cycles, picked our destination (temporarily Nyack) and headed up.

A little backtrack here.

I think the only time I’ve ever really ridden with Big Zo (btw – we gotta get your cycling nickname picked out – get at me) was waaaaay back in May and with the exception of one hill climb in Prospect Park, I was hanging on for dear life. Many miles later, I have some semblance of fitness and I gotta say was looking forward to letting him know that I’m not an all year slouch. He later let me know that I look like I’ve lost weight since waaaaay back in May (five or six winter pie pounds lighter to be precise).

Anyway, we put the hammer down immediately and were stomping out at 21 – 24 into a headwind. Beautiful! Legs feeling good and strong, we powered all the way up to Nyack only slowing long enough for me to show Lorenzo the crazy stone mariachis just North of Piermont. With the jets off and a Runcible Spoon bagel in the belly I managed to talk my esteemed colleague into rolling up and over into Rockland Park.

Cool! Painful but cool!

As it always does, Rockland hurt (a lot) on the way back and that ‘little’ hill coming out from under the 9W underpass was its usual torturous self.

Now here’s the interesting part.

As I’m crawling back up to 9W proper with a cool little cadence going, I pass this older gentleman, give him that patented NY nod (wassup) and ask him how he’s feeling. Quite honestly, he looked like he was struggling a little as I passed by him and we joked briefly about not-so-funny Stateline coming up around the bend.

A couple minutes later I hear someone ask my name. I turn around expecting to see an obviously delirious with pain Lorenzo (who apparently has forgotten my name) and it’s this guy. Riding right off my wheel…looking really, really comfortable. So I’m thinking to myself, good little climb dude, let’s get it on. Sorry fellas, it’s the Puma/Lizard in me (and really happy to be back).

What followed is nothing short of amazing. I did get to the top of Stateline first, we regrouped (yes all three of us) and Lorenzo began hammering. I later found out that the Puma in him came out too and he wanted to test this guy as well. Over the next ten or eleven miles we all fell into a rapid paceline taking turns jousting each other at 24 to 27. At one point George (the term ‘this guy’ no longer applies – he’s now George and pretty freakin’ strong) had to reign Lorenzo in to let me regroup as I had gotten caught off the back (on a hill no less – damn).

During these ten or eleven miles I found out that George is/was an electrical engineer, used to live across from Brooklyn (by the Williamsburg Bridge) rides fifty mile loops (several times a week) and used to race “probably before (I) even learned to ride (my) first bike”. Obviously, this last statement prompted the question of age.

Seventy-freakin-two!!?!?

Un-believable.

(I almost made him show us ID but held back – we were doing 25)

Once we reached his turn I had to pull up at the corner, shake his hand, call him a monster and bow my head a little (Brooklyn respect…). Afterwards, Lorenzo and I sat rehashing the ride in front of Strictly. This was one of those cool, humbling, bring a smile to your face moments as Zo and I looked at each other laughing about how we hope to be that strong when we’re seventy.

Hell with that, sixty.

At any rate, George, I just wanted to say (in writing) you are a beast kid (and I mean that in all senses of the word). Was a pleasure meeting you and as far as I’m concerned you’ve earned yourself an honorary membership into the Brooklyn Arches family.

Peace fam – Number 4, the Lizard.