It really does go to 11

On this, day 1 of the 2008 Tour de France, I was going through my inbox and found an e-mail from Campagnolo pimping their new groupsets with 11 speeds, up from 10.

I had a bit of the Tour on in the background while cleaning the apartment this morning (picture me hopping around on one leg, sweating in the afternoon sun, trying to work a broom and dustpan with my arms; yes, it's not exactly Melanie Griffith vacuuming in the nude in Working Girl). I'll always associate cycling with my comeback from my ACL tear and a low point in my life, the year of 1998. I have not ridden much in LA. The aggressive drivers in LA are not just annoying but a real danger, and I haven't found many paths I enjoy riding near where I live.

But today, struggling to do household chores with my cast on, I caught a brief montage of highlights from the stage--riders jumping out of their saddle to sprint for intermediate stage points, quick attacks among the early breakaway group on mild climbs, the peloton ripping through the French countryside--and I was filled with a harsh longing to be on my bike, legs in motion. These days I dream of being able to walk, like a bald man dreaming of hair.

I've always ridden Campy on my road bike (speaking of Nikon and Canon, the same binary choice of gear religion exists in road cycling between Campagnolo and Shimano), and just seeing the carbon fibre components of their new gruppos is like a visual cue turning on some Pavlovian instinct inside me. If I could fit my left foot, cast and all, into my road cycling shoes, I'd go out right now, in the night, and ride.