The Saturday Giro offered up a little surprise last week in the form of a random rain shower. I’d ridden out to Starbucks as usual, this time under particularly hazy skies and with a truly awesome humidity level. As the first riders started to filter in, one of them said that it was pouring rain out at the lakefront, barely half a mile away. I was rather surprised, but soon realized that the thick haze had been hiding the big black clouds off to the northwest. Looking at the radar, we had a goo The Saturday Giro offered up a little surprise last week in the form of a random rain shower. I’d ridden out to Starbucks as usual, this time under particularly hazy skies and with a truly awesome humidity level. As the first riders started to filter in, one of them said that it was pouring rain out at the lakefront, barely half a mile away. I was rather surprised, but soon realized that the thick haze had been hiding the big black clouds off to the northwest. Looking at the radar, we had a good chance that we’d miss most of it by the time we hit Lakeshore Drive, and indeed we did. All we got was a brief and very light sprinkling of drizzle that was unfortunately greatly augmented by the still soaking wet streets and associated wheel spray. Otherwise, though, the ride was good — and hot. Sunday was similar except that there was no rain and for some reason the group was a lot larger. As we were flying down Chef Menteur Highway, all strung out because someone at the front had boosted the speeed up to around 30 mph, I figured the line of riders was a good two city blocks long. On the return trip I found myself ahead of the group with Taco, mainly because neither of us likes to stop half a mile from the turnaround to stand around under the only shade tree in the area for five minutes of doing whatever those guys do when they’re standing around under the tree. Anyway, it was clear that the group was lagging behind a bit. Normally, I’d expect to be caught by the group a few miles down the road, but on Sunday every time I looked back I couldn’t even see them. Pretty soon Taco’s speed started inching up. I was just sitting on his wheel think how much it was like being behind a motor and wondering when he would motion for me to come around and take a pull. He never did, though. What had started as a leisurely 22 mph soon became a brisk 24 mph, and then for a long time stayed at like 25.5 mph before a final little push up to 30 over the last mile. All that time I was just glued to Taco’s super-smooth wheel. Despite having never put my nose into the wind, it was a pretty decent workout for me. So some time around Christmas, I think, my daughter had given me a 23andMe kit that I finally sent off for testing about a month ago and for which I got the reports last week. Having already seen Danielle’s report, I wasn’t too surprised with anything in mine. I’m apparently 98.4% European, with a lot of Irish and Iberian/Spanish and French, which is what I’d expect from what I know about recent ancestors. Like Danielle, I also had 301 Neanderthal variants, which is apparently more than 83% of those who have thus far been tested, so I guess some of my distant ancestors were, shall we say, open-minded about sexual partners. Most of the predicted traits consistent with mine – no bald spot, likes salty stuff, detached ear lobes, long ring finger, straight dark hair, predisposed to weigh less than average, lactose intolerant, not a deep sleeper, etc. It also suggested that my muscle composition would be “common in elite power athletes,” which kind of calls into question the whole thing I guess. That’s based on a ACTN3 gene variant that increases production of a particular isoform of alpha-actinin. This is the most-highly specialized of the four mammalian alpha-actinins, with its expression restricted largely to fast glycolytic fibres in skeletal muscle. Theoretically, I think it would mean that my muscles contract particularly rapidly. Looks like I’m heterozygous for it, though, for whatever that’s worth. The implication is that without that genotype I’d be better at endurance. Also, my weight is likely to be similar on diets high or low in saturated fat with the same number of total calories. That’s related to the gene for apolipoprotein A-II, which I gather is normal. Anyway, it was kind of interesting.