Friday, December 12, 2014

If ya got time to lean....

"If ya got time to lean you've got time to clean!"
At least that is how the saying goes.
Winter in a bike shop in the Midwest is all about leaning and cleaning.
And inventory.
And online product training.
And reading about riding.
And wishing you could spend the short daylight hours on your bike (cold or not) instead of splitting time between watching the clock and looking out the window.
Ho hum.

And there is the winter weight gain.
Sure we fight it the best we can. We log hours in the gym.
On the trainer.
Or spend our days off out on the bike.
Somewhat its avoidable. Its cold. We don't wanna move much and wanna be warm. So we gain weight.
Hell some of us would probably like to hibernate the winter months away.
Tempting...

So far this winter my weight gain vice has been a classic. Little chocolate donuts.

"... little chocolate donuts have been on my training table since I was a kid." #coffeeanddonuts #winterweight #fatass #cantstopwontstop

Oh I try to resist. I really do.
But they are cheap. Tasty. "And they have the sugar to get me going in the morning."





Oh boy.
Time to go hide in a corner for the last hour or so of the work day with my coffee and donuts.
Maybe I'll do some calisthenics and think about the cold dark ride home or plan some gravel riding for Sunday.
Yeah. Sunday.

Sunday Funday

Monday, December 08, 2014

"I'm buying a helmet."

When I woke up Sunday morning I noticed I had a text.
"I'm buying a helmet."
Uh-oh...
I figured Jim had taken a tumble and rang his bell on the way home from the bar or something.
Not quite.
He was just on his way home from work Saturday afternoon when an inattentive driver pulled out right in front of him and over the hood Jim went.
Ouch.
*If you are squeamish, sorry, the photo is a little brutal.

Jim shows us why you should wear a helmet. Ouch.

If you are wondering, I think you should be, that metal looking thing in the gash... is an ear bud
Yikes!

Jim's words:
"So I was heading north on Baltimore on the way home from work. A lady in a brand new looking mustang was distracted by another car at the stop sign in front of her turning onto the one way I was traveling on. She had a stop sign as well. (I have bright expensive intense lights on my bike front and back running). She then pulled out in front of me so suddenly that I had no time to stop. I hit the front corner panel of her car, somehow hit her windshield caving it in, and continued over the car slamming my head into the curb. In the process i gained some road rash, a headphone lodged in my head (haha), various cuts, a terribly bruised left leg, and a possible broken bone in my left wrist. 
I'm all stitched up and home. The pain meds are keeping the pain at bay for now. My left eye is wanting to swell shut, which is annoying. I'm not happy it happened but I'm grateful to be home from the hospital quickly. It definitely can always be worse. 
Thank you for all the love/well wishes and offers of support. I want you to know its all very much appreciated!"


Looks like Jim will be taking a little time off of work. I think he could use it. 


Remember kids: The streets out there are tough. Why not wear a helmet? 

In other news...


Got out Sunday for some gravel riding, beer drinking action with some fellas.

6 of us got in 30ish miles of cold windy fun on the gravel.
It was fun to hang out with the co-workers I don't seem often.  
We rode from the West Des Moines Bike World location south to Bonneville and the Waveland West bar. After a few drinks and a warm up we pushed east to Cumming and the Cumming Tap.
A few more drinks and a couple pizzas later we all pocketed a roadie and saddled up for the ride back to town. In Water Works Park we stopped on the old bridge, drank our roadies, and then 1/2 our group split for home while the rest of us headed to GT's for one more beer.
Good times Sunday fellas. Thanks for playing.


*Roughly our route... kinda

Sundays route... kinda

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Oldie but a goodie.

Pretty sure I've posted this before but I'm too lazy to go look.
Refound this in an email  titled one for us "Freaks" from 2003.


Your neighbors are moving further from their jobs. 
They commute further, one neighbor per vehicle, in larger and larger vehicles:
trucks or SUVs. They used to drive VWs or Civics.
Now they buy vehicles as if each time they drive they're moving their homes, not merely their
bodies.

Because the freeways are parking lots mornings and evenings, your
neighbors instead choose scenic, secondary roads you've ridden on your
bike for years. They drive as fast as they would on the freeway - if
the freeway were empty. The freeway hasn't been empty since 1971.

They hate you for being there on their roads, slowing their commute or
trip to the mall. They act as if all traffic hassle is some cyclist's
fault, as if out on the freeways, where there are no cyclists, all is
well, love is in the air.

You ride anyway.

Your neighbors' land-yachts sprawl across narrow lanes. They crowd you
on your bicycle, scaring you. Your neighbors sip drive-thru lattes and
chat on their cell-phones, not scared at all.

They pause in school zones, mom or dad dropping off Justin and Heather.
You pedal down School Street, a corridor of fear vibrating with the
rattle of huge diesel engines.

Mom and dad almost never see you, as if you did not exist. When they do
see you, they look straight through you - as if you didn't exist. They
wish you didn't. You're just a nuisance, pedaling uselessly through the
school zone.

You navigate around sudden U-turns and unpredictable moves. Any crazy
thing could happen. You are beyond fearful. You're a submarine captain
listening for the depth charge that penetrates the hull, lets black
freezing water roar in.

You ride anyway.

On your ride, young guys in baseball hats, one cheek bulging
smokelessly, practice "sharing the road" with cyclists. They share the
road 90/10. The cyclist gets 10%, The young guy's rusty Ford
four-b'-four gets the rest.

If the young guy is lucky enough to have a girl sitting close to him in
that old Ford, the split goes to 95/05. You can hear the Dixie Chicks
as the truck skims by. You hate the Dixie Chicks.

You ride anyway.

When it rains, bits of glass from car crashes and nails spilled from
truck-beds cut the wet rubber of your tires. Thorns you could have
rolled over harmlessly in July now find their way into your tubes. The
air gets out.

You have six times as many flats as summertime. You fix them in silence
on the flooding roadside in the rain. Your hands take a beating from
the work and the cold. My hands are always dirty, you think. And
wrinkled.

You ride anyway.

When you get to work, you change out of your soaked cycling clothes and
spread newspapers under your dripping bike. You hang pieces of dripping
clothing off your saddle, top tube and bars. You stuff your shoes with
newspaper as if you really believed they'd dry by quitting time. They
never have.

People at work do not mention your commuting by bike. They know that if
they even start to discuss it with you, they'll blurt out how crazy
they think you are. You ride in the RAIN and the DARK, they'd say, Why
do you do that?

You can see all that in their eyes, so you continue, quietly hanging
your soggy tights from your bars. They stare at you, astonished. No one
speaks.

You ride anyway.

In winter it takes you nearly as long to dress and undress for your
ride as the ride takes. You feel like the Michel-in man. You own 22
pairs of gloves but you're still searching for the perfect pair. Not to
mention booties.

You're obsessive about rainy-weather chain lubrication. You know you
are. No one else on the planet cares about it at all, and you're
obsessed. You fool yourself that you have your little problem under
control. You don't. It hasn't impacted your work life or relationship,
but it could...

You sense an intervention lies ahead. Tough love for the chain-lube
freak.

You ride anyway.

You've spent four grand on high-tech bicycle lights. You're considering
buying yet another system based on a glowing magazine test. You know
that some people, on learning of your somewhat excessive lightbuying
behavior, would conclude that you're a genuinely sick person. They
would be correct.

You ride anyway.

You get a cold a year. It's not a terrible cold, no worse than three
years as a prisoner of war in Viet Nam or manning an oar in a Roman
slave galley. Your cold typically lasts eight or nine days, during
which time you forget why you ever thought life was worth living.

You ride anyway.

You take your ex-girlfriend to the airport in her car. She's flying to
Italy. She'll be gone a month. She promises to buy you a jersey in a
cool bike shop in Florence. She leaves you her wine-colored Mazda
Miata, the Special Edition with tan leather and tan top. CD player.
It's gorgeous. Enjoy it, she says.

She fills the tank for you, to thank you for dropping her off at UAL
Departures and picking her up next month. Sweet woman. Nice car. Rains
all week.

You ride anyway.

You sit at a light next to a dark-eyed woman in a print dress in an old
Ford station wagon. The light changes. She gasses it, turns right, cuts
you off brutally. You yell something not quite coherent at her. She
shakes her fist at you: It's YOUR fault!

You see her three days later, same light. She honks. You look into the
old Ford wagon. She's made a little cyclist doll. It's wearing a tiny
yellow Giro helmet like yours and, ohmigawd, a club jersey just like
yours! She pushes a hat-pin through the doll and smiles at you. The
light goes green.

You ride anyway.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

CIRREM

CIRREM

Last night registration opened to the 2015 edition of CIRREM and I nearly missed it.
I had totally forgotten.
The 2014 edition sold out in 25 minutes and I feared the worst. But somehow, an hour and half after online registration opened, I managed to get in.
I had to have been one of the last if not the last rider to get in.
Wheew!


I took place in the 2014 CIRREM gravel road race that took place just south of DSM in Cumming, IA.
Roughly 120 started at the Cumming Tap less than 80 finished.
It was brutal. 
It had been a cold winter in Iowa. The week leading up to the race saw sleet & snow.
Really the gravel was in good shape all things considered.
Unfortunately it was just warm enough Saturday to melt the top layer of gravel. But cold enough to re-freeze on the bike.
Many a rider ripped their rear derailleur or hangers off.
I was lucky. Nothing broke on my ride.
The freezing gravel took its toll though.
In the first 20 miles my front derailleur stopped working. For a little bit I could shift down with a kick of heel to the front derailleur. But it wasn't long before I couldn't get back up to the big ring.
2x9 became 1x9.
By 45 miles i was down to a just few gears out back.
The crud was building up between the cogs & freezing.
1x3

Untitled
#bkb4life *photo credit... I don't remember... oops.

With 25 left to go I was down to one usable gear (and one brake).
1x1
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) that one gear was my easiest.
I had to focus on my spin... but I was way too tired for that.
The gear was too low & the gravel too peanut buttery.
I was having to pedal down hills and with no momentum to carry me into the next climb I was left resorting to walking.
Then the leg cramps started.
Oh joy.
I was getting close to being done.
If someone would have come along & offered a ride; I probably would have taken it.
At that point I had been out on the route for longer than I was expecting.
Much longer.
Leading up to race day I had talked a big game in my head.
I looked at the names & times of the past finishers figured I would be mid pack or better
Not so. Overconfidence can be your biggest enemy.
Of the 76 finishers I came in 67th with a finishing time of  61/2 hours.
Not what I was expecting.
I was cooked. I needed a shower, a nap, a beer & something to eat.
But I was positive that I would do it again.
Looks like February 28th I get my chance.
Wish me luck!

Post CIRREM


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forgotten notes

Found this in a notebook this morning:

03/27/11
At McCoy's with the OMB heckling KU people, and KU lost FYI.
A gal walks into the bar post KU loss wearing a KU shift. She orders 2 shots and a beer.
Downs both shots back to back, slams the beer & walks out.
It was fantastic.
Rode here on the New Belgium Cruiser. Its a Sunday afternoon and its snowing.
Its gonna be a cool ride home.
*I'm guessing its a bad sign that parts break off you bike lock when you drop it.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Still alive. AKA Happy Birthday to Me.

Welp
Here we are.
40.


Happy Birthday to me

Building up to this day I was mentally trying to assemble a post about being older.
Wax poetic and whatnot about being 40.
But... I didn't write any of it down so I don't remember a lick of it.
I'm sure it was all rubbish anyway.

I do know that I'm starting my 40s in a pretty good place mentally and physically.
In spite of the bit of road rash I gave myself 2 days ago.



Yeouch!

Nothing says welcome to 40 like barely being able to walk first thing in the morning.
Ah well.
Its not like I haven't had road rash before.

But seriously.... I am in a good place that the start of my 4th decade of life.
I never really thought I would make it to here.
Hell, I almost didn't.
I have been fortunate in the last few years to fall in love and (as cheesy as it sounds) that has made a huge difference.
Thanks to her things are different.
More positive.
Better.
And that is one thing in my life that I hope doesn't change.
Ever.

Happy Birthday to me. Now lets ride bikes!





Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rain

As I sit and sip my coffee and mentally prepare for the wet pedal commute to work I am reminded of a much loved phrase:

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking.

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai



*Although I haven't looked I feel like I've posted this before.... meh....

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Readings

Inevitably, he said, "What is the meaning of this?"
It is the precise question and the precise wording thereof that has been put to the atmosphere on such occasions by an incredible variety of men since humanity was invented. It is not recorded that it has ever been asked for any purpose other than dignified effect.

Page 387 paragraph 3
The Foundation Trilogy
Isaac Asimov