Saturday, October 30, 2010

Singlespeed World Championship, Sort Of

Today was the self-proclaimed Singlespeed World Championship.  I'm not sure how official it is; in fact, the race brochure stated, several times, it wasn't even a race.  The winner took home the coveted Singlespeed World Champion beer mug.  It looked like a race from where I was sitting.  

I didn't do the race.  I was on the fence this morning.  A singlespeed race at the Poto the week before Iceman seems a perfect venue but I wasn't in a racing mood.  I wasn't even in a riding mood.  This is odd.  I haven't been riding lately but it hasn't been lack of desire, just collateral damage from a hectic schedule.  Kevin and I took off on our geared bikes a little while after the racers.  

The Singlspeed World Championship is an annual race but this year it was a fund raiser for Jason Lummis.  Jason is a local pro who represents Michigan well when he races out of state.  I don't know him personally but I heard he is a great guy.  Jason was hit by a truck and left for dead in a ditch while riding his bike home from work about a month ago.  It's not clear if he will ever be the same.  What is clear is today when I was quietly whining to myself about the grey skies, cold temperature, and my lack of fitness, Jason was home in a full body cast.  I thought about Jason a lot on this ride, and how I complain about silly things, and how easily I lose prospective.  It was a good ride and, as always, I came back with a better attitude than I left with. 

I went right from the ride to pick up the girls from dance.  Em wanted to go to a friend's house in Canton then for me to take them to a haunted house after dark.  This left me with 3 hours to spend with Allie, not quite enough time to go back to Brighton but a lot of time to spend in Canton.  Allie wanted to go to Jungle Java like we did in previous years when we had some time to kill.  I wasn't half way through my cup of coffee and Allie wanted to leave.  She is getting a little old for a play structure.  Kids don't get old all at once, it come in little waves.  We went shopping.  

One of the stores we went to was Marshall's, a store that gets other stores' overstock items.  99.9% of what they have is crap.  In between all the crap is often a jewel or two.  The jewels they had today were Columbia Highroad cycling jerseys, windbreakers, vests, and jackets.  I picked up on a long sleeve jersey, normally $70 on sale for $15.  I left the store with a better attitude than I walked in with.  Finding cycling apparel at 80% off MSRP while looking for clothes for your daughter can do that.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Diabolical Plan

I just reviewed the 2010 Iceman website looking for help with logistics. They had some good information, like it might be cold in Northern Michigan in November so bring winter riding gear. Here is my favorite quote from the website:

And, oh by the way... 27 miles of hard riding, especially if the weather is nasty, is not only hard on your ride, but physically demanding as well. Ride your bike regularly for at least eight weeks before Iceman.

Oh crap, Iceman is two weeks away, now I read their training suggestions. I have done this race since 1996 (I think) and never have I been so unprepared. This is fine, the year was just a little off, it's not the beginning of a downward spiral. Still, I am screwed. I will look back someday at all my times and this one will look pathetic. Worse than that, every time I ride with a new group of people next summer, someone will casually ask what my Iceman time was. I will take a deep breath and tell them with no good way to explain it away and they will relegate me to the back of the group.

It was raining today so I set up the trainer. I have 6 weeks of training to get in today before I pick up the girls from dance at 4:00.

But, I have a plan, a way to get out of turning in a poor time at this year's Iceman without anyone noticing.

Denny recently asked me to race his tandem with him. I wasn't his first choice. His wife has a family obligation during the Iceman weekend. His second choice, Paul, fortunately ruptured a disc in his back last week leaving the position of stoker open for me. Racing on the back of a tandem is actually terrifying but I can blame our iffy time on Denny. Denny, like so many people recently, has fully jumped on the cross bandwagon so he is in good shape right now but that doesn't matter, next year during a group ride when someone asks me my time, I will tell them but immediately explain I was on a tandem, in a tone that suggests I had to lug my partner across all 27 miles. Brilliant. Diabolical and brilliant. I am so glad no one reads my blog.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Yesterday was beautiful. I had a lite schedule but got up early to ride because life has taught me if I don't ride early, I often squander my opportunity. My dad called before I rode and asked to take me out for breakfast. On my way back from breakfast I got a call from work. Apparently a VP had an issue with the cars I had waiting for the media to drive at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. I went to see what I could do. I hate working on cars in hotel parking lots. I went to a local Home Depot, bought a rivet gun, and helped the techs put the cars back together as best we could.

I should have stayed later but I had to pick up the girls from dance. We are living with one foot in Brighton and one foot in Canton. I went to Canton to pick up the girls. They each wanted to spend the night at friends in that area. It kills me when they choose friends over me even though I would have done the same thing when I was their age; a decision that doesn't even require a lot of thought. I delivered them to their friends' houses and drove back to Brighton alone.

It was quiet ride home. I don't like silence. I stopped by Bill's house to get a light I loaned him and to talk him into doing a night ride. He will normally ride whenever I ask but he hurt his knee and was going in for a MRI Monday. A night ride alone sounded pretty pathetic but it seemed my best option.

Sally doesn't bark, she doesn't even realize she is a dog. She growls in a deep, deliberate, fluctuating tone. It sounds like she is talking. But Sally had nothing to say when I got home. It was very quiet.

I spent an hour trying different lighting configurations on my bike in the dead silence of my garage. I feel like a drunk on roller skates when I ride at night and thought a few extra lights might help. I took off on my ride and made it a block from home when Emilie texted and asked for me to come pick her up. It was 10:00 pm when I got to her friend's house in Canton. I was glad to have her back. She hopped in the car and asked if she could lay the seat down and go to sleep. I drove back to Brighton in silence.