Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tree Farm

I had a feeling I fractured a rib during the Abominable Snowman Ride a few weeks ago but I didn’t go to my doctor because I figured there was nothing he could do. I broke down and went last week. He said I fractured a rib but there was nothing he could do. That right there wasted a morning in my life I can’t have back. He also told me to avoid crashing for the next 8 to 10 weeks.

Last night I did a group ride with Team Tree Farm; a fast night ride on a technical snow covered trail with worn 1.9 Kenda Karmas and clipless pedals. Nothing could go wrong with this plan. It was a hoot.

It was tempting to stay home and ride the trainer in the comfort of my house but the thing is, there were people in Ohio doing a figure 8 crit on a frozen pond last night. And registration has opened for the Yankee Springs TT. December is too early for things to fall apart.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Only A Fool Learns From His Own Mistakes

I usually don't learn from my mistakes.

I went to spinning this morning. I have mixed feelings. It is a good workout. The instructor is very motivational; I guess last Saturday someone had chest pains and had to go to the hospital. Kelly is a good instructor in the same way a good interrogator can get people to admit to stuff they didn't even do.

Let me recap December. Two weeks ago I went to spinning and was disgusted by the cesspool of humanity around me and vowed to stick to riding trails on the weekends.

True to my word, last Saturday I rode outside. It was so cold my CamleBak froze and my snot covered mittens slipped off the bars. I smacked the ground so hard I thought I broke a rib because it hurt to breathe; coughing almost made my knees buckle. I think I'm OK; I can breathe now without wincing, pretty much.

Thursday I went to spinning again. As I was leaving Jim called. Jim was my auto shop partner in high school and is now my occasional hunting buddy.

Me: "Hey Jim."

Jim: "What are you up to?"

Me: "Just finished a spinning class."


Jim: "You're taking a spinning class?"

Me: "Yeah, not real manly but too much snow to ride outside."


Jim: "Seriously?"

Me: "And it's dark before I get home from work.  So what have you been up to?"

Jim: "Like, do any other guys take that class?"

Me: "A few, mainly fit women. Has Brandon had a wrestling meet yet?"

Jim: " you take the class just to meet girls because dude, you really need to get laid."

Me: "That's not really how I look at it, it's good exercise that's all. Done Christmas shopping?"

Jim: "I'm getting concerned..."


Jim: "Are you making a rug? Bro, you're turning into a chick."

Me: "What the hell does that even mean?"

Jim: "Right, that would be weaving."

Me: "Wait, not spinning like making yarn, spinning is an aerobics class where you use stationary bikes."

Jim: "That's not much better Neil."

After spinning this morning I went to Target to get Allie a new Caboodle for her makeup.  Maybe I am becoming a chick.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Abominable Snowman Ride

Last week I committed myself to ride outside on the weekends and not whine about it. Noble plans are easy to make when the task itself is off in the future. Today was the annual Abominable Snowman Ride.

Bill calls...

Bill:  "Are you riding or are you hiding?"

Me:  "What, oh yeah, of course I'm riding.  Pfft, are you kidding?  You want to ride.....right?"

Bill:  "Yeah, Abominable Snowman Ride, you want to swing by on your way there to pick me up?"

Me:  "Uh, sure.  You're serious about riding right?  I mean, it's 19 degrees."

Another in a long line of perfect rides. The trail was icy but fun. I went down pretty hard but it had nothing to do with the ice; I was a foot or two above the ground when things came unraveled. My snot covered mitten slipped off the grip. I grabbed for the bars and found the grip just as I was landing but by then my ass lost the seat and a foot lost a pedal.

Falling face first on a pile of snow covered rocks is fine. The problem is Bill rounded the corner just in time to witness the tail end of my landing.

Bill:  "You're on the wrong side of the bike."


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Befuddled Santa Part II

I took a couple days off work this week.  I had vacation days to burn and I thought I could get a solid start to my 2011 training by taking advantage of the trails before they are buried under snow.  I didn't ride much.  My days filled with tasks so quickly that I was left wondering how I ever had time for work.

Last year Allison asked Santa for a code activated deadbolt for her bedroom and, even though it made no sense, he did not disappoint.  This year she asked for an I-Touch.  Santa spent the day trying to set it up with her songs and configuring it to her email, facebook, and our wireless router.  He has a good heart but is technologically inept.  He spent the morning just trying to load I-Tunes on his computer.

The Santa I gave my list to 30-some years ago would not have put up with these shenanigans.  He was a stick German Engineer and wonderfully practical when it came to gifts.  Had I asked for an I-Touch, and if they were invented, he would have pointed out that there were plenty of MP3 players out there that play music for much less.  Anyway, I had to hide my Rush albums under the bed like most boys hide their Playboys.  My daughters have a gentler and less practical Santa.

Santa really did come through when I was 11.  I wanted a BMX bike, one I could race.  Every bicycle I had up to that point was pulled out of the neighbors' trash by Santa.  But Christmas of '78 Santa left me a beautiful high end Raleigh Rampar.  Back then it was popular to drill out any possibly unnecessary metal, around the chain ring, brake levers, frame gussets, etc.  My bike was carefully drilled out by a bike shop mechanic, metallic paint and gold anodized parts. That was 33 years ago.  I still think about it every Christmas.     

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Last night Allie and I watched the Suite Life on Deck Christmas special.  Zack is the cool, slacker twin who gets all the cute girls.  Cody is the studious brother who suffers the brunt of their mishaps, normally caused by Zack.  Everyone was making fun of Cody because he had to dress up like a Christmas elf. Cody complains: "Why do I always have to be the elf?" to which someone replies:  "Because you are the only one with their own elf tights."  Cody says, slowly and in frustration, as if he had explained this several times already: "They are not tights, they are compression pants, for my spinning class."

I went to the gym this morning.  Most of the people in the gym early on a Saturday take fitness somewhat seriously.  The men tend to go to the free-weight area.  I went to the spinning class with the fit women and a few older men in matching kits.  I'm not sure which group I identify with better, neither actually.

Riding in tight quarters with Lady Gaga blaring over the speakers is a bit much at 8:00 AM but spinning is an easy way to go anaerobic when I would normally be drinking coffee and checking email.  15 minutes into the class, a huge man walks in and takes the bike in between me and a fan.  He has a lot of cologne on.  I am already at 173 BPM so this is horrible.  I have an amazing sense of smell.  I can smell girls before I see or hear them on the trails.  I actually smell large spinning guy's scent transition from over the top cologne to a complex stench of rotten milk and dead and bloated animal.  As the eternal optimist, I consider if there is some useful purpose for this.  I think about how the four student demonstrators were shot at Kent State in 1970, and how the police could have dispersed the crowd in a somewhat more humane manner if they took a dozen large spinning guys and set up fans behind them.  Then I became terribly concerned that the other people in the spinning class downwind might think it was me wafting over towards them.  And I thought about how much like Cody I am.  And if compression pants might actually help.

Bill has recovered from his meniscus surgery and started riding again.  Cold weather does not discourage him.  I think I might stick to riding trails with Bill this winter.