Thursday, March 31, 2011

If I Could Borrow Mister Peabody's WABAC Machine

I did intervals tonight. I'm doing a pretty good job following my training plan this year. For some reason which isn't entirely clear to me, I document every ride.

On April 1st 1994 I rode at Maybury. I averaged 7.6 MPH. I was in the prime of my life, hadn't made any catastrophic mistakes yet, had full use of both legs, and had lots of time to ride. And it took me 1:36 to ride 12.3 miles of non-technical, flat single track? Really?

If I could borrow Mister Peabody's WABAC time machine, I would go back 17 years, walk right up to me in the Maybury parking lot, and bitch slap myself for squandering my youth.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yakima Racks and the Lowest Common Denominator Part II

What's even dumber than forgetting your bike in on top of your car (more than once) is crushing your finger between the liftgate and the roof while replacing the damaged Yakima rack.

Nail and bone broke in half. Evening in the ER and an appointment to see an Orthopedic Surgeon; terribly inconvenient. Allie and her girlfriend had to come with me to the hospital. They kept texting from the waiting room to tell me they were bored.

The doctor said it was a good thing I wasn't wearing a ring. I had to think about that for a bit.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yakima Racks and the Lowest Common Denominator

Yakima used to make a warning sign that would pop up when a vehicle slowed below 10 mph, saying something like: "toys on top". I clearly remember wondering what kind of moron would need a waring sign to remind them their bikes were on their roof and why Yakima Engineers considered the lowest common denominator of bicyclists when making accessory items.

I think about this every so often, like when the McDonald's drive through warning sign hit my Felt in North Carolina, or last Fall when my garage hit my Tomac.

I thought about it again today as I took parts from two broken Yakima racks and made one good rack. I am fool enough to make a mess but resourceful enough to clean it up. That right there could be my motto.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Life and Times of Rocky Raccoon

Today was my first ride on the Kona Major One. The bike came with a 38 x 18 gear. I never rode a single-speed cross bike before but this seemed silly low. I changed it to 42 x 16 without even test riding it. 42 x 16 was spot on. I also changed the seat post, seat, tires, and pedals. I wanted to change the stem too but I also wanted to ride and I was starting to squander the extra hour of daylight savings. It was an excellent ride; gray and cold but, in a sure sign spring is coming, I had to bunny hop over a lot of raccoon carcasses.

As any middle schooler who vaguely paid attention in science class knows, the life expediency of a male raccoon in the wild is 3.1 years. What their teachers spare them is why this is so. You see, life is very unforgiving for the non-dominant male raccoons. Raccoons tend to reach their peak around 2 1/2 years of age (25 in human years). Life is good for a two and a half year old male raccoon. He gets his choice of cribs and female raccoons come knocking on his door. He goes into hibernation with nothing but blue skies ahead only to emerge in March as a 3 year old (45 and balding in human years). He gets his ass kicked a few times, assesses his situation, and decides the most humane thing he can do is throw himself in front of an unsuspecting motorist.

At least that is what I think happens. I don't really know. I'm just an Engineer. And I didn't really pay attention in middle school.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time will begin at 2 a.m. on Sunday, leaving people whining about their biological clocks and feeling entitled to accidentally walk into work an hour late Monday morning.

I have spent the last 6 months anxiously waiting for Daylight Savings because, starting next week, riding after work will be possible. Theoretically. But this is Michigan. I followed a snowplow into work this morning at well below the posted speeds. Snowplows are tricky to pass. I walked into work late. And cold.

All this after reading Mary’s blog over breakfast; a blog filled with wonderful pictures of rides under sunny blue California skies. That’s fine. There are signs that winter is coming to an end. I will be in Traverse City for the Mud, Sweat, and Beers race in May. And following snowplows will be like a dream where you wake up and quickly forget what it was that you dreamt, like watching your breath vapor disappear as quickly as you exhale in winter. I’m as optimistic as ever.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Parts and Stuff

Last night I got a box of stuff from Jenson USA. I’m excited. It’s just like Christmas in that I can sincerely say everything is exactly what I wanted, but actually mean it. I got shorts to replace the ones that are worn to the point of being inappropriate, a CamelBak bladder and a cleaning kit because I am a germaphobe, and an Easton carbon fiber riser handlebar to replace the flat bar on my Inglis SS. Uhhhh…new bars.

My Inglis needed a riser bar. Right before I sold my Felt, I swapped its nice titanium Merlin flat bar with the cheap, pre-vintage Profile riser bar from my Inglis, but the Inglis never felt quite right after that. It was hard parting with my Felt; there was no way I was going to let it go with the Merlin handlebar, this very rare, beautiful bar. And an incredibly strong bar too, stronger than the “low clearance” warning sign at a McDonald’s drive through. This is the kind of handlebar you could hang on your living room wall as a conversation piece, like an original M. C. Escher print. Definitely not the kind of bar I would leave on a bike I was selling to a guy who has no real interest in bikes; who only bought it to pose with.

That and I wasn’t sure I actually owned the Merlin handlebar. Kevin loaned it to me 5 or 6 years ago. It’s not clear how long one can borrow something from a friend before they can claim ownership. The rules are a little murky.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 Race Schedule

I got into the Iceman. Barely. I was registering for a few people which added to the stress every time the system crashed, which was often. It was an emotional roller coaster. I was getting a constant stream of emails and texts asking if I was having any luck. I felt like I was back in high school, trying to win free Rush tickets from the local radio station. For anyone who couldn't get in, people will be selling their spots on the MMBA website classifieds right before the dead line (6/1/11) to transfer.

I guess this is the time when racers with blogs are supposed to list their schedule. Everyone is optimistic in March. I really wanted to do the Yankee Springs and Pontiac races in April but I will be in Florida. I'll have my bike with me, you know, to get in some good hill training before the season starts.

I plan on doing Ft. Custer on 5/1, Blood, Sweat, and Beers on 5/7, and the Brighton Stage Race on 5/14 and 5/15. For the rest of the summer I will do a race here or there just for fun, I’m thinking Hanson Hills on 6/5, Pontiac on 6/26, Boyne on 7/9, Big M on 8/7, Maybury on 8/20, and the Log Splitter race in September if they have this race again.

In the back of my mind I'm thinking about doing some cyclo-cross races in the fall. I am determined to see what the fuss is all about. I tried some CX races before, completely unprepared, and had no fun what so ever. As it turns out, it's prudent to show up to a cyclo-cross race with some type of fitness. Go figure.