Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Tommy (not his real name) stopped by today and was telling me all about his woman across town and his woman out of town. These would be Steak-and-Shake on Capital Circle and Wendy's in Valdosta respectively. Living in a primarily vegetarian household he doesn't eat a lot of flesh on a regular basis, especially not beef. Now, after many years of getting his meat on the side, he says that he actually begins to perspire while eating it, as though his body is increasing its metabolism just to process the huge caloric load associated with a Royale Steakburger and fries. Have you ever heard of this? Do you get the meat sweats? Does eating meat make you sweat? Is it possible that he is actually exhibiting some kind of meat lust instead? I hope we can have a mature and safe dialogue about beef-related perspiration.
On other matters- Some fool on the internet was trying to say that cycling burns more calories than any other exercise and I'm saying that it is 100% grade A bullshit. I have taken pride for many years in my ability to ride dozens of miles while expending more energy complaining about the ride than actually pedaling my bike. Even if putting forth an honest effort, going all out, you are still enjoying the benefits of a weight supporting apparatus, coasting, and mechanical advantages such as 24 gears and sealed bearings. I submit that cycling falls far short of such activities as running, racquetball, or picking tomatoes (commercially.) I tell you, the internet is full of crazies, you have to watch it out there. I will be glad when the internet runs its course and we can go back to getting our information the right way- from Encyclopedias, grandparents, and watching television after midnight.
And another thing, this repetitive use injury? I'm not enjoying it at all. Not being able to ride my bike for significant portions of every day, or prepare or recover from doing so, exposes some big weaknesses in my overall life strategy. I need to diversify. You take the bike away and all I've got is a job, a cat, and some friends. That doesn't make me a pauper by any means, but it is going to get real boring in the later years if I don't change my ways. I need to get serious about recruiting a Juanchette around here, or maybe start doing crossword puzzles.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Hell is waiting.
I ignored the tenderness in my left heel for the past week, riding hurt about 4 times, most of those rides at a nuclear pace. I could stagger to the bike dragging my maimed left foot, clip in and forget about it. Once the blood started flowing it felt fine. The pain would subside and by the end of the ride I could walk almost normal. I figured riding was good for it. When it got stiff as the day went on I took it to yoga class and stretched it out with a little Adho Mukha Svanasana, thinking that ought to straighten things out.
This would prove to be a stupid treatment plan. For want of a nail the shoe was lost, and the horse, the soldier, the war. Now I have spent this long and lovely weekend back in the healing place, living the shut-in's schedule. Now that I have acknowledged the injury, and given it due respect, I can feel it getting better. Crutches, ice, heat, ibuprofen, epsom salts, and a whole lot of pushing my bottom lip out as far as it will go.
Waiting is hard work, and one must train for it as with any other discipline. I have experience now, and I know what must be done. Nothing. Rest means rest. No more staggering around dragging my lame hoof behind me. When physical expression is hampered, I retreat to the life of the mind. I could practice guitar, paint a picture, write on my blog, edit the manifesto, file my files, or make the cat a new costume (I'm thinking a Lebron James jersey?) I could do those things, but instead I choose to watch the clock, afraid that if I take my eyes from it time will stop, and my foot will never heal.
As Wrecking Ball would say, "That ain't shit. Call me when you have a real problem."
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I stopped in at ZONE 5 bikes and coffee (and beer) today to see what all the hype was about. The hype is quite justified when a new shop opens up sporting 5 beers on tap, an espresso machine, a Euro lunch menu, and an Ellsworth dealership. While he had me in the spell of his shock and awe campaign he showed off the 2011-12 BikeChain Posse cycling kit. Kit is a word cyclists use to describe their clothing, a term I have never accepted. I prefer bike stuff, or manotard. Anyway, while displaying both a strong present and an attractive future, he asks me an innocent question.
Where's your crew been?
I have to say, that is a damn good question. I can only account for Mystery, who is on temporary medical leave. The rest of this hypothetical (hypotenusical?) crew is enjoying a prolonged hiatus. Sure the reservists rearing babies account for their one weekend a month, but the former full-timers are pretty much AWOL.
One robot is running above average and quickly moving towards earning his non-robot name back, but one robot does not an army make.
BC's got a clubhouse, and BRC ain't even got a club.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Last Friday I rode with the Dogboy and I pedaled so hard I yanked my cleat sideways and rode like that for a while, so my left Achilles tendon is all jacked up. On Sunday I rode with Mystery the Untameable Stallion crashed out hard on the brown ice, now I have a stitch in the middle of my back and a big knot on my right knee. On Monday I rode with the Wrecking Ball and that didn't bother me one bit, but I just thought I would mention it.
I read something last night about people who continue to train or exercise even when they are injured. The jackass writing the book implied that this is a sign of obsessive compulsion and these people are being driven by an irrational force, and I thought, no shit man, that's the whole point. Let the demons take the wheel for a change, I'm tired of driving all of the time.
Still, I admit he is right. A little rest is not the end of the world. The injuries help give structure to my day. Ice, rest, and elevate. Hydrate, stretch, and meditate. I read this book soaking in an Epsom salts bath while eating Ibuprofen which put me in a weak position to argue against his hypotenuse.
By tomorrow I think all of these issues will have sorted themselves out and I will be 110% so who wants a shot at the title?
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Ninety-five degrees in drought conditions used to guarantee a man some peace if he was brave enough to ride the Munson Hills trail. All you had to do was deflate your tires to 8 lbs and get to suffering. Now that it has been reduced to every trail USA status and paved over like a pitcher's mound it is a straight-up race track. I pulled into the parking lot bumping that new Lady Gaga and crowds of riders receded like the tide. There had to be 100 of them, or at least 30. The Wrecking Ball was there, grinning like Timothy Leary and I knew it was so, so on.
We rolled out a first lap at a sporting, but conversational pace and I began to doubt the on-ness of the evening. Maybe a nice, friendly ride was in order after all tonight? We finished that first lap in the same Soviet-style form in which we began, wheel to wheel, no gaps, no passing.
The second lap thinned the herd a bit and all doubt of the on-factor fell away. The dust was thick towards the back of the pack and WB's and my commenting tapered off with the rising of the pace. Swoosh! Riders were blowing up now, yanking out of the way in desperation, gasping on the dust. Many fell victim to the brown ice and crashed out. I could hear WB's asthmatic rumble pumping like the bellows, but you could not fit a sheet of paper between his wheel and the one in front of him. During a discrepancy in the trees I made a quick move using my superior handling skills and edged him out of the way with a little gentle elbow contact. He countered moments later using what I am certain is an unauthorized line. It all seems a blur now, but at some point WB was no longer in front of me, but laying down off the trail in a swirling cloud of dirt. I flashed him the whites of my eyes and focused on the next wheel ahead of me.
From that point on I knew only pain and hypoxic dreams. I wasn't on my bike anymore I was 10 years-old and playing in the hose in the front yard. I wasn't on the bike, I was taking the GRE the day after Halloween in 1997. I wasn't on the bike I was an old hound dog sleeping under the porch. In truth, and you probably figured this out already, I was on the bike- and getting dropped.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Too much has happened for me to pick up the thread and tell the story of my travels. I think it is best if I detach this blog from time and space and just pick things up from my last ride, which was yesterday. New Orleans, Miami, and many stops in between, and I wrote some truly beautiful stuff in my mind and swore I would remember it for these pages, but it is all gone. Remembering stuff gets harder.
The temp was up over 90 when I got to Mystery's house. His baby girl was guarding the door, chewing on one of his old loafers and looking up at me, waiting for some nugget of wiseness. "It all gets tougher than this kid, so pace yourself" I told her. Mystery and me, we both started in with the poor mouth routine. My corns hurt, oh the sciatica, it would be nice to just spin for a bit, and all that palaveric nonsense. We hit the Miccosukee Greenway rolling about 20 mph. My nostrils filled with the scent of his blood and the protective nictitating membrane covered my eyes. I took King and Kong off their leashes.
Leaning deep into a dusty left-turn I washed it out and slid across the gravel-pocked trail like I was playing that game with the leather hand-baskets that takes all day. Mystery came to a stop and watched me untangle from the bike. He asked if I was all right and as I rolled to my hands and knees I told him, "It gets harder every time" and he nodded.
We rode the rest of the greenway in a quiet fury, puncturing each other in soft flanks with shiv and shank, smiling and occasionally exchanging pleasant non sequiturs like, "Lovely pace" and "Nice day for a ride." I raised the heel of my boot and tried to line it up with his chin, but he bobbed and weaved just out of my range. "How's work" he asked. "It's getting harder" I said. "The road is a lonely place and a man can't be too careful."
Everything gets harder, and that's why you have to get stronger.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I am back at the BRC bridge and ready to get to work. I am a little wobbly after such a long break, but throw off the lines and weigh the anchor, we are going to take this blog to sea once again.
I missed an incredible week of comely weather here in Tallahassee and what seems like a year's worth of riding events. It is a good thing I don't participate in riding events or else I would be really disappointed. Instead, I am excited about clippping in and pointing in some random direction tomorrow and reacquainting myself with the Titus.
This doesn't count as much of a "post" but at least I used some bloggy quotation marks.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I can't really update until I earn some more blogger tokens so that's what I am doing right now. I do want to congratulate the ZONE 5/ Bike Chain Service and Social Krewe on their successful event yesterday, The Red Bug Challenge. Who won? More importantly, who did not?
You can expect a surge of quality blogging when I get home this weekend, but until then you're going to have to rely on some of the other fine sources of facts and information available on the internet.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I was leaving the air-conditioned comfort of the gym yesterday when I saw two figures roll by on heavily laden touring bikes. They were covered completely from the sun, so I could not even see their faces. The temperature was close to 100 and they were crawling up the hill in front of the mall. My spirit burst forth from my body in a wash of admiration. I hurried to the corner store and bought two cold bottles of Zephyrhills spring water and then I rushed to the intersection at the top of the hill (Blairstone and the Parkway.) There, as they slowly approached, I began to clap and shout "Allez! Allez!" as they pulled up to the red light. Pulling down their scarves I was greeted by two broad grins.
They were on their way to Miami, from Iowa, by way of Guadalajara. They gave me a photo of themselves, a post-wedding picture? She smiling in a frilly pink dress, he triumphant and lifting her in his arms. They accepted my gift graciously and away they rolled under the hot afternoon sun.
Here is a link to their site, in case you can read Taiwanese.
Monday, May 09, 2011
A new pleasure I enjoy on the bike is riding behind people on the trail and sweating them until they blow up or pull over. What? They should have some kind of nice experience on their bicycle? They think it is a sport of leisure and nature appreciating? Please. They must learn to suffer as I was taught to suffer. Perhaps one day the carrot, but tonight it was the stick. It is the stick for all until I came to the one I couldn't catch, and then I knew where I belonged- for now.
Soon, it will be the stick for that one too.
My medically-imposed exile is over. 2 days in New Orleans showed me that. I can eat and drink what I wish within reason and not suffer any debilitating effects. That's a big relief. Now I am going right back to my penitent routine anyway. The monk's path is the path for me. Brown rice, kale, clean water- what more is there I ask?
See you at Munson Monday.
Friday, May 06, 2011
I took the obsessed with bikes thing as far as it could go last week, riding about 100 miles of singletrack in 4 days. That is not a typical BRC hyperbole either. To translate that number into my general level of exaggeration would result in something like "I rode 700 miles of single track in two days.) You can calculate future hyperboles on your own using the following equation.
X= (actual)(pain factor)7/10
I am in beautiful Destin, FL where the water is as clear as cat's eye marble. It is just a fleeting flirtation with the water though as I head to New Orleans today to support my good friends GLITTER CHARIOT (click to see video).
Aside from playing Juancho in real life I moonlight as "El Managerio" to this avant garde art-ertainment ensemble. They will be opening for Quintron and Miss Pussycat(link also). By Sunday it will back to bikes, bikes, bikes, but tonight I am stepping through the frame and into the painting.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Saturday, OMBA Epic Route, Santos 57 miles
My heart was pounding in the parking lot while I fumbled my wheel into my fork for the third time. That sound! The pinging! I can't ride with all this pinging! I need air in my tires. Do I have too much air in my tires? I really should have choked down another bowl of hotel lobby oatmeal and slept another hour.
Too late for all of that now. There is just me and the Titus pointed west and an old friend from here and thereabouts passing through on his way from Baja to Hood River. He is riding an Ellsworth Moment, a six inch travel bike for those of who appreciate the minutiae. I am thinking a lot about last summer- the pain of my cookie crumb shoulder bone, the resilience of so many of the families featured on Wife Swap, and the mechanized plot lines of the ensemble crime drama Criminal Minds. Mostly though, I'm thinking about all the Vicodin and the wretchedness.
So there is just nothing for it when we roll out, me leading the way, at a pace better suited for a very brief road ride. With no hesitation in my route-finding I spin us in a 20 minute circle right back to the parking lot. Todd questions me, but I shrug it off as a warm-up lap. We stopped at the Vortex, and here is where everyone who knows this guy will want to hear stories of aerials and verts, maybe some can-cans, and some rodeos. Too bad, he doesn't have a blog and the only ride I can speak of is my own. so for this portion of the story imagine yourself just sitting in the saddle, sweating, and thinking less about the Vicodin.
Again on our way we fly to the west. We pass a small gang of cyclists, one with a speaker set pumping the jams out of his backpack. What a jackass! We are protected from the rising sun by a canopy of oaks and the air feels cool and benign. The trail unrolls like cinnamon dough. I'm sure I talked in a very loud voice the whole time. I was excited.
It got hot. Out away from the canopy of oaks and exposed to the central Florida glare I faded. I faded and faded and faded. I was riding all alone. I did this for a very long time. I am specifically not saying much more about this portion of the ride. Bleak and bonked in the 5th hour I came across the jackass, still mainlining the jams directly into the forest. He greets me and offers me a Clif bar and a piece of beef jerky. Who is the jackass now?
Friday, Morris Bridge Trail, Tampa, FL 12 miles
A trail in Florida I haven't ridden, how exciting! My good friend Todd from back in the day is in the state and here we are with his brother, hitting some local North Tampa single track. Tomorrow Todd and I are riding Santos, so this is just a meet and greet ride. We haven't hung out in at least 5 years I'm thinking? Maybe he has lost a step? Maybe I'm the man? The mosquitoes obviously think so.
Sunday, Eastside trails, Tallahassee, FL 18 miles
A curse on the Dogboy! A curse of saddle rash, and poison oak, flat tires, and creaking cranks! I feel nothing but pain. I crawled into the saddle this morning, numb as a combat soldier on the 41st day of the shelling. There was not enough food and sleep in the world for me last night to be ready to ride again, and yet we roll. A friendly ride with friendly friends we all agreed. Not Dogboy though, not him. A chance to push against some legitimate west coast talent? He and Todd are railing the rest of us, pounding us up the good downhills and riding them twice. At some point he asks me how the pace is and with breath sorely needed I squawk Fuck you dogboy! and though I love him like a brother I mean this sentiment sincerely and he knows it. He smiles, which is his way of displaying hurt. I make it home dragging my axe along the ground, bloody.
Monday, Munson Hills, Munsonia 10 miles
I don't care what happens tomorrow. This is my Alamo.
I am expecting short and fast and that's what we get. I'm used to riding above my level now and paying dearly for thinking I'm of that mold, but I see nerves in some of the other guys and I can smell the turpentine in the air. Halfway around I pass my tormentor, this time it's King, and he is down in the dust-crashed. I hope this means a slackening, but no, displays of weakness reap aggression and the pace lifts sharply. I realize the way your legs feel and how fast you can ride are not even related. One is just a feeling and the other is a fact. The mutants, King and Todd, have severed the tether between us and they head deeper into the woods. Bushy balked at the turn to the Twlight trail, so now it is just Mystery, the Torso, and me and we are headed for the barn. Digging frantically for more juice I know this is my time, my ride, my reward for Saturday's suffering and Sunday's humiliation. I own this next 3 miles. They are going to have to kill me to pass me.
And here I am writing this blog.
Monday, May 02, 2011
That's right. I am supposed to writing about the combined 80 miles of single track we rode this weekend, and celebrating the return of a hometown boy to his ancestral ride grounds, but stupid Osama Bin Laden had to get one last lick in and steal my thunder. How many networks called to find out what gear I was in when I finished the 57 mile beatdown at Santos? None, that's how many.
Will his wickedness never end?
I'll let the din die down and then we will turn our attention to bicycles again.