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Closing In On Me.

I knew it was going to happen eventually. I just didn't want it to happen so soon.

We're getting down to the last few, precious days of fall. The way weather's been going the last few years, we could have a couple weeks more of road riding- but I'm not counting on it. The snow has been creeping down the hills. The rain has gotten colder. The furnace cycles more often these days, despite my current battles with my wife over what constitutes "comfortable". It's coming.

Trainer season.

This year I didn't get a chance to burn myself out before the snow came. My longest rides have been around two hours. Any more than that and I feel it for days.

To be honest, trainer season will probably be good for me. It's a time of schedules and discipline. Getting up early and sweating. Starting the day with an endorphin rush. Once I'm in the rhythm, it kinda sustains itself. Then again, the trick is finding that groove.

I'd rather be on the road right now. Desp…

Longer Than Expected.

Today I rode the trainer for the first time in quite a while.

Yesterday I was fighting the wind on the Seward (and losing), but it was a rather nice day and I wasn't complaining.

Today it was raining and my whole body ached (because I'm old). I decided to get on the trainer and do an hour of Zwift.

To prep for this, I had built up the Storck and fired up the trainer dungeon computer, updating Windows about five or six times in the last week. I had logged on to Zwift, downloading the latest updates to make sure I wasn't delayed when I finally got around to sweating in place.

Today I fired up the computer and there was yet another update for Windows. No big deal, right? After all, I had updated several times before. Nope, this one took two hours. Two hours of me periodically checking to see if it was done yet. Two hours of the percentage clicking up to complete, a restart, and then another completion percentage.

It was 8:30 PM before I finally got on the trainer. On the bright si…

Give Me A Break, Already.

Yesterday was a good day.

The sky was clear, the winds weren't bad, the roads were dry, and the air was crisp. It was a perfect fall day for riding. Really, it was the kind of day that makes you glad to be riding a bike.

I felt like a cyclist. I did things automatically for the first time in months. Actions just clicked. I didn't miss a clip-in or have to remind myself to loosen up. Simple stuff that I was fumbling with excessively after the layoff. It all came naturally. Amazing what a good day will do for you.

As soon as I got in my car, I noticed a smattering of raindrops on the windshield. Hmmm. It continued all the way home- just enough to be annoying but not so much that the wipers could do anything more than smear them across the glass.

I started making burgers to throw on the grill, because the wife told me I had to. When I tried to preheat it, the temperature stayed below 100. It started to rain harder. The kids were hungry and whining. The wife was hangry. The tank was n…

Hello Old Friend.

I was at the weigh station when he snuck up on me.

I was lost in the trance-like state of a steady effort, and suddenly there he was. He just eased up effortlessly and slapped me on the head to announce his presence. I hadn't seen him much recently. He's usually out all of the time during the spring, then progressively he seems to lose enthusiasm as the weather warms. Once in a while he'll come out just to remind you who's boss and re-establish the pecking order, only to disappear again. With my recent layoff, I briefly thought our friendship had soured, yet there he was, full of bluster and confidence. He knew he could beat me.

"Hello, headwind."

I once read that a cyclist should always feel a headwind when riding. If you don't, you aren't pushing hard enough. Tailwinds are just a mechanism for going faster, not easier. There should always be something pushing you back and trying to slow you down, because resistance is the key to improvement.

Headwinds a…

The Growth.

I've begun to think of the mass of scar tissue and assorted junk on my hip as a cancerous tumor.

It latches onto my thigh muscles, hobbling me periodically until I limp along like Walter Brennan in an old Western. Its tendrils reach out until they lock up my lower back, necessitating extensive stretching to snap the hold it has over the region. The tight know wraps itself around nerve clusters, which scream in sharp agony in the middle of the night when I happen to roll over wrong. It weakens what has historically been my stronger leg, making my already ragged pedal stroke an ugly sight to behold. It's kept me from pursuing mood-leveling activities and resulted in me saying things to the wrong people that I would have self-edited before.

Yeah, it's pure evil. It's not anywhere as bad as actual cancer, but its way of affecting my quality of life has cause me to lump it into the "bad shit I wouldn't wish on anyone" category.

The cure seems to be the same thing…

Excuses, Excuses.

Any old excuse will do.

Normally I will jump at any excuse to ride. It's sunny. It's partially cloudy. It's rainy, but not too rainy. It's rainy, but it may stop. It won't stop, but one day you'll regret missing out on an opportunity to ride. Even when it's not in my best interests, I'll still look for a way to ride. Unless I'm dead tired or the heavens conspire to keep me off the bike, I will usually ride.

Lately, I've been finding a lot of excuses to avoid riding. It's windy. It's overcast and it might rain. It's raining. I'm achy. I'm tired. I forgot my heart rate strap (as if that matters). My tires are too flat. My tires are overfilled. I broke my shifter. My shifters work fine...

I'd like to get back to finding excuses to ride, and that means working past all of the excuses not to. When it comes down to it, I rarely get home from a ride and think I should have skipped it and gone to bed. I have to remind myself of that…

Not my Best.

While the ti bike was awaiting its shifterectomy, I rode the Madone 5.2 Pro. The weather was nice enough, so I didn't feel too bad about taking it out and flogging it. It wasn't like I was going to twist the carbon molecules' structure with my quads of steel.

I decided to head out to the Hillside to do a little climbing. By a little, I mean just that. Most of my riding has been on long, shallow grinds or short, punchy hills. Nothing you'd really call "climbing"... unless you were as fat and out of shape as I am.

As I got to the bike path I use as a connector to avoid major roads, I was greeted with a "trail closed" sign. It wasn't closed for trail repairs, because that had been completed months ago. No, it was closed because they were building a new gas station at the top of the hill.

As far as gas stations go, I usually don't think about them much. However, this one has me puzzled. I think it's being built by the Fred Meyers across the str…