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Showing posts from August, 2017

Clutter.

My driveway looks like something out of Sanford and Son.



Piles of construction debris, auto parts, and various components either just removed from or about to go into the RV are either under blue tarps, my portable awning, or heaped unceremoniously on the side. It really boils down to how much I value the individual item. As I come to the end of the project, I am faced with the onerous task of sorting it all out and finding some way to store the good stuff and dispose of the rest. "The rest" is a description that encompasses the majority of the piles. It's truly amazing how much junk I pulled out of a relatively small space, and not all of it was orange shag rug. Some of the "good stuff" will go on Craigslist, in hopes someone will pay me a nominal amount and then haul it away.
It can't go into the garage. There just isn't room for anything else. There isn't room for what's in there.

I need to make room for winter month bike wrenching. There will c…

Sensitive.

I feel them. Each and every one of them.

Every crack, ripple, bump, pothole, and other imperfection in the road. I feel them. They ripple up my right side in jolts of moderate pain. Nothing I can't stand, but not something I generally enjoy.

I notice myself tensing up in preparation for a hit and have to remind myself that it will be better if I take it loose and absorb it more. I tell myself that, but I don't believe it. It's going to hurt either way.

It seems the whole Anchorage road system is a living, interconnected thing, birthed with the sole purpose of playing xylophone on my ribcage.

Still, I'm turning the pedals. Out-of-saddle efforts are an exercise in futility, immediate regret, and a few tears. I can't climb (not that I ever could). Standing starts from stoplights elicit a few winces and grunts before I'm moving. Nothing aggressive in cornering or bike handling. I can't afford another fall at the moment. The wife would take away my bikes.

I can turn …

Pondering.

After my glorious-ish return to the road yesterday, I decided not to put my bike in the garage.

Actually, it wasn't so much a decision as an acceptance of reality. The garage is packed, even more so than usual. Construction debris, tools, raw materials, and other RV project-related stuff clog the entry. I risked serious physical harm just extracting the bike while wearing road cleats. For the moment, the garage isn't an option.

I put the bike in the RV. Sad that it has more open floor space than a two-car garage, but that pretty much is a reflection of my life- cluttered and disorganized. I know where everything is (more or less), but I make a bigger mess digging things out.

While I was stowing the bike, I started thinking about different mounting solutions for it. Maybe bolt a receiver hitch on the back for a rack. Maybe a spare tire rack. On the roof? How about inside? Plenty of options, there. Unfortunately they all amount to additional projects. I just don't think my body…

It's Time.

A body at rest tends to stay at rest... unless acted on by a net external force.
-Newton's first law of motion ____________________________________________________________________________ It was time. My body had stayed at rest for far longer than I wanted it to. The distraction of the RV project is winding down, and my epic battles with orange shag rug are at an end. While it isn't finished, it's pretty darn close- close enough for one year. My hip is still misshapen (especially in spandex), but it's not quite as noticeable if I'm standing behind a brick wall. My ribs ache and my back spasm occasionally, but otherwise I saw no reason not to ride. Thing is, I wasted two perfectly good days not riding. It wasn't that I was afraid. My body was just at rest. It wasn't moving, and sometimes it needs an extra push or two to get going again. Finally, after a day at the state fair with the family, I kitted up and did a late ride. I fumbled around finding all of the stu…

Targeted Marketing.

It used to be all of the ads that would pop up on my social media time-wasting applications were for poorly-manufactured carbon wheels, kit I wouldn't be caught dead wearing, "sales" that were too costly to be true, and other things related to a bike junky. Mostly I ignored them, because they distracted me from my true purpose on the internet- finding out what really happened to the actress who played Jo on the "Facts of Life"- what she looks like now will astound you! Still, the marketers pretty much had me and my interest(s) pegged and were jamming as much as they could through my eye-holes.

Lately, however, there's been a shift. Now I see ads for vintage orange shag carpet, RV blackwater tank additives, and remanufactured auto parts for Chevy G30 vans. I guess my browsing habits really have changed, the computer algorithms that rule our collective existence have taken note, then they pivoted without missing a beat. Impressive.

The way I see it, it keeps th…

Rebuilding the Dungeon.

As much as I wanted to jump right back on the bike, I couldn't. With the slow healing, the weather, and the shagging wagon remodel, I just didn't have the time or the ability. I'm starting to realize there is a distinct possibility that I might not see much of the road this fall before the snow locks me away again. Snow is already dusting the back ranges. It's only a matter of time.

With this in the back of my mind, I decided to start prepping the trainer dungeon a little earlier this year while I had the free time. There's a good chance my first ride will be on the trainer, and I have a lot of work to do before I can jump on Zwift for a few laps of whatever course is on that day.

The Storck was more or less rebuilt when I swapped on the Rival drivetrain. It still needs a power meter, so I'm thinking of pulling the Riken off the crit bike. It's barely been used, and maybe I can work out some of the negative energy retained in it from the crash. I'm not a …

The Grand Vision.

When we bought the motorhome, in all of it's orange shag carpet glory, we had grand visions of what it could become. Our expectations of what we could accomplish were colored by our near-new rental RV from a few weeks back and internet "research" (RV porn) on renovations of older campers. Through all of this, we overlooked the obvious elephant in the room. I'm a better wrench than a carpenter, and I'm a shitty wrench.

Still, as the project moves to a "not-finished-but-finally getting there" stage, I think it looks light years better than it did before. Replacing the dark carpet with lighter linoleum and painting the walls made the place seem much larger, even if the paint scheme we ended up reminds me of WWII battleships. We'll brighten it up with throw pillows or something. Removing the 35 year old fabric eliminated much of the musty smell, which I replaced with poisonous paint fumes. You ever paint fiberglass (in this case, the countertop) in an en…

Catch 22.

The front wheels are still on my back seat. The aluminum wheel from the ti bike and the carbon wheel from the crit bike. I never removed them after the fall.

Helmets and gloves and sunglasses litter the front seat. A couple pair of cycling shoes are on the passenger floorboard. The back is piled high with race gear.

As I use the car on a daily basis, I shove this pile or that mess to one side or another to make way for whatever else I'm carrying. While race season is over for me (and almost over for everyone else), I'd like to believe I'll need some of it in the near future, so I keep it all in the car. Plus, the garage is a disaster. A toothpick would have a hard time squeezing in there.

I want to ride, but I can't. My hip just isn't there yet. My back is tied up in knots and jerks around in painful spasms. The change to lower temperatures and steady rain recently has also given me pause. A cold soak would do me absolutely no favors when it comes to recovery.

The back…

Maybe It's That One.

Yesterday I was trying to remove the propane oven from the RV so my wife could prime and paint the kitchen cabinets. Removing the oven allows access to some hard-to reach areas and allows removal of other components. It's like a giant Rubik's Cube. To get a block to a certain point, you have to make several other moves in sequence.

To remove the oven, I have to figure out how it's mounted. Mainly that involves looking around for screws with a flashlight, loosening them to see what they do, hearing the clink as the hidden nut drops somewhere in the interior of the oven, realizing that wasn't a mounting screw, then starting the process all over again. When I finally get what I think are all of the screws out, I yank on the oven and find I missed 20 or so more of them.

It's almost exactly like working on a modern carbon fiber bike, except the bike has a greater chance of having instructions readily available somewhere.

That one there looks like a good candidate.

Clink.

No FOMO.

Ever since I fell down, something interesting happened.

I don't frequent Facebook as much anymore. I don't spend time scrolling through other people's posts, scared that I might miss something important. Facebook isn't important.

I don't visit cycling websites obsessively, mainly because it reminds me I can't ride myself at the moment.

If I do get on the interweb, it's to look up parts for the RV or look for how-to articles/videos. Nothing about the bike.

I've even stopped listening to NPR as I drive to work, but that has more to do with the constant stream of negativity that characterizes the world at the moment. Without my daily dose of endorphins to blunt the onslaught and put it into perspective, I find I just can't deal with it at the moment.

I have no fear of missing out, because I've opted to ignore the world for the moment and concentrate all of my energies into a smaller space where I have some influence.

I'm sure once I'm done and he…

Hobbling Away For A While.

When I broke my collarbone, I was back on the trainer in about a week and blogging away about it. I never stopped.

This time, with a bigger break from being able to turn the pedals and nothing to ride into shape for, I've stepped away from cycling-related things. They just frustrate me, because I can't ride. That includes this blog.

Instead, I've poured my time and energy into the RV. I limp around and tackle thousands of large and small projects. At the end of the day, even if I haven't accomplished much in the big scheme of things, I can see progress. Even when I spend eight full hours cutting and fitting mitered plastic pieces that don't completely line up, I can feel like I did something.  That is a positive thing. I'm making things better.

I ran into my teammate, Craig, at Lowes the other day. He hasn't been riding much either, and has been building up a Sprinter-style van for bike-oriented travel. It's the latest trend. Don't ride your bike and b…

Bloggus Interruptus.

I've been neck-deep in the new RV. 18 hour days of demolition, flooring, re-paneling...

If I can't ride (and I still can't), I might as well do something. A fist-full of pills and I'm good for a day of construction.

It already looks a lot better, even if there's not a 90 degree angle on the whole thing, which makes cutting mitered edges an exercise in futility. I guess after almost 35 years, things kinda settled into whatever they wanted to be.

The new cushions for the benches that fold down into a bed were fielded out to a local upholstery shop. This was the expensive bit. Jaw-dropping expensive, but as I'm going to be sleeping on them, I want them to be done right. I'm too old and broken down to sleep on what's left of the old cushions or a poorly conceived replacement.

When I get done, I'll post before and after pictures so you can see why I haven't been posting like normal. I just don't have the time right now for much blogging.

Right now I …

Sorry 'Bout This.

The Tour of Anchorage was this past week. I didn't race. From the looks of it, a lot of people didn't race. We're going to move heaven and earth to fix that next year.

I'm still broke and pretty much off the bike at the moment.

I did catch the "glamping" bug, and am in the process of acquiring a brand-new 1983 Lazy Daze 20' Class III motorhome. It's like a full-on shaggin' wagon, with orange shag carpet, orange/brown upholstery, and pretty much a lot of other brown. Yeah, it's going to be gutted.

My body just can't handle tent-camping anymore up here. When we camp, it's usually on the coldest, rainiest days of the summer. Wet tent, wet sleeping bags, wet kids... For us, an ancient camper that smells of moldy socks is a giant leap forward. Warm and dry is a serious upgrade.

I also began looking at the bike-related possibilities for the rv:
Stage race team bus. It's small, but I'm the only guy on my team that shows up for road races,…

Don't Go There.

Remember when you were a kid and you would avoid stepping on a particular color tile or other portion of the floor because it was "hot lava" and would burn you? You'd go through all sorts of contortions to avoid being incinerated as you navigated to a given destination.

My life is like that recently.

Certain movements encourage searing pain to shoot across my hip. Unfortunately, these movement are integral to activities I do every day. Getting in or out of bed, a chair, my car, opening a door, reaching for the phone... I've learned when to expect "hot lava", and I can either find another way to do the movement or just brace myself for the pain.

Sometimes I get caught unprepared, and it usually results in a whimper or other involuntary sound. The other night my wife witnessed such an incident and remarked, "I've never heard you make that noise before. It kinda freaked me out." I just sit a still as possible until the pain passes, then try to get …

Not Pretty.

I got home from work the day after the accident, sore but otherwise semi-mobile. Staying in one position (like in a chair or on a bed) is fine, with just a dull ache to remind me. Changing positions makes things interesting for the affected limb. Standing up is not fun, as reminders of all of the injuries come flooding back at once. It always brings forth a moan and a grunt as I transition. Sometimes I cry. The first dozen or so steps are the worst, and then the body realizes I'm committed and gets with the program. For brief moments I can almost fake a normal walk. So far it's getting better, although people keep warning me the worst is yet to come.

As I removed my uniform (slowly), I recoiled in horror. Blood had pooled around my pelvis and other spots in most unattractive ways. I don't usually bruise, and this went far beyond bruising. It didn't hurt, but it scared the hell out of me. I called my wife, who took one look and said flatly, "I guess we're going …

Ruining the Wife.

I ruined my wife.

She used to love Applebee's. "They make the best steaks!" Especially if they were cooked medium well to well done.

Then I took her to better restaurants that took good cuts of meat and treated them properly. I introduced her to medium and medium rare steaks, which she now demands.

My wife wont step foot in an Applebee's anymore. Date night is incredibly expensive these days.

This past weekend I rented an RV. It was the only weekend open before the Tour of Anchorage (I reserved it before dropping my bike in the Kulis crit), so I felt like I owed the family a weekend of fun.

We'd always tent-camped previously, and invariably it had been cold and rainy. We have a spacious tent that is a veritable mansion. I used to just go out with a sleeping bag and a shower curtain, wrapping up like a burrito and sleeping under my Jeep. The family camping in a big tent in a prepared campground, with thick air mattresses and comforts I would have never conceived of in…