Giddyap

You don’t change horses in midstream…unless the horse dies. Then you can either sit atop a stinky horse or get a new shiny horse to remove you from the stink and hopefully find you a good saloon… I digress…

I was riding the ol’ Cannondale along the Sammamish River trail Friday morning when I stopped about ten miles in. I had been doing awesome, pacing in the rain at 15mph (hey, for me that is good!) and not minding (well, not much) the puddle of water in my clippy shoes (note to self, get shoe covers). I got water, took off, heard a “wsh-chunk!”, and then a “scrape scrape scrape scrape”.

“Scrape scrape scrape scrape” is not what you want to hear on your bike, in the rain, 10 miles from your car, on a relatively deserted path. “Scrape scrape scrape scrape” kinda sucks. An untrained investigation showed that my rear wheel was out of true, it was scraping against the brake. With no prospect of rescue I rode the thing with a scraping brake in 10mph headwinds in the rain (not uphill but you get the idea) back. My pace slowed to 11mph.

At the earliest opportunity I deposited it with much angst at Mr. Crampy’s.

I am awaiting guidance via phone from Kyle “Mr. Crampy” of Mr. Crampy’s Multisport in Redmond. He called and left note that my bike, my lovely fourth-hand Cannondale, has died. It has died of a dead spoke, a need of wheels, messed up shifters, and the only good thing on it is its frame. I am going to need to purchase a new bike, because it is not safe.

When a man who does Ironmans each year for FUN and is ex-special forces is telling you not to do something because it is not safe, you listen.

I’m a bit nervous though: my old bike was a road bike with mountain bike tires (because skinny tires scare fat girls like me) and there’s this whole budget thing. Also, I have only ONE more long ride in training before the Big Day, and that is this Saturday. Ergo, I need to purchase, fit, and ride this bad boy within the next week.

It’s not as though I had a lot of other things on my plate — my brother got married this weekend, bought that new car, shifting jobs, school and PTA is wrapping up, and all of the myriad of normal life-things that waft in and out of my responsibility cloud. I’m actually quite glad I finally took the bike to someone who alerted me to all of this: I went to the local bike shop (we will not print their name, but they are VERY close to my house) and TOLD them I’d be on this thing for 2 days straight and they charged me 20 bucks and said good enough.

I won’t be going back there. I’m going to ride into the very orange sunset with something from Mr. Crampy’s.

Home Stretch

Considering that I’ve only been in training 4 and a half months, I can call the next five weeks the home stretch. I’m following the training guidelines, and am on a first-name basis with my local bike fixer dude, as my derailer isn’t quite sure if it wants to derail my chain appropriately or derail my ride inappropriately. I blame poor nomenclature for its inadequacies and overcompensation.

I have, as of last week, made the minimum amount of money raised ($2,500) and am aiming to get my goal of $3,000 in. At this point, my goal is to stay on the bike for the two days of riding and hope my rear end doesn’t fall off.

Or maybe I hope it will. Since starting training in January I have gained — wait for it, wait for it — seven pounds. SEVEN. POUNDS. This is insane.

Ok, let’s put this into perspective: I weigh X.

At my lowest weight at this height, I weighed X-19.  At my highest weight at this height, unpregnant, I weighed X+40ish. (Yeah, I’m putting the “ish” there. I wasn’t proud of it, and it was a long long time ago). I am on the slighter end of this sliding scale but it doesn’t make me happy.

I have ordered a body fat scale (hello, whole new heights of things to obsess about!) and I’ve downloaded an app for that, and an app for this. I would really like to get back to at least X-7, which is where I was in the New Year and fine with that. I’d like even more to get back to X-19, or even perhaps X-25; but let’s not get too carried away.

That said, I have a new job 🙂 Perhaps that will help burn some excess calories?

Reach

Man is a creature who, having given up on an efficient way of dealing with daily traffic, aspires to go to the Moon — and then Mars. On a shoestring.

People are generally goal driven. The nobility and value of those goals are generally subjective; if your goal is to spend the rest of your life as a couch potato far be it from me to dissuade you. Just leave some of the Cheet0s for me.

Of late I find myself searching for, and adding to, my goals. In doing so I find I do *better* if I pick ones that, while not completely unattainable, are quite difficult. E.g., signing up for a 160 mile, 2-day bike ride after having successfully ridden 12 miles.  I find that if I set myself up for a challenge– a not-impossible one, but one that I can’t really flake on, either — I will rise to meet it. This strokes my ego in some sort of way I’m not going to be able to articulate clearly, but that’s ok: I still get the oxytocin release.

I find that this tendency to set challenge and then meet (or get close) breaks down into smaller pieces of the overall goal: to wit, mileage. Each week now we are to be riding about 55-65 miles in addition to our long ride, and our long ride has to fall within a given Min and Max. Being paranoid that I will not make my goal I have been advocating the Max (so, last weeks was 47 on top of 60 miles which would put us at 7miles over goal for weekly mileage– and we made 41. Go ahead and do the math, I’ll wait).

What I’m getting to is, much like the person who “games” their watch by setting it 5 minutes fast, if we set the weekly goal to X+Y where X is the minimum required effort and Y is WWLD (What Would Lance Do), we are typically achieving X and sometimes achieving Xb (you know, halfway between X and Y). This is not bad on the whole, but I wonder at the psychology of it. If I was just “honest” with myself and said “ok, we’re doing 47 because that’s the minimum required this week (and it is)”, would I do the 47? Or would I suddenly cramp, or hit a wall, or fling myself over bicycle tracks?

There is a certain amount of fear in setting goals that may be just beyond your reach. But we got to the Moon on analog technology that is less sophisticated than items you use everyday. Stretching is good.

I Mutter the Body Eclectic

This is a perfect example of the sort of conversations one’s body parts get in to when one does things that one doesn’t normally. Our ride last Saturday was in 13mph headwinds. I looked it up — each 5mph is equal to an additional 1% grade (in terms of effort) and will take your normal pace down 7%. So, yeah! It sucked.

THE SCENE:

A girl (ok, ok, woman) runs frenetically through her house, having loaded her bike into the back of her car she is doing the needful, e.g., filling water bottles and packing Cliff bars.

BACK: Uh-uh, no way, I am *not* doing this. See? *TWEAK*

ME: OW! What’s that for?!? All I was doing was filling a water bottle.

BACK: (smugly) Now you can’t go.

ME: Oh yeah? (grabs Ibuprofen bottle) Think again, punkin! I have 800mgs of ibuprofen that is going to chill you out. (takes ibuprofen and washes it down with water, and then more coffee).

Fifteen minutes in the car and BACK is silent.

ME: Oh yeah! Who’s the man (well, not me). 

(Gets on bike)

THE SCENE:

It is 22 miles into the ride. Somehow, in a 36 mile course that is a U-shape along the top of the lake and back, we have succeeded in riding into HEADWINDS the entire way. This is disheartening and some of the constituency is starting to complain.

KNEES: Damn, we are sore! Where is that ibuprofen the doctor told you to take when you do this?

ME: I took it. All 4. I was good, but I can’t take any more for like 6 hours.

BACK: I commandeered it. I have the higher need you know: spinal column and all that.

KNEES: Oh no you Di-int! That was mine, beyotch! I have doctor’s orders!

BACK: Oh yes I di-id. I make this body function, punkin, so don’t give me your “oh I’m so important” routine. Nothing’s more important than the BACK!

BRAIN and HEART (in unison): Um…

BACK: well at least KNEES aren’t.

KNEES: STFU! I am the one that keeps you mobile, which the doctor also said is GOOD FOR YOU. You wanna hog my drugs, fine, but at least half of that should’ve been shared and now I’m going to show you just how hard *your* life gets when I don’t share.

BACK: Bring it!

ME: HEY WAIT! WAIT! I did what I was supposed to and..

KNEES: Tough cookies, sister. (KNEES start to ache petulantly)

STOMACH: I’m hungry.

ME: Now, BACK and KNEES you guys really need to… what?

STOMACH: I’m hungry.

ME: You just ate a Cliff Bar. Technically you’ve eaten 1.5 Cliff Bars.

STOMACH: And…?

ME: That’s enough food for you.

STOMACH: Look, apparently the BACK is the appreciated person here, and I’m not, I get that. Especially as it was ME who had to sort out that ibuprofen on not perhaps the most comfortably full stomach. So I’d appreciate it if YOU’D back off and feed me. Mkay?

ME: Ok, ok. Fine. Here’s the other half of the Cliff Bar.

KNEES: OH, I GET IT NOW. All I have to do is bitch properly, is that it? Well fine (KNEES  start to really ache)

BACK: FINE! I’m tired of being the scapegoat. I’ll show you what it’s like when the ibuprofen wears out. (BACK starts to tweak and ache)

BUTT: I’d just like to say…

KNEES, BACK, STOMACH, BRAIN, HEART, ME (in unison): SHUT UP!

BUTT: Oh, it’s all fine for you to have an opinion, I get it. But last I checked, I don’t get a special doctor. KNEES gets the Sports Medicine guy, and BACK gets Dr. Cat and Massages, and all I get is wedged on this hard plastic seat.

KNEES: Well you should be used to that, what with work and all.

BUTT: Hey, it’s not my choice that they sit on me, okay? It’s just what I do. And I try to do it without complaint. I’m just saying I’m feeling a little sensitive now and would appreciate some of the ibuprofen next time, is all.

BACK: Oh yes we get it, it is *SO HARD* to just sit around all day.

KNEES (to BACK): That’s pretty much all you do, BACK, except vertically.

BACK: SHUT UP! I’M MORE IMPORTANT AND I WILL TAKE YOU DOWN!

KNEES: BRING IT!

HEADWIND: SHUT UP BOTH OF YOU! Guess what, I’m going to ramp up a few miles an hour because I’m the freaking WIND and I can’t hear myself think for all of your complaining. KNEES, you’re going to have to concentrate on what you’re doing because this is going to be like one long hill. BACK, you’re going to have to use yourself more and crouch forward because otherwise the BODY will make no progress. And if EITHER of you want to see the comfy inside of the car today (and possibly a nice hot shower) then everybody needs to SHUT IT and get to work, mkay?

ME: (to HEADWIND): I kind of hate you, and love you, for that.