Wednesday, January 25

Winter Shart Tarck '23: Race One (The Pre and also Post-Dumblings)

Whilst I wasted a week's worth of mental energy trying to figure out what to wear to the prom, I did little to nothing to prepare my bike, outside of putting two front fenders on it.  My pads were worn, but were they too worn?  Would my tire selection based on what I saw on two trail work days and one pre-ride really make sense?

Researching back in time, I looked at what I wore at the cold, wet Shart Tarck an Anne Springs two years ago.  I spent too much time looking at my gloves and such to notice my front tire selection:

Huh.  Forekaster.  Musta been muddy.  I did actually "notice" the tire in the picture... I just couldn't imagine after spreading crush 'n run all over (most of) the course, we'd see anything like we did this weekend.  Not helping things at all, I used the Aspen 2.4 that I've been running here and there since 2021 as a rear tire.  Did I have a less worn, used 2.4 Aspen?  Yeth.  Do I have two new Aspen 2.4 under my bench?  Yeth.  Did I squirrel away a bunch of Forekasters before Maxxis beefed them up into an Enduro™ tire?  Of course, also yeth.  Count me among those that were sad to see the OG Forekaster go away.  Sometimes you want a big knobbed tire with wide spacing.  Sometimes meaning this past Sunday.

The Pace on the rear was equally stupid and will be more thoughtfully considered next week.

You think I woulda moved past the "use some tire I won at a bike race on the back sometimes" phase of my life.  Apparently a tire described as "small, tightly spaced knobs to create a tire with low rolling resistance" is not optimal in these conditions:

Dr Mike's cog at the finish... I ain't never seen that flavor of mud before.

The brakes.

Had we raced two hours earlier, I woulda been fine,  Just fine.

But I didn't.

I knew the pads were used, some, a bit, for awhile?  It's not like I had plenty of spares stocked up (thanks, TruckerCo).

And I've even kept mementos here and there to remind me to not be so cheap.

Pads worn down the backing material coming down Volcan Irazu in Costa Rica in 2004.

Remainder of a pad that I wore deep into the backing material that I now keep as a jingly bit on my work bag and yet another reminder to NOT BE FRUGLE when it comes to my safety.

That was plain stupid.  Like post-race in the parking lot lever to the bar... and gradually slowing down stupid.

Trust me.  The pads were replaced Sunday evening after the race, and tires will be scrutinized the day before race number two.  To make matters even more trbl, I had all my tire mounting stuff out and the compressor making all the noises Friday night putting Ramblers on my garvel machine... so another fifteen minutes and a couple more drops of Cream II sealant on the floor to clean up, and I woulda been golden.

If I did anything smart on Sunday, it was wearing my old shitty Specialized knee warmers.

They used to make the best fleecy knee tubes.  Then they changed the design, and they sucked just a little. They redesigned them again and started using a fabric as fragile as crepe paper.  They fooled me once.  I bought them twice.  They already had holes in them before this past Sunday.  Now they are destined to be shit-canned.

Back to my incompetence.

I considered breaking this out:

That dumb trainer that I bought for The Pie almost ten(?) years ago so she could keep up her fitness while getting over an overuse injury hasn't seen a whole lotta action since.  I rode it twice, and I let Nick borrow it for this past cyclocross season.  It would be ideal to set it up under The Spoke Easy tent with the tarck bike, but when I considered all the effort required to lug everything over there from the car just so I could properly warm up for a sub-podium finish?  Meh.  Laziness won.

And as I was walking away at the end of my day, I heard the whir-whir-whir as I passed by some experts warming up all comfortable and dry under a tent and thought, "dammit."


Had I decided to race 50+, I coulda placed at least 4th, mebbe better, as I had to pass sixteen 50+'ers that had a one minute head start.  That's a lot of traffic.  Oh, the dilemma of being a quinquagenarian single speeder.  Race age-wise, I'm tied for second oldest SS'er in the bunch.  Twenty years of Shart Tarcking... and back when I started, I was as old as SS winner Nick is right meow.  Triple Jeebus.

And the final note.  Of course the wreck affected my left hand, which already has more issues than Time Magazine.  At least it's not my bidet hand tho, so I'll be okay.

Tuesday, January 24

Winter Shart Tarck '23: Race One

I'm fitting to do a combined Pre-Dumble Post/Post-Dumble Post (or would that be Post-Pre-Dumble Post/Post-Dumble Post?) to follow up later, but I'm gonna get straight to the race.  

I spent the whole week before the race fretting the weather.  The forecast never really budged all that much.  Rain.  Cold.  All day long.  I'm no stranger to bad weather, and I tend to do rather well in poor conditions, but that said, I'm kinda tired of voluntarily riding in shit.  I have to get to work regardless of what I see when I look out my front window at 8:20AM.  I've got nowhere else to go but home when I get off work at 5:00PM.  If something needs filed at the courthouse and the heaviest rain of the day is falling, I go out in it to play in the wet streets.  I've been commuting by bike since attending Youngstown State back in the late '80s.

Like I said, I'm tired.  Of shit.  I have to deal with it to have my jerhb, so choosing to be in it recreational is now beyond the pale.

But I do have another problem.  Knowing that others will nut up and be there, I've got a certain personal issue.

I have all the right gear.  It's just a matter of picking the proper attire for whatever might be happening for those exact forty minutes on a Sunday...

So I spent most of the week focused on that.

Not to spoil the future Dumbles, this pile took much scrutiny and way too much time to collect.

All my fault, but Dr Mike and I are at the venue way too early.  What can I say?  If you're not ten minutes early, you're late... give or take an hour.  We take the time to walk some of the course, and it looks like it's holding up well enough after the first two hours or so of racing action.  There's some mud here and there, but there's also a sweet blue groove forming in most of the crush 'n run'ed sections.  I should be fine.  Just fine.

Settle on my clothing selection, do the dumb circles in the parking lot that we call "warming up," remember that I left a gel in the car when I feel my stomach rumble, stop, choke it down, ride more circles, see another gel someone dropped on the pavement, pick it up on the next lap, eat it.  Why not?  BTW Mandarin orange?  Da fuq buys that? 

Line up at the front and whaddaya know?  Single speed has the largest field of the day.  Twenty six riders strong.  Plus side is that it will be easier to bleed into the anonymity of mid-pack life, downside is the potential chaos of the first lap jitters in a group that bloated. We start, and I miss my pedal once, twice... get it on the third time.  I lose the wheels of the wanna-go-fasts but end up far enough off the back of them to have a decent line of sight going into the...


The previous hour had seen thirty eight riders putting down as many as five laps a piece, and the course has deteriorated immensely under those three hundred and fifty or so wheels.  The steep, grassy slope down to the gravel road below is littered with muddy ruts.  The line I'd ridden just a week ago is hundreds of two inch criss-crossed ditches.  Hit the gravel at the bottom, keep the gap to the front the same... with a bunch of very enthusiastic riders coming around me.  The next turn off to the right...

Double Jeebus.

I find myself riding across a lake of butterscotch pudding.  My 2.4 Aspen/2.1 Race is not the choice (obvs, save that for the Dumbles).  To be honest, it doesn't look like anyone is having a good go at it.  I can see the pointy end of the field getting jammed up as riders are off their bikes, both running and also falling.  Gonna be a great day in the woods.

I'm further back than I really wanna be, but on the two dick-puncher climbs, I can see that I'll be moving up when I can.  


Three laps in, and my brakes let me know that they are not long for this world (more to Dumble later).  Not only am I dealing with pretty much the worst tire combo for the conditions, I now have to use my brakes sparingly.  No, I don't know what that means or how to do it.  My game plan now is to just survive and stay upright.  Live to fight another day and all that.

What a 53 year old (54 racing age?) man looks like the third time he hits 186BPM.

Lap four and I'm moving up in the single speed field, and now I've acquired my next target.  Once I get outta the woods and around the 50+ guy in front of me, I'll pass him on the last climb with one lap to go.  Only problem being that I closed the gap on the 50+'er in the woods, and I'm right on his wheel going into the whoopty descent... and I can't slow down.  Unable to delay my forward progress, I tag his rear end and lose it off the side of the trail (to the delight of the heckle pit).

Dammit.  Get up, spin the bars back, wave to the adoring fans, do a two second health assessment, and get rolling again.  

Get to the climb... my potential target is gone.  Look over my shoulder, and Shawn is about to pass me.  Dammit.  He gets me, but not wanting to just give in, I pass him back on the penultimate climb, and  hold on for...


My favorite place outside of 1st, 2nd, 3rd... and always better than 4th.

Spoke Easy teammate Nick took the W.  The top three were all doping with cyclocross fitness, and Chase thirded himself on a noodle bar bike.  Also notable in the picture, the difference between winning two minutes ago and being absolutely gassed as well as fender VS fenderless in the mud.

Prepare for the oncoming Dumbling.

Thursday, January 19

Fiddling While Rome Burns

Despite feeling like a dour, humorless, small old man at the moment (for no particular reason), it's time to speak of better times.  Funshine is right around the corner.

Sorry not sorry for the shoddy MS Paint work.  There's just no way in hell I'm climbing up into my attic, getting into a faceoff with a rabid squirrel, an bringing down my super computer and do something better with Photoshop '07.

As far as I can tell, this will be the fifth edition of the Watts Fappening.

The first year was 2015.
It was actually possible to ride to every brewery in Charlotte and drink a pint back then.  We failed, but it was more about the fact that we had a beer at lunch before we started, and then mebbe had a couple of pints at more than one stop... then lost interest in the whole matter one stop shy of being winners.  There's always next year, emmaright? 

We took another swing in 2016.

For the wheels to fall off the bus, they need to be attached first.  We had wheels but no bus and much debauchery occurred.  Our first three watering holes were all within seeing distance of each other and one was a distillery.  Then we started skipping stops because while they're still wasn't way too many breweries, the influx of people who took up day drinking as a hobby crowded up some of our planned destinations.

It looks like we skipped a year.  I dunno why that happened.  It's like 2017 didn't exist.

In 2018 we were back.  I dunno why that happened either.  

It was like we forgot how to Fap.  We were at a Baby and Me brunch at a brewery, then a dive bar... pizza was magically part of the day.  We ended up at the tavern in my neighborhood, which makes for an easy commute home... which was nice.

If only we'd only known that 2019 was gonna be the last year ever...

Checking the archives, it was a year to remember if only we could.  I'm still dealing with the shame.

Obvs 2020 happened and we of course didn't Fap.  Then 2021 came and also went. 


Apathy and old age.  The inability to prioritize such nonsense.

But we're back in 2023, for better or worse.  More details to come... I'm pretty sure... kinda.  The Planning Committee is planning on doing some planning.

Up this weekend is the Winter Shart Tarck Race Series #1.  The weather is looking shite.  Cold rain.  Recently, my mood has been all over the place quite randomly from the highest of highs (that I'm capable of) to the lowest of mine own lows.  One minute I feel happy, and the next, I'm wondering why I felt that pleasant sixty seconds ago... because I don't anymore... and I'd like it come back.  So the interesting thing will be which me shows up to the line on Sunday.  The "me" that leans into terrible conditions fueled by the misery of others or the "me" that doubts all my life decisions, starts planning an immediate withdrawal from all planned events and future blogging, and wonders if anyone would notice if I just went back to the car after the first lap.

Random is as random does.

Tuesday, January 10

Typing With 1.2 Hands

The Pie asked me Friday night if I had any weekend plans.


I did not.  A couple offers to meet up with others in the WNC for two totally different rides.


I don't relish a solo drive to the mountains to meet up with others then ride, only to leave the stoke behind as I pilot the Fit of Rage and Infinite Sadness back the Queen City.

The local trails were either going to be closed, moist, or muddy (in places, natch).


There's always the final trail work day of winterizing the Winter Shart Tarck course... that was scheduled for 9:00AM... which totally screwed with my plans to wake up without an alarm and get to the stores before they start getting crowded.

But for some strange reason, my eyes opened at six something o'clock, and I started moving the chess pieces around on the ceiling.

If I denied myself the chance to get more sleep, I could drink my 30oz of coffee, enjoy my morning constitutional, get to Target in time to make a mad dash through uncrowded aisles for certain various necessities, pull up at Trader Joe's when they open and smash/grab my staple TJ items, get home, unload the car, change clothes, grab my bike and garden rake, and join in on the fulfilling labor that is spreading gravel over dirt.  Three or four hours of raking and shoveling and clearing drains and riding around in a non-person area of a six wheel vehicle.

I was feeling early onset old people sore about forty minutes before quitting time.  Work done, grab my bike and helmet, knock out a quick (and pretty pointless) lap before racing home to smash leftovers in my face and get another bike ready to head out with Dr Mike to ride as much Sherman Branch as we could get.  On the bike and hungry, I was feeling a bit too much ooggity boogity and was too close on his wheel flying through some tight twisties.  My eyes saw the first and second tree, but not the third.  Full fisting action with my left hand, an immediate cessation of forward progress, and I'm on the ground in milliseconds with my hands still on the bars.  Ripped (another) knee warmer.  Did that thing to a couple of fingers that you just go ahead and ride through... because... "fun?"

Beer at Brawley's Beverage, Squeezy Leg Bags™, ice my hand in front of the TV.

I'd already settled for the idea that Sunday was gonna be a Dad Dad™ around town due to the shit weather we just call "normal" now, but I woke up with a very stiff, sore, puffy, angry hand.  I hemmed.  I hawed.  I turned down two invites.

I Zwifted.

Once again, I'm thankful for the option to be active in some manner.  I couldn't even think about going up the ladder and scooping the gutters out with one hand (which was the only thing I could think to do with my spare time), so riding inside the cartoon world and climbing four thousand cartoon feet over fourteen cartoon miles was better than day drinking, in terms of physical and also mental health.

I'm "preparing" for Winter Shart Tarck to begin in a little under two weeks.  Last time I did the whole series, I was in the kinda shape you can get when you're doing a one week on/one week off work schedule.  Last year, I skipped it because the course was just not to my liking.  Now I'm all over the place "training" with Sad Dads, gravel biking, Zwifting, and actual mountain biking sometimes... with the occasional self-sabotaging of illness or injury... to include trying to slice my fingernail in half yesterday with a box cutter.

BTW: It wasn't the cut that actually hurt after about twenty minutes.  It was the thousands of times I relived the moment in my head.  I hate cuts.  Yuck.

Thursday, January 5

The Emperor Has Some Clothes (and other stuff)

I guess I missed the opportunity to make a typical cycling blerhg end of year recap, but since there aren't many cycling blerhgs still out there, mebbe nothing is typical anymore.  It was a spectacular year, in terms of going places and doing things and not experiencing a major injury.  I squoze in three stage races and made a few random podium appearances here and there.  If you actually read along all year, you already know that.  If not, that's the best synopsis you're going to get.  

And I managed to squeeze in a bout with Covid and sunk into a wee bit of dismal despair trying to cope with how much it knocked me down a few notches at a time when I was expecting to be at my fittest.

In more interesting news, I wore pants at least ten or perhaps mebbe even fifteen times in 2022.  IYKYK.  I attribute this to the existence of the HandUp A.T. Plus pants.

I think they look pretty good with action sandals, but I do dislike shoes just as much as pantts.

They pretty much address 99% of what I hate about pants (aside from touching my ankles).  

I only wanna wear pants when it's stupid cold... like super stupid.  I really hate pants.

They better be kinda stretchy, sorta form-fitting, and quick-drying.*

There's no point in them being thin in nature, so much appreesh that they're kinda fleecy on the inside.

I don't need a cargo pocket.  I don't plan on carrying "cargo," and if I did, I'd grab one of the thousands of bags I have lying aboot.

I also was fortunate enough to find some skinny jeans at Goodwill that kinda fit without showing off my butt crack for the times when I don't wanna mess up my nice HandUp pants.  Trail work (in the stupid cold and/or briar patches), gutter cleaning... dunno.  What else am I even doing outside if it's not one of those two things or riding a bike?

Member how I mentioned a coupla weeks ago that sometimes I get random boxes?

Sometimes those boxes come from Topeak.  Not necessarily anything I asked for, but I do sometimes ask for things.  Usually I request small niche tools, since I have most of my big needs covered.  The kinda implements that have specific tasks that I currently handle in the half-assiest of manners.  I wanted this Tubi Valve Cleaner:

It do what it do, and probably better than the 11/64" (or whatever) drill bit I keep on my bench or getting all Jack the Ripper with a 4mm Allen wrench.

I also asked for a YHEX Speed Wrench 4/5/6

I used to have a T-handle speed wrench from another manufacturer, but the long part broke loose and started spinning in the tool under pretty low torque, so it kinda became pointless.  I don't even have a Y wrench, and I feel like I'm not in the cool kids club without one.  This would be a nice addition to the pegboard.

All modest asks. No bike travel cases or Prepstation tool boxes (with tools).  Nothing really high dollar at all.

I got neither of these things.

I did get this:

And to be painfully honest, I was like, "sigh... another multi-tool."

The Topeak Mini P20 sat patiently on my bench still in the packaging for a few weeks.  What can I say?  I had a lot going on, and my bench was covered in half-done projects and random small bits and bobs.

Then I saw a fellow Topeak ambassador's post on Twitter, and he was not as indifferent as I was.  He actually opened the box and checked out the twenty functions (I guess that's what the "20" in "P20" is about).

First thing... THERE'S A KNIFE?

I don't carry a pocket knife on bike rides, generally speaking.  Some times I do... dunno why.  Mebbe it makes me feel more masculine or woodsy.  There are times when I need a knife, and I'm glad someone else has one or it just happened to be one of my manly woodsy days.  Anyhoo, nice that there's a locking, serrated knife tucked in there.

There's also a quick link removal tool.

I've argued in the past that carrying a quick link tool makes no sense.  Being that I'm arguing, obviously someone's on the other end pounding out their justification on the keyboard at me.  I guess it's better to have it and not need it** than vice versa.  It's built into the chain tool, so I can pretend it doesn't exist, so it's a win-win.

Then there's obviously eighteen other tools on there, most important being the 8mm Allen, because if you're not carrying an 8mm, you're dead to me. 

Most of the time I'm using a multi-tool, it's not on my own bike.

Here I am re-learning (again) which limit screw is which on a SRAM derder when the bike is upside down.  So while none of my bikes have a need for a Phillips head screwdriver or a Mavic M-7 (da fuq?) tool, I don't have to tell a frand I can't halp them out if I'm carrying this P20 on my person.

That said, my first thought when I saw the tool (still in the cardboard packaging, natch) was that this thing looks bulky.  Then when I finally got around to freeing it from its tiny incarceration capsule, I found that it also came with a neoprene satchel.

Which in my tiny pea-brain, all I could think was, "great, it can be even bulkier."

But just like that spaghetti strap black cocktail dress I keep in the back of my closet, it's very slimming.

So thank and bless for this thing I didn't ask for.

 As if I needed a reminder of how quick-drying the fabric really is, I wore my A.T. Plus shorts to work the other day and did not pack my Gore Wear Paclite (**member it's better to have it and not need it) despite the abysmal forecast because it wasn't raining when I left the house.  The first run I got was a fifty block round trip... about the time the sky decided to dump it's might on the ground.  Whilst I did have jungle foot the rest of the day, my shorts were eventually dry when I went back to being Office Dick.  Hooray.

Tuesday, December 27

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer out an incoherent blerhg in the morning

Three day Christmas weekend.  As one who doesn't choose to travel for the holidays, the best thing I usually do with all this spare time on my hands is ride my bike and clean out the gutters.  That said, I didn't like the idea of crawling around on my roof when it's in the teens outside, and I'm doing (almost) everything I can do to respect my health and get over the remaining symptoms from my cold.

Not much riding outdoors, but some of this mebbe:

For better or worse, that's my setup.  Some shelf/stand thing my neighbors had thrown out.  The TV that was previously relegated to our bedroom that doesn't power on with the remote anymore.  Two end tables that The Pie financed from Value City Furniture back in 1991 stacked on top of each other.  The Lasko fan I bought to replace my stalwart, decades old air mover that died at this past year's Trans-Sylvania Epic.  Last but not least, the Elite Direto XR-T smart trainer that found its way to me last year but never saw much use until now. 

So yeah, not riding outside and hurting my lungs in the cold, dry air... but I can totally sit in my house at 64° and use some of the large amounts of free time I'm fortunate enough to have doing something to make myself a better/fitter human person.  I'd told myself that I'd only Zwift for thirty to forty minutes of intervals a coupla/few nights a week, but desperate times call for even more desperate measures.

I'm not much of a planner when it comes to these things.  Group ride?  Sure.  Who the hell are these people?  Why am I getting "thumbs up" things for not doing anything necessarily spectacular?  Why are they chatting like they know each other?  Should I even be here (in a virtual sense)?  Why did I even jump in a group ride if I hardly even rode with anyone, or when I did, I felt like I just walked up to two guys having a conversation in a bar and just stood there staring at them... with a booger in my nose?

Either way, almost an hour and a half, and I didn't wake up coughing that night from the effort... so worth it?

Next day, some ride I member Dahn mentioning when I asked him about things to do that hurt... which I thought I'd never do because it can't be done (by a casual athlete) in under forty minutes, Alpe de Zwift on the Road to Sky.

I knew it was a "long climb," so I started at a reserved pace and slowly increased my watts and stuff with each switchback.  I enjoyed the undulations and the need to shift and stand up because the bike... well, because that's how smart trainers work.

I'm an idiot tho in some respects.  As an outdoor cyclist, I can't imagine climbing almost 3,500 feet without enjoying the ride back down the mountain.  I don't even know what that means when you're TV cycling, but I did it anyways.  And... to be as stupid as possible, I tore myself apart trying to go over fifty miles an hour on the way back down.

And failed.

But somehow along the way of doing downhill intervals tryna break fifty miles an hour when I shoulda been cooling down after climbing for over an hour, I hit over six hundred watts.

I do not know if that is bad or good for a many four apples tall that is getting over a cold.  I still don't know what my FTP truly is, and I only have a limited grasp on what that would mean if I did know or what I could do with that information if I take the time and make the effort to acquire it.

What I do know is that I got over three hours of pedaling in over two days, and that woulda been no hours if I didn't have this setup and had I stuck to my commitment to NOT ride outside recreationally in the name of getting my health back to where it should be.  I'm actually amazed at what a distraction Zwift can be when compared to riding the dumb trainer that I bought for The Pie whilst watching movies (I did that... once).  I honestly don't think I ever woulda spent $500+ on a smart trainer because I never woulda thought it could be somewhat engaging (with minimal effort spent setting it up and learning how to sorta use it).  

Three or so hours wasn't close to the amount of time I had on my hands this weekend, so obvs there was some visiting with the few members of my family that live in Charlotte.

Boppit was either hiding from company in the corner of my bike room with his eyes closed thinking that meant they can't see him (I've tried this), or he was concerned that I walked away from the halfway rebuilt garvel drooper on my bench.

I mean, the intention is to actually ride the garvel bike OUTSIDE when I can or have to because the trails are closed.

With so much time to kill, I was super stressed when I woke up Saturday morning with the power out at 7:00AM, as I'd planned on sonic cleansing all the things I could.  Yeth, it's kind of a privileged place to be in a tiny house with a gas fireplace and water heater, so the biggest inconveniences of a power outage is no internet, TV, Zwift, or sonic cleaners.  We are blessed.

I continued to avoid the gutter cleansing and instead stayed inside and organized the two junk drawers (do we need this five+ year expired Costco card?), tossed out decades old spices we're never going to use, cleaned under the fridge and stove (my grandpa would be proud that I finally used the ramrod from the muzzle loader he built for me), and straightened up the coozie drawer.

Anyways, I bailed kinda last minute (hour?) on riding outside with dem bois on a Sad Dad­­™ on Monday because... *

I've only called in sick as a bike messenger once in my life, and that's because I passed out tryna get ready to ride 13 miles to work in November '96 with a flu.  I did have to call out for Covid because "rules," and respect for other's health, but I digress.  My point being that I let pride make my decisions, and I've done all manner of things whilst sick that only served to make me sicker.  Winter camping, New Year's Day ride down Heartbreak Ridge in the snow, not skipping a Winter Shart Tarck race, etc.  The list goes on.  

Despite wanting to ride outside if even for just the sake of my mental health, there's something to acknowledging that it's linked to physical health as well.  My job and lack of desire to ever drive to work give me plenty of chances to be "hard," so whatever to bundling up and freezing my dick off for IG points.  I'm back on the bike, commuting and working four days this week (and back and forth to trivia night), so I'll get plenty of outdoor time soon enough... and hope to make the most of the next three day weekend by being outside as much as possible (to include quite possibly hunching around on my roof cleaning gutters FML).

I ended up doing a short (1+ hour) race, and despite being totally honest about my abilities regarding how many watts per kilo I thought I'd average, I got my doors completely blown off.  It didn't help when my old PC shut down because for some reason I changed the battery saving mode to "fuck all."  It started with me getting dropped from the main field, hanging with the next group of mid-packers for as long as I could before chasing a break, exploding, falling completely off, riding alone, dropping back to the next pack, losing power on my PC, and then finishing alone.  Such fun.  Just like real racing.

Wednesday, December 21

Spinning wheels, but in the literary not physical sense but also

Last week was supposed to be lived La Vida Bachelor style. I had what I'd call "high aspirations."  I was gonna still be constrained with the doggy daycare drop off/pick up around my 9-5, but the evenings would be mine to do things I deemed worthy.  

I started into it from a weekend with some good rides stacked up, but something felt a little off with each effort.  Monday morning it was apparent that I was sick.  Not flu sick, not Covid sick, not RSV sick, not Ebola sick... just the sick that we used to randomly afflict us before March 2020.  You know, the kind that if you don't run yourself down too much, you might get over it in a week or so.

Work was stressful every fucking day.  I spent all that time Monday night getting the gravel bike ready for trainer duty, and ended up not getting on it one single time.  I wasted a small portion of my life making the Stickel into a geared bar bike, rode it, hated it, and it's now back to being a single speed.

I went from so wanting to Zwift my face off at least three times to leaving for my commute early so I could ride as slow as possible and keep my lungs happy (whilst breathing through a cloth neck tube).  Beers sorta to a minimum, sleep needs respected, random medicines from the cupboard ingested in a shotgun approach.

I was just feeling like I was on a roll a couple weeks ago with something close to "training," and... sigh.  Guess I'll start over.  Again.

The Pie came home on Friday, and we stayed up late and shared tales of our week apart... and then despite knowing better, I went to the Ales and Trails 6th Anniversary Party on Saturday

I'd "promised" to defend Sean and mines relay race title from '21.  As soon as we locked eyes at Brawley's Beverage, I told him I'd had a cold all week, so I'd be alright with stepping aside so he could seek glory with a proxy.

"I had a flu all week and was going to say the same."

So two sick, sad boys decided to join forces.  Sean managed to get us into a good enough position on his loop that I was guilted into trying, and once we again we barely took the win.

Head over to the Tech Loop for a time trial, and I'm still hacking up a lung from the previous effort.  I was thinking I'd just attempt to defend our relay title, and make that my only effort of the day... but I miss riding my bike in the woods, so...

I "try."

I absolutely love this stupid move on the Tech Loop, and had I not spent years and years riding it as it has degraded into the state that it sits in now, I don't know that I'd be all about trying it.  It's awkward and stupid and made out of garbage and falling apart... so it's an appropriate feature in this neck of the woods.

I did run up the stupid techy rocky loose shitty climb in front of an audibly disapproving audience, but being that I'd failed at my last forty or fifty attempts trying to get up it cleanly in the past (while sustaining more than one injury), I knew what to do.

I won regardless of trampling people's feels.

A very unfair image of my relay partner on the Tech Loop.  I'm sure he's sailed this thing AWOL style dozens of times, yet this is the only proof I can find of his existence near a bike from Saturday.

Ales and Trails has the best prizes...

Surprise, it's beer...

and more beer (further evidence of Sean's existence in the background with his winner's flu medicine).

After a few yummy Birdsong Higher Ground pints (my fave local brew), it was home, bubble water, bed... and back to waking up coughing because I did a dumb thing.

Sunday was the second saddest of the Sad Dad™ rides, the north greenway and beer at The Spoke Easy on the way home.

I'm solidly back in the world of random coughing.  So begins another week of wait-and-see before I can commence with the Zwifting of things.  I plan on eventually writing about that after I do more of that, because as of right now, everything I know could fit in my belly button and leave enough room for an elephant to run around in it.

Attempting to develop any routine during the holiday season should be illegal to discourage people from even trying.