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Tuesday, November 29

As the Dick Turns

I'm not contractually obligated to fill this hole, but I feel compelled to after some (blessed) time away.  Since I last posted, I've ridden every bike that I own, I've completed meaningless household chores, I've communed with my local extended cycling family, and I've done fulfilling trail work.  And I've ruined bike cycling as a sport for myself.

Images in the order blogger loaded them and also for funsies.

I'd almost consider myself on the lazy side of things, activity-wise these past two weeks.  I rode bikes, but not too much or not too hard.

I did some work on the Winter Shart Tarck course that was supposed to be done as well as a side project that I had personal interest in order to make great bike race more betterer.  All the work that I was a part of was more pleasant and rewarding than caulking my bathtub for the third time this year.

This small hump/bump/jump down into the gully will either provide the fruit of fun or not.  It remains to be seen.

When I said I rode all my bikes over the past couple weeks, only kinda.  I'm now a Zwifter.  Some might remember that I finagled my way into a smart trainer towards the end of winter '22, just in time to have very little interest in riding it and tossing it in the closet.  Now that I'm back to that time of year when it's dark when I wake up and even darker when I get home, I'm dabbling.  Pretty sure that I mentioned some time ago that I hardly get any exercise as a "bike messenger" anymore, and I also took on an additional role at work, so I'm left looking to get as much physical effort as I can pack into the small amount of time that I have before I go to bed...

I was spoiled back when I could rely on my job to keep me fit.  I mocked you Zwifters, but now I've been assimilated.  So, Zwift a couple/few times a week after work just to stay fit enough to do the things I do.

Of course, I'm still mired in three steps forward two steps back in the process (much better than Paula Abdul's love life in the late '80s).  Get my laptop to communicate with the trainer, and now my laptop is on the way out with a bad battery and a charging port that's limping along.  Mirror my phone with an Apple TV (that's too old to talk to the trainer itself), and have a wonky display ratio.  Everyone seems to be going about 45MPH while I'm going 13MPH, and I can't "interact" with my environment because I can't reach any of my devices.  I didn't realize that when you first start, it begins with a five mile ride to get familiar and read helpful hints... and I already took my shower for the night... and the caulk wasn't cured yet... so I went to bed stinky.

All this because what I really want is an interval type workout that distracts me from the pain of doing an interval type workout... without me having to really pay attention to doing intervals.

Being that the other option would be to bundle up, charge my lights, and go climb the one .o6 mile steep hill that's "near" my house over and over and over again... I'm committed to making this work...

until such time that the days are longer and my clothing and light needs lessen.  I've been a year 'round outdoor rider since I commuted to Youngstown State back in the late '80 (back when a Paula Abdul reference wouldn't be lost on most people), so talk all the shit you want.  I'm old, calloused, and immune, so...
I ride my real bike on weekends when the sun is out doing its thing.

The last stumbling block to getting on the trainer was my lack of desire to bolt my Epic Evo down to a hunk of machinery.  I needed to use a geared bike, but it hurt my feelings, so I made mental checklists while at work of all the pieces/parts I would need to get which bike on the trainer and how much I'd miss the functionality of each possible bike in my "quiver" and what would be my cheapest option if money has to be spent.  I woulda been willing to throw down on someone's clapped-out roadie, but the marketplace was not being frandly.  In the end, I membered that I had the cable actuated gears from the stock build of my Epic EVO, and somewhere in my pieces/parts collection was a random PMW geared slider from my three month experiment with Shimano 11 speed.  Whilst digging around, I found this:

Which made my head hurt because not only why do I have this complete XTR lever but also why didn't I know I had it the last time I broke a blade and needed to order a replacement?

In the end, it only took a $35 chain to finish the puzzle, so figure 3-4 months at $15 per month and just add a piece of my soul to the cost... so under a Benjamin.  I did have to take the 38 tooth chainring off and replace it with a 4 bolt narrow/wide 34 tooth that I had (where did it come from?) as the chain came off just pedaling along.

Not all Winter Shart Tarck work is playing in dirt.  I stuck around until Neal and Mike said all that could be done was done, including this giant berm that wasn't really a berm but totally will be.

Did I even mention that I did officially sign up for the series already?  No?

Well I did because nothing is gonna convince me to throw a leg over that stupid smart trainer more than the impending doom that is five weeks worth of intense suffering.

Speaking of intense suffering, I also did cyclo-rossing this past weekend.

Did I do it right?

Wednesday, November 16

Creating problems to solve

I like tidy cable routing.  Aesthetically pleasing black lines curving gracefully in a beautiful, almost static dance of harmony.  I've not achieved perfection in some time.  I take some of the blame, but j'accuse component and frame manufacturers for some of my issues.

I know Specialized likes their three input/one hole clean routing on the non-drive side of the Epic EVO, but a drooper should be rooted to the drive side, not only for aesthetic purposes, but also because of friction.  Obvs, IMHOMO. 

My three (now two) noodles never looked that good.

Shite cable rooting makes for equally shite number plate mounting.  Adding to the problem are the occasional monstrous number plates like the one at Shenandoah Mountain 100.

CHEW MAIL POUCH TOBACCO, anyone?

I went all Freddy Krueger on it trying to get it to work with all the impediments, and the gawdam thing still ended up behind the housing/line and rubbed against my head pipe for one hundred miles.  My current number plate holder just couldn't get the flippy laminated boy far enough away from the bars.

Time to rethink my current setup.

Ignore the Wahoo on the top pipe.  If you know, you know.  I'm aware that yinz all out there using zip ties and removing pieces parts of plates to accommodate the impediments, but... sigh.  You do you.

I've been searching for a better solution for awhile, and mebbe I have it.  Mebbe not.

What I'm replacing:

Two reflector brackets, nylon nuts and bolts, AND a Wahoo Elemnt mount... 54 grams.

What I'm replacing it with:

29 grams more or approximately six sheets of copier paper.

Yeth, this means going back to zip ties to hold it onto what is essentially a minibar.

But mebbe I won't have to chop the plate anymore.  I didn't bother digging around for a way older non-chopped plate to find out.

And I still have this added bonus:

Noted:  I used untidy twist ties because I didn't wanna waste two zip ties for blerhg display purposes.

I grab my bars at the stem when it's time to get roadie-drooped for full aero buenos.  Kinda hard to do that with the plate zip tied directly to the bars.  All that and I've been known to strap extra goods to my mount behind the number plate when doing events with gear requirements (PMBAR) or when I feel like an extra tube or something might be in order.

One more added benefit is that I can throw this on any bike and have a more stable place to strap on my puffy or other bulky layers if I'm headed out for a... the kinda something stupid that I do.

And before anyone says it, yeth, I considered just using one bracket.

but...

I worry that if I wrecked that the leverage on the unsupported side might bust my shit, so no.  Not doing that.

So that's how I wasted some of the valuable time I have left on this planet.

Reading about it is how you wasted yours.

Thursday, November 10

Run Runaway

I went to NYC to watch The Pie run in the NYC Marathon.  It was a pretty big bucket-lister for her, and I wanted to tag along and be a good husband (wonder if that commenter from years ago that said there was too much bike stuff and not even family-related material on here still reads).

We took the Amtrak up to the Big Apple.  I highly recommend it and also don't.  Depends on what you want in life.  Now that I've done it, I don't know if I'd do it again... at least all the way to NYC... but I won't be going back to NYC anytime soon, so whatever.

I didn't bring a bike. It woulda been cheap (free?), but it wasn't worth it to me.  The spectating portion of the day can get super crowded, I membered from my trip up there two decades ago with Bill that you just can't lock up to "any old thing," the hotel rooms are smöl, and I was there for The Pie, not me.  I've not had five days in a row off the bike since I lived in Ohio back before '96, so this was just gonna be a new'ish experience for me.

And I didn't wanna rent-a-turd either.  I'd have plenty of time to walk all over the place, and you can see a lot more when you're not swiveling your head around the whole time looking for e-bikes, scooters, peds, cops, one wheels, taxis, Ubers... you get it.  All in all, I probably put about 35-40 miles on my Bedrock Action Sandals™, and my feet certainly smelled like it on the twelve hour train ride home.

I swear that every tenth person I saw would have qualified to be the most interesting person I would see in any given week in uptown Charlotte.  Fashion is strange.  Puffy coats when it's 70° outside is also... something.  I think street hot dog vendors cook their meat tubes over burning garbage.  Class three e-bikes are scary, and why do the food delivery guys already have Pogies on their bars?  Staying in a hundred year old hotel might mean that your AC shuts down every three to eight hours and you might get stuck between floors on an elevator and need an extraction.  If' you're gonna leave your hotel to spectate all over the city for seven hours, you might wanna think about where you're gonna relieve yourself.  Seeing a TV show like Last Week Tonight be tape was an experience, but it is also seeing the sausage made.

Here's more, with pictures in no particular (but kinda sorta) order.

Grinduro number plate on a typical NYC bike.  Dunno what the story is.  Don't know what was more fun to watch, the foodies on their e-bikes making their own laws or the Freds fredding it up in Central Park.

Pie and I went on a very long walk along the Hudson after we picked up her race stuff.  Fifteen miles round trip to the Trade Center Memorial.  We saw things that we weren't looking for, and also drank beer when we saw it.

I much preferred walking along the river than through the city, what with its hyper-competitive crosswalking games.

We found the smelliest bathroom in the city, possible the world.  I grew up working on farms, and I think it was worse than squeegeeing calf shit off the barn floor.  Definitely one of those "do I breathe outta my nose or mouth or just die?"

Random wiener artwork we found when we got lost in some building.

On the way up to the rooftop bar where that famous guy who recently got in trouble for some DM'in shot a music video.

No one has ever taken this photo.  No one.

We got trapped in an elevator between floors on the way back down.  Only my second time ever getting stuck on one in all these years of going up and down in boxes.  

But the first time I got yoinked out.  Later, Pie told me the story of the guy who got cut in half doing this.  I'm glad she waited.

I ended up going on a pretty long walk by myself whilst The Pie napped.  She'd gotten some shit sleep as our AC would go out intermittently.  Those are horse butts.  I saw so many things that caught my eye, but I took a picture of butts.

I witnessed all kinds of typical NYC stuff in Central Park and then wandered around Manhattan... and found my way to the Last Week Tonight studio because we just found out we had tickets after being elevator trapped.  I'm a planner, so I pre-walked our route.

I wondered if I'd see anything dope, and staring up at the buildings, I thought "I wonder if I'm near the apartment from Ghostbusters."  I was.  I went.  It wasn't as big as I thought it would be.  It felt the same about me.


Inside the studio later... and it was just as I imagined it.  Probably better on TV, aside from the warmup Q&A.  No giant props or people in squirrel costumes... dammit.

Woke up the next morning, and The Pie was already on the move.  She was on a Lyft at 7:00AM, headed to the Staten Island Ferry to then get on a bus to the start line... and she barely got there in time for her 11:30AM start.  I started watching the race at 8:30AM, so I would know when to head out the door to see the bigs finish.

Checking in on the live-Tweeting of the race, and the leading male runner who'd been out front for miles and miles dove into a port-a-potty around mile twenty.  Abnormal? Yeth.  Minutes later, he collapsed.  Hottest NYC Marathon ever.  IT'S NOVEMBER IN NEW YORK AND I WORE ACTION SANDALS EVERYWHERE.

I wandered all over after seeing the top women and men finish.  I was on a quest for a couple good locations to Pie spot and also find a place to take a leak.  FYI: public restrooms go unisex if one or the other goes down... in a very organic manner. 

Yeth, The Pie did cry when she saw me.  This race really means/meant something to her, and I'm envious that she still has these things in her life.

Go find beer...

Sit down in Central Park, google to see if it's legal to drink in the park... and no?  Legal to smoke weeds but not drink beer.  Noted.

I was really only buying the beer for her tho.

Mile 24, and yeth, it's dark.  11:30 start and stupid time change be damned.

We had a quiet evening after the race, aside from The Pie coughing and having to call the front desk for literally the tenth time about the AC at 1:00AM.  Woke up and walked back to Penn Station and choo-chooed our way home arriving in Charlotte at 3:00AM... and happily finding our car in the parking lot, and still having a catalytic converter attached to it.

I'm stoked for The Pie and delighted that I was able to take part.  It was gawdamn special to be there for her.

Wednesday, November 2

Small Old Man Yells at The Cloud

The gears are back on the Epic EVO, first time since June 18th... except now it's electric.

I didn't bother trying to use all the "features" that the SRAM AXS app offers on my first ride, because as an "old," I was just trying to grasp how uncomplicated this really is... and the fact that trying to get the stock bleep blooper button in a comfortable position is nigh impossible.

I fiddled and farted around with setting up the shifty bits to talk to the cybers and went out to ride at the misty USNWC with Dr Mike for a short rip on Sunday.  This is what the machines tell me:

190 shifts (most of them on purpose) to learn what I don't think I want to know.

The gear I used the most is also the one gear I'd ride normally at the USNWC (except when I'm too lazy to take off the 19 or 20 that was already on there from a previous ride... which is often).  I shifted down to the 21, probably in search of my missing 19 or 20, and I guess I went up to the 16 or 14 when I thought I could go "faster."  That said, the only PRs on STRAVA were a flat'ish road/double track on Rail and the afterthought trail known as Field Trip, which for the first time ever, wasn't a loose-over-hard flat corner shit show.

Dr Mike and I weren't really getting after it, but still...

Obvs, the USNWC is not Pisgah or any place of great consequence... the kinds of places I had in mind when I sank all this money into a plastic bike with a bunch of moving pieces.  I won't get the chance to ride it this weekend (bike-free for days and days), and the next weekend, I'll be recovering from The Spoke Easy's 11th anniversary party on 11/11/22.

So Pisgah mebbe that Sunday but definitely not Saturday.

I'm only giving myself the "luxury" of gears for four or five months before I swap this bike back over to single speed, so I don't fall into the trap of laziness and stupid.  If any of the data ever presents some kinda different result, mebbe I'll share with the class at a later date.

Or not.

I also really, really, really miss riding my Vassago Meatplow V.9 a whole bunch.  It's soooooo choice, it's gonna steal a bit of thunder from the geared expereince.

Also, this thing:

Winter Shart Tarck.  Dunno if I'm doing it or not... dunno if I'd do it geared 50+ (I have gears now, weird) or single speed or 50+ on a single speed or... dunno how much work we're going to be able to do to the course to replace some of that pavement with dirt and add poorly built (by me) or well built (by someone else) jumps and features.  If there's a work day on a weekend, I'll be there with a shovel and some impractical shoes to help.

Thursday, October 27

Whats I appreciates about you

I promised more, so here's more.

Firstly, Stephen and I discussed tire pressure whilst sipping our post-race bevies.  He said his tires felt kinda hard in the latter part of the day... and I membered that I checked mine that morning when it was 27° outside.  How much could the "heat of the day" increase our tire pressures over six or so hours and a 40° swing?

Stephen went back to his truck and grabbed his gauge.  He started at 24 & 22 PSI and ended with 30 & 28 PSI.  Me? I started my 17.5 & 22 PSI and ended with 21 &... 14PSI?

Huh.  I thought things felt a little Squirrely Dan back there coming down Black Mountain.

And for what it's worth, I found a little wet spot on the tire and once again, I'm so glad that I stick with TruckerCo Cream II.  It has saved my ass so many times now and not done the sad "pffffffft, pfffffft, pfffffft spray paint your bike with sticky goo" thing.  I'm anxious to take a look inside the tire and see the clot, but not so anxious that I'm gonna get around to it any time soon.  While I did take the time to replace the broken crabon lever (because my head can't handle having a broken bike on the wall), I'm not riding this bike in the near future. 

This is the second crabon lever I've had to replace on these brakes, and if you only do it every five or so years, orientating the springs and wiggling that axle pivot do-dad into place can be a two beer repair... to include multiple walks away from the bench to gather myself, time spent crawling on the floor with a flashlight looking for the spring I dropped, and a panic-riddled moment or two trying to get the spring back into the lever.

The AXS bleep bloop shifting is on the Epic EVO now, and it's time to take a break after four straight months of nothing but single speeding.  I'm calling it a "vacation" from now until sometime in March when it will be time to get stupid once again.

Obvs, I'll be stupid sometime in the interim.  It's what I do.

I set a bunch of PRs (on climbs and descents) at the Pisgah 55.5 "k" over last year's performance on the Vassago Meatplow V.9, but I'm sure a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was still getting over my two injuries and a case of the shakes way back in 2021.  That said, I was only fifty five seconds faster than last year (one second for each theoretical "k")... so whatever that all means... other than proving the pure and simple futility of staring at data and having no idea what to do with it.  

Fifty five seconds?  You gotta be shitting me...

Or was I checking to see if I bought five entries into the G5 Trail Collective raffle or fifty?

I don't member.

Happy to have the "season" behind me.  Stoked thinking about the next.

Wednesday, October 26

Pisgah 55.5 "k": 2022

Twenty-seven degrees at the start.  I honestly do everything I can to avoid riding in below freezing temps.  Now I'm standing here in a vest, sleeveless jersey, arm/knee warmers, wool socks, and nitrile gloves under my HandUps.  I take some relief from the the fact that the race starts with a five mile singletrack climb and that I've opted for the bike with crabon brake levers and not aluminum.  I swear metal levers conduct way more heat out of my stopper fingers, to the point that they feel like someone is hitting them repeatedly with a hammer.

Line up towards the front, because single speeding for an hour up Black Mountain is what it is.  I try to keep count how many riders get in front of me, but I do a shitty job.  At least I did notice that none of them were on stupid bikes with one gear.  I feel like I'm in my happy place, and my body must have gained some decent transferable flatlander fitness these past few weeks.

Get to Turkey Pen and things get interesting.  Not many people ride this challenging piece of Pisgah because it's a huge commitment and somehow mostly uphill both ways (this must be the route my parents walked to school in the winter).  Black Mountain had clear, beautiful lines, but Turkey Pen was deep with leaves and forest detritus.  Without being able to see the obstacles, I feel less than comfortable on my bike with not quite modern geometry and a 100mm fork.  

Towards the end of the trail, I hear "GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY!" (we frands)

Dammit.  Nick Bragg, who's doing the 111 route, needs to get by and go be an athlete.  I step off... and into the path of second place who was on his wheel.  Sorry not sorry, but I only respond to profanity-laden demands to yield.

Out to Aid Station One, top off my one bottle because there's only two very far apart aids this year due to road closures.  Shove a 1/4 PB&J in my face, and down the gravel to Bradley Creek.

Bradley just isn't a trail most people ride.  It doesn't connect much of anything in a fun way, it has multiple creek crossings, and it usually has mud bogs and downed trees across it.  Oh, and it's normally overgrown.  I fumble fart my way along, second guessing my skills at every semi-technical challenge.  There's been a negative voice in my head that started back on one of the hike-a-bikes on Turkey Pen, and it's still mumbling away.  

"We don't have to do this anymore.  This could be our last race ever. Shut down the blog.  Stop trying to renew sponsors.  Throw the Wahoo data acquisition device in the trash.  Why did we think it was a good idea to squeeze in four events on three consecutive weekends?  We're old. Stop.  For the love of dog, stop."

Bradley Creek is not the place for such thoughts.  There's no easy way home... and no way that's not much easier than just finishing.  That said...

I come up on a little wet grunt up some roots, go ass over tea kettle, say a few choice words, hop back on my bike, come up to a little ditch descent, grab some brake to slow down...

And find that I don't have a rear brake lever where there normally is one.

*sigh*

Member me being happy about having a bike with crabon levers not metal?  

I member.

If I needed a reason to quit, I have one now.  I'll still have to negotiate the infamous Pilot Rock descent as well as entire rip from the top of Upper Middle Black Mountain (or is it Middle Upper?) with only a nubbin of lever to pull back on when things get sketchballs.  I'll have a few chances to practice my form on Laurel Mountain, and if it sucks all the balls, I'll just hike down Pilot and take theWheelchair Ramp past Black Mountain for a quit.

Laurel is a good test.  I'm learning things as I go along.  I never realized how much I orientate off my cockpit when mounting/dismounting my bike.  I dial out my lever nubbin to get the brake to engage sooner'ish.  I also have to move my right hand more towards the stem by about two or three fingers to be able to reach my nubbin... whilst smashing my thumb into the upside down Spurcycle bell.

The good news being that I don't think I'll die. The bad news being that it's gonna hurt, it's gonna be scary, and with my right hand being more inboard than my left, it feels like my cockpit is crooked.

Up the $250 hike-a-bike, up the $275 hike-a-bike, finally at the $1,000 hike-a-bike... and then the $750 hike-a-bike to Pilot Rock that might not be as bad as the $1,000 one, but it certainly does tend to bankrupt a lot of people.

Going down Pilot Rock on my old school geometry bike with 1.25 functioning brakes was... something.  Last year at the 55.5"k," I was on the Radimus with 140mm of travel and a tire insert.  This time, the better part of valor was certainly discretion.  I make smart decisions where I can, and strangely somehow went faster than last year.  Might have been my inability to slow the bike down.  Who knows?

Safely at the Wheelchair Ramp and I pull up my best Dale Dye inspiration.

I glance down occasionally at my heart rate and make sure I'm close to pegged.  Suck back a few gels and pour out the stupid amount of liquid I just picked up at the final aid station.  I see a rider ahead and put my head down, make a pass like I could go a hundred miles an hour all the way to the finish in an attempt to demoralize him.  Unfortunately, I think I just woke him up, and he sticks my wheel all the way to the hike-a-bike up Black Mountain, and then he comes around me as soon as he can pedal.  I keep him in sight on the final pushes up the Hobbit-looking steeps, but I know I gotta keep things in check on the way down since my emergency brake is busted.  Almost lose it in a turn Panama style a coupla times with a little to much front brake, but survive to...

roll across the line two minutes back from him... but 1st single speed... 

and 4th (DAMMIT AGAIN?) overall.

More about other things tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25

Pisgah 55.5 "k": Pre-dumble 2022

Where did all these people come from?  I used to be able to get in the Honda Fit of Rage at 3:00PM on a Friday and just scoot over to Pisgah in just a little bit more time than if I was leaving the Queen City at 8:00AM on a Sunday. Now, it's just people... in vehicles... going... somewhere.  Google Maps just dropping red lines in front of me saying "no buenos." 

Get through what is normally the worst of it, and my Googler is telling me to get off at exit such-and-such?  Huh?  Why get off the highway... and then I see a cop car parked facing traffic on the inside breakdown lane... and then three NCDOT trucks blocking the road ahead...

Ahhh... poop.

Get off and the officer at the top of the ramp points left but Google says right and so I follow my (obvs) fellow Googlers and head off into the unknown.  Looks like we're just gonna juke north a bit, and then back south and  west to the interstate.  Almost within sight of the highway, I see the signs of my journey's slow demise.

People are already getting out to look up the road and see WTF is going on.  I give it less than three minutes of my time before doing a shallow ditch U-turn, and back into the countryside where there's no phone signal and time for some of my best guesswork... which doesn't always pan out in this part of NC.  I feel my way towards the highway, end up in some tiny town where I probably woulda been had I followed the officer's directions, and I'm back on track.  Sorta.

Get to Brevard and all I have is Taco Bell on the brain.  Not the best pre-race food, but it's right at the entrance to the forest, and I can scarf down a couple sub-par, semi-meat burritos while I make my tomorrow coffee and set up my cot.

Except Taco Bell is closed for renovations.  Second poop.  I only have two tiny pies in my car... which were gonna be my breakfast.

So... park the Fit of Rage, start boiling my water, shove a pie in my face, assemble the cot in my car... which I almost always forget how the car seat orientation has to be in order to set the cot up relatively level... register and get my number plate and go to get all my race shit in order...

Poop number three.

I'd been getting my Epic EVO SS all ready to do this race and decided last minute to stick with the Vertigo Meatplow V.7 because I'd spent so much time on it these past few weeks and other stupid reasons.  I forgot to move the Wahoo mount back to the Vertigo... and I'd taken the time to look at my STRAVA from last year and wrote down expected times to reach certain locations so I could kinda have what some call "goals"... dammit.

Get creative and mount it on my top pipe where I can only see it on gravel roads (which are few) and hike-a-bikes (which are many).

Backcountry Research Super 8 strap once again showing its versatility... although I was planning on stashing arm/knee warmers here.  Meh.

Now... back over to the registration tent because Eric "PMBAR" Honcho promised me that he'd tap the keg Friday if I came.

I can't help but think his nefarious choice for lighting is totally on purpose.

I kept myself limited in terms of consumption, although this was turning into my "dinner." I didn't wanna have to crawl out of the Fit of Rage to pee at 4:00AM.

I turned in relatively early, already wearing my chamois and base layer to save myself the pain of putting cold things on my nether regions in the morning.  I grabbed my chamois cream and crammed it down in my front pocket.  My feet had gotten so cold hanging out in the parking lot that I shoved them into the sleeves of my puffy coat inside my zero degree bag.  Eventually, the throbbing went away, and I "enjoyed" a night of sleep with interrupted moments of covering/uncovering my head part.

6:30AM alarm.  Wake up, grab my thermos and mug, open the rear passenger door to get at my cooler with the creamer... the lid is covered in ice.  Go to pour my creamer into my first cup of coffee (which isn't steaming like I knew it should be)... and the creamer is frozen in the container.  Open my remaining tiny pie... and it's as hard as a rock.  It was "supposed" to only get down into the mid-30s last night, but obviously that's not how things panned out.

I decide to be "that guy."

I've never been one to sit in my idling car to keep warm before a race, but I'm also not one to want to sleep in a car when the temps are in the mid-20s.  I grabbed all my race attire... which was selected at home for a mid-30s start and not a mid-20s start, shoved it down in the bag, pulled up Hulu on my phone, and watched Solar Opposites whilst sipping my lukewarm Joe.

And I did not feel bad about this at all.

I stayed in my car until just about the last minute, put on all the things I could think might keep me warm enough to not die, and headed over to the start in time for the rider's meeting.