Tuesday, January 23

Winter Shart Tarck '24: Race One Predumble

When you go two weeks between blerhg posts, a lot happens.  Nothing exciting, so lots of no excite but lots of happens.

I got sick a few Fridays ago.  Just a cold, which was odd because I forgot what a cold really is.  The last few years, it's been Covid or that thing which tried to kill me last May and kept me from going to the Transylvania Epic for what might have been my last time.  Anyways, respecting illness and prioritzing getting healthy is something I'm trying to do now, but I was still out there commuting, working, and running in the cold, irritating my lungs, and then sleeping some nights on the couch to keep from waking The Pie from her slumber with my coughing. 

Running.  My odd replacement to last year's Zwifting in order to kill time until The Pie gets off work and also to stay fit during the dark times.  I didn't realize just how much I Zwifted last year until I went back and looked (thirty times from Dec-Feb).  I must have been either really bored or super motivated.  My indoor workouts had no rhyme or reason other than filling the time available, but I used it way more than I thought I did.  Seems like decades ago, but that's how time works for us olds.

I had another weekend before Shart Tarck started up with nothing better to do, so I made some major'ish changes to my bike setup, and headed down for even more laps of the thing I'll be riding the next five weeks (meh).  The modifications were all actually quite bueno, and I went home and made one more alteration that I'd never have time to test before the first race but whatever.  It's just a stupid bike cycle and a silly bunch of bike cycle sporting.

That same weekend, I had to make some adjustments to my backyard water management that was proven glaringly ineffective by these last two big rains.  The work involved moving some 200lb railroad ties all by myself.  I now have a better understanding of cross fit, as that is the most muscle sore I've been in years.  My arms were limp noodles the next day and even worse two days later.  Enough so that the act of pushing doors open at work required a new approach.

When I woke up this past Saturday morning, my arms were mostly recovered noodles, and it was butt-pucker cold outside.  Enough so that I didn't wanna suck frigid, dry air into my lungs while running and start the sleep-coughing all over again.  Sigh.  I gave in.  Kinda.

Wait.  It's not what you think.  I didn't re-up my Zwift account.  This is MyWhoosh, which is totally free (aside from giving my personal information to the United Arab Emirates).  I couldn't get it to work on either of my laptops because they weren't capable enough, but I ended up with one of those tiny box computers after my mom clicked fishing emails four separate times giving up her credit card information, which became a hot mess for a non-I.T. type person like me to sort out... that's a long story.

So since it's a free app, the weather was cold, and I was time crunched with other shit to do on a Saturday (to include talking about advanced healthcare directives with my mom*, which really puts the futility of existence right in the crosshairs of all-consuming thought), I downloaded it and fired it up.

All I can say is this:

Putting this all together was no small feat.  I'd given my mom my good monitor (once again, related to her getting fished somehow), so I had to use my old TV (which meant I had to watch Con Air on a laptop), my old mouse (which is Bluetooth) and keyboard (which links to the computer using some dinosaur tech) were in the attic (with no batteries), and I had to dig into the bag of random cables being careful not to accidently lose my money clip in there (again).

I can't speak to the quality of the graphics, as I was warned the computer may not be up to the challenge.  It sucked, but I don't really watch the cartoon people for the most part.

It did what I want, which is randomly change up the resistance when I'm going up such-and-such imaginary climb, thus forcing me to work harder, as opposed to me choosing to do structured things.

It did totally crash to a black screen forty-six minutes in after buffering multiple times (I was so close to finishing the Ardennes).  I started it back up for ten more minutes of riding, but back from the start, so I probably rode for an hour.  Who knows, because when I was done, I binned both rides.

And of note, an hour into Con Air, you're only really getting to the good parts.

I got off the trainer with just enough time to go into scramble mode, take a shower, get dressed in my finest woodsman clothes, and ride over to join in on some trail work at the Backyard Trails with my semi-noodle arms.

We opened up an new trail corridor which will have a skinny that's at the Dicky Approved Height™.

After that, another shower, mom's place, back home to get some of my shit together for tomorrow's below freezing Winter Shart Tarck.  Problem being, I got distracted by two things that really didn't matter while I was supposed to be preparing.  One was so insignificant that I don't even remember what it was.  The other was being overly obsessed with making room on my pegboard for my $3.74 derailleur hanger alignment tool.  It (along with the other insignificant two tools I purchased)  had been sitting on my bench after I assembled it a few days ago, and I couldn't stand looking at it just lying there anymore.  I try to keep my bench organized just enough that I don't stand there for ten minutes looking for some tool I only touch every two years, so somehow at this moment when I need to be sticking all the cold weather gear options in my messenger bag, I was sweating over things like if I move my spare quick links over closer to the single speed cogs, will I ever find them again?

Where's Waldo?

And on Sunday, on the Tarck we did Shart.

*She's fine.  It was just an important conversation we should all have with loved ones, old and not so old.

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