Friday, May 19, 2006

Friggin' Idiots

So yesterday I headed out for an hour long ride. Nothing remarkable, just easy for an hour. Remember, I picked my bike up on Wednesday after having it in for a drivetrain cleaning and some derailleur work - the derailleur is the mechanism on the bike that shifts gears, so you have a front derailleur to move through the crank gears, and a rear derailleur to move through the gears on the rear wheel.

First, just getting on the bike is never quick and easy. Between the water bottle(s), and the shoes, and the gloves, and helmet and glasses, and nevermind the cycling shorts and jersey, etc. - it's not like running out the door for a run. It takes a bit of thought and organization. Which just adds to the hassle factor if things don't go smoothly.

So anyway, I get out there, and my damn bike isn't working. When it's in the large chain ring, the chain is rubbing against the derailleur. And it won't shift at all into the small chain ring. So not 100 yards down the road I'm back to the car. I didn't have the tools with me to fix it, and there's a principle to the thing anyway that led me right back to the bike shop. I was really, really pissed.

The bike is like a car. You can't take it into the garage to get a simple oil change or a major engine overhaul and not leave there 1000% sure that it'll work perfectly underneath you, that it'll get you down the road flawlessly, and most importantly that it'll keep you safe. I have enough to worry about trying to become Ironman without wondering if my bike is going to work when it leaves the shop. Anyway. I tore into those guys and told them (among other things) - I don't know how else it goes around here, but when you see this blue bike come through those doors, I want it triple checked before it leaves.

Morons. Maybe I'll have to find a new bike shop. Because I have time for that. Sigh.

Anyway. Tomorrow the Minnesota Triathlon Club is apparently hosting a supported ride on the Half Ironman course I'm racing in a few weeks. It's a 27 mile loop that the race will ride twice, but tomorrow people can just ride it however long. So I have some things to organize, but it would certainly be a perfect way to spend my 5 hour ride tomorrow. And get this - tomorrow morning's forecast? Sunshine. No wait: Winds under 10mph. I'll believe it when I see it.

Meanwhile, the 16 week marker until race day has quietly passed. Consider that the last 3 weeks are spent tapering, and I'm essentially in my final 3 months of training. But those are also the most intense months - really until this point I've been "training to train". Now I start "training to race". There are beginning to be small indicators here and there - mostly intangibles - that suggest this is real; this is actually going to happen, it's not just a rumor I've been talking about for some 2 years. And you know what? I might just be getting in shape to do this thing right. I've mentally shifted, without intention, to goals that surpass just finishing within 17 hours (though of course that's always goal number 1, for any of us). I'm starting to believe that I might just be able to pull this thing off. Pretty cool.


Todd said...

Wow dude, sorry to hear about the bike. I can relate being I'm a very routined/regimented person and when you plan on doing something and some yahoo screws up said plans, talk about frustrating. As my old hockey coach used to say, "you need to fight through the adversity."

Alright buddy, time to get serious...train to race my friend. I have all the confidence in the world that you will rock the house come September and I can't wait to cheer you on my friend.

My training is going phenomenally well! These past two weeks have been great. June 4th will be a good tune up and then I'm planning on carrying the momentum through June to July 15th...D-day! Have a good weekend bud!

Michael Anderson said...

Ack! Is Ol' Blue going to be OK? Bastards! Hope you kicked them in their own derailleurs.

I'd be cool if you could just do all the work on Ol' Blue yourself. Maybe you'll get to that point soon; it wouldn't surprise me.

An exciting change of focus in your training. Congratulations on getting to this point! God bless.

Todd! Glad to hear training is going so well! Nice work!! Race day is getting closer, huh? Good luck and keep it up!

xt4 said...

Yeah - the bike is precarious like that. The rest of the race, I have only myself to be accountable for and to. But on the bike, there's this whole machine to think about. Excrutiating when it gets beyond your control like that.

I agree Mike. I need a huge garage/shop to stable Ol' Blue. Then I can tweak and fix and build and stuff to my heart's content. And I need to keep learning more.

Awesome that your training is going great Todd - keep it up. Your first race is nearly here - crazy!

Thanks for the well wishes guys - starting to get serious around here!