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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


LIVESTRONG Day is May 13, 2008. That's two weeks away. I'm putting out the call: Please take the time to donate to your favorite cancer charity (or mine - wink, wink) with time or money. Cancer affects all of us, either directly or indirectly, and needs to be dealt with as a national priority.

These are the folks I rode for last year. The list keeps growing and it's time to end that trend.

A break in the weather

In an odd twist, our weeks have been rainy and the weekends have been reasonable. I rode three wet days to work since the last post and intended to get a couple good rides in last weekend.

Instead, I spent most of the day Saturday schlepping garbage to the dump from my aunt's house with my dad, grandpa, brother and brother's girlfriend. My sister and her fiance arrived in the afternoon to help finish the job. We got the outside of the house cleaned up but there is still a considerable amount of work inside the house. She has moved out already and I'm pretty sure the house will be torn down in the end. When I got home a little after four, I quick mowed the lawn in anticipation of rain that night.

Sunday was a moving day at my parents' house. My brother and I helped my dad and grandpa move a piano, washer and stove into storage. We got home in the afternoon and I spent some time troubleshooting the Klein. I think I've got some dry bearings in my bottom bracket as I cleaned and rebuilt the rear wheel and rear derailleur and tightened the headset and crankarms to kill a pop I'm getting about twice a revolution. I couldn't kill the pop and the bottom bracket is the only thing I didn't touch. It's a sealed cartridge bottom bracket so I'll probably have to just replace it.

Monday, the rain came in earnest and I was afraid the week would be lousy. I ended up with wet pants on the ride to school but by the end of the day, the sun was out. The wind was blowing mightily when I pushed up the hill and out of the neighborhood. I put in 26 miles and felt pretty good. The wind shifted all over the place and made things a bit interesting on the way back home but the route was pretty much traffic free. I'm feeling ready to put in some miles in the next few weeks and I'll need them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

L-A-Z-Y Weekend

Last week was a very long short week. I was out of work Monday and Tuesday with sick girls and spent the next three days trying to catch up at work. My students are so far behind getting work done and turned in to me, I spent all three days after school tutoring kids until late so no riding happened. I'm going to pull the ride out for work despite the rain coming on Tuesday. It's a little sad, but I need to get rolling and if it happens three and half miles a day, so be it.

We got snow this weekend at our house. Not much riding outside for the big wimp. I've got to have a special mental state to tackle the biting snow on the bike and I just don't have it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

40 Not-So-Great Miles and Fountains of Vomit

Last Saturday, I rode east through the valley farmlands toward the foothills. There is a small town with fine German heritage and a newly spruced up abbey sitting atop a small hill overlooking the town and the rest of the valley. Feeling good after Friday's ride, I decided I would ride all the way there, up to the top and back, about 40 miles.

I felt fine for a while and suffered a little on the short but steep climb up to the abbey. The weather was hot - 80 degrees - so I kept tanking water and grabbed some of the limited variety of ready-made pocket food I can eat with my allergies to keep fluid and energy levels up. I was riding into a little headwind for a few miles going home when it hit. The BONK.

I could not keep the pedals going. It wasn't long before I started cramping and I still had about 14 miles home. I feel a bit lame, but it was not fun. The good news was I felt fine the next day.

The bad news is the girls, all three of them ended up puking this weekend. I think my youngest brought it home Friday. Momma and oldest were hit Saturday night and I spent the next two days trying to mop up the aftermath and am still trying to catch back up with the work I missed Monday and Tuesday. There is truly nothing more disgusting than a child who's just tall enough to get some distance with no concept of the vomit reflex wandering around. Thank goodness for laminate flooring.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time to get going again...

I've been off.

I finally got to get outside and ride on the first really nice day since October. Now let me be absolutely clear: I love the crisp, clear winter day as much as anyone and I can get a fun ride in on those clear days, but 45 degrees makes for either a very short ride or very numb, well, everything. It hit 67 degrees and the sun was allowing all the high school spring sports to get a game in today so there was only one thing to do after a really long, really stressful week - pull down the Klein from it's winter hibernation and go crank out a few miles.

I've been very occasionally riding to work (3.4 miles daily) over the winter with only a sprinkling of real rides in the mix. I find I have a hard time committing to riding during the school year. Work becomes all consuming and I feel guilty taking off when I could be entertained by my girls. They're growing so fast it's hard to want to take off for another few hours when I'm already gone so much at work. I think I may have to change that if I'm going to be ready to ride at the end of June.

Today's ride was 25 miles winding out into the hop fields north of home with a stop at my friend and colleague's house on my way back home. The hop fields are dusted white and workers were stringing the lines for the hops to grow up. It should be a banner year for those growers with the worldwide hop shortage.

My friend, Jackie, just had a double mastectomy Tuesday morning. This is her second go fighting cancer. She looks great and was in good spirits and commented about the drains around her abdomen. We talked shop a bit and I relayed the exciting fight nobody got to see in my neighbor's classroom. She said she's been trying to be up and about and walked to the mailbox in her pajamas and slippers just because she felt up to it. She's got quite a road ahead but the doctors were feeling positive about the surgery. The test results and post-op are next week. Keep your fingers crossed and spare a thought or prayer for her.