Monday, January 26, 2015

Carroll County

Last Saturday night the frere invited me out to his neck of the woods for a ride with himself and our good friend Howie. It's actually been a while since John and I rode together, and it's been even longer since I've seen Howie, so yeah, it sounded like a great idea.

I'd done about 40 earlier that day and, surprisingly, felt pretty good. It seemed like this terrible weather we've been having hadn't taken too much out of me. I was eager to see if it was all in my head though. You know, when you ride by yourself, you always seem fast.

Sunday morning, I got up, grabbed some breakfast at the Shell station and made my way to Douglasville. As it turned out, we had to wait a minute or two for my brother's dryer to cooperate, but before long we were ready to spin over to Howie's place.

Or so we thought.

It was at that point that I made The Discovery.

The Discovery:


Noooooo! My phone decided to focus on the seat tube, but the rim is where the action is. In particular, the crack in the rim is where the action is. Noooooo!

For the past few rides, my brakes had been pulsing a little, but when I looked at the rim, it looked normal. I didn't look at it after Saturday's ride though. Maybe I should have.

Actually it wasn't a problem though. Howie had a spare wheel and I was able to swap cassettes and use it. I had to swap cassettes because I'm still running some old stone age 9-speed. Yes. That's right. 9-speed. I like to get every last mile out of my equipment. That includes ancient components, and apparently, cracked rims.

After a quick bit of street hooking we were on our way.

John Howie

Howie had some 50-ish mile route that wound its way all around Carroll County. The roads were super, super quiet. We got passed once on the road that Howie lives on, and then that was it, for hours. In fact, we might have been passed twice all day.

The route was great. I felt good.

There were tons of dirt roads out that way too. I'll have to get back out there and see where they all go. We even managed to ride one of them for a few miles.

S. Old New York Trail

I think it was called South Old New York Trail.

Heh. "Old New York" is funny to me.

Somewhere out there it was chicken country. Chicken farms everywhere. This one guy had a giant statue of a rooster out front of his place.


No innuendo intended there, I'm sure. Heh, heh.

I began to struggle at about mile 35 and then cratered completely not long after.

Ehh, maybe not totally crater. I was fine as long as we weren't climbing very hard, but I just didn't have it when we were. I'd recover right away as soon as it leveled out a bit though. I don't know. It was weird. Maybe I was just still a little worn from the day before.

All right, so now I need to fix my road bike. Kind-of hard to do when you're broke but I'm sure something will work out.

I've been wishing for better weather for a while. Seems a little less important now though.

This whole situation reminds of when I first got a job in high school. I wanted a job so I could make the money to pay for the direct costs of skateboarding, like new boards and bearings and such, and so I could pay for gas and insurance, so I could drive to awesome places to skate. But the work I had to do to make enough money to be able to pay for everything consumed most of the time I had available to skate and eventually I lost fitness and skills to the point that there was little value in being able to skate those awesome places.

I seem to be in that boat these days. Can't afford to play without putting in so much work that it obviates the play. Way back, I climbed the ladder, made more money, eventually got a better job with more pay and better hours. It worked out. I'd sure like for it to work out that way again.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Arctic Blast

Man, this was over a week ago... Busy, busy, busy.

"Hey dad, what degrees is it outside?"

Sophie asks that in the morning sometimes. Those words. "What degrees is it?" She and Iz have put it that way since they were really little actually.

"Hmm... (checks weather app on phone) Ten."


It was ten degrees outside. In Atlanta. That's unusual.

It was that Arctic Blast, in full Arctic Blast mode. It had been in the 30's and 20's the day before. Ten seemed like about the coldest it was likely to get though, and sitting around the breakfast table I had an idea.

"I should go ride my bike in this. That way I can have ridden my bike when it's ten degrees."

Sophie thought that was a ridiculous reason. Kathryn was ambivalent. I've skied when it was 1. I've hiked and ridden the mountain bike in the teens, plenty of times. But I've never gone out on the road bike when it was ten. You know how sometimes an idea will wake you up? It was like that. I was wide awake. It had to be done.

I had plenty of gear: fleece running tights, standard bib, thermal base layer, cross jersey, wind shell, thermal gloves, shoe covers, balaclava... I was actually quite comfortable riding through the neighborhood, although it did help that I had to climb three hills to get to the main road.

Yeah, I was feeling pretty good about the ride so far.

On the Bike

The Comet was all but vacant. I passed like 1 jogger at some point, much more bundled up than I.

Vacant Comet

I was still pretty bundled though, head to toe. The gear was comfortable and familiar, except for the balaclava. I think I've only had one other opportunity to wear it, and it was a little awkward.


Is it supposed to cover your mouth? What about your nose? Or is that the idea, it's versatile?

No idea. It was nice and warm though, all those different ways.

There was a little ice here and there, but nothing like I've seen up in the mountains.


It was a little disappointing actually. I'd hoped for sheets and sheets of icicles. And liquid water was actually running down the little gutters. Further on some puddles were frozen completely though, and little ponds here and there were frozen over. So, I wasn't totally disappointed.

Around Powder Springs I got off and took the roads back home. They were surprisingly vacant as well. It was like 9AM, people ought to be dragging in to work, but I guess the morning rush ends early on a cold day in Powder Springs, or maybe it doesn't happen at all.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful.

The cold was bearable. I did sing a little song though, to get my mind off of it:

"It's getting cold in here (so cold)... So put on all your clothes... I am getting so cold, I'm gonna put my clothes on..."

That's right. I sang that, out loud. But seriously, the cold wasn't that bad.

The worst part was that I had to pee, really, really badly and I stopped at almost every gas station between Powder Springs and the house. One of them didn't appear to have a bathroom but a guy at one of the video poker machines clued me in. If I ignored the "Employees Only" and "Out of Order" signs, I'd find what I was looking for. Thank God too, I seriously had to go.

The cold was a little difficult, but not like I expected. My toes were fine (or seemed fine at the time). My hand and fingers struggled. The bars themselves sucked the life out of my hands. Just leaning on them, I could feel the drain. Grabbing the cold, metal brakes was like ten times worse though. I had to ride with one hand under the other arm for a while, then switch when it warmed up a little. But it wasn't terrible. Having to pee was way worse than the cold.

When I got home though, warming up was much worse than I expected. My toes had gotten cold, colder than I thought. Walking around was fine, but when they hit the not-yet-even-warm water in the shower, it felt like I'd slammed them all in a door. Oh my goodness, they hurt. All I could do was sit there on the edge of the tub writhing for a few minutes. Ha! Horrible.

So, all right. Now I've done that: ten degree road ride. Probably about 25 miles was all, but that was enough for me.

These days, it's much warmer. Much more comfortable. If I can ever get all of this work done, maybe I'll be able to get out and enjoy it a bit.