Saturday, January 21, 2012

I gotz some mad mechanical skillz.....

Well, maybe not great skills, but I managed to actually do something and not totally screw it up. When it comes to fixing things on my bikes, I leave it to the trained professionals at my local bike shop. Once or twice when I've tried to fix things, it goes horribly wrong and I do the "walk-of-shame" into the shop with my tail between my legs, begging for forgiveness.

I recently got a new trainer for my bike to help me get through the winter months. It's the LeMond Revolution trainer and I ordered it with a Shimano rear cassette. When I put my trainer bike on it, I noticed when I dropped into my 14-13 or smaller cassette, the chain would skip like crazy. I had the Wingman play with the barrel adjuster while I pedaled, but it didn't seem to do the trick. So I started to think about what else would be wrong. Then, it came to me. The cassette that came with the trainer was a 10 speed. The groupset on my bike is a cheap 9 speed (normally I own 10 speeds). A-ha!! All I have to do is swap the cassette. Easy peasy, right? Well sure, if you are mechanically inclined.

Wingman suggested we go to the bike shop and let them do it. I resisted the suggestion and wanted to see if I could do it myself. I mean seriously, am I that big of a jackass? (sadly the answer is usually yes). It wasn't like it's an expensive part that I could break and be pissed. So I went to Youtube and found tons of videos on how to change the cassette. Now I needed the tools. A chain whip is ~$30 and I'm not sure what the locking tool would cost. So I emailed Wynn and asked him if he had the tools. He replied yes and that it was OK for me to borrow them.

I stopped by last night after work and picked them up. He gave me a few tips and basically told me 'don't be a moron' I would be fine. Clearly, he forgot that I am known as the 'Hero of the Stupid' in these parts.

This morning I got up and watched the video two more times. Then it was time to head downstairs and make it happen. I followed the directions carefully and took my time. Before I knew it the cassette was off the wheel and the trainer. I swapped it out and put the bike back on the trainer. I popped on my shoes and did a quick test spin. I must have been quite the sight in my pj's riding the bike. The bike shifted smoothly, no chain skipping. I now have all gears available to me again.

It really was an easy thing to do. Hardest part about the whole thing really was duplicating the man's accent as I worked:

No walk of shame for me this time..............

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting the work done

For the first time since September, I'm back in the pool. I meant to swim with the local tri club on Tuesday night, but I was overwhelmed with evaluations and fell behind on my documentation. I wound up bringing stuff home to type which pisses me off to no end. I would love to leave my work at work, but when my schedule gets loaded up and a patient doesn't shut up, then I lose time. So my pool entry was delayed until Thursday. And I looked and felt like someone that hasn't been in water in ~4 months. My 100 times were so slooooowww. I had my workout scribbled on a piece of paper in a ziplock bag and I ticked off each set on the list. Before I knew it, the workout was over. And I had that horrible feeling of weighted arms. It wasn't a hard or long workout, but it still wore me down a little. The Wingman was in another lane practicing his drills. Once we were both done we headed home and I went right to sleep. I had a long day Friday.

Friday morning I had to head to a different office to cover for another PT that was off for the day. It was a slow day, which I didn't mind for a change. Then I had to head to the tax office for my 2nd job. It was a good 12 hour day for me. I headed home to spend a little time with the Wingman and then get to bed early.

Saturday was a pretty windy day. I had two choices for my ride - stick to my schedule and do an easy 90 minute ride on the trainer, or head into the trails with the Wingman, Wynn, and Teresa on a MTB ride that would be anything but short and easy. I opted to stay home and ride the trainer. I missed riding with the group, but I'm glad I got my workout in. I really want to stick to the plan this year and not go too hard, too fast, too early in the season. One of my goals is to not burn out or get injured before the end of my season. Saturday night we headed over to Ian and Joan's for dinner. Wynn and Teresa were also there. As always, we had a great time and laughed a lot.

Today I had a long run scheduled, but the wind was not going to cooperate. I opted for the treadmill instead. I loaded up my iPad with a few training podcasts and fired up the treadmill. I had an hour fifteen to knock out. About half way through, the moment I was waiting for occurred. That wonderful runners high. It's a great moment when I feel it take full effect. There is an amazing disconnect between my upper and lower body and my brain says "hmm, the legs are moving, I don't know how it's happening, and I can't feel them going, but they're going." I'm on auto-pilot until the workout is done. Once it was done I felt good that I banged it out.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What goes through my head

At any point in time, I am always in thought. For some reason, I just can't shut down my brain. It comes in handy at work where I can listen and think at the same time. But sometimes I would like to enjoy some quiet time and relax but I have yet to figure out how to do this.

When I go out and exercise, especially running, many things go through my head. Sometimes I create lists of things I need to do or I sort through problems. Other times weird shit enters my thoughts and then I am trapped. A conversation I had with Dolores a few years ago popped into my head. It was a Saturday during tax season and somehow we got on the topic of the song "Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond. I was telling her it sounded like some hooker:

Cracklin' Rosie get on board
We're gonna ride 'til there ain't no more to go
Takin it slow

Cracklin' Rosie make me smile
God if it lasts for an hour, that's all right
We got all night

So we spent a good deal of time analyzing the lyrics and convincing ourselves it was about a hooker. But we were stumped by the part where he calls her a 'store bought woman'. So we consulted with my mother, who is all things Neil Diamond, and she informed us that Cracklin' Rosie was not a hooker, but wine. Needless to say we were crushed. We preferred our version of the song.

So now my problem was despite listening to my iPod on the run, all I could hear was Cracklin' Rosie in my head. And it was in my head all day.

Play it now. Play it now. 
Play it now my baby.....

We were so fortunate with the weather today. It was almost 60 degrees out. I was supposed to ride, but with the Wingman's swim lesson, we juggled the workouts so he could ride with me tomorrow. I went out and ran long today. I'm doing a better job on the long easy runs of just sitting back and trying to go easy. I don't bother with the GPS watch. I pick a route that will cover the time goal that is set for me. It's not even about mileage. Just get the time in so the fitness builds up. 

Tomorrow the Wingman and I will be busting out the mountain bikes and riding some double track trails with Wynn & Teresa. Wynn assures us it will be challenging with hill climbing. I dug out my GoPro video camera so hopefully I will get some good footage of the ride.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Riding in the New Year

To celebrate the new year (and fantastic weather), the Wingman and I headed over to Wynn & Teresa's house for a 2 hour 'social' ride. Unfortunately Joan is battling a cold so she and Ian had to sit this one out. We use the term 'social' for some rides so there is an understanding that the pace will be easy and we stay together as a group. We had a rough route planned out that was a loop starting and ending in Manorville, that rode through Northampton, Westhampton Beach, Remsenberg, and Easport before finishing up.

The weather was unbelievable. I had a few lighter layers on with some toe covers. My gloves were stripped off within 20 minutes of starting the ride. When we got to the golf course road, we were greeted by a locked fence. So we did what any reasonable cyclist would do. We passed bikes over the fence and then climbed over. Then we did the same when we got to the other end. Except this time we walked around the end of the fence to get out onto the road. As we headed south I could feel the wind picking up a little. The route was planned so we would ride into the wind heading out and then get some tailwind on the way home. Once we were south of Montauk Hwy, we stayed on side roads to get some shelter from the wind. There were many times we had no idea where to turn, but it didn't matter. We were just out to enjoy the day.

I brought the camera along to snap a few 'in ride' photos.  Sorry if some are a little blurry, hard to get good shots while riding.

 Wynn & Teresa on the golf course road

 The ever lovable Wingman

 Road as far as the eye can see

 Wynn & Teresa

 Teresa with the guys up ahead

 The views are easy on the eyes

Teresa and my sweet Reynolds wheel......

I couldn't think of a better way to ring in the new year (except if Ian and Joan came along) than with a bike ride with friends. Afterwards we had a little chili and conversation at W&T's. Then we bid them farewell and let them continue to recover from their NY party the night before. Next weekend we plan on getting out for another spin.