Sunday, May 13, 2007

the incidental century

the weather has been simply beautiful this week,
thus it has been most inviting to get out to ride.
but there's always this to be done, and that to go see, or whatever,
and it's always most enjoyable if you can ride with someone,
so often i wait until a later hour to get my ride in.
but here's how it went this week:
monday: busy morning, played fake patient in the afternoon-solo ride 730 pm/2 h;
tuesday: went out early w/ hookie-playing chad, met lane, rode to group ride/4h15m;
wednesday: w/ dave, who wanted to go easy & short due to tt tomorrow/2h30m;
thursday: play grandpa, & elkhart tt, limited riding, only 12k race/1h10m;
friday: recovery ride w/dave & the one; they BOTH had to be back early/2h.
. . . . .
no really big days, as you can see.
tuesday was a good day of riding, as i rode really pretty hard,
and it turned out i got 80 miles. good one.
but wednesday and thursday were both shorter than i'd prefer.
i'm old fashioned, and wednesday is always LSD day,
and with nyla on thursdays, it's long hours with the burley in ames.
mondays and fridays are kept holy: recovery only.
but that doesn't mean i can't recover for a really long time!
but no races this weekend, and i was hoping for five hours each day.
. . . . .
now, let me explain something here.
back in 1983, when i first started training for racing,
i was living in mason city.
i went out with my friend don berry, who at the time was THE shit when it came to triathlons in iowa and the upper midwest. i'd go riding with him, travel to triathlons with him, and drink beer and grill out with him and his family. it was good fun.
but the currency, the rate of exchange, was the mile.
looking back, i didn't ride a lot on an annual basis, but my season only ran from march to october. the rest of the year, i'd keep riding--my three-speed--back and forth to work, but i'd also bust out the pipes, and i was a smoker the other six months of the year. but when it was my season, i rode. i'd do my training ride with other folks, and would regularly do two and three people's training sessions in succession.
miles. big ones, with big gears. my motobecane had no front derailleur, and the 52-tooth chainring was replaced with a 54. my ten-speed became a 6-speed, with the technological advance of narrowly-spaced freewheels.
i measured my days not in hours but in miles.
i was a mile monster dork.
my birthday, observed at the end of my season [sept 28],
was marked with a day off work and a solo century.
it was a great way to spend quality time by myself, to reflect on life and the year gone by, and a great hedge on the deniability of aging.
checking my old logs, i'd get maybe 4,000 to 5,000 miles during those half-year seasons. they included round-trips to and from ragbrai,
giving me some nice 800-900 mile 10-day blocks.
but after a few years, i moved to ames, got a uscf license, and spent some time with the old uscf regional coach. he put me onto the notion of time, not miles. eventually i replaced my front derailleur, and later, as a spin instructor to the beautiful people of capitol city,
i developed a three-digit cadence.
as with the pound, the mile was replaced by the hour.
you can teach an old dog new tricks...after a fashion.
. . . . .
back to this week:
i went out riding yesterday with a bunch of buddies, being in a week without races, there were many up for a longer session. dave, andy c, and i met with some teammates from the northern alliance who realized the foolhardy nature of 800 am starts [farmer jim, ross, john, and scott]. after going north, we set out through granger, on what used to be a regular thursday night group option [yes, kiddies, we actually had group rides then], and began to lose the northern alliance. jim had crops to get in, and john and ross turned back later for some reason, so it was just scott, andy, dave, me, and the tailwind and the sun.
what a great day to be on a bike.
i want to comment here on my bike, pictured above. scott and i have essentially the same bikes, little litespeeds [i ride a 50cm, and scott does NOT tower over me]. we got them from our shop sponsor, rasmussens, and have been on them for a couple months. i asked him what he thought, and we realized we've been having the same experiences. my last new road bike was a 1999 usps trek. it was great, it was hot, i rode the piss out of it. but after less than 160,000 kilometers, the damned thing was starting to get old. my temporary fix? bust out the even older all-terrain ralph with the even older downtube dura ace. i LOVE that bike,
and will ride it forever when the days turn short and gravelly.
but the litespeed? damn. it goes where i want, and the only way it can corner better is to corner faster. which it allows me to do! four thumbs up from scott and i on these little bikes. [i love my sram, too.]
so we're heading west, talking, soaking up the rays, riding up and down the river valleys, taking in the beauty of iowa's lush fertility and promise. after checking the raging dam in redfield, we head south, and find some gravel! freshly-bladed gravel. several miles of it.
hot damn!
i kid you not, it took me back some 45 years, riding the gravel roads of story and hamilton counties on my 24" schwinn tornado on saturday mornings--how a small-town iowa nine year-old spent his free time.
i felt like a fly in a hog lot, and it don't get better than that!
so what's the point of this?
we got back to town, i looked at my computer,
and i had 160 kilometers, 5h30m.
i remember my mason city centuries, hoping to do them in 5 hours, riding my ass off to get it accomplished,
and being pretty spent as a consequence.
i got home, ate some chilled shrimp, took the dogs to the dog park for an hour, mowed the yard, and then went to prairie meadows last night to work the coffee bus with julie to cater an enormous wedding until 230 am, cleaned up, got home, and finally crashed out at 430 am.
woke up at 730 am, and am preparing to go out for 5 more hours today.
the menu? east peru loop, 105 miles of
hills, head winds [15-30 km/h], & sunshine.
i love this. and my mom would be happy for me.
. . . . .
we're planning a barbecue later this month,
and here's what team robinson is preparing.
it looks terrible, but the aftertaste is devine...
. . .

seeker: lord, is it true that to you, a million years is but a second?
the almighty: yes, my child.
seeker: then how much is a million dollars?
the almighty: it is but a penny.
seeker: then may i borrow a penny?
the almighty: sure. just a second.
. . . . .
from the police blotter:
a snail is in the police station, reporting a mugging at the hand of two turtles.
police officer: so what happened next?
snail: i don't know, it happened so fast.

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