Monday, February 04, 2008

back in the saddle again

the presenting problem:

this graph shows better than words can explain the crisis i was facing at the orphanage: a steady and rapid decline in the available supply of life-sustaining hydrocodone. i was beginning to see the bottom of my pill bottle, and THAT constitutes an amber alert in any language.

the solution:

staring an approaching blizzard of unknown proportions square in the face, the words of charles davis, my junior high shop teacher, seemed sage indeed: "west, if you don't stop clowning around, you'll NEVER finish that stupid candy dish." so i wasn't going to clown around when it came to choosing which bike to ride. preparing to battle oppressive weather, the choice was clear: i went straight for my 1960 schwinn tornado, women's model. an upright bicycle, with no-nonsense handlebars, a reflector, fenders and chainguard.

the obstacle: this diagram clearly shows the frozen heat mother nature was pitching sunday. "g" is me, muttering "gosh" as i pedalled my forty-pound blue beauty; "h" represents the headwind into which i was riding, all the way from the orphanage to the douglas avenue walgreen's, countless blocks away; while "v" is the vicodin, sure to raise my morale while reducing my ability to operate heavy equipment.

bicycling is more than just pedaling--it's SCIENCE: oh, yeah, there's a lot of science involved, the way i pedal a bike. LOTS of science. just look at those lines, they was they go up and down. the red line indicates my first wind; the blue, my second wind. most importantly, look at the black line, my fourth wind. FOURTH wind. hell, lots of guys have a hard time getting their second wind. you've seen that puffy-faced dick enrico, from the second wind store, haven't you? he gets all excited about second winds--but i'm talking about FOURTH wind. i'm telling you, that's a LOT of power. and that was into a blizzard. did i mention that? and remember, this was my first time on a bike in three weeks. THREE WEEKS! i'm sick here, remember? and look at that science i'm putting out.

the fitness experts at the orphanage: after a gruelling workout like the one i described above, one that produces that much science, that much raw data, well, it's just not good to leave THAT kind of science laying around. kids could get hurt. that's why the orphanage has on staff a full contingent of highly-trained experts, waiting to make sense of all that data. as far as i'm concerned, they just point out the obvious: i'm one hell of an athlete. even with a broken body, and with three weeks away from my highly-structured and physically- and mentally-demanding several-times-a-day workout schedule, i can still knock them out of the park.

the result:

this final graph shows what i already knew: that if i could just keep that red line going up, that black line would eventually go down. and it did. i LOVE science. what's NOT to love about it?

what's it mean? i'm back, baby, i'm back!!


Z said...


I don't see any graphs involving pirates or trains leaving the east and west coasts simultaneously heading toward The Orphanage. The Nobel Prize might just be in the offing.

the mostly reverend said...

our staff is at work as we speak!

Buckshot77 said...

Shoot, by the time I break into my fourth wind the room has usually cleared and the paint is beginning to peel....

S.Fuller said...

What the esteemed reverend failed to disclose was the rare 0th wind. This wind is at the very top of the graph and is at the 100% level. It never varies and, if developed properly and at a young age, means that the 1st, 2nd, and 4th winds can be used as a means of distracting your opponents and smoothing the laminar airflow around your bike during time trials. Beware the 0th wind, it's silent and deadly.

Anonymous said...

my favorite junior high shop teacher, Chuck Davis. I had an "A" in making candles.


Tarik Saleh said...

I love me the science. Welcome back to the land of the two wheel rolling.

Knit well.