I have a Punisher decal on both road bikes. I’m particularly fond of the one on my 5200 but like the two smaller decals on the Venge just as well. I like to look at the decal when I’m hurting and wanting to quit – they help me to dig deep when needed.
I wonder, from time to time, to myself, whether I’m worthy of displaying it on my bike, though. Taken the wrong way, as if I were arrogant enough to think of myself as a Punsiher of cyclists, it could lead to… uh, unnecessary misunderstandings.
In the end, a friend gave me the originals that went on the Venge, so I justify it that way… And if I have to have the discussion among friends, so be it. In the end, when I’m in the pain cave, I like looking down at that decal for a little boost. I also have to remember that which is most important; I am fast enough for what I want to put into cycling. Cycling makes me happy. I have no desire to work hard enough at it that I lose the fun.
Friday, after getting home from work, getting my 17-1/2 miles in, showering, and eating some dinner, I got to work on the bikes for DALMAC. My Trek was solid, but I want it to be tip top. DALMAC is the pinnacle of our season, it’s what we train for all year long. Mrs. Bgddy’s bike needed some attention as well, as her back brake was sticking ever so slightly.
I got right to it, as we’ve got limited prep time before we head out Thursday morning and I wanted to have the weekend to test the bikes out before the road trip. First, the chains. my wife and I get a year out of our chains. I changed the Trek’s chain last year during DALMAC because I’d bent a plate on a missed shift into the baby ring to climb a hill. I still had some life left in it, but I’d bought new chains months ago and the chain was right on the edge. I decided to bag them and take them with in my gear bag. This year, if I needed a chain, I’ll have a spare with me. After that, I had a little bit of water sloshing around the frame from the A-100, so I pulled the seat post and drained about a tablespoon. Saddle back in place, I gave all of the bolts a once-over and called it good. Finally, as I always do after a ride in the rain, I cleaned the rear derailleur housing. It collects a lot of crap in the spray. Sure enough, there was some grit present, so a quick wipe down and lube, and I put everything back together. I gave the bike a quick clean and filled the water bottles for Saturday’s 100+k.
Then to my wife’s bike, which needed a little more love. Her chain, also a full year old, was right on the edge, too, so that went. I cleaned up the rest of her drivetrain and took a look at that brake. With internal routing, I’m loath to fully take the cable out as it has to be rerouted through the frame. I pulled it just far enough to clean out the little bit of debris at the shifter and the back cable housing. Lubed everything and put it all back together. It was a lot better, but still not perfect. I’ll probably just wait to get it tuned up after the season unless it acts up again.
With that, and the sunlight fading out for the night, the bikes were tip-top and ready for Saturday’s festivities. The bikes were smooth and quiet for one of the best riding days of the year. A little on the breezy side, but with cooler temps having ushered in, it was all awesome, all morning long. We started off with arm and knee warmers but ditched those around mile 30. We stopped at miles 30 for a restroom brake and 37 for a coffee and breakfast sandwich, and that was it for stops (quite impressive, really – 65 miles is a long way on just two stops – the cool weather helped immensely). I had a smile on my face the entire time. While there was a lot of traffic on the route, it was a really fun loop with lots of terrain changes and a few exceptional hills, including a big descent down a straight, nicely paved 8%’er that had us top 43-mph on the way down – escape velocity.
Finally, we’ve got a 58 miler planned for this morning. Six miles into the ride I’ll top 60,000 miles since I started tracking in 2011… I’m pretty fired up about that little milestone. It sounds neat, of course, 60,000 miles in my 40’s. What’s really important is the memories and friends my wife and I made over all those miles. Thinking back over just the highlights, it’s simply too good to put into words. Throw in my most-excellent recovery and all I can say is, it’s wonderful to know that you’ve been touched by the finger of God, to know you’ve been saved and blessed beyond measure, rising from a state of hopelessness and despair to peace and contentment.
Good times and noodle salad, my friends.