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Today’s Lesson in Journalism: The Headline! How Not To Write One in 1,005 Words (Ish).

Don’t do it this way.

Whatever Happened to Those God-awful Compression Socks, Anyway? Wait, on Second Thought…

I was reading a post a friend wrote yesterday that got me laughing, remembering the horrible, terrible, all bad, no good look of someone in black, or worse, multi-colored compression socks.

Oh, you remember the look.

A veritable assplosion of color!

I’ve got to be straight, here. I hated that look and am actually a little giddy at the fact that fad has faded like a nasty SBD fart in the wind.

The fad started with runners but popularity escalated and quickly jumped to cycling by way of the faddiest of faddies, triathletes. Folks, I might have the order mixed up, here. It very well could have started with triathletes because if ever there was a group of people prone to completely immersing themselves in a fad, it’s a triathlete.

And so I started seeing them at rides, on their $15,000 Quintana Roo with 80 mm carbon wheels and their $300 tri kit, in their compression socks… as I blew by on my ‘99 Trek 5200 road bike.

To tell the truth, I always put a little extra into passing someone like that.

And just like that, they were, thank merciful Jesus, gone. Come to think of it, we don’t even see them in the evenings on the long tours, anymore…

And the universe thankfully takes away, restoring righteousness to sport by sucking compression socks down the black memory hole to hell.

Where they belong.

Praise be to Jesus.

Michigan’s Gov. Says “Let’s Go Brandon” Calling on the Republican Legislature to Fund a Wall to Keep “Invasive” Carp Out of the Great Lakes

Trigger (heh) warning: This post is of a political nature. If you can’t take a joke (or if you think it was okay to say “F*** Trump” but “Let’s Go Brandon” is beyond the pale, you need help), you won’t want to go any further in this post. Hit the little “x” in the upper right and call it good. You have been trigger (heh) warned.

That’s right, folks! Michigan’s Governor, Gretchen Whitmer joined the chorus with her very own way to say “Let’s Go Brandon”!

This is from the Gov’s office:

In a stunningly ironic rebuke of President Biden’s southern border policy, the Democrat Governor’s December 10th announcement calls for full funding of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes with a wall. Dam folks, you simply can’t make this stuff up. Apparently, someone on her staff wasn’t paying attention during their diversity and sensitivity training.

Somebody pass the popcorn.

UPDATE: Folks, this is all too ironic to take serious. It’s just meant to showcase how “willy-nilly” Democrats can be with policy. I’m all for keeping carp out of the Great Lakes. It’s one of those perfect government jobs – one of those you’re talking about when you say, “Hey, good enough for government work!” The Great Lakes are so vast, you can’t possibly hope to keep a fish that’s in too many inland lakes to count, out… is invasive, and just wants to get to a “better life” in a bigger, better lake. In all truth, I don’t want to see the things in the Great Lakes, either. In this case, though, the irony is just too good.

What Happens When A Road or Mountain Bike Saddle is Too Wide: Complications in Bike Setup… and One Major Pain In One’s Heinie.

I’ve written about this topic in the past, butt it keeps rearing its ugly head – and this time I’d gone radical in the name of… being a weight weenie! Of all things. Now, after enough double entendres in one sentence to choke a chicken, it’s time to get serious because this really is no laughing matter. The truth is, I’ve got a much better understanding of how saddles work – and more important, how the width of a saddle can have an affect on the sitting area. Because I’m still riding on one.

My true saddle width is somewhere between 128 and 138. A 138 is plenty comfortable but I’ve ridden quite a few centuries on a 128 with nothing but glowing reviews. My Bontrager Montrose Pro Carbon saddles aren’t all that special, either. They’re contoured rather than flat with minimal but fantastic padded support, and they’re light. 140-ish grams if I remember. Just shy of a third of a pound for a saddle. There are lighter saddles out there, down to 80 grams, but I tried a minimalist 110 gram saddle with virutually no padding and I just couldn’t make it work (and it wasn’t for a lack of effort). I have thousands of miles on those saddles and I learned something I didn’t know over the last few weeks.

I used to ride a Specialized Romin 143 that I thought was the cat’s pajamas. I had one on my race road bike and one on my rain road bike, and put tens of thousands of miles on them. At first, the local shop set me up with Specialized’s Body Geometry fitting. I’d done my best and was excited to see how I stacked up against all of the glorious video equipment and high-class software analytics that could be thrown at bike fitting.

The shop lowered my saddle two millimeters after the three hour fitting process.

Over the years and six to ten thousand mile years, I developed a sore spot on my left inner-thigh bone, just forward of the sit bone (my left leg is a little shorter than my right). I simply lived with it for years as it wasn’t a full-time pain. It was fleeting. A few years ago it stuck around for a while and I decided to lower my saddle a couple of millimeters to see if that would fix it. That worked for the most part.

Until I found a Bontrager Montrose Pro Carbon on sale for around $120. The Romin I had on the Trek at the time was heavy – 276 grams or a little less than two-thirds of a pound. The Montrose had a 138 mm width, though, and I was supposed to be a 143. I threw caution to the wind, figuring it was worth the risk to drop that much weight with so little money (they normally ran around $300). When my saddle came in, I fitted it on the Trek and rode it for the first time, it was glorious.

After giving it two months with nothing but good to say about the saddle, I went back to buy a second for my Venge. You find a saddle that feels that good, it doesn’t matter the brand mismatch. Sadly, they were out of the 138 but they had 128s in stock. I gave it a go. I dropped even more weight off the Specialized and the feel wasn’t all that different from the 138. I expected the 128 to hurt a little because it wasn’t wide enough, but that worry turned out to be unnecessary.

And once I had both Montrose saddles on my road bikes, I found I could raise the saddles, comfortably, back to the old shop setting. 36-5/8″ (93 cm or 930.2750 mm) and I don’t have that pain on my left inner thigh bone just forward of my sit bone anymore.

That is, I didn’t have that pain anymore until I started riding my gravel bike that has a 143 mm Specialized Romin 143 mm saddle on it and I hit a bump… and that’s when it all started to make sense.

The pain I’ve been experiencing gets worse the wider the saddle gets, too. My Trek originally came with a 155 mm saddle that had me so sore I thought it was a running injury. As it turned out, after a few days off the bike, the pain subsided – then flared right back up after riding again.

The point is, saddle width is a little tricky to diagnose and it can present as other things, such as a saddle being too high. There’s also a difference between finding something that’s livable and something perfect, as was my case with the small difference between a 143 and a 138 mm saddle. The more I ride, the more that little bit mattered.

Air Kiss CO2 Inflator for Gravel and Road Bikes – A Much Needed Review

I should have posted this review years ago but I never thought to. Here’s what I have to say about the Air Kiss CO2 Inflator: My mother always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.”

Well…

Anyway, let’s just say, if it wasn’t for my buddy, Chuck saving the day with his most spectacular Lezyne inflator, I’d have been walking home last night. A few of my friends had the Air Kiss inflator and I think I was the last of us to still have one in their saddle bag. I have a Specialized inflator in my tool pack for the Venge that’s worked quite well.

Specialized S-Works Shoes: The One Simple Way to Take Them Off and Put Them On… Without Needing A Hammer, Vice, or Shoehorn.

If you’ve worn a pair of S-Works shoes since the model six, you know they’re not easy to put on and take off. In fact, they’re really hard to put on without bunching up your socks in the back and you almost need a spare mule to hook the heel to in order to get one off.

Of course, when you do get one of those buggers on your foot and commence to pedaling, you’ll know all of that wrestling was worth it. They’re like riding with your feet cradled on a slab of butter.

Hard to believe something so simple is so hard to put on… or take off.

So necessity is the birthing person of invention, so invent I did. Pardon the cheap “birthing person” shot. I don’t know as I’ll ever stop having fun with that stupid government-inspired term. Anyway, invent I did.

Are you ready to have your mind blown? I mean completely blown?

Here goes…

Undo the top Boa loop from it’s securing hoop. The shoe will slide on and off like any other. That’s it:

Now, you’ll want to make sure to loosen that top Boa closure all the way so that the loop doesn’t pull through the tongue slit when you take your shoe off, but other than that one little trick, it works like a charm.

When you’re ready to put it back on, do so without the Boa secured, then wrap the loop around its hook and tighten the Boa. It’ll go on just as easy as it came off and you don’t need a shoehorn. Or a hammer. Or a vice. Or magic unicorn dust.

This has been a public cycling announcement from Fit Recovery. Ride hard, my friends.

The technical proficiency of blowing a snot rocket whilst, and at the same time, riding a bike; it is an art.

I’d like to thank Sheree for the inspiration for this post.

Clearing your nose whilst cycling, without getting snot on you, or the people following behind, is an art every cyclist should master. It’s a necessity for the fast crew especially. And when cycling in muggy weather. And cold weather. And cool, dry weather. Well, pretty much everything except warm, dry weather. So Arizona for six months out of the year except when it’s hot enough to melt your tires and stuff.

Anyway, it’s an important skill because if you can’t, you’ll spend half an hour cleaning snot drippings off your top tube after a ride! Nobody wants to do that.

Before we get into the art of hurling said snot rocket, let’s get a couple of important items out of the way.

1. Wind direction matters. Don’t snot on the side into the wind or with the wind quartering in the direction you will be snotting.

2. If you’re snotting absolutely, positively cannot wait till you get to the back of the group, signal and pull off to the side so you don’t cover others in snot, thus tempting them to push you into a ditch.

3. With a tailwind, launch away. Either side.

4. With a headwind, either side works but there has to be some down to the projection of said snot rocket otherwise, it’ll get messy (shoulder or side of the face).

Now, what you’ve been waiting for, technique!

Those people who claim they can’t blow a snot rocket simply mess their snot rocket technique up. The trick is which finger to block which nostril with. If you’re snotting right, you block the right nostril with your right pointer finger. Snotting left, block the left nostril with the left pointer finger and blow. Do not try to reverse this or you’ll wear that snot rocket!

Now, you don’t sit upright to blow a snot rocket. Simply roll your head right or left so the blow nostril is a little below the block finger – and make sure to get your elbow up out of the way! And make sure to take the wind into account, as mentioned earlier.

If you typically wear your snot rockets, here’s what you’re doing wrong: you’re snotting into the wind, blocking the wrong nostril with the wrong finger of the opposite hand. And you’re sitting up, making the wearing of the dreaded snot rocket a certainty!

On blocking the wrong nostril with the wrong hand (blow right, block left or vice versa); what this does is cause a cavitation in the wind which blows snot up into your face and on your glasses. This is, as we say, no bueno. Or non buono in Italian. Or… erm… not good in Irish (or possibly aon mhaith, but let’s not get lost in the woods!)

The final piece to this puzzle is the blow. It should be quick and forceful. If you hold back with a weak blow, your snot ball won’t reach escape velocity before slowing down which will allow it to be affected by the wind and air movement. Trust the steps above and blow that snot out. Smite it to the ground!

You are now trained, grasshopper. Snot forth. Whilst happily pedaling.

While I’m on that feel-good gibberish kick… I Proclaim We Shall No Longer Call Them “Bike Rides”!

Look, I get dressed in my road cyclist “stuff”, slap on a helmet, cycling shoes, slide on my sunglasses and some cycling gloves, and head out to roam the land in speed and comfort on my exorbitantly expensive, and exceptionally rewarding carbon fiber and aluminum alloy bicycle. Technically, you could say I go for a bike ride every evening.

You could, but you would be missing out on a bunch of corporate/millennial feel-good gibberish that takes going for a simple bike ride and turns it into some epic necessity of grandeur and awesomeness. I therefore humbly declare we no longer call them “bike rides”.

Forever more, because America’s corporate/millennial woke culture is so utterly phenomenal, a simple bike ride shall instead be referred to as “Quality me time seized and employed advantageously for the peaceful, sustainable surveyance of the vast beauty that is the United States of America [or insert your country of origin, because this shit is so fantastic we want to export it] via a carbon fiber, epoxy & aluminum alloy and titanium human-powered bipedal, bi-wheeled fun-machine.”

On second thought, maybe we should just stick with “bike ride”.

Oh, hey! While I’m thinking about it, Happy Impregnating Person’s Day. You think I’m kidding.

That’s the establishment donning their full-faced helmet, elbow, arm, shoulder, shin, knee, quad, chest pads and protective gloves, as they clench down on their bite guard and grip the throttle of their eBike , making a horrible, yet hilarious vroom! sound as they lock in their glare at the two-foot high ramp that sits before the kiddie pool containing two week-old small-spotted cat sharks and declare… “I got this!”

Laughing At Ketel One’s Feel-good Gibberish – A Recovering Alcoholic’s Look at Nonsensical Words Strung Together To Make Sentences.

Ketel One vodka “Botanicals” has a commercial for their vodka. Now, I was a vodka kind of guy back when I was a drunk. When I absolutely, positively had to be hammered right now, vodka was my go to… or rum. I loved the rum, too… well, or Mad Dog 20/20… or Old English 800… wait, I’m getting off track. Let’s stay on point.

It’s rare I ever pay attention to a commercial for alcohol anymore because it’s a little hard to make “hell on earth” look attractive to recovering alcoholic who, against all odds, found peace, contentment and happiness in recovery. For some reason this howler made it through my ignoring the commercial watching baseball the other day; “Crafted to be enjoyed responsibly” they said.

Wait, crafted to be enjoyed responsibly?

Believing it could be possible to craft vodka to be enjoyed responsibly by a drunk is simply “stupid”.

Here’s me, 30 years ago, sipping my fruity Ketel One; “Oh, that’s tasty! But I want to get hammered… Hmmm… I really want to get hammered, but this vodka was crafted to be enjoyed responsibly… perhaps I shall refrain.”

Said no drunk, ever. In the history of history. Ever.

Of course, the commercial begs the obvious question, “how so, Ketel One?” I would like to know exactly the steps that were taken, that differ from the manufacture of any other liquor on earth, to craft your vodka “to be enjoyed responsibly”. The statement is obviously utter, feel-good gibberish because if you think you could do anything, let alone manufacture liquor in a special way, to control my drinking, you’re a couple beers shy of a six-pack.

In non-American parlance, you’re fuckin’ nuts. Well done, Ketel One. Ya dopes. Keep coming back.

Stay tuned…

RAT Ride Asks to Avoid “Racing Clusters”; Also, the Funniest Recommendation I’ve Ever Seen on a Ride Advertisement…

In the advertisement for the Ride Around Torch (Lake, Michigan) forwarded to me by a club member, I found a fine nugget of wisdom under the 100-mile route which does include some pretty decent climbing; “Racing clusters are not recommended”.

Racing clusters?

Well, me and my “racing cluster” believe a 100-mile hilly bike ride isn’t for the faint of heart (they do have a 26 or 40 mile option for the nattering nabobs of numbskullery). While I appreciate the recommendation, we would choose to “cluster” anyway. The members of our “cluster” pace-line log more miles in a year together than most ride in a half-decade. In fact, I think I’ve only ridden solo, or not in a racing cluster, three times this year.

Actually, I see this as a nice little window into the coffee klatch brigade, or perhaps a touch more apropos, the kaffeeklatsch brigade. Those who would sit at the local McDonald’s drinking their senior coffee for hours on end thinking of ways other rabble-rousers should behave to better suit their (typically ignorant) sensibilities. “Racing clusters” would be the perfect target of gossiping ninnies. “Oh, we wouldn’t want any racing clusters, now! They look so dangerous.

Getting into proper responses, of course, one would be, “we have no racing clusters here, ma’am! We’ve got prancing pace-lines. We’re good.”

Or, should they catch you in one of those “racing clusters”, “Fear not sir, not a one of us is a racer. We wouldn’t even know how to form a “racing cluster”.

Or better still, “Oh, I’m so sorry, sir! I thought a “racing cluster” was an energy bar or a candy bar or something… this is just a pace-line. We’re good here.”

To take that thought a step further, “Don’t worry, ma’am. The brochure said you recommend against “racing clusters”. This is a pace-line, not a racing cluster. We leave the racing clusters to the professionals. Thank you for your concern.”

The point is, if you know anything about “racing clusters” whatsoever, and the person who chose the language in the brochure clearly doesn’t (perhaps a ploy for plausible deniability should a “racing cluster” crash happen?), racing clusters are always recommended… unless you want to work twice as hard to go 75% as fast all while having 25% of the fun. If that’s what you want out of cycling, by all means, avoid those rascawy wacing cwustews! (That’s “rascally racing clusters” in Elmer Fudd).

Otherwise, Mr. (or Mrs.) Fun Sponge, leave the cycling to the avid enthusiasts. Thanks for playing.