I readied the bikes and packed them on the car rack long before it was time to leave. It was mercifully cool at the start, 55° (just 13 C) and after our long heat wave, it felt almost chilly. We still started out in short sleeves and shorts as it was due to warm up quick with a perfectly clear sky and barely a breeze.
It was a thin crowd, just Chuck, Phill, my wife and me, but we made a fantastic ride of it. We held a comfortable pace the whole way down to Brighton, where I had a cup of coffee and the pleasure of splitting one of the best sticky buns I’ve ever eaten with my wife at a café. After firing down our treats, we mounted up headed back.
We had a little bit of a cross breeze for some of the ride home but for the most part it was a tailwind for almost 25 miles – if a mild one.
My wife and Phill split off and headed back to the high school parking lot and I rode with Chuck back to his house so I could get some bonus miles and a full 100k because I’m enrolled in this Strava thing for July that tracks how many 100k’s we do in the month… unfortunately, I forgot my phone in the car so I couldn’t track the ride and we were five miles down the road before I’d realized I didn’t have it. I did add it in later, though.
When Mrs. Bgddy and I got home, my oldest daughter had made real, honest to God biscuits and sausage gravy for my birthday breakfast. My favorite breakfast in the whole entire world… and she made everything, including the gravy, from scratch. It was, without a doubt, one of the coolest birthday presents I’d ever received.
After breakfast, which was freaking phenomenal, I showered up and we all took a nap. For the afternoon’s entertainment we visited my sponsor who’s recovering in a rehabilitation center after being hit by a truck on a rural highway, helping to remove a roll of padding that had fallen off a carpet truck with a truck driver who’d stopped as well. He had several friends over for pizza and a meeting.
After, we headed home and watched the Tour de France coverage before crashing for the night.
I think I’d have OD’ed on awesome if we tried to fit one more cool thing in there.
Best day ever.
My Trek isn’t quite a classic, but it’s close and it’ll do for this post. It turns 20 at the end of the year – next year it’s a classic. On one hand, I do feel a little sad that I’ve done so much to transform the bike over the last six years. On the other, it rides so much better today than the day I brought it home in 2012, I would never want to go back to what it was (even if I did hold onto the old, worn-out components).
From the gaudy, weathered, flaked, and gouged candy apple red/gold flake paint job to the rotted headset (and by rotted, I mean dangerous – the rust was the only thing holding the headset together), the beat up Ultegra triple components and the soon-to-be worn out chain rings, the bike had seen better days, long, long ago.
Even as good as the bike looks and handles now, there’s still that part of me that looks at the vast improvements as “Chip Foose-ing” a classic, and we only need to look as far as the cleaned-up front end of the bike as an example – new on the left, old on the right:
It’s not all bad, of course. Today, when I get the bike above 40 mph, I don’t get a speed shimmy (it’s been up to 50). The brakes work a lot better with newer pads. The triple is a double and shifting is so much better, it’s astounding. The new shifters are smooth as silk. The saddle is adjusted to within a hair of perfect (that required a new seat post because the old alloy post that came with the bike had notches that meant the saddles nose was too low or too high with a one-notch adjustment).
And while all of that is great, the best part is how much of the work I did myself, and how much I put into picking every new part to match – though I’m struggling with the brake calipers. On one hand, they’re all that’s left of the old bike. On the other, black 105 calipers sure would look sharp in place of the polished aluminum…
In the end, there is an overriding factor that will have me accepting and moving beyond my minor consternation over altering a classic: The bike is now spectacularly fun to ride. All of the old creaks that used to plague the bike, especially when climbing out of the saddle, are gone. Now, and only someone who’s ridden an impeccably maintained, high-end road bike will know what I’m talking about, the only sound when I’m cranking out the watts is the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the tires on the asphalt. The Trek is as quiet as the fifteen years’ newer Venge – and the only reason the Venge shifts better is it has the next step up in components.
The bike I brought home was decent. The bike I made it into (with a lot of help from Assenmacher’s bike shop) is exceptional. I don’t care much for the pomp of riding an original equipment classic. While I can certainly understand those who choose the classics, I prefer the more modern accoutrements because the newer components look and work better.
I heard on the radio that San Francisco raised its minimum wage to $15 and that raise was crowed about ad absurdum… as if the great liberal yahoos had done something special.
Most people are gullible enough to think something impressive happened as well. For those, let’s throw some math at this situation.
The median cost of a home in San Francisco is $1,364,000 and some change. That works out to about $8,500 a month for a mortgage… if you put the ten percent down, or $136,400. Figure a couple, both working minimum wage jobs own that median home. That’s 71 hours a week, just for the mortgage, each. No food, no electricity, no car, nothing but the mortgage. 71 hours a week for two working people. Now here’s the fun part: No minimum wage employer will pay the overtime for an employee to work 71 hours a week to cover that mortgage… That couple will have to work two minimum wage jobs. Each.
Now let’s look at my hometown. The minimum wage is $9.25 and the median home costs $134,000. Throw the same math at that… 12 hours a week for both in the couple, working minimum wage jobs.
For San Francisco to be as fair as it is in my hometown, the minimum wage would have to be about $100 an hour.
Now, my math is very rudimentary. I don’t factor in taxes (triple in San Francisco what I pay in my hometown). In other words, the situation is even worse than my simplistic look at it.
Just sayin’, folks. Don’t fall for the narrative. Challenge it.
A blog I follow posts a daily reading from recovery literature and one struck my fancy the other day…
There are a few things I’ve done that have helped me live a sober, happy, wonderful life. One sticks out above all others, though…
If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol.
~Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, More About Alcoholism, pg. 33~
I take the notion of hope for immunity to another level. Not only can I never achieve immunity, I can’t even hope for decency, happiness, or anything that remotely looks like success if I decide to consume alcohol.
If I take a drink, I’m cooked. Done. Stick a fork in me.
I will give up everything that is good in my life, in a matter of months, to stay drunk. Alcohol won’t take anything from me, by the way, dears. This is a program of honesty. I will give it all away. Freely. My health will follow, shortly thereafter, because if we know anything about alcoholism and drug addiction, it’s that the disease is progressive. It doesn’t take time off, it just lurks in the shadows for an opportunity to wreak havoc.
I am evil when I drink, so every morning I wake up and thank God for my daily reprieve from alcoholism… and for helping me to remember just how bad I was before I quit. I have done this 9,360 times, and with a little grace and another daily reprieve, today will be 9,361.
I also remember that which is second-most important; I can have all of that misery back, if I miss it. All I have to do is take a drink.
The lesson for the day; don’t fuckin’ drink, even if your ass falls off. Put it in a plastic bag and take it to a meeting. Someone will be able to show you how they put theirs back on.
Our Annual Fourth of July Ride; Sharing a Coke with ‘Merica and, more important, with My Wife… It was a Hot One.
Five years ago on July 4th, the temperature was recorded at 96° (35 C). The temp off at the handlebars, taken from a Garmin computer, was 113° (45 C). That was our hottest ride that year. Actually, that could have been my hottest ride ever – I think it was. Yesterday’s Fourth ride shouldn’t have been close to that, the weather services had predicted a cool-down from the day before. That’s how it was supposed to go. That’s not how it did go. On the other hand, the day before it was 93 (34 C), too…
I laughed a little bit on stepping outside after I woke up. It was still in the upper 70’s. It was going to be nasty hot. I chose my full USA kit as I always do on the Fourth, and my 1999 Trek 5200 because it was hand-built in the USA (and more than once if you count the two times I rebuilt it in the time I had it).
Diane rode over and Jonathan drove. My wife and I wheeled our bikes out and we rolled out to meet everyone else at the old bike shop. We took it very easy and still ended up sweating buckets before we hit the shop on mile five. We were just a shade under 17 mph on the ride over.
The ride proper is an extended 100k – Strava says 65.2 miles – and we rolled smoothly from the start. 17-18-mph to start and it ramped up over two miles to 20-22 – and that’s mostly where the pace stayed for the remaining 63. There were periods where people fell off the back and we’d soft-pedal till they caught up, but for the most part it was a steady diet of low 20’s… and it was nice. I think our top speed for the ride was only in the upper 20’s, and that was on the home stretch where a local pro and Doc Mike acted like “a couple of horses taking it home to the barn”, as Chuck put it. I held on, and even took a pull for a couple of minutes north of 26-mph, but when I looked back, I’d dropped everyone so I sat up.
About 25-ish miles in, we stopped at a favorite gas station in Owosso, to reload the on-board H2O. Mrs. Bgddy wanted a Payday (the best candy bar for cycling there is) and I bought us each a Coke. Nothing is better when we’re feeling a little hit on a ride. It’ll bring you right back… The carbonation isn’t for everyone, though. Beware.
So, an interesting note on the ride. I’d ridden the Tuesday Night Club Ride the night before and it was described by a friend on Strava as a face melting 93° when we started. It was a brutal 37 mile stretch (including the warm-up – 29-1/2 miles of 21-mph+ hammering). It was, I would later find out, 92° when we pulled into the parking lot after yesterday’s ride. Our average for the 65 miler was just a shade under 19-mph (18.9 and change – or 30 km/h). Technically, it was cooler than the day before. By one measly degree… Fahrenheit.
One of our guys didn’t fair too well. I could tell he was in trouble with about twelve miles to go – he kept shifting around in his saddle, looking for the comfortable spot. He was cramping up pretty bad in the last five miles, a sure sign his electrolyte balance was way off and the heat was getting to him. He pulled into the parking lot disoriented enough that Chuck and I had to help him off his bike. He was absolutely smoked. We set him in his vehicle and he cranked up the AC. He was feeling better inside two minutes, so I went in and refilled my water bottles.
I still had five miles to go, so I concentrated on that.
Folks, it was an ugly five miles, let me tell you. Ugly. I went through most of the water I had before I pulled into the driveway. If I averaged 16-mph for that last stretch, it was a miracle. I actually thought about pulling over in the shade to rest, once. 75.6 miles on the day. I didn’t lose any weight on the ride, either, so my hydration must have been right on. While that last few miles was tough, the ride, and rest of the day, were perfect. We went over to my friend’s house to swim in his lake for a couple hours before coming home to cook a nice dinner.
Cycling with friends is as good as it gets on a Holiday. Especially one celebrating Independence.
The cycling enthusiast should refrain from any upper body weight training during cycling season (loosely defined as “early spring through late autumn”) so as to facilitate muscle growth where it’s important, the legs. Weight training is still important, and should be completed thusly: You train on a heavier bike
Race bike – 15-1/2 pounds:
Training bike – 19-1/2 pounds (with heavier wheels, of course):
You know, weight training.
There’s a fat me, sitting in the back of my melon, right next to the frickin’ drunk. That fat bastard isn’t doing push-ups, though. He’s watching the drunk do push-ups, sitting on the couch eating a donut, sipping on a Coke, with his pinky finger pointing straight up.
It’s too hot. It’s too cold. I’m too tired. Work was too hard. The kids were too f’in’… um, kidly…
Those thoughts become donut shop lies when I fall for them myself… then drop them at the donut shop. The folks at the donut shop will back you up, too.
“Yeah, it is way too hot. Only crazy people would be runnin’ around in heat like this!”
Color me extra-crazy. I went out for bonus miles yesterday evening. It was hot out, but it turned out to be a beautiful day, really. After talk on the radio of possible thunderstorms in the evening, we ended up with a sunny, cloudless sky around 5pm. I started out into a cross-headwind that was probably just a shade better than a breeze with gusts up to maybe 15-mph. All of my friends had either ridden already or were indisposed with work or on vacation.
My ride, once I got comfortable (I’ve been fighting a saddle sore of late), was perfect. I did my normal 17-1/2 mile loop and had decided miles earlier I’d stretch it to 21 and change. When I hit the spot to turn around, I decided to add on two more. Then another… then time was catching up with me. I had to grill burgers so I figured I’d better not push it, lest I end up with three very hungry and angry ladies in my house.
You ever have those days where you’re having fun just riding your bike, even into a headwind? That was my evening. To thine own self be true – and I must remember, I’m the only one I can be brutally honest with, and even then, it’s only to be deployed carefully. I see huge people walking, often waddling, around every day and I feel sorry for them… right up until they whip out the donut shop lies outside of the donut shop…
Every day I’m grateful for my life, and for the fact that there is no place in it for donut shop lies. Ride hard, my friends.