Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Zen and the art of ...

Date: Oct. 16
Total mileage: 40.2
October mileage: 208.5
Temperature upon departure: 48

Geoff informed me today that I'd have to be a very cold-hearted person, or, in better words, an idiot, to even think about riding my mountain bike before it gets a complete overhall, which includes new parts that have to be shipped to Juneau on a barge. Somehow, over a few months of tender, loving abuse, I managed to almost completely wear down all of the teeth on the middle ring. Then I rode it long enough in that decrepit state so it now also requires a new chain. And pedals. And shifter levers. And I think that in one or more of my many crashes, I may have slightly bent the rear derailleur. Other than that, it's golden! Why can't I ride it?

On the bright side, Geoff has been working almost nonstop for a week on our five bikes, and roadie has never been in better shape. Geoff even installed fenders. So the theory is now that I can go for a ride and not be sprayed continuously with road grit. I'll believe it when I see it. I have perfected my rain-riding ensemble, however: waterproof jacket over a thin fleece liner, rain pants over nylon longjohns, earwarmer and neoprene socks, booties and gloves. You'd think with all this armor I could manage to stay dry, but you would be mistaken. I don't know why I didn't just give up early and buy a wet suit. If you can swim in them, I bet you can bike in them. And they're so aerodynamic!

I found a couple hours to ride in beautiful weather today, so I'm not in a position to complain. It always amazes me how much less physical effort the same distance requires when there are no elements to fight. A 40-mile rain ride is downright epic, and yet the same ride, just one week later, in sunlight, feels like a boardwalk cruise. It's always faster, too, even though there's typically more wind when skies are clear.

I haven't really had very many chances to observe the bicycle maintenance routine during the past week - although the truth is I have little patience for it. I'd like to become a better steward of my stuff, but how do I overcome a severe personality flaw that makes me want to scream and start throwing things every time I wrap my fingers around a screwdriver? The theory is in the next month or two I'm supposedly going to start building a snowbike, and I hate the thought of recruiting Geoff to do all of the grunt work for me. I need to set some goals.

I will watch Geoff rebuild the crank.

I will help clean out the hubs.

I will read Web sites on bicycle building, even if the my chances of understanding them are about as good as Sugar's future chances of selling on eBay as anything but a hurricane bike.

I will try meditation.

I will practice the power of positive thinking.

I will stay dry.