Thursday, January 24, 2008

Elections and a heavy bike

Well, I finally have the bike set up for my big ride tomorrow. I'm not going to camp out tomorrow night. I just wanted to strap all of my gear to my bike and see if it's even feasable and/or functional to navigate the beast. While this version is more reality-based than any of my previous set-ups, I still don't think I'm very close to the finished product. That truth became frustratingly clear as I grunted and wrestled with my handlebar straps just to create a few extra millimeters of clearence. There's no way I'll acheive that kind of leverage when it's 10 below. Especially considering those straps likely will be frozen to plywood consistency. Plus, all the straps are annoying. There's got to be a better way.

It won't matter for tomorrow, though. The weather will be relatively warm - high 20s - and all this gear will serve mainly as dead weight. I ended up packing clothing, bivy and sleeping pad in the handlebar bag; sleeping bag, pot and stove on the back rack; and food, fuel and batteries in the frame bag. (The big black flap out front is one of the pogies.) I thought the food part was going to be tricky. My cupboards have been stripped bare in anticipation of my upcoming move. I didn't even know what I could pack in place of food, but then this evening I seridipitously received a care package from Dick B. in St. Louis, who has been mailing Trader Joes treasures to help with my training. I pulled up out the calculator and added up the caloric value of all the contents in the box: 15,600. Sounds like three days worth of food to me! Into the frame bag they went. (Thanks, Dick!)

Usually, it's better not to know these things, but I just couldn't help myself. I dragged the bathroom scale outside, picked up my bike, and tentively climbed on. The damage: 65 pounds. And that's not including water, bike pump, first aid kit, GPS, and some other things I've probabaly forgotten. Ouch.

On a, ahem, "lighter" note, I found out via Fat Cyclist that my blog was nominated in the 2008 Bloggies in the "Best Sports Blog" category. The bad news, I found out, is that I'm competing directly with Mr. Fat Cyclist himself. I'm torn on this one. On one hand, it's an honor to be nominated (and to those who took the time, thank you.) I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted to win. On the other hand, I look at the glossy, soulless sheen of a pro blog like Deadspin, and I think "I don't want to be the one to split the cyclist vote." I feel a little bit like John Edwards. Facing crushing defeats in state after state after state, he's cozied up closer to Obama in hopes that a little shine will rub off, maybe in the form of running-mate status or a spot in the Obama administration. If I throw my endorsement to the more popular candidate - Fat Cyclist - then at least I can be comfortable in my convictions: It's better for a bike blog to win than for a Republican to win. So go vote!

Wait a minute ... did I just compare myself to John Edwards? Sad.

At least I have a 12-hour ride with a 65-pound bike to look forward to tomorrow. Better than waiting to be soundly defeated in Florida.