Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sticking with snow

Date: April 28 and 29
Mileage: 14.2 and 13
April mileage: 745.1
Temperature: 47

This week was to be the first week of my re-entry into serious training. I had goals: ride tempo pace, put in longer mileage, sprint for real this time, attack the hills, go to the 24 Hours of Light and race the boys. On Monday, I planned to inaugurate my summer schedule with a tempo hill climb on the Eaglecrest road. But seven miles into the ride, my rear shifter cable snapped. I pulled over the side of the road to remove the dragging cable and assess how much I still wanted to climb a five-mile-long hill in my highest gear on back. As I threaded the broken cable through its housing, I saw it was frayed nearly throughout. I started to wonder if my cables had ever been switched out ... on a bike with somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 miles on it. I examined the brake cables and front shifter cable, also frayed in spots and nearly separated at the ends, held together in threads by the end cap. As I loosed the cable bolt on the derailleur, I noticed its cogs had been worn nearly smooth. No spikes were left to hold the chain. There are always little problems with my bike that I ignore and ignore. But when I add them all up, Roadie is one sick puppy.

So I took my bike into the only bike shop in town and told them I wanted all new cables and housing and a new rear derailleur and the wheels trued if they could get to it. They told me they were backlogged now at least two and a half weeks, maybe three weeks. Indeed, they had so many bikes stacked up in the shop that an entire wall of merchandise wasn't even accessible. Roadie is supposed to be my commuter, my base miles bike. I didn't want him gone for three weeks. I bought two shifter cables and a new bike lock - the shifter cables on the optimistic chance that I motivate to do my own repairs even when I know the rear derailleur is shot, and the new bike lock so I can feel more secure about riding my brand new mountain bike to work on the better chance that I don't motivate to fix Roadie very soon (threading cables is something I've only done once under the watchful eye of Geoff, and I'm concerned that I don't know how to properly tighten the cables, and also about the fact that I don't own a pair of wire cutters.)

Either way, Monday as a training day was shot. Today I had planned to go to the gym to restart my weight lifting routine, but when I woke up, the sun was beginning to burn through a bank of fog, and the outside thermometer read 33 degrees. That must mean there was a freeze last night, I thought, and the day looked to be clearing but still cool. You can't buy better spring snowbiking weather than that, and it seemed a shame to waste it.

So I dragged Pugsley up the Dan Moller Trail. The sun was already burning hot by the time I reached the trailhead, and the snow was starting to mush up in spots. But in the shade it was hard and fast, and so crinkled with the deep waves of snowmobile moguls that I felt like I was on a mash-potato-smeared roller coaster. The sun spots were greasy enough that I had to stand and drag my right foot on the ground like a ski/brake just to keep the front wheel from swerving all over the place. The muscle burn was real, and I remember thinking I didn't have to go to the gym to get a focused workout for my quads. I was bucked off the bike a couple of times but always giggling about it. The snow becomes less ideal every day, and still I have a hard time giving it up. It's my comfort zone, my release. It's hard to worry about repairs and tools and goals when you are just trying to hold a straight line down a slippery trail.

But, Wednesday, Wednesday I'll get on track with my training. What did I have on the schedule? More Pugsley?