Sunday was to be my 2nd cross country race but with the weather I decided to skip it as I haven't done enough off road riding and didn't want to start with a race in the mud. What I don't need this close to the Ride is to break an arm or something. I went over to Petries and spent 4 hours helping Farzum put together a $10,000 15.9 lb. carbon road bike. By 'help' I mean I put a temporary tire and tube on the front rim and held the bike occasionally while he worked his magic. He guided me through straitening a rim and re-tensioning the spokes on a customer's wheel. I tried to soak up as much as I could and look forward to more lessons and hopefully to actually helping around the shop a bit in the future. He wants me to try my hand at building a wheel for Eyowen some day when we both have the time. Later in the day the sun struggled out of the clouds and Jill and I headed over to Mission Marsh. As I pulled into the parking lot I saw a friend who is a mechanic that has been off work tending to a shoulder injury and fighting Workmen's comp and the medical maze for 6 months. He was sitting there in his truck with his camera just to get out of the house for a bit and looked pretty down. I pulled up beside his jeep and thought he might need a good laugh so I forgot I was on Jill and clipped in, fell over onto the grass and then back into the ditch. Another lesson learned.
Someone asked me, after hearing I spent 5 hours alone riding 60 miles, "Isn't it boring, all that time by yourself?" Well no, not really, I don't think so. I started to think about what I think about during long rides and it goes like this. The first 30 minutes is normally when I am checking out the particular bike I'm with trying to make sure she hasn't woken up in a foul mood and wants nothing more than to get back to her warm and cozy spot in the basement. Is the seat the right height, are the tires going flat, why is the computer not computing, is that a squeak, what did I forget to bring...and so on. After a while the trust in our relationship emerges and it's on to the next set of questions. Feels pretty cool, did I wear enough layers for this lovely 2 degree spring morning? Is that the damn wind picking up already? How does mother nature always manage to have the wind blowing 180 degrees from the direction I want to go? Did the meteorologists at the Weather Channel pick heads or tails today? After about an hour my thoughts move on from obsessing about the bike and the conditions and a tune will pop into my head. When I work at the computer I often have music playing on iTunes. I have amassed a collection of almost 4000 songs or just over 11 days worth of tunes, thats 20+ gigs of files. And if I really want to go back I have some 300+ cds to try and locate around the house. Most often a tune that I heard the previous day will be the one that pops into my head, I only wish it was that easy to get out of there. With all the music I have you can surmise that I don't prefer to listen to the same thing over and over. Unfortunately I have a one track mind. One track...all day long. Not bad when you actually like the track and maybe know the words and can sing along. Not so great when the last track you heard was Pavarotti, as my Italian is not what it used to be and it used to be "bonjourno". Play the video to experience what lapped my noggin one day. As the hours pass I start to think about some of the comforts of biking long distances, how my butt is not so comfortable at the moment, how my neck is far less than comfortable, how comfortable my quads were on the last climb, how I'm so comfortable I can't feel my fingertips anymore.. Ah but then you take a drink maybe stop for a few minutes and shake it off. And then Jill will give me that look that says, lets go...fast. And off we go again, refreshed and for a little while, more comfortable. Mostly I think about where I'm going and how far it is to the next turn. When I'm on a new route I'm constantly trying to calculate time and distance. Some places are just calming to ride through like River Road that winds down into Stanley. I really enjoyed the smooth pavement, the slight downhill grade and just taking in the scenery of the small farms along the Kam. All the while knowing that just across the river was the toughest climb of the day back up to the highway. Even the climbs while challenging are rewarding in the end, for every climb there's usually a descent that follows. These parts are what take my mind off of just about everything and make it all worth it, you just can't feel like a part of the world around you in a car. With the wind in my face and the road rolling under the tires, I think I'm happy.
We got to see the falls this time, as well as Stanley, the tournament centre, Moorillo and most of the rolling pastures around Thunder Bay along with the wonderful scents of spring. Hitting the 60 mile mark puts one more worry out of my mind. A few tweaks and a tune up and Jill and I will be ready to go.
As Ginko says she's 17...3 times. We spent the day in Grand Marais just having breakfast at the Blue Water, some browsing, walking the beach, watching the 'mericans search for Thomsonite at Cut Rock Creek and then supper at the Angry Trout.
Another week, 145 miles in the saddle and 1 more pound gone. Yesterday I think I could have riden to Toronto. After work I left my normal route home and went through Northwood and circled around the crescents and ended up coming east down Churchill, crossed Edward and deja vu came on strong as I passed through the old neighbourhood. I went home had a quick bite and then rode over to Charry to watch an inning or two, left and did another 5 miles before it started spitting and I headed for home.
I sure hope the streets of Toronto and the Golden Horseshoe are in better shape than those in Thunder Bay. There are sections of Memorial Ave. that are like a minefield that just hosted a square dance. I avoid Memorial with the girls mostly because of the traffic but it is horrible. Some of the side streets in the McKellar Ward are embarassing. Some one should buy city council a copy of the old 'Sim City' games, letting things deteriorate is not going to attract anyone to town.
I approached Tom Petrie last weekend about whether anyone had ever run a group ride from the shop. They had done it years before but nothing lately. Most of the shops on the net have rides on a set night every week and since it gets a bit lonely riding solo every night I said I'd post something on the wall at the shop. We went out last night, Tom and his wife Carolyn and I. Not much of a turn out but the ride was enjoyable. We ended up doing 15 miles and just having someone to talk to was a great change. The rides with the clubs are mostly competitive so it's tough to carry on a conversation. Before we rode I was talking to Farzum and he over inflated a tire to about 120 psi and it blew the tube, sounded like a gunshot and the young apprentice said he wet himself. Speaking of competition, my first mountain bike race with Black Sheep was far better than I had thought. I ended up 9th out of 15 in the Sport Class. Not bad for an old guy. I didn't see too many others even in the 40's so I felt pretty good when the results were posted. Last weekend I stayed with the lead group for 18 miles out in Stanley but it was more of a fun ride than a race. 34.5 mph downhill around a corner on gravel is so much fun, almost as much fun as 2 mph up a hill when Bridget couldn't find granny.
Tomorrow marks one year from the first ride I took last year on Cecelia. I was looking back and my comment about the 2 mile ride was simply 'wobbly legs'. I weighed in this morning and was happy to see progress after 7 days on the old plan, 233 or X-92. I wish I had gone back to blogging my daily intake earlier, I might have gotten down 100 pounds in a year. Not that I have stopped worrying about things completely but I'm over the lack of confidence I was feeling earlier in the week. Cold feet? Maybe. Whatever it was I just won't let it get to me like it did. I guess I should have kept my feelings to myself until it passed, sorry about that.
The day started out with a 3 mile ride in the pouring rain but by lunch the sun was out and I managed to catch up most of the miles I'm short for the week. My first weigh-in will be tomorrow morning and I'm hoping for some progress.
The Conquer Cancer admin people sent out a 5 page package via email yesterday. Rules of the road, how to hydrate, where to meet, what to bring and so on. I was awake at 5am worrying this morning. Not a great time to have a lapse in confidence with 6 weeks to go but there it was. I thought once I hit the bike this morning the funk would pass but so far I still feel out of it. A million thoughts went through my head this morning. I could have done more to raise money, why haven't people that said they would not made donations, Sal alone in Toronto, knowing Mike is not happy with us, wondering how Jen and Ginko are really doing, what is AJ doing or planning, am I in over my head with the Ride, how can I get out of hockey and not see Northwood fold, money, how long can fcd hang on, and on and on. Finally I just got up and got going. Hopefully this is like a long ride and if I just keep plugging away I'll find my second wind and things will smooth out.
Not even Carboneau's lucky tie was enough to put down my bad juju. Sorry Habs, maybe next year. And don't blame it on Price, the rest of the team was even worse. They discover going to the net in game 5, lotsa luck with that revelation.
Her music was featured in the film "August Rush" which Sal and I both enjoyed, we grabbed the soundtrack from Itunes within an hour of watching. If you watch it you'll see and hear she's got a style all her own.