Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Roof racks ... the memories come flooding back

The Fat Cyclist asked for tales of woe regarding car racks. Here's mine:

I was going to BYU, and my brother and friend were living in Oregon. We had this great plan to drive to Mexico to go mountain biking. It was going to be an epic trip. My job was to drive myself and my bike from Utah to California to meet up with them before heading on. I had my bike on top of my car (you all know where this is going) and all my gear packed and I was heading out of the parking lot. Just as I was pulling out, I remembered that in the below-ground parking lot, in my apartment storage facility, I had left my sleeping bag. No problem, I slammed it in reverse and headed down the super steep ramp to the underground parking.

Crunch, scrape...

The car and rack took most of the force. I think I needed a new saddle and seatpost, and my Marzocchi Atom 80 didn't line up at the drop-outs like it used to--but not enough to stop me from using it. All four doors of the car (an 88 Honda Accord) were pried away from the roof, and the roof was dented on the four corners pretty well. It also did a number to my hood on which the mangled tangle of roof rack and bike landed. I was going way too fast to stop when I hit.

Besides the repair costs, we didn't go on the trip. In fact, we never made that trip. I'd like to say I learned my lesson, but when returning to school after a summer break (driving from Oregon to Utah with the bike on top really jogs the memory of a bike out of your mind) I was excited to see one of the coveted under-the-apartment parking spots open (different complex). Again, as was my driving style back in the day, I pulled in so quickly as to knock my bike right off the rack (same bike) before I realized what happened. I remember being embarrassed more than anything (for the bike, it was old hat), so I quickly scooped up the remains before anyone came out to see what the sound of scraping metal and concrete came from. At this point, my rack was loose enough (see previous accident above) that it really didn't damage my bike too much--mostly the bar-ends and, once again, the fork (which now resides on my wife's cob-web-adorned bike).

I still have a roof rack. I actually put my garage door opener in the back seat when I leave (and on extended trips, I put something in my garage in the way, preventing me from being able to pull in without getting out of my car and moving said item). I won't tell you how many times or how often moving the garage door opener has saved my bike/car.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

HRMs aren't good for me.

The only thing I really use my HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) for is to tell me how many calories I burn during a ride. (Well, occationally, I'll look at my current heart rate to determine if I'm working hard enough, but that's rare.) This morning, my 34 mile ride burned over 2800 kcals, according to my HRM. Good? No. Bad.

Very very bad.

Every year on Halloween, my work has trick-or-treating for the children of all the workers. Naturally, this being the day after, there's a bit of candy lying around here and there. When I walked in to work this morning, I was hungry (I also skipped breakfast) and saw all those "fun size" candy bars here and there in the office with plenty of people trying to get rid of them. I thought, hey, I just burned 2800 calories, I can handle a few tiny candy bars. Yes, a few probably would have been fine. Would 15 be fine?

No, 15 is bad.

I can tell you that without even stepping on a scale.

Ugh... stupid HRM.

Ride Before Dawn

This morning, before 8 am, I went for a 34-mile bike ride. This ride would probably not even be challenging for most, but I'm a wimp, and it was early. However, rather than dwell on how cold it was, and how tired I was (and how tired I'm going to be this afternoon if I don't get some caffeine down me soon), I'd like to list of the top 5 reasons for getting up before dawn and going on a ride. (I was going to do the top ten, but I really couldn't think of that many.)

5. Crisp morning air.
This morning, it was particularly crisp at 35 degrees, but even in the summer, mornings seem clearer. Perhaps this aids in clearing my groggy, early-morning thoughts. There's something about getting your blood pumping and your lungs working that early in the morning. It gives me a better outlook on life.

4. Sets up the day to become a great day.
When I get to work, often things don't go well. Quite often, in fact. On days when I get up early to ride (and I should mention that if I'm going to ride before work, I have to start out in the dark to give me enough time to make it to work), it doesn't matter if work goes poorly because my day has already been great. It has already been a success.

3. Feeling of superiority over those still asleep.
Well, this one really was iffy. I mean, I feel that way sometimes when I ride, and it makes the tough times (cold, wet, tired) easier to bear, but it usually isn't reason enough to get up in the morning. (Those who don't get up usually site sanity as the main counter-point to this one.)

2. Fewer cars on the road.
This doesn't apply so much for off-road, but it is a huge deal for road riding, so I included it at number 2. Accidents on road-bikes generally happen due to cars and bikes trying to share the same space--sometimes the exact same space. Fewer cars = I feel safer and can enjoy the other points mentioned here.

1. Beautiful alpenglow/sunrise.
Honestly, when I am out alone, with no cars around and the sun starts to rise above the mountains (and just before that, when the sky is getting light and the mountains are silhouetted against it) makes any cold air or tired muscles disappear. Today in particular, was incredible. Over the weekend, Mt. Timpanogos has been dusted with snow down to about 8000'. As the sun was rising and caught that snow, highlighting it orange and pink, it was amazing. Though tired at the end of the ride, I would have done it all over again if I could have seen that sunrise over Mt. Timp. again.