Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Worst Enemy

I am my worst enemy. Well, not me exactly, but part of me. My early morning self, to be exact. Evidently, my early-morning self hates me.

The Evidence
Knowing that the only time I'd be able to ride on Monday was early in the morning, my early-morning self snuck into my room and set my phone (which I use for an alarm) on vibrate. Then, he promptly slept through the buzzing. One day of riding, gone. He's quite sneaky.

This morning, I could only ride for about an hour, and had to be back by 6:30 am. I had planed on a short, but hilly route that would get me a good workout but get me back by then. I set my alarm. I double-checked to see if the phone was on vibrate.

The first thing my early-morning self did was distract me a lot so I didn't actually make it to bed until 11:00 pm. Then, He pulled out all the stops. As soon as my alarm went off, I started to wake up. There he was, waiting for me. "Wow, I bet it's cold out there." "You're moving pretty slow. I bet you don't have time for a full hour of riding." "You're supposed to dig fence post holes tonight after work. Don't you think that'll be enough of a workout?" "And, don't forget that you're playing basketball tonight with the boys from your church. How tired do you want to be going into that?" "You can't just go on getting no sleep every day. Eventually, it's going to hit you and it will really impede your training."

I'll spare you the rest.

He's quite persuasive.

The thing is, I always regret skipping out on a ride. Always. Even when the weather is bad. Even when I'm tired. Always. For example, I regret listening to my early-morning self this morning. He won, and now I regret skipping that ride. That's one more ride I'll never get.

I'll get you next time.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Victory, At Last

One of the tests of my training I've been eagerly anticipating this season is the Alpine Loop. I only even considered doing it last year, and managed to pull it off once--well, I only tried once. I tried it last year in the middle of the day, after doing some yard work. I started out dehydrated. It got up to 103 that day. Also, I was in bad shape. I think that it ended up taking me 4:30 (including all my stops for water and rests along the way).

I wasn't prepared at all for it.

I'm in much better shape now, so I decided I'd try and do it in 3:00. I also planned on doing it the other direction--that is, Provo to American Fork. I gave myself 3 hours--planning to leave at dawn (around 5:30 am) in hopes of making it home around 8:30 am and only about an hour late to work.

Bad Start
It began all bad with me not getting out until closer to 5:45 am. The wind coming down Provo canyon was brutal, as well. I was having a hard time keeping a good pace before I even got to the mouth of the canyon. I figured, however, that if I got to the top of the Alpine Loop by 7:30, I might just be able to make it home by 8:30.

By the time I turned on to the north fork/alpine loop road, I was tired. It's been said before, and looking back, I'd have to agree, that the first bit (below Aspen Grove and Sundance) is the worst. For me, the problem is that it doesn't look that bad. The road is fairly straight without too many bends. In my mind, at least, if a road has to switch-back up a mountain, it MUST be steep. By the time I arrived at Aspen Grove, I was feeling a little better--having pushed past my pain--but not looking forward to the switchbacks to come.

The Surprise
I felt fantastic after this point. The sun finally came out and I was warming up. The gate is closed to motor traffic so I had the whole road to myself. The switchbacks weren't steep. In fact, I managed to shift up a few gears and pick up my pace.

I made it to the summit at 7:28 am. To me, this was the victory. I was ahead of schedule and I had made it without dying. In fact, I felt much, much better than I did on my previous attempt last year. MUCH better.

Good Ending
The descent was fun--except for when my fingers started to go numb from the cool air. American Fork canyon is on the west side, so the sun hadn't reach most of it yet. Once I got lower, however, I dropped the hammer and kept the pace fast. I made it home right at 8:30 am. 2:44 was my ride time. My average was just a hair under 16mph.

I know, this is really kind of slow. I won't start looking for sponsors, yet. For me, though, it was a victory--one for which I've been working on for about 10 months. Now that I've won, I plan to make that ride a regular part of my training.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Work-Place Crit

I have never raced before. Ever. (Unless you count cross-country in Jr. High School [I still can't believe they give out ribbons for 26th place--I mean, what's the point in that?]) Technically, LOTOJA is a race, though I'll just be racing against the clock.

On more than one occasion, people have suggested I do a Crit, or Criterium. I don't know much about these, but what I know, I don't like. For one, they involve lots of people racing around a small-ish area. Also, they have lots of tight turns. I my mind, a crit is like the cycle-cross of the road bike world--basically a race that is fun to watch, but not much fun to be in. (Again, I should point out I have raced neither.) Usually, there are lots of crashes. I don't want to crash. I don't like crashing. I have no desire to enter a crit.

eXtreme Criterium!
Since the purpose of a crit seems to be getting hurt and eXtreme riding, I think we should spice it up a bit. If short tracks with lots of corners are good, lets make them shorter. If the uncertainty and danger associated with high-speed cornering in a pack is interesting to watch, why not plan the course with danger in mind?

Also, in an effort to bring my love of cycling to my "day job" I propose (are you listening, HR?) setting up a crit around the building where I work. Although not gargantuan, this building is fairly large (housing some 700 employees). Also, it isn't your traditional rectangle, so there are more areas for wrecks--er corners. Each lap would be short, and including as many as 10 corners--depending on the exact set-up.

Instead of roping it off and keeping it clear, I would eliminate any such "organizing" elements of the race. This would 1) make it even more exciting and 2) limit the work I'd need to do to set it up. How exciting (or dangerous, for that matter) can a race be if people (or cars) aren't allowed on or near the course? For that matter, I think the race should either be in the morning, around 8:30-ish, or noon--the two times with the most in and out-bound traffic.

I can't wait for the first time an executive walks by engrossed in a mobile phone conversation (or typing a email) and nearly escapes with his life.

Also, tires stick really well on dry pavement. For my crit, I'd have a fire hydrant open and pouring out over the track--preferably on a corner. And banana peels. Though easy to spot and avoid, everyone has seen enough cartoons that banana peels on the course will shake them up a bit.

We should organize a nation-wide event. Everyone sets up a crit around where they work. This could turn into a tournament, with the winners battling it out around a really complex campus--say Microsoft or Google--for the overall National Work-Place Crit Champion. I'd make the winners jersey a beige polo with three rear pockets--made out of wicking polyester, of course.

Now that's a crit I'd watch--I still wouldn't race in it, but I don't mind being in charge. I'll let you know if I get it approved by HR.

Drink Too Much (Water)

I love that, while riding my mountain bike, I carry a hydration pack. I've loved this from the first one I owned. I carry tons of water, plenty of supplies. I often carry both a mini pump, and a shock pump, just in case.

When I started riding road bikes more heavily, I found that I also loved the freedom of NOT carrying a pack with me. It isn't the freedom of being prepared, so much as the freedom of less to carry. The freedom of only carrying the essentials. I suppose this is the same sort of freedom that ultra light-weight backpackers enjoy.

However, when on my road bike, there is always something nagging at the back of my mind: Where can I get water when my water bottles run low? On my mountain bike, I always carried too much water. I'd fill the pack all the way up--even for a short 1-hour ride. As it turns out, this is just a symptom of a much larger problem: I drink too much water when I ride.

Perhaps this sounds foolish. Perhaps you're the person who routinely bonks because of dehydration. This never happens to me. I am much more likely to be searching for a bathroom, than to be dehydrated.

On Saturday, I went on a fast-paced 43-mile ride. It was quite warm, and windy. I brought two huge water bottles. I had to refill them. That's right, a ride that took less than 2:20, I needed more than 50 oz of water. In fact, it was probably closer to 75 oz.

The other day, when I met up with that guy on the Orbea, I noticed that I had two bottles (large), while he only had one small one. I drank about 5 times more often than he did. I was wishing for a restroom before I finished.

Is it a survival instinct? I just need to have plenty of water, in case my bike explodes and I have to walk home? Do I sweat more than the average person? I do sweat a lot.

Going forward, however, I've decided to try and cut back my water consumption during rides. Here's an interesting read on the subject of drinking too much. Although I've never, to my knowledge, experienced any of the symptoms of drinking too much, I'm going to try and cut back and see how that effects my riding.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

If You Choose Not to Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice

Thank you, Rush.

How many times can I post about having a great ride, and how wonderful cycling is before it gets boring? Have I already exceeded that limit? You must not ride enough, then.

The day started out perfect. Clear skies. Cool, but not cold. I had on shorts, a short-sleeve jersey and arm-warmers. My legs didn't feel stiff or sore or anything.

A Problem
I couldn't decide where to go. I really couldn't. I don't often have this problem with mountain biking. After all, there are only a few trails that are close enough to ride before work. Also, some are obviously better than others.

With road biking, there are so many more options. Some roads might be smoother, but others might be less traveled (by cars). Which way is the wind blowing? How long do I have? Somehow, it just feels so complex.

Along Came the Solution
While I was waiting at an intersection near my house, I saw a cyclist fly by on a beautiful orange Orbea. At last, I would decide to follow, with nary a care as to where we were going. I immediately jumped on the chase and caught up with him. We talked pleasantries for a while and then settled into a mini pace-line. I'm certain he had more experience than I on the road, but was patient when I failed to point out an obstacle or two. I might have surged each time I took my turn pulling, but I honestly tried not to.

It was a golden ride. The kind of ride where everything feels right. Even the wind seemed to shift each time we turned--always staying at our backs. We kept up a good pace with little effort. It wasn't a long ride--just 25 miles--but I didn't feel exhausted at all when I got home.

More is More
I also experienced something I didn't think I would: I really felt like a stronger presence on the road. Instead of just being a cyclist on the side of the road, I felt like I was part of something bigger. Something that motorists would pause and pay attention to. (Well, at least pay attention to. Probably not pause.) I felt more legitimate. I felt a little more at ease and confident.

Oh, and just because I can't seem to write anything without mentioning LOTOJA (I ought to get a kick-back from them, or something), the person I hooked up with this morning has ridden it, and is planning on riding it this year. It is always cool to talk to someone about it.

Also, registration is closed. That was quick.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Are Jeans Good for Anything?

I'd like to think I have enough time in the saddle that I could wear almost anything and be able to ride a few miles (3.5, in this case) in comfort.

It turns out, I'm wrong.

Among the list of activities that jeans are bad for (with such obvious ones as cross-country skiing and swimming) I would like to add commuting by bicycle. Even on my comfortable
Fi'zi:k Aliante, I can actually start to dislike riding after a mile or two if I'm in jeans. This can, of course, be minimized by wearing bike shorts under the jeans--but then, what is the point wearing the jeans at all?

More Milk, Please.

Back by popular demand: Another post about milk.

Remember my post about using chocolate milk for recover (I actually used it, for a brief period, as an energy drink, too)? (Here and here.) VeloNews finally had something to say about it (chocolate milk, not my post):

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Over the years, although my fitness has improved, my high-speed skills have not. This is most apparent when mountain biking, as no matter how fast I climb, I'm always the last one down the mountain. In fact, overall, I feel I am much more timid when riding than I used to be. I suppose, in part, this is why I enjoy endurance riding so much.

I used to ride with people all the time. In fact, I used to not go riding at all, unless it was with someone. As my life filled up (with a wife, a job, and children), I found it more and more difficult to plan a time that would work with everyone. Gradually, I stared riding on my own more and more.

I have found out two things about this. First, I really actually enjoy the time alone. I enjoy the solitude, the sojourn with nature, so-to-speak. I like being able to push myself harder, if I want, or take it easy, if I'm tired. I really like coming home when I want to, instead of waiting for someone else's schedule. I find that I can do more actual riding alone--spending less time preparing or waiting or meeting up with other people.

Second, I found that when I'm alone (and this is especially true on the trail), I tend to not push myself over difficult obstacles like I would, out of pride, when with a group. I also have much less judge of my fitness. Even though I can tell that I'm much stronger than I used to be, I can't actually compare myself to others. For these reasons, I know that I really need to start riding with people more.

One Such Symptom
One of the symptoms of my timidity on the bike is readily apparent when descending on the road. Or, to be more precise, descending and cornering--especially at the same time. (Note: I also think that the poor brake performance of road bikes compared to mountain bikes makes me nervous to push the speed on descents. Ever notice how much faster road bike brakes fade than mountain brakes?) I really am not fast. This morning, after a sustained climb, I--get this--started downhill. I left the summit shortly after another rider whose car was waiting for him at the bottom. Not only did I never catch up to him, but he and his car were long gone by the time I reached the bottom.

Then it hit me: I need to get faster on downhills.

You see, in order to achieve my 16.5 average to finish the LOTOJA on time, I plan to stop very infrequently. I don't really plan to stop to eat. Ever. Also, I'm really working on both my endurance, and my hill climbing. That way, the hills don't hurt my average too much. This morning, however, I realized that one way in which I can increase my overall average speed, without much additional effort is to increase my downhill speed.

In relation to that, on my way down today I was forced to face another fear. Because my background is in mountain biking, I'm used to loose conditions, but always with big grippy tires. On my road bike, with the tiny contact patch, I worry that any little pebble on the road will mark my demise around corners.

Today, inadvertently, I hit one such pebble. My tire skipped ever so slightly and I continued on. It was totally uneventful. Instantly, I started letting my speed creep up slightly.

I should interject that, at this point, you are probably (with the exception of my wife) waiting for a nice story of a grand slide off the road and a bad road-rash. I'm sorry to disappoint you. The rest of the descent was uneventful.

I think I'm ready to start working on my descending skills.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Ride Your Bike to Work Week

Here we are, the first day of Ride Your Bike to Work Week. I've committed myself to riding to work every day this week. I'd actually love to always ride, but I feel I have a pretty good excuse, so I don't.

It isn't that my commute is long--it's only 3.5 miles. Besides, if distance were the only problem, I'd just get up earlier and leave earlier. Nor is it that traffic is bad--I can stay on residential roads almost the entire route. No, I have a better excuse than that.

You see, my daughter goes to school 10 miles (by the freeway--the most direct route) south of where we live. There are no buses. My work is north. She also cannot be at school any earlier than 8:15 and I try to be at work by 8:30. I've thought about using a trailer and taking her to school by bike. I'm sure I could start early enough to get her there on time. Once again, though, I'd time it to arrive there by 8:15, and I'd then be a good distance from work (probably 20 miles or so because of the streets I'd have to take).

As a consequence, in order to ride to work today, I drove my daughter to school. Then I stopped by my house and switched to my bike. I got to work around 8:45, which wasn't too late, though later than I'd like. Somehow I feel like I'm living the principle of bike commuting, but missing all the benefit. I mean, 3.5 miles! That's almost not even worth the sweat. I'm hoping I can take the "long" way home, though only about 7.5 miles.

New Clipless Pedals and "The Incident with the Intersection"

I am so used to eggbeaters. I love them. I have a set (or, at least some type of Crank Brothers pedal) on each of my bikes. They are super easy to clip into. (This, by the way, is called foreshadowing).

Due to a fit issue (they were too large for him), I'm lucky enough to be riding the pedals/shoes James got from Shimano to review. These shoes are very stiff. The pedal engagement is solid, but I can get out of them just fine--though I haven't had to in a real-world panic situation yet.

My only frustration is trying to get _in_ them. There's no stomp-down-on-the-pedal-until-it-clicks with these. No, the pedal has to be lined up right. Even then, it is toe-in followed by heel-down to engage. (Most of you, no doubt, think me silly for even explaining what, quite possibly, is the oldest and most fundamental system for clipless pedals. Feel free to mock, but at least wait until you read the rest. There's more fuel below.)

Allow me to present the situation, as the events unfolded:

A cyclist is stopped at a stop light. He appears to be adjusting his over-stuffed messenger bag. Both feet are disengaged from the pedals and planted firmly--or as firmly as possible on road shoes with big cleats attached--on the ground. It looks as if he believes he has all day for the light to change. He doesn't. It is green.

With confidence, he puts a foot on a pedal to start pedaling, only to realize he's got these new shoes and new pedals. He decides to just lightly place the center of his shoe on the pedal and soft-pedal it across the intersection. He, however, is used to mountain bike shoes.

In fact, this cyclist never saw the need to own a pair of road shoes. He has nice, expensive, stiff mountain shoes. What's the point in road shoes, really? He now is thinking this with much more fervor.

His road shoes have fancy shiny carbon fiber soles. They are smooth. Trying to just "stick [his] foot on the pedals and ease across the intersection" isn't a good idea. They are like "ice on ice". His foot slips. He almost has a painful encounter with his top-tube. He looks down to the pedal to get the cleat in--clearly realizing that he won't be able to just make it across un-attached. The pedal is not front-up, which happens to be the only position in which these cleats can engage in these pedals.

He tries to flip it over. He tries to get a foot in. He slips again.

"It is quite a funny site to see, really." So says one passing motorist. "That is some bike this guy has. Though, I'd trade it in for a bike I could ride all the way across the intersection. He's looking pretty mad now. It's a good thing my windows aren't down or he'd hear me laughing and probably get even more angry.

"Is he ... okay? I mean is he, you know, special?"

A few more tires. There he goes. The cyclist has one foot in. He's trying to make it through with just the right foot clipped in. He isn't even attempting the other side. His left foot is just wildly flailing in the air while the right does all the work.

Friday, May 12, 2006

This Gives Me No Comfort

This website gives me no comfort at all.

Perhaps the fact that I didn't get a ride in this morning just makes things worse. Also, due in part at least to my wrist injury, I haven't done a long ride in a number of weeks. Time to step it up a bit.

On a side note, I find that I have nothing interesting at all to say when I don't ride. Almost as if, when I ride my mind is open and full of interesting thoughts (at least, to me). When I don't ride, all I can think about is riding.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Wind

I don't like the wind very much. Especially head winds. I suppose it's pleasant if you're flying a kite in a beautiful meadow on a grassy hillside. I don't really do that very often.

Never, actually.

I have found, however, that the wind is almost* the worst thing that Mother Nature can throw at me while riding.

* I'm almost sure that being hit by lightening would be worse. Also, most forms of precipitation are worse, though a light rain on relatively dry roads isn't that bad--if it stops right away. Floods and earthquakes are worse. Volcanoes are worse. Hurricanes are worse.

I guess, an easier way to put it is that I'd take hills/mountains in any quantity over a headwind.

In thinking over my anti-wind stance, I find it odd. You see, I'm the kind of rider that doesn't often enjoy rides without hills. I look for hills to ride everywhere I go. I enjoy hill repeats. I like the challenge, and I feel like it makes me a stronger rider.

Interestingly enough, it is challenging to ride into the wind. While this makes riding up hills fun, I hate the wind. Also, riding into the wind (and trying to maintain a good speed) most definitely makes me a stronger rider. And yet--and I hope I'm not being redundant here--I hate the wind.

An Example
This morning, I headed up Provo Canyon. I didn't have much time and I didn't plan on doing any serious hill work. I just wanted to get as far as I could in the extremely limited time I had. It was uphill and against the wind. It was an evil wind, too. I could tell.

I fought hard. The entire time, I kept thinking how fast I'd need to go to complete the LOTOJA. And how there might just be wind that day. In fact, if I know the wind, there will be wind that day. I struggled. I pushed. I ran out of time and had to turn around at Vivian Park. Suddenly, the wind tried to make it all up to me.

"Hey, buddy, no hard feelings, right?"

"See [in very rare instances] we can work together. Not bad, eh?"

Then, under it's breath, "I can't blow UP the canyon this time of day! Curse him and his increased speed. If only ..."

My average speed on the way back down was fast. It felt good. I averaged 19.2 mph that ride, overall. 21 miles. I know that isn't very long. I know I've got a long way to progress, but I felt like I stuck it to the wind to average 19.2 mph.

I think the only reason why I dislike the wind so much while riding my bike is this: I ought to be going faster. It's like the bee that came after you in the outfield when you played t-ball as a kid. All anyone saw was this weirdo dancing around out in the field. You look at the road. You look at the grade. You think, "Gee, that guy ought to be going much faster. He's even got a nice bike. What's holding him back? He totally draws attention to himself with that super-bright orange jersey, too. What a weirdo."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Only in Cycling ...

"It is a very strong feeling to wear the pink jersey ..."

This was said by Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) as the leader in the Giro d'Italia. This is one of the funniest out-of-context quotes I have heard in a while. And yet, even as an amateur cyclist, I agree with him.

Speaking of pink, I think it is funny that I totally want to win this bike. If I won it, would I sell it and buy one that wasn't pink? Nope, I'd take it, pink and all. (Though, I think that pink saddle with the ribbon is a little too much for me.)

And I get heckled on my own blog because I don't shave my legs. (Note to Anonymous: I have thought about it before. Then I came to the realization that I'm not fast enough to justify the extra time spent maintaining that. Also, it would freak my wife out.)

I have a buddy that is an ex-professional football player. He was a linebacker. He's huge. His hobby is collecting guns. He hunts. He drives an old beat-up jeep. When I talk with him about cycling, it is funny to see the sport through his eyes. Not that he thinks it is ridiculous or anything, but when I step back and think about it from his perspective, I almost think we are.

I love the sport. I love the clothing. I love the bikes. I love the technology. I love the strategy, drama, suspense of professional cycling. I love the pain I suffer through. I'm totally looking forward to LOTOJA beating me up and dragging me 206 miles down a street. I even love the pink.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Groove

This morning, I got on my bike for the first time since my injury. I have been on the trainer--but that really isn't the same thing. (A notable difference: riding on the trainer sucks.) I also climbed up Squaw Peak road for the first time of the season. Here are the numbers of the actual climb--not the ride--which I got from here:

Distance: 4.33 miles.
Altitude Gain: 1680 feet

It is pretty steep most of the way, and darn steep in some places. At first, I felt myself slowing down. I managed, however, to speed up and get into my groove. It felt good. I was going at a good clip (for me)--better that the other times I've climbed it.

The Groove
The strange thing about the groove is that it is often faster than I would think. When mountain biking, I always find my groove at a higher gear than I think I can handle. I also find that if I take a break after a particularly gut-wrenching section of trail, I lose my groove. On a bike, it is after I speed up and realize that the pain is somehow more tolerable--even if more intense--at that particular speed.

Getting in the groove can sometimes be a difficult thing.

Ever been in a pace line where they were pulling a little too fast? You find yourself constantly slipping off the back, then fighting to get back on. The combined effect can kill your energy fast. Or, perhaps all your buddies are riding slower than you'd like. Either way, sometimes, riding with people makes it even harder to get in your groove. Though I love to ride with people--especially those faster than me--I do most of my riding on my own. Me against me.

Another way to miss your groove is to eat the wrong food. Or, eat too much. Or too little. I can remember a few rides in the heat of the day when I kept tasting that heavy pizza I just ate--over and over again. If I don't eat enough, I always miss my groove. This can, if you're not careful, develop into a full-blown bonk. If you bonk, you're not in your groove. I've taken to planning my before/during/after nutrition/hydration more than I used to. As a consequence, getting in my groove is easier.

It is easier to be in my groove on my road bike, than on my mountain bike. I suppose this is due to the somewhat complex nature of mountain biking. It isn't just about energy and pace with mountain biking. There's also how well I make it over obstacles in the trail, and how well my bike is running.

When your bike isn't shifting/braking/suspending well, you can't get in your groove. This doesn't necessarily mean a nicer bike helps you get there better, it only means that whatever bike you're on needs to be functioning well.

My road bike functions well almost all of the time--there is much less on it to go wrong. When things are wrong, they can often be remedied by a barrel adjuster. I love that about road bikes.

The weather can prevent me from getting in the groove. Bad weather almost always makes for a bad ride. As does bad trail/road conditions. There's a trail up in the foothills here that, when wet, turns into the worst kind of mud: thick clay. It is totally impassible when soaked. Other types of weather are tolerable, if you're prepared. A chilly morning can be bad if you planned for 75 degrees. When I plan well, I am more likely to groove.

However hard it may be to get in the groove, it is what keeps me coming back for more. Whether I'm there because of an open smooth road and a beautiful sunrise, or because I cleaned that technical section smoothly on the first try, I always have hope for that groove--The Groove. It is what gets me up early in the morning when I haven't slept enough, and what motivates me to improve my fitness and my skills. It is the only real motivator I've found to help me loose weight. It is what keeps me daydreaming throughout the day of riding.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Pros Don't Do Yardwork

I believe I have mentioned before how much I dislike riding on the trainer. Fortunately, with the weather warming and the sunrise getting earlier every day, it’s a thing of the past. Or so I thought.

The Pros Don’t Do Yardwork
I, however, am not a pro. I was doing yardwork on Saturday and wishing I was riding. I still wish that I had been riding. While digging out dead grass and laying new sod/turf, I pulled a tendon in my right wrist. It hurt only a little, so I didn’t think much of it and went about my business.

Namely, I was able to go on a ride. The weather was beautiful, and aside from some minor pain in my right wrist, I was feeling fantastic. In fact, I was pushing myself harder than usual and feeling fantastic.

Then, I got a flat. The fates were not smiling on me that day.

One of the purchases I am most proud of is my super-micro Crank Brothers pump. It is so small that I can fit it in my seat bag. Finally, I got to really use it. I was actually a little excited.

Because I am completely uncoordinated with my left hand, I began to pump up my tire with my right, as usual. Everything seemed just fine—except, of course, this nagging sharp pain in my right wrist. You see, in order to achieve a full-working pump in such a microscopic size, Crank Brothers shortened the pumps throw to about 3 inches. When using this pump, it is better to describe it as oscillating, rather than pumping.

Eventually, with much grimacing, I got enough* air in the tire to limp home. (Actually, I wasn’t limping. My legs felt fantastic thanks to a 15 minute break.)

Now it is Tuesday, and I’m wearing a splint. This particular splint has and abducted thumb. This has nothing to do with aliens. It means that not only can I not use my wrist, but I also can’t use my thumb. Another thing I can’t do: ride my bike. The only thing that keeps me from hating it is the intense pain I get when I remove it.

So, here I am back on the trainer.
I can manage the trainer, because I hardly ever have to do emergency maneuvers on it. In fact, I don’t even have to use my right hand at all—though, it isn’t making riding the trainer any nicer. I’ve learned that the downtube shifters on my trainer bike are easier to use with a splint (or, the other hand) than fancy dual-control levers.

Also, I won’t be able to ride the century this weekend. That sucks. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to replace it with a few hours on the trainer.

*Also, before my next epic long ride (100+ miles), I’m getting CO2. The Crank Brothers micro nano pump is great for emergencies, but I’m not sure I can get much more than 85 psi in my tires with it. If I actually want to continue riding, I’ll need something else. So, I’ll be carrying both.

Another thing I learned: Yardwork is evil.