Friday, July 14, 2006

MORNING RIDE--Its Always Something.
(actual picture of White Pine Trail that we ride on.)

I have gotten to love the early morning rides, but its one of those things that unless you are 100% organized the night before, you are cutting yourself short. Trying to get to the park and on the road by 6:30 am or sooner shouldn't be that hard, but something always seems to happen to delay getting rolling.

Today I was actually making good time and got to the park before 6:30. Normally there is no one around other than the few zoo workers starting to straggle in, a striking contrast to Saturdays when the weekend warriors descend upon the park to meet up for rides or runs. There was only one old man out looking around at the duck pond. I tried not to make eye contact to avoid striking up any conversation. Not enough time for that! Got my bike out, chain is off. Quickly fix that with a turn of the pedals. Good. Get the water bottle, cell phone, and shoes. Put on the helmet. Too loose. What, did my head shrink or something?? Adjust that. Get that on and the old man comes walking over. Not now, please, I think. "Good morning, nice time to ride. Its supposed to rain later." "Yes, that's why I'm going now." "Where you riding?" "On the other side of the river to the boat launch and back and then some." "How far is that?" "Uh, I'm not sure (reminded now that my bike computer still does not work--crap!)." "Don't you have a computer on that thing?" "Uh yeah, but its not working right." Okay, goobye.

Off I go and then realize I am in the middle chain ring. Try to shift to the big ring and it won't go. Didn't I just go through this a few weeks back?? Okay, try again. This time, not only did it not go, the pedals "froze"--wouldn't turn. Okay, fix that before you crash dummy. Try again, same thing. Okay, let's just go a little farther and maybe it will work itself out. Get to the pedestrian bridge over the river and out of nowhere 3 squirrels scramble in front of me. They always run in packs it seems. Back and forth they scurry, trying to get out of my way, while I am trying not to run over one of them and crash. Stupid things. Just jump off the bridge or something!

Get to the other side of the river and try to shift again. Again, pedals freeze. Great. I can't afford a crash out here in the middle of nowhere, so stay in the middle ring. At least it is manageable. Then I start hearing a scraping. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Hmm, it is obviously the derailleur, so maybe I can "bend" it a little. Well the problem wasn't the chain as I thought but the pedal scraping the derailleur. I can't mess with that so will have to keep going. That may be why it wouldn't shift.

Added to all these problems is the fact that my bike computer STILL doesn't work. I had it looked at and calibrated at the last race. It wasn't right then so took it into the bike shop last weekend. "Oh its all set, back to zero, blah blah blah." Apparently they were more interested in selling me a bike fit than making sure my computer worked because it is still about 6mph off on speed, and the distance is all off. I can't really figure that out at all. Its nice to see my speeds averaging 21-23 mph on a regular ride, but I'm smart enough to know that even on my best day, going downhill with a tailwind, I would not be averaging 21-23 mph.

Then toward the end of the ride, I see what looks like a puddle to the side of the road. I am trying to figure out where this came from when I notice in front of me GLASS everywhere. Too late, I have to ride through it. The "puddle" turned out to be a huge pile of broken glass, probably from a car window or something. I had better not get a flat tire because of this, so close to the end of the ride too. And then, with a short term memory lapse, road through the stuff again on the way back. Jeez.

So I'm glad I get this stuff figured out today since I am planning on a tri (Clark Lake) this weekend. I have wanted to do this for the past several years, and with one thing or another have not been able to. With everyone else at Muncie this weekend, I decided on the spur of the moment to sign up, quickly before they filled. More on the race later. I will now need to get the bike into the shop tonight and get this stuff looked at or at the latest tomorrow morning. I can deal with the computer being off if I have to, but I would rather not have a chain problem and not be able to shift. And I had better not have any glass stuck in my tires either!

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