Posts Tagged ‘Illness’

Thing’s are a-changin’

Right, then…

First off, summer is here [finally].  After some bullshit weather (rain, cold) into the beginning of June, it’s officially been Hotter Than Balls the past couple of days.  I think it will continue through tomorrow, then go back to normal temps.  But at least it’s not raining, which is good.

So, now that we have good weather, I should be out riding and running, right?  Well, yes, that is what I would normally be doing, but I’m back to this stupid fucking chest cold again.  This is the third time this year I’ve had this.  I think I had this in April, then it came back in late May.  Then, my concern was that I wouldn’t be well enough to ride Tour de Cure in June, but I got better right before that.  Rode the tour, then started a great week of running (logged 21 miles) including sprints and some distance.  The plan was to then shift back to the bike and get some hills in (my normal Foothill/Moody Rd route)…

…then, I got sick again.  Fuck.  Of course, now that I know one should not exercise with a chest cold I’m back down to doing nothing, which sucks.  Frustrating in that it seem that whenever I start to make progress, I get sick again.  The reason I’m working out and not drinking and all that is to avoid this shit – now it’s happening more often.  Bugger.

So that’s that.  I mean, I’ll get better and be back on the road soon enough, but I just had to bitch about it.

In other news, I got a room in a house up in Millbrae.  I originally was going to head back to Fremont, but someone suggested the peninsula would be a nice place to live, to which I agreed.  I chose Millbrae as it has a BART/CalTrain station right there and is generally a nice place to be.  Near the house is a reservoir (drinking water, so I can’t paddle or swim in it) that has trails that I can bike and run.  Better still, we’re only about a 15 min drive (1 hour bike ride) to Pacifica.  I guess it’s time to take those surfing lessons I’ve been threatening to take.  Also, Millbrae has a little downtown area, down the hill.  As for hills, I’ll definitely be able to get my hill repeats in – a check of MapMyRide shows that Millbrae Ave has a steadily increasing hill starting at 0 and increasing to 13% grade over 1.6 miles.  That will get the heart going.

In other words, I’m moving.  There will be an overlap in July which sucks, but that’s life.  I’d rather do that then try to be out of one place and in to another all in one day.

In the meantime, I’m looking at stuff I need to get rid of.  I see no point in storing anything as I’ll wind up paying more for storage than I would just buying new stuff whenever I get my own place again.  A yard sale is in the works to get rid of the big stuff (desk, storage cabinet – I already sold the table and couch to some friends) and small stuff (electric guitar, other assorted items).

The move has caused a desire to de-clutter.  Also, as I’m trying to watch my dollars closer (getting out of debt would be nice) I’m looking at the minimalist/frugality aspect of things.  It’s interesting.  Not sure how far I’ll go in to this, but some things are worth trying.  I mean, I don’t see myself reusing paper towels or anything, but I might try some new things.

By the way, minimalism and frugality are not synonymous.  Minimalism is more about the aesthetic of not having a lot of clutter; cost is not a concern in this case.  Contrarily, frugality is getting maximum value out of an item; in this case cost is a point of consideration, but only in relation to the objects longevity.  More to the point, the difference is this:

Minimalism:  I simply must get an iPad so I can read books.

Frugality:  I can check books out at the library

I go through this every now and again, but wind up abandoning it when I’m hurried for time.  Then again, I’ve changed in recent years, so maybe I’m at that point where I can make it stick.  Regardless, it’s always good to declutter – less stuff to lug about (and dust).

On to bikes.  The Bobby J is still sitting in the corner.  My overarching goal is to poach the good stuff from the Dawes and make the Bobby J my randonneuring bike and the Dawes my upright tool around bike.  As I’m moving, my goal now is to strip the desired parts off of the fixed gear Dawes and put it on the Bobby J – the purpose of which is twofold:  1)  It’s cheaper, and 2) the sooner I strip the Dawes frame, the sooner I can possibly sell/donate it and thus not lug it up to the new place.  That’s the thought at least.

Well, enough of this.  I probably should be getting about my day.  Lots of stuff to do…



Right, then…

It’s been – what?  About two weeks since the doctor told me to knock off any running and a good five weeks since this whole thing started.  Yesterday, I was finally able to go for a run.  A slow and short run, mind you (2.9mi at 10:24) but a run no less.  Amazing how much conditioning I’ve lost.

The good news is that I’m better.  The bad news is that I have some makeup to do. I still have a lingering cough, but I think that will clear out over time.

…and fortunately, the weather has been good to help me re-entry.

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Right, then…

This morning, I woke up and felt like I normally feel after taking meds.  I see this as a good sign that my condition is improving.  In fact, I think it would be a good motto for life:  “Strive to feel like you’ve taken your meds.”

So, while I’m still a bit enfermo, I’m ascending from it, which is good.

Now – on to other things…I finally got down to Willow Glen Bikes to order a front rack and a handlebar bag for the Dawes.  For the bag, I’m going with the Velo Orange Champagne bag.

I was going to go with an Axiom rack that would match (more or less) the rear rack on the bike, but I was talked into ordering a Nitto rack from Rivendell.  It’s a little more than I wanted to spend, but a) it looks good and b) I hear that Grant and the gang had a lean month, so I’m more than willing to do my part to keep a high-quality builder going.  Besides – it’s a good rack.

Also, after talking to Tahn, I’m going to put the original wheels with the 28’s back on.  Yes the Wheelsmith set is lighter, but I can’t get much over 25’s on them and the ride is too harsh for what I want that bike to be.  Right now, the handling is akin to when Hunter S. Thompson pumped The Whale’s tires up to 75psig – you feel every pebble and the handling is skittish.

Regardless, I reckon the bag and the rack will be in within a week or so, so hopefully, I’ll have a nice new configuration in a couple of weeks.  Then, it will be time to start toying with randonneuring.

Now – I’ve been looking for a go faster bike.  I originally was going to get something earlier this year, but some high dollar work was pushed out until 2011, so I held off.  Now, I just got a good check and am back to looking more seriously.  What also changed this was the fact that Willow Glen Bikes just started selling Raleighs.

In the olden days, Raleigh was a nice, English brand with a good reputation.  Then – like Dawes – they were sold to the Chineses.  (Chineses being plural for Chinese).  As a function of this, the build quality – like Dawes – summarily shit the bed, and as such, Raleigh was relegated to box stores and such.  I guess in the recent years, someone determined that this fate would not do for such a marque, so they bought the Raleigh brand and – apparently – started building some damn nice bikes.  What’s better is that they’re still humble – their marketing folks realized that they need to re-earn their reputation.  As a function of that, said damn nice bikes are also reasonably priced.  So now, I find myself at the point where I can afford a bike, again.

My original thought was to go for the Grand Prix.  520 Reynolds chromoly lugged frame, Tiagra components.  $1100

…and it’s red.  My concern was that I already have a steel, lugged bike – I did not want to spend more money to get more of what I already have.

After doing some research, I learned that at that same price point, there was also more of a hard-core racing type bike – the Revenio 3.0.  This has an aluminum frame, carbon forks and 105 components, which is fairly impressive for an $1100 bike.

This, naturally, is lighterer and fasterer and modernerer than the Grand Prix.  One drawback – the green tires.  I’m not exactly sure what that’s all about, to be honest.  They remind me of The Green Machine I had, growing up in the 70’s.

So, after doing lots of internet research, I decide it’s time to talk to Tahn.  The nice thing about Tahn is that he’s a bike guy.  Not a roadie, or a mountain biker or a commuter or a cyclocrosser or a fixter or a track bike guy…he’s just in to all bikes.  Further – and this disturbs me, vaguely – I think he probably knows me a little better than I know myself.  Then again, I’d rather that person be a benevolent entity, so I’m doing OK, here.

Tahn, after patiently listening to my blathering, proffered a third option.  The Record Ace.

Sigh.  I don’t blame him, but it seems that ever since I’ve gotten in to this crack habit, whatever amount of money I plan on spending, turns out to be woefully inadequate.  To be fair, this is the better value, over time.  First, with the Revenio, I’d have to replace the frame and fork after 5 years – aluminum frames have the potential to crack; carbon forks are notorious for sudden catastrophic failure.  Why not go with the Grand Prix, then?  Remember that was fitted with Tiagra components.  The conversation revolved around upgrading components over time.  A good idea, but the logic fails when you consider that Raleigh gets serious quantity price breaks on the gruppo’s they buy; LBS’s do not get nearly that much of a discount.  Thus, it’s actually cheaper to buy the upgraded gruppo up front.

But, I realize that I haven’t described the bike.  Steel 520 Reynolds tubing, lugged frame, Brooks saddle, Ultegra components – $1800.

Well, hell.  Being that – properly fitted and not factoring in nasty events such as stealage or total destroyosity – this bike could rightly last the rest of my life, it’s not such a bad deal.

The only teensy downfall is that this is a 2011 model…and WGB does not have it in stock yet…

…which is probably a good thing as I’m still at least a week out from being able to run or ride…

Oh, this is gonna suck…

Right, then…

Yesterday I finally got back in to things.  I rode to work…a little slower than normal, but it’s a start.  Still clearing out my lungs.  That said, I made it in reasonably good form.  Then, being Wednesday, there was the running group.  3.5 miles.  Oh, holy shit, I am fucked.

Sometimes after I haven’t been running the legs will be a little stiff and sore for a bit, but then loosen up as they get warmer.  Not this time – everything was sore the entire time.  Further, my left hip/glute was sending signals of extreme displeasure – almost like the hip joint or lower back needed to be cracked.  All the while, I’m – again – clearing various, disgusting semi-solids from my lungs.

While I did not time myself, we calculated that I did the run in about 35 minutes, or a 10 minute mile.  I think I remember doing this last at 9:20.  That said, I did complete the loop, running the entire time, so there’s that.

Of course, as I rode in, I rode home.  My but that sweat-soaked shirt was cold.

All in all the entire exercise was simultaneously good and bad for the ego.  If nothing else, it’s going to take a bit for me to get back in shape – illness that was preceded by laziness is not good for conditioning.  Naturally, I’m heading to Chicago tomorrow, so there won’t be much rigorous exercise until next Wednesday.

Welp – that’s life, I reckon…

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October and vanity

[Authors Note:  This post was originally written on October 19, 2010, but has been sitting in draft mode as I had run out of creative juices.  It’s now late November and I have more creative juices, thank you.]

Right then…

It seems that since summer showed up in June, it is determined to hang out until November, as summers typically last about five months in California.  To attest to this fact, it is – on October 12, about 88F.  Tomorrow, we’re looking at 92F.

So I ask the studio audience – precisely what the shit is this?   OK, yes, I realize that I was bitching about rain and overcast weather in May, but…that was May.  All this hot shit should have been done with by now.

Of course, as I’m typing this, I realize that I have forgotten about Indian Summer, where it gets unseasonably/unreasonably hot in October, before dipping in to Fall.  But it’s not that we actually have Fall in California – there’s just this period where we wear shorts and sweatshirts at the same time.  Now, after this unnamed period, there’s the period where we go to the snow.  In other places (like those with the snow that we go to) this is known as Winter.  The only real way we know it’s Winter is that there is less daylight and we can’t reasonably sleep with the windows open for a while.

But this is all academic, actually.

Personally, I’ve been going through one of my weird phases.  I have a fairly decent arsenal of interests in my quiver that I tend to rotate through – sometimes with frightening frequency.  A lot of these are somewhat seasonal or pertain to travel – I would not normally go sailing in November, unless I’m in the tropics.  Snowboarding in the summer has proven to be somewhat lacking.  I’ve never done any cold-weather kayaking, but it’s entirely a possibility.  All that said, I’m in sort of a lull.  I’m not sure what I’m interested in.

During the back half of the summer, my riding and running was severely off step.  I just wasn’t into it.  Even the commute to work was thrown off by the fact that I was not able to get out of be early enough to get things together and ride in.  Of course, things have picked up over the last week or so.   After having some work done to the bike, I’ve started setting my alarm so that I can get my ass out of bed and get to work.  On Friday I did a 26 mile ride to test out the new triple-chainring crank I just had installed (and summarily learned that I’ve lost some conditioning).  Sunday was kayaking in Monterey and yesterday I did mountain biking up at the Saratoga Gap (a place I have not been in almost 10 years).

I’m not sure the cause of this flurry of activity.  I was considering doing a ride today, but something told me that I should chill out a bit.

Part of that, I think might be the chronic injury that I have to my left Achilles.  I find that it’s fine when I’m good and lazy, but as soon as I do something (run, bike), it starts aching later that day (and gets worse the next morning).  I find this disturbing and somewhat irritating – it’s like my body likes it when I lie around and do nothing.  Hell, for that matter, I like it when I lie around and do nothing.  All of this running and biking and hiking and what have you is done in order to keep me in some sort of reasonable shape, so I can continue to eat and drink beer and not resemble an elephant seal.

Yes, folks – we now know the real reason why I subject myself to these things:  Vanity.   I’m vain.  In fact, I’m so vain, I probably think the song is about me, I’m so vain.

So, as you can see, it’s a bitch when the thing that I’m trying to keep looking somewhat good (my body) turns against me and prevents me from doing the things that help keep it looking good.

In addition to this, I’m fighting off a cold and bronchitis [which I learned after I had started writing this].  So not only are there mechanical issues, I also can’t get enough air in, anyhow.

What complete, utter bullshit.  Oh, well.  Time for a beer, I reckon.

Stupid Bollocks Cold…

Right, then…

OK, let’s get down to the brass tacks – I’ve been lazy.  No real good reason – just lazy.  OK, fair enough.  That said, the past week, I’ve been getting back into things again – running and biking.  Hell, I even went mountain biking on the Saratoga Gap Trail, and I haven’t done that in almost 10 years…

….now, I have some stupid chest cold, and I’m pissed.  Motivation has always been an issue with me.  It takes a lot to get me going and it seems that once I get going on a nice rhythm, something comes up and jacks my shit:  Work, travel or sickness.

I’m heading to Fresno, tomorrow.  Might as well get two shitty things done at once…

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