Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irrational Numbers

Bicycling can become a numbers game.  How many miles till town?  How many have we ridden?  How many miles have you got for the year?  It's the Mayor's Ride, have you gotten 2K in yet?  This year yes.  Often to keep my mind off the pain and misery I do math in my head why riding, which is a bitch because I am a visual person.  Simple problems like 33.5 plus 15.9 plus 128.  All miles.  So I believe my last update I was lamenting an irrational number, 16.363636363636363636363636.....

That was the amount of miles that I needed to ride everyday until the end of the month to obtain a new August mileage record.  Reasonable for some people but it was still something like 180 miles to get in less than two weeks.  Plenty of time if one did not have a job, children to feed, ailing grandmother in the hospital with her bipolar and diabetic daughter at her bedside.  180 was an irrational number not in the scientific sense of the term but in my world.

Somehow.  I did it.  The next day I swung the axe and knocked 50 miles off that bastard.  (A carbon fiber axe with Shimanos entry level race group.  My Campy bike is not ready.)  That was three days worth of 16.36363636363636363636.....  When I did the math afterwards it gave me a rational number, just one digit past the dot.

That week I swung the axe more, mostly grocery getting on my singlespeed.  Riding to work then Windsor Heights Hy Vee is a 23 mile round trip.  I think I did two of those.  Daily trips to the hospital to visit Granny added about 5 per trip.  I remember grabbing the pump and a tube to intercept Mary and fix her flat outside Woody's Smoke Shack AFTER a Hy Vee run, 34 miles.

So it added up quickly.  I reached my goal early, perhaps 5 days remaining.  Bonus miles.  Bonus numbers.  I managed to get over 600 miles for the month of August.  Quite I feat I must admit, not meaning to brag.  After all it is the hottest month.  It is the month that begins when Ragbrai ends and I am sick of biking.  Busted body, broken bikes.  But yet I accomplished a new record, something to strive for next year and the year after that....

Since tracking my mileage, I have reached 500 miles only 3 times for August.  My log goes back to 1994.  This is the 7th year that I had 200 or more for this month.  There are years that I had 0 miles for August.  Now over 600.  Next year is gonna be fun!

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