Saturday, June 20, 2015

Return of the Soho

Things were going quite well.  1860 miles from mid-February to May.  No issues to speak of.  Then the wobble in the rear wheel.  Perhaps it was time to take it in.  I did do a curb recently.  I do tend to overload the bike on grocery runs.  True the wheel.  The chain was sagging a bit and probably stretched to its limit as i already pulled the wheel back to add tension.  The Soho had a lot of miles on it very quickly.

But Spring is a bad time of year to take a bike to the LBS of origin.  Too many people take theirs in for the "I have not ridden this bike since Ragbrai" tune up and repairs are backed up to two weeks.  Fortunately, Thomas recognized my name and knows that I ride.  I could get it in and out in a day.  Sweet.  Then I got greedy.  "Switch the 19T cog out for a 22 since you have the wheel off."  I wanted more low end for climbs and acceleration.  Gears 5 through 7 are rarely used.  It's a commuter so top end high speed will not be missed.

I rode the bike to the shop.  Stopped at the car wash to blast the mud off of it as it had been a wet filthy Spring.  Let the mechanics work on the bike instead of cleaning it.  That's the nice thing to do.  Made arrangements for Craig to pick me up from the shop.

It was done as promised.  Cog switched, brake cables lubed.  Chain was tightened instead of replaced as the Shimano tool and ruler indicated that it was still good.  The rear wheel was fine.  The culprit was the rear tire was bulging and they replaced it with a donor tire.  Same brand, same model Bontrager H2 with reflective sidewalls.  I asked to speak to the mechanic for the 411 I really needed when I purchased the bike.  Removal of wheels is what I needed to know.  How to do this.  He showed me.  Less complicated than I thought but still more difficult than a bike with quick release or even a standard single speed.  The Nexus 7 speed hub and Shimano roller brakes are the reason it is difficult.  its the price of wanting a weather proof bike.  I took the front wheel off and place it in the car and drove home without testing riding.  What a mistake.

The bike felt like a fixed gear bike.  The crank always moved even when coasting.  I called Bike World and spoke to Steve since I trusted and knew him.  "Loosen the tension on the chain."  I did, no joy.  Basically put 10 miles on the bike before taking the wheel back.  The lock ring on the rear hub came loose and I did not know how to lock it up properly.  They showed me and off I went.

Now realize that I am slow.  Since I have other bikes the Soho was placed on the back burner.  This is taking weeks.  But I used this time to practice taking the wheel off and practice adjusting chain tension and practice locking the lock ring.  Still no joy as the bike acted like a fixie and the lock ring came undone.  Time to take it in again.  Something is wrong with the hub.

Loaded the bike in the car and took the rear wheel off Mary's pink bike since it had two broken spokes after 5000 miles since September.  Like bad customers, we showed up unannounced and without appointment. "Fix this please, these are the symptoms."  "Right away, sir.  We can get Pinkie's wheel done now if you have a half an hour.  For the Soho it may be Monday if we have to get a washer or part."  "No hurry, I have spare bikes."  It was a pleasant experience.  I was prepared to read the Riot Act but was in a good mood and acted in a civilized manner.  The text about the Pinkie's wheel beeped the phone before we got home.  It was fixed and cleaned up.  Yeah, it was a filthy wheel.

Pinkie.  Mary's single speed Windsor.  Her commuter.

The call came Friday.  Wheel from floor bike was placed on while we wait for bearings from Shimano to arrive.  Bearing must have gone bad when cog was replaced.  No charge.  Pick it up on your leisure.  Exchange wheels and tire when it gets here.  A week to the minute!

We were almost ready to call them having not heard about the bike.  My Trek 2200 road bike became the commuter.  My bagger bikes are in various states of disrepair.  One would think that I'd be motivated now to get at least one of them running.  But I am lazy and the 2200 is fast and pleasurable to ride.  I did miss the ability to stop at Windsor heights Hy Vee and overload a bike with groceries.  Instead I waited until I got home and hitched the Burley to the Bianchi and rode to Fareway.  Mary missed this, too, me bringing home groceries after work.

Om my way to Fareway.  Des Moines River Trail.  this trail was flooded earlier this week but the water is gone the the mud cleared away

We drove out to pick it up.  The other option was to ride the tandem to Bike World and solo home on it while Mary rode the Soho.  Too humid for that.  92F and high humidity.  I hated walking out to the car!

Well, the bike worked great!  Did some shopping on it:  B&B, Grazianos and Fareway.  After dinner Mary and I went on a cruise to check out the remnants of the flooded trails.  The Bill Riley trail is fine although more dirt and mud removal would be greatly appreciated.  We then stopped at Gray's Lake and watched the sunset and the lightning to the south of Des Moines while enjoying a chilled bottle of moscato.  It was good to have a functioning bike with bags again!  Now I have to take the Trek's rear wheel in for a true after the raccoon incident or Ingersoll abuse.

Back in 1991 I asked a mechanic what the number one issue for Ragbrai bike repairs was.  Wheels.  Damn, how I believe him now.  What a learning experience.  I knew it from the start that this bike would be more difficult but I am glad that Bike World took the time to explain how this thing operates.

The Bianchi and the Soho at B&B

Friday, June 19, 2015

So I Ran Over a Raccoon...

Ingersoll Ave. Waterbury neighborhood.  1994 Trek 2200 carbon frame.  5am.

Just crossed Polk Blvd after the climb and built some speed up for the smoothest stretch of road of the commute.  Scoot ass back and place hands in the drops, flatten back.  not oridinary drops but Scott Drop-Ins now banned for racing.  More aero but a bit flexy but much faster than oridinary drops.  I was not going for speed, just wanted to relax and make up a few seconds, listen to the Campy hub zing as I coasted.

3 raccoons cross the street about 20 meters in front of me as I close the distance, still accelerating.  The out of the corner of my eye the fourth critter makes his/her way.  I shall call it Elmer because this raccoon was a little slow.

Still in the drops I veer to the right a bit hoping that some space would be created.  THUNK, THUD and a sort of squeak guttural noise from Elmer that I can only assume was "ouchie" in raccoon language.

Silence except for the zing of the hub.  Still upright, bike is rolling at 28 mph and smooth.  No animal cries in the background.  Keep going.  I am no vet.  Raccoons are not going extinct nor hold the secrets to curing cancer diabetes or HIV.

I stopped in a bay at the car wash to look things over.  Rear wheel could use a true but was it the raccoon that caused this or 1200 miles of commuting this year.  Ingersoll is rough.  the Clive Greenbelt is rough too.  Wheel not rubbing  on anything nor is there blood on the spokes.  6 more miles to ride to work.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rain Rides

Why not?  Earlier in the month I needed a photo of my bike next to a pig for Bicycle Ride&Seek.  I was too lazy to ride here at night.  But taking Ingersoll in the morning presented this opportunity

Someone take these rains away and point me to a dryer day....

honestly, since changing my life style to ditch the car ride bicycles to work I have been extremely lucky in terms of weather.  Sure, its get bone chilling, life hating cold during winter but I have adapted and have not reached my Absolute Zero.  I love to ride in the snow and some of my favorite commuting moments were when a snow storm totally obliterated car commuting, stranding 1000s in their cages while I rode in a beautiful peaceful world laughing at the lemmings.  But rain is my nemesis.  I dislike it.   I have no passion of my hatred for it.  it can rain all it ants while I sleep and work just not when I need to ride to and fro work.  Also, not when Mary has to ride.  This may be do for my inability to find the perfect rain gear or the fact that rain seeps through everything faster than snow.  But I have been lucky and commuting to work in a violent thunderstorm has not happened.

Another thing about rain, it closes trails and I am forced to ride on the streets.  i do not like this.

Usually what happens is that I wake up and it is raining.  I piss and moan about it but by the time I leave the house it is all over or light enough that I no longer bitch about it.  I will wake up and immediately fire up the radar and make my plan:  GTFO now or time it so I will avoid the worst of it.  Last week the radar looked exactly as Ed Wilson forecasted on Channel 13.  But it did not move east quickly and I was able to get to work relatively dry.  I do have the option of showering at work.  that is if i want to see old naked men in a shower.  but I have several days of clean work clothing and a clean and dry set of biking clothes ready in case such an occasion arrives.

Lately it has been raining quite a bit.  Also it is extremely humid and does not cool down much at night.  humidity + heat = rain gear makes me wet from sweating.  I have been known to leave rain gear at home because it really does not help.

Today I wore the jacket.  I also wore sandals because they dry faster than shoes.  Knowing that my trails were flooded i took to the streets.  I do not like this because despite cutting a mile off the commute it takes longer.  Also the streets are filthy compared to a non-flooded trail.  traffic lights as well.  They suck since bicycles cannot trigger a light change.  So I took Ingersoll to the Walnut Creek Trail avoiding the two known flooded areas.

After climbing this road to Polk Blvd the downhill began.  Normally I would have been smiling.  Not today.  the rain picked up and my glasses were spotty.   This stretch is dark and some street lights were not working.  And the road was wet.  I was hoping that my 700x25 Connie Gatorskins at 110 psi would keep their grip.  I was also hoping that the photons leaving my light would bounce back if there were bike crashing objects in my path.  Somehow I made it to Grand Ave and entered the Walnut Creek trail at the car wash.

Walnut Creek trail underneath 63rd St bridge.  the aftermath of this morning's flooding.  Slime!  The water was up to my BB.

Here I had three options.  1 roll on to Wal mart and Buffalo Rd IF Walnut Creek did not flood the trail at 63rd St.  If the trail was flooded I could have turned around and rolled back to Grand Ave and climbed that to 8th St and either took Ashworth to work of enjoyed the downhill to Buffalo Rd and resume commute as normal.  Or I could have back tracked to the Waveland Trail and taken the old detour across Grand.

My glasses were almost useless in the rain.  I should have taken them off.  it was dark and I did not see the water over the trail.  I heard it and pushed on.  Do not stop keep on going and hope there is not a hidden log.  My feet dipped under the water with each down stroke.  The water may have been up to the bottom bracket.  Too late.  It was over in seconds.  I did not crash or slip.  Three thoughts hit me.  first, won't be taking this on the way home.  Second, if the BB shits out I'll get an uber replacement for it.  third, thank god this is Iowa because there are no alligators or poisonous water snakes to worry about in flood water.

The rest of the way was uneventful.  Lost a mile, lost some time but got to work early enough to clean up and enjoy coffee before having to become responsible.

There was no way that I was going to take my usual route home.  the Clive Greenbelt is notorious for large deep rain puddles and mud from recent improvements.  Being on the north shore of Walnut Creek I knew that the low spots would be flooded as well.  I could not get any of the runners and joggers at work to investigate this for me.  Street action: Westown Pkwy.

I appreciate art.  Guide One Insurance on Ashworth.  Taking new routes provides new things to look at.

The rain had stopped.  I took Westown all the way past Valley West Mall and then took a right on 28th to catch Ashworth. Then a right on 8th and a left on Grand and then another left to get to Ingersoll.  No trails til the bitter end.  Done this before.  no one honked or tried to kill me or suggestion that I break the law and ride on the side walk.  Traffic was light and I made it home alive.

Going to be a long week until the rivers and creeks calm down.  Anyone seen doing a rain dance will be shot or sent to southern California.  Mid June and every trail is closed.  Welcome to Iowa!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June High Trestle Ride

It was time for some serious miles.  Been too long since my last century.  It is June and 20 to 30 mile rides are not long enough.  Next month we will be on Ragbrai and I do not want to suffer.

We picked the Trestle as a destination because we had not been there all year.  Other options were a ride to Lacona, Iowa, but I was not quite at 100% health thus not ready for hills.  the Chichaqua Trail and Baxter, Iowa, should be next week.

Head straight north from home.  Took the Neal Smith Trail via the Principal River Walk noting that the river was very, very high.  could be our last trip on the PRW.  Instead of taking the trail to Polk City as in the past we took the Ankeny Connector to Oralabr Rd and then turned north at the Git n Go at Irvingdale Rd.  This last part cuts off much of the urban inconvenience of the High Trestle Trail.  The road is a 4 lane and goes past the John Deere plant.  There is a sidepath available for those that prefer to stay off the street.  Eventually the HTT is intercepted and we took a left on it.  The Oasis is 4.9 miles away from this point.

Now getting to this section was interesting.  First, Farmers Market was happening in downtown Des Moines which brings out the crowds.  The what I dubbed the "Dumpling Run" was happening.  Groups of 8 or so runners/walkers were on the trail busting their asses and breathing heavily.    Also groups of bicyclists were heading downtown.  Crowded trail.  At Lutheran Hospital on the wooden bridge we watch a woman loose control of her bike and  land on her thigh as the bike slipped on the wet bridge.  A kid behind her did the same thing a mere fraction of a second later.  Had we been 2 seconds ahead of ourselves she would have knocked us over like bowling pins.  Scary.  I slowed down as this happened and when i resumed pedaling I could feel my rear wheel busting loose but my bike stayed upright and moved forward not sideways.  Yesterday's rain, mud, slime, pollen ect.  Bad wet surface.

Finally we disappeared into the canopy of the NST.  I settled down to a slow pace.  yesterday was not a good day for me.  My chest was still bother me and I did not want to push myself and renew the soreness of my bronchial tubes.  Mary pulled ahead.  Occasionally I was passed.  finally a group of 6 people passed and then settled down at a speed a fraction slower than mine.  That was it.  Three upshifts in succession and, 'left!" and I busted my move and caught up with Mary.  I don't mind being passed but for the love of God don't slow me down.  These were not the asses I wanted to see.  Never saw them again.

John Deere tractor at a john Deere factory.  Ankeny, Iowa.

We stopped at the Git n Go and I quickly consumed an entire bottle of Gatorade.  I hit my bottle only once thus far and that was after climbing up to Oralabor Rd.  Time to head north and catch the HTT.  We did stop at the John Deere plant because I needed a photo of a john Deere tractor for FB's Bicycle Ride&Seek game.  What a better photo than a JD tractor at a JD factory!  It came out a bit dark.  Hard to take photos in an overcast sky sky while wearing sunglasses.

There is signage alerting drivers and us about the trail.  And we saw a few bikes cross the road.  It was good to be on the trail.  No more cars to worry about although we were only passed by a handful and nobody yelled, honked, swerved at us or threatened us in any manner.  The Oasis would be our next stop.  We did, however, stop for a photo of a John Deere tractor parked next to the trail.  Back up in case the other photo was poor.

John Deere tractor.  Not visible are many turkey decoys and wagon wheels.

Nothing much to report about that High Trestle Trail.  there were a few people at the Nigh Hawk at 11 am.  the Flat Tire Lounge was packed and I had no desire to stop there.  Crossing the highway was painful as traffic was thick.  Worse on the return trip.

The final 2.5 miles is always crowded with bikes going both ways.  The Trestle is a major destination and attraction.  I call it Iowa's pyramid.  Just when you think that bikes would be the only thing we'd have to deal with large groups of walkers appear.  Take it slow.  Announce your presence and watch mother hen grab the small wandering child out of the way.  This was our umpteenth visit.  We did not stay long.  Took about two photos of the bikes and then rolled on to Woodward.

"You Ought to be Here" the sigh reads.  One of two photos I took while at the Trestle.  I must be bored with photographing this place.

Decision time.  Mary asked if we should roll on to the Raccoon Trail and take that way home.  That would have been a great way to return but 3+ miles of gravel, wet gravel on bikes with new tires, one with a new chain and cassette warranted a cleaner return.  We decide to back track but turn off at Polk City and take the Neal Smith Trail home from there.  Skip Ankeny.  This also provided an opportunity to take a photo of the red wagon on highway 210.  Needed it for Ride&Seek.  Also, Subway in Polk City since we have been living on PowerBars since leaving home.  Well, one each.

Big red wagon along 210.  we saw it from the trail but had to get on the highway.  Too many people at the houses surrounding this wagon for me to get closer for a better photo.

Funny how you see the same people on the return trip now going the other way.  Also saw several groups of bikes in double pace lines.  I gave no quarter.  I can be a trail hog, too.

The NST was the same as I remember it.  Short steep climbs, many sharp turns.  We had not been on this part in quite sometime.  After finding a different and faster way to get to the HTT we lost interest in this section.  Mary also commented that we had not ridden all the way to Big Creek in something like 15 years,  True, nothing there but the beach.  Leaving the marina we came across 3 boys on skateboards divebombing the trail.  Fast and furious, it looked like fun, dangerous fun.

Then we hit Fat Man's Curve.  Named after one of those 90 degree turns to a steep downhill that goes by a pond and a steep climb and another sharp turn.  I think there were 2 of these a decade ago but then the powers that be eliminated one when the trail was modified.  The story goes that we were on the fast drp and climb and about ready to make the 90 degree turn when a very overweight man in a pink shirt suddenly appeared and we narrowly avoided colliding with him.  Probably an apparition of myself but we labeled this spot and laugh about it every time we ride through.  No one today.

The problem with the NST is that it is incorporated into the Saylorville park system.  This causes the trail to dip into campgrounds and take round about ventures thus creating a desire to seek alternative routes.  For example, the sign leaving Polk City says that Des Moines is 16 miles away but it is like 20 on the trail.  But I like to take this trail in the spring and fall.  Eventually we reached Des Moines.

Since we left the river was overtaking the NST at the 6 Ave bridge and on the Principal River Walk.  1/2 hour after getting home the city closed the river walk.  We barely made it.  Today we would have to take 6th Ave to head to Ankeny.

83 miles.  I felt better as the day progressed.  don't know when i will return but I hope it is at night.

Should have made the effort to finish the century.  i did switch bikes and make a 7 mile grocery run after returning.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Never Trust A Stranger on a Bicycle

The following incident was totally my fault.  Mary said it 2 miles earlier, Sundays are bad days to ride because the trails are full of "the less experienced, "newbies" and what I call nachwachts (literally new growths)."  But we were not on the trail.  We were on Ingersoll Ave heading to Joe & Tammy's yard sale.  The road.  The streets.  No room for novice error.  Full game on, sensors on maximum.

There were quite a few bikes out.  most were bunched up at the intersection of 15th and MLK waiting for the trail to pass.  We opted to continue to old Fleur and go over the train.  15th would be a madhouse once the train got out of the way.  Weaving our way to Ingersoll we stopped at the red light at the MLK intersection.

There were 2 bikes there when we arrived.  A man and a woman on roadies.  Just wait for the light to turn green and give the crowd a laugh as we positioned for the narrow bike lane.  Then they were off.  Raise foot off pavement, shove off and click into the pedal and be grateful that I remembered to downshift before stopping.  While I was doing this I was watching the woman struggle on her white bike.  A little wobbly, rat trap pedals and starting in big ring.  I bet knee doctors love people like her.  She was half way across when she got her shit together and commenced forward with confidence.  That's when I looked up.

The light was red.  I am halfway through the intersection during a red light.  There are lots of cars stopped to my right and to my left most likely behind the white line.  No one is honking.  No one is pulling up waiting for our candy asses to get out of the right of way.  Perhaps it was a turn light that nobody needed so it was like everyone has a red light except for the 3 criminals on bicycles who just  dropped their pants and said "KISS MY ASS, CAGERS!" or "ANARCHY!!!"  I felt both ashamed and angry.  Dropped my head and finished crossing MLK.

I was livid.  How dare they?  All my friends and I fight so hard to do, change perception of bicyclists ruined in 20 seconds of free for all.  And why was I not paying attention to the light?  Clear throat and prepare for the blast of pain that yelling was going to cause.  I'm sick.  Bronchitis.  I should be at home in the a/c drinking lots of fluids and resting.  Instead I think I can ride despite lacking 40% of my power.  Keep the oxygen intake low to prevent the throat and bronchial tubes from experiencing that sandblaster feeling.

"Mary, was that light red?"
"Fuck.  Fuckers!"

I don't know if they heard me.  Hard to compete with all the other noise.  I can barely raise my voice today anyway.  Decision time.  Do a redline burn to catch up and ask them again or save that energy to climb Ingersoll at a respectable speed pain free.  Let them go.  A few intersections later they were in the middle of the road doing something stupid or turning.  Let karma have the day.

I wonder how many times this happens.  Sitting at a light and then crossing the intersection only because the vehicle in front moved.  Pay attention.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

30 Miles for Brake Pads and Burgers

Mary picked white for the tread color.  Her other options were red or green.  Gonna miss those old wheels.  they served quite well.  

The plan was to get up early and rebuild Mary's Trek 1600 and head out for breakfast.  New chain and cassette, new wheels and tires to be placed on the bike before we could get food.  Simple tasks.  I even remembered to re-calibrate her computer.  But I work slow and distract easily.  It would be a lunch run.  The rebuild was complete except for one item.  Actually four items.  Brake pads.  Lunch would have to be located with in proximity of a local bicycle shop.  we headed north to Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny.  as the fastest growing metro city this side of Waukee there had to be someone to eat.  We headed north on the Neal Smith Trail.

Never mind the "trail closed" sign.  Avoid the detour and just walk around the work.  Kyle's is located across the street.  We took the detour on the return.  Found ourselves on the corner of Butternut and Sugarberry Ct.  A residential neighborhood.  I wonder how many diabetics and peedos live around here?  Hansell and Gretel definitely not safe!!

This was maybe my third visit to Kyle's.  Fast in friendly.  I felt bad not specifying 2 sets of brake pads.  The gentleman had to go to another building to fetch them, twice!  Mary browsed inside while i got my hands dirty installing the new speed scrubbers.  In the meantime, Laura and Will rolled up.  They were heading to the Trestle via FireTrucker Brewery.  At Kyle's they needed a tire for her "go fast" bike.  Will was going to have to carry the tire around his neck for the remainder of the trip..  He should have ponied up the extra $$ for a foldable tire and stash it away on his bagger.  Kids...

Thunderhead Sports bar was recommended by Kyle's employees as the place to get a good burger.  I vaguely recall seeing this before on our previous adventure through Ankeny.  It had a lot of things going for it.  On the proper side of the trail, food, clean, not crowded and craft beer.  I enjoyed the mushroom cheddar burger.  Mary had a bacon cheeseburger. After ordering I realized that they featured their own house brand craft beer so I had the Cornstalker Dark Wheat.  Brewed in Kearney, Nebraska, I found this beer to be tasty and light with a nice malty aroma.  This sated my need to go on to Firetrucker.  And with the impending rain a good decision.

Fully functional bike, food in our bellies we headed home.  A few sprinkles here and there but no deluge.  i did not overexert myself and aggravate my bronchitis, kept the body far from redline.  I felt like i could have done another 70 miles.  Perfect day for riding.  Cool breeze and overcast.  Discretion.  felt good to get 30 miles in.  Good to have a successful test ride.  Good to share time with Mary.

Mud is Still an Issue on the Bill Riley trail

Several weeks ago.  It  flooded again and receded since.

Though the flood waters have receded the removal of dirt from the flood has not been accomplished to any great satisfaction.  Yesterday as i prepared to go underneath the train trestle i saw a man and his bike standing there in the middle of the trail just dead center of the blindspot.  before I could yell at him, 'hey dummy, git yo fat ass out of the way this is a dangerous place" I had to duck in and avoid three girls on bikes heading west.  As I passed him I saw the problem.

His high viz yellow shirt was muddy.  So were his arms and legs.  Looking back i saw the mud patch.  A quick hitter of a rain cloud had recently blown over.  The trail was wet before and after this spot.  I had to hide out in the car wash for a few minutes two miles before I came across him.

From the original flood this year.

I pulled over in a safe spot and asked if he was ok and suggested that he leave the danger zone.  i had absolutely no tools, as usual, but experience.  The bike was ok despite the chain dropping.  He was ok except for being muddy.  Said he was glad to have been wearing cycling gloves since that his hands made initial contact with the trail.  His leg had an abrasion but his helmeted head did not hit the ground.  I almost offered to let him wash off the abrasion with my Aquafina but considered my illness that thought ended before I could open my mouth.  Hate to have his leg amputated from my germs.

He said he was 57 years old.  A Bianchi hybrid with fat 700c tires, possible Kenda Kwests.  He thanked me several times and rolled on.  I could never catch up.

They did a good job removing the mud from here.  Rumor has it that Steve Falke brought his own shovel.

I wonder how many people have biffed there.  how many more?  Why cannot the trail brush be used to eliminate the dirt before a quick rain turns a downhill blind turn into an ice rink?

Grinding Halt: Monthly Record Too Far

At the end of last year I said I did not want to set another annual record.  10,000 was enough.  But January saw another monthly record fall, 13 in a row.  February and March the same.  Perhaps that was the key.  Ignore the year but focus on the months.  Simple.  obtainable.  What's that corporate propaganda speak? SMART--specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.  March was damn near 1K.  April exceeded 1000 for the first time ever.  May would be the bitch, the only real challenge.  1259 miles to ride in one month.  One busy month.

But the seeds of the fail were sown back in March.  Minor cold and bronchial irritation mixed with the beginning of the worst allergy season ever recorded and the death of my mother.  Stifling tears messes up sinuses.  So does crying.  At first I treated it.  Claritin, Sudafed and lots of water.  Improvement except the bronchial tubes.  I was wondering if I had developed exercise induced asthma.  just the sudden increase of demand for oxygen brought it on.  Never lasted but was there nonetheless.  No time to check it out.

The weather turned worse.  Rainy weekends all month long.  Those that were not rainy were windy or spent with friends.  No seriously long rides.  Fridays seemed to be the day, several with over 40 miles.  Merely an extra 15 or so after work.

Vacation scheduling snafus next.  We were supposed to leave for RASDak (ride across south Dakota) yesterday.  But someone beat me to the punch.  But then we switched weeks.  But then my boss was ordered to go to Chicago for training.  I am the only one that can do his stuff when he is gone.  Just as well since riding across South Dakota in my condition would be a disaster and possibly deadly.  I can take a week off later in the year.  I discovered all this a few weeks ago and that dropped my motivation for long rides.  No need now.  I should have done a century every weekend in May.  I took Monday and Tuesday off this week.  4 day weekend.  Surely I can find time to ride.

No.  Remember that bronchial irritation?  Full bronchitis now.  Coughing fits every night this week.  Feels like I am breathing sand when I push hard or climb even on the road bike.  Those days off were spent watching NetFlix and eating.  The one thing I'd like to diminish, my appetite, never did.  hunger is a sign of health, right?

Thursday I finally went to the doctor.  Normally, a cold last two weeks for me.  I get one in the fall and another in the spring.  My son Tim went a few weeks ago.  the doctor told him it was just a cold.  Gave him nothing.  He went again two days before his graduation.  Same doctor.  'Sorry I missed this two weeks ago but you have pneumonia and bronchitis."  He was pissed.  All his strength gone for graduation.  I was thinking I had this double whammy as well.  He offered to drive me.  Nope, I'll ride there on Thursday.  Chest x-rays did not find pneumonia but confirmed the bronchitis.  Antibiotics, steroids and eye drops for my blood red right eye which got infected by all this shit.  Mercifully, only have to take the drugs once a day and I do this in one shot.  Supposed to be with food but I am rarely hungry at 430 am and finding or preparing food at my house at 425 am is impossible.  No upset stomach anyway.

What does this mean?  May ended with 809 miles or 459 less than 2014.  I have lost 500 miles for June.  1100 is the record.  I could get 1000 miles if I try but I need to recover.  At the end of May I was only 13 miles behind 2014 for the yearly.  I think I still have a chance.

5 years to date when i busted the clavicle.   Despite this obvious mutilation it healed.