20 July 2010

Afterthoughts

Busy BeeHave you ever been hit in the face by a bee at 34 mph?

My cheek caused the demise of three bees, two during Ride the Rockies, and one during the MS-150. Not the kind of thing you plan for or expect, but it happens.

RtR pin collection
Once, back in the days of dinosaurs, before cell phones, email and digital cameras, I was en route to a newspaper assignment in a neighboring city when I decided my rear view mirror needed adjustment. I stuck my hand out the open window (because I didn't have air conditioning back then) to adjust the mirror (because nothing was electric way back then) just as a bird in flight decided to check out the density of my powder blue 1976 Ford Maverick (which had been a fleet car for several years before morphing into my first motorized wheels).

Ouch.

Luckily, bees don't hurt quite as much at 34 mph as birds at 55 mph (yes, this was WAY before today's speed limits!).

This year's Ride the Rockies left a little more wear and tear on my behind than my Ford Maverick ever did. Trying to ride to work four days after the biggest ride of my life for Colorado's annual Ride to Work Day was excruciating! Fortunately, everything healed up just enough for me to finish the MS-150 the following weekend. And then squeeze in two more days of commuting so I could log my first ever 1,000-mile month badge. They give those to Girl Scouts, right? And mine should be coming in the mail soon. Right?

Initially, I was so excited by the accomplishment of clearing four digits in one month, a whole third of my 2010 goal in just 30 days (!!!), I thought maybe I could do it again in July. And August! Wowie!!! My entire 2010 goal in three months! Wouldn't that be cool!?!

One bean for Lizard, one bean for meAfter all, 1,000 miles is just 30 miles per day. My commute is twice that. So I could ride every other day.

Complications arose. First, weather. Not that I mind riding in rain and wind. I have the proper attire. Sitting atop a rolling lightning rod when black clouds hover isn't my idea of healthy physical activity. Same dilemma stung me July 4 when I wanted to shoot fireworks. Dang it! Tripods, too, double as lightning rods!

Second, The Lizard is competing in two races this month. I can't ride those two Saturdays. That's not a complaint, though. I love to get pictures of him at his best when I'm not feeling exhausted, strained, tired, weak, humbled, worn out, bushed, beat and possibly saddle sore to boot.

Third, my yard and garden were neglected since about March, and if I want to have edible food from my own backyard this autumn, I need to put some time in there. Difficult to do when I pedal away with headlamp at 4:45 a.m. and then don’t get home until 7:30 or 8 p.m.

Fourth, Christmas is just five months away. I have a ton of presents to finish making. I can’t do that on the bike.

Blue Lakes Wildflowers Gone CrazyDoes it sound like I’m making excuses? I truly was supercharged when I finished that 1,000th mile last month. The Lizard called to ask if I wanted to be picked up at Mile 15, which would be the exact amount I needed. I was pedaling into a 20-25 mph headwind. I could do the whole 30 miles, all the way home, and I’d have 1,015 miles during the month of June. I would be home at about 8 p.m. I would be exhausted. And I wouldn’t have time to do anything but water the garden, eat and collapse into bed.

“YES! Please! Pick me up Qdoba, which should be exactly 15 miles, and I’ll buy you dinner!”

My odometer read 44.8 when I pulled into Qdoba. (I’d done 30 miles that morning.) I pedaled back a tenth of a mile, then turned back into the headwind and returned to Qdoba, where a marvelous naked queso burrito awaited!

my first monster sockI seriously wanted another 1,000 miles. Repeating the fete this month and again next month would have been like turning into Super Woman for someone like me. But reasons Number 1 through 4 above are real, and I can get a whole lot more wildflower photos hiking than biking. So the saddle gets a bit of a reprieve now.

I have no intention to quit riding. I do not want to lose what I have built up. Maybe I can do 1,000 miles in a month again another time, when I don’t have other elements of life getting pushed aside.

There’s also the issue of the crippled bike. When I first realized my derailleur had bit the dust, I thought I would have to buy a new bike. I thought I had no choice whatsoever in the matter. That hurt like crazy.

my bike shopThe bike runs okay with a mountain bike derailleur, and I could tolerate another 1,000 miles on it if I had to. But I don’t have to. And that, perhaps, is the best part of NOT riding another 1,000 miles in 31 days or less. I HAD to finish Ride the Rockies. In my mind, I’d paid for those miles. Not just with money, but with training. Months of training. To give up or quit would mean I’d wasted all the hours I invested through a springtime of not always favorable weather. I earned those miles. And now, I have pedaled those miles. They are mine. No one can ever take them away from me!

So what about the bike? Does my future hold a new shiny steed?

Nope. I’ve decided to take The Lizard up on his offer to completely rebuild the bike and turn it into a 10-speed this winter when we get back on the trainers. Next spring, it will be like a whole new bike, but without the price tag! And when something goes wrong with the derailleur, the cassette, the chain, the hubs... whatever, I'll be able to get parts. Well, unless bike manufacturers quit making 10-speeds and force us all to upgrade once again...

Best of all, my reborn and rebuilt bike will be fully equipped with seven years of some of the most wonderful memories of my life. Just try to buy that in any bike shop!
The Lizard's bike shop

7 comments :

  1. I think you've earned enough miles to coast for a while...and catch up on the rest of your life. But then what do I know?

    AMAzing shot of the flowers and lake. Just incredible. I don't often see water that color in the lakes I visit, so it's a real treat.

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  2. 1,000 Mile Month badge? Yeahhhhhh Budddyyyyy!! I'm pretty sure you could design a really awesome one, but it would be rarely bestowed. What an amazing summer you've had- so glad you're keeping the bike and rebuilding it. The memories you've made with that critter...

    Amazing.

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  3. I have not got bees on the cheeks, but flies in the eyes. And that is not fun at all either.

    Your berries are late. But I hope that you will enjoy those strawberris soon. We have all the berries now. That is the problem with short summers. Everything comes at the same time.

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  4. 1000 miles a month is quite a goal!!!

    I love the wildflowers in front of the lake photo. Woweee!!!

    Finally, you are so far ahead of me. You actually had Christmas gift-making on your agenda. Now I know that you are NOT a procrastinator!

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  5. I got hit by a bee going 70 in the car, flew in the open window and smacked me! Hurt but did not sting, I was surprised. Then made husband pull over so I could get it out before it woke up.

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  6. Crazy... Yep that's about all I can say right now. 1000 miles in a month wow. There should be a badge for that.
    Sounds like you have earned some time away from the saddle in order to do some other things. Plus, that will let your bike get some TLC so it will be ready for the next 1000 miles.
    I sorta miss the time when you had to manually move your mirrors. Can never seen to get there right were I need them with the buttons.

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  7. Your pictures are so amazing - the sunflowers are gorgeous. And your rainbow colored sock is just as beautiful as that lake with the wildflowers and trees around it. Sounds like you may have hit on an untapped market. The 1,000 mile badges (and all other miles in between) would probably sell like crazy. Maybe you can knit yourself one. =)

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