October 30, 2005

Well today’s ride was easier than yesterday’s: the weather was nicer and things seemed a bit smoother. The wind though still kicked up a bit and made a difference in the ride. I aborted my first start because I had a wobble in my rear rim which made it feel like I was in a car with the emergency brake partially on. I could hear the whistle of the tire rubbing the frame and upon discovery turned around 5 minutes out for adjustment.

Well I was able to fix that easy enough and took to the ride. It was not an easy one, although I had determined not to work too hard going into this ride today. It took me an even twenty minutes to make it to the top of the Falls Road hill near Princeton Sports—my best is about 18 and a half. And the top of the Bellona hill took me about 35 minutes which is also slow yet slow and consistent. Today I turned back towards Roland and came back down Roland Avenue to finish the ride in about a 53:32 with a 30kph avg.

I had an interaction with a car today and to sum it up he passed me in a bad spot and questioned why I was in the road. We were approaching a red light and really, how important is it to hurry to the light I ask myself? Well, I wasn’t as rational in my interaction with him which led to me using a gesture and him waving back at me. Despite being angry and disagreeing with the man, I actually appreciated his lack of reciprocity. I realize that if I’m really going to continue riding, that I must not only control my temper, but control my disdain for drivers and their lack of regard for my and their own safety. If I thought I could keep it, I would say right here that I will never use profanity at any driver ever… but realy how likely is that? I will try anyway.

October 29, 2005

My Saturday ride was fit in-between a couple things that needed to get done: working towards a couple project deadlines and an outing with my wife later that afternoon. It was uneventful, but more than that it was windy. More than enaything wind is an enemy. Cold is painful, heat is excrutiating, yet wind seems to trump those too as it seems to take your effort and throw it right in your face. I suppose this time of year with the wind on high and the full thermal wear it’s easy not to make my best times. But it seems even more difficult to match them almost as if my best times were dreams I had way back.

I heard something today which sort of helped me gain a bit of understanding about my rides: Bill Fitzpatrick of success.org put in a podcast a speech on the value of work. The first point he said that if you value the work, you must do it even if it seemingly will have no value, or even an inverse value to yourself and others. This concept he crystallized in a quote from Thomas merton, a renowned Trappist monk. He also mentioned a high order concept of the martial arts called Moo Shin, No Shin—”the mind of no mind” where one is elevated to the level of blocking out surroundings in order to focus on a goal… I really appreciated hearing that, being in the moment of each bike ride is often so difficult, especially as in ways it seems to have zero value.

October 28, 2005

I hadn’t ridden all week with the funky weather and a slew of work/meetings to do earlier in the week. I guess I picked the wong day because I fell again… This time I fell because I hit the single biggest pothole I ever hit. I was mad and embarrassed for a while, thinking that I’d email the mayor about the street having such humongous potholes. But ultimately, I realized the futility in that—it’d be like asking why is New York crowded? Because let’s face it: the city doesn’t give a crap about cyclists.

(I heard on NPR the other day that Intel has been named one of the best places to work because they have cycling facilities showers and stuff for their commuters. They also offer financial incentives to their employees that use public transportation. I have to say I, for one, really appreicate such an approach to business. That said even basic scraps of recognition for cyclists outside of blithely suggestive “share the road” signs would be appreciated. Holding breath now …. Not.)

It skewed the handlebars and flattened the tire about 12:50 into my ride. Not cool. Then, I only had one plastic thingy to get the tire off with and it took forever. Well I aborted riding the old ride, turning around at Lake Avenue and coming back down Roland Avenue. I had an errand to run so I rode around for a while and then did the errand, and went home.

At home I found out that I had left my keys at the scene of the tire change and had to ride back there to get the key, which was there. So the total time, completely unofficial was over an hour I have an eact time but it doesn’t matter …

October 24, 2005

Cold day. No surprise. I’m finding that two compressions shirts keeps me almost perfectly warm and allows me to focus on the ride. Today I think is the final ride of the old route. The York Road section has proven itself to be too dangerous having been hit the other day. I was planning on hanging routes anyway and only rode it today because I had a client meeting and I knew that the ride gets me done in just under an hour of real time (stopping at lights, etc.)

The wind was difficult, too. So I finished the ride in a non-spectacular time of 46:34 (about 3 minutes off my best time).

October 20, 2005

Abstract: Time: Uncertain 50:19 (old ride; had an accident and forgot to shut off the timer twice—once at the accident scene and again back at the house).

I was having a better ride than yesterday when as I said, I rode like a sandbag. I was thinking about something I heard on the radio, well specifically a podcast. Michael Lewis was on the Motley Fool radio show and commenting on his book, “Lessons On The Game of Life”. His book details the story of an older era coach who would yell at his kids, ’til the paint peeled off the wall. But, as the author, intimated, that was one of the better experiences of his life which helped him learn to deal with difficulty and imperfect situations.

Well, the thought, was “You have to earn your self-esteem”. His point was that too many people come into situations, particularly with their kids and think that their kid deserves special respect for his or her existence… You know “Well, Johnny’s special”. The attitude of this coach in part derived from Bobby Knight’s attitude towards coaching was you have to earn you’re respect. And I had been thinking about that.

Ruminating on why I’m not a better cyclist… and/or a better designer and I thought that in many ways I haven’t earned these things. It was the fuel behind a pretty good ride. Until …

I was going about thirty through the York and Woodbourne intersection when a car tried to hurry into the gas station just after the intersection. The rest was a stream of consciousness: Yelled out as the tip of the car came into the southbound lane and in my way… My yelling out … The fall … Getting up to curse the driver out … Our brief argument … His eventual melting into admission of fault … Getting the lady to stop touching my shoulder which had just met the ground… The passers-by/wintesses who gathered around me to ask if I was alright (and, quizzically, him as well.)… The lady who suggested I was hurt and if it were she, she wouldn’t get up off the ground.

Ironically, I was hurt less today than I was when I got hit by the cat running across the street straight into my tire. I scuffed my shoulder pretty bad. I was initially worried about my bike, though. Anyone/Everyone who saw the accident swore I would be hurt. About 20 people came over to the accident and many seemed intrigued that I got right up. Those people were felt like my protectors—saying that they saw the whole thing. The driver apologized and I did a shakedown of myself and felt okay and just took his number incase my liver falls out. But I feel okay.

Health notwithstanding, I won’t call the number because I wouldn’t want the number to be fake. It would erode the sense of goodness that seems to bubble up even in the most suspect of people … But I did get his tag … What’s interesting is that I have no real malice towards him because he simply accepted that he was wrong and that means alot.

October 19, 2005

Time: 48.10 (I rode the old route—and didn’t even finish it. Once I got to 43rd with 43 minutes passed I figured why go down that hill with all those chunks in the road? And I just took it easy for five minutes.)

I rode like a sack of potatoes today. Maybe it was the wind? Or maybe not. The cold air is always a harsh introduction after a ride layoff. Not riding today would have meant that I hadn’t ridden for six days. But the sunlight convinced me to go. I almost don’t know how I did it last year, because days like today I just don’t feel the desire to go out and ride. But I did.

Maybe it was part recovering from doing a 5K with a friend. Am I a runner you ask? No. My body was hurting so much the days after I walked down stairs like a chimp. I remember being happy that the course official took off the timing chip at the end of the race because I would have had to bend over and do it myself. Overall though I didn’t do badly (150th out of about 900, with a time of 24:08). But riding and running are different pains altogether. Running has less rests in it. Riding you can rest more…

Anyway, I’m proud of myself for not yelling at anyone. A moron cut me off and even though I caught her I said nothing. Good stuff.

October 13, 2005

It’s been rainy for about six days… Just miserable weather. Rain. The promise of rain. The threat of rain. The remnants of rain. It sort of matches my mood… Perfect day for a ride. It misted at the beginning, and rained at the end, so I took it easy, because I’m going to be in the Baltimore Marathon this weekend and I don’t need to hurt myself ahead of time. So I rode really conservatively, getting behind by four minutes at the top of Bellona hill.

Just as well, it was little cold so I put on two shirts since my cold gear shirt was not clean. It I think created a lot of drag during the ride making a fast time seem unlikely. So, this was indeed just a maintenance ride that just got me out of the office for a time, netting a final ride time on the new course of 56 minutes 22 seconds. Also, there are just so many lights, I stopped almost every 500 feet.

I continue to have what little confidence I have in people’s ability to drive trumped by consistently bad judgement. It’s just astounding how idiotic people get—especially when it’s raining. But I realized on what grounds should I have ever given them any sense of faith in their ability… true morons. I would describe what they did but why? It’s always something. So forget it.