November 11, 2005

No ride yesterday and I have an aliby: it was way too windy. Wind, not cold is the enemy of the cyclist. Sometimes you have to learn to ride with the enemy. Yesterday was not that day.

Today was. I’m not sure if the wind is the culprit or just the morose-ness of riding deep into the fall season is why my times are getting slower and slower. The wind felt strong but I still flet like I was pulling an anchor around North Baltimore. I sped a little on the way back home (down York Road) but not enough to make my time respectable 47 minutes.


November 9, 2005

Some days it’s there some days it ain’t …

At the halfway point, I was a minute behind my best time (25:30) coming over the Ruxton Hill. But by the time I reached the York Road, I was about three minutes back—leaving this an uneventful, cold ride.

47 minutes (old route)

Question put to one of my friends

Pop quiz hot shot!

You’re on your bike going down a hill at about 25 – 30 mph Argonne Drive—going down the hill west from Chris Scharf’s house) and some dude passes you, coming over the center line to pass and then come over on you (I mean how much faster does he need to go right there, we were going to a red light). In the process of passing you he “closes the door” on you (starts moving over and taking away your lane space). You approach the side of his car and have an exchange with him that goes like this:

“Hey, you know you almost hit me.”
“You know you were in the middle of the street.”
“Aww, fuck you asshole.” (After traffic begins moving you give him the finger, to which he waves a surprisingly benign gesture… the gesture actually made me feel guilty about the finger and the f-bomb, but not the confrontation…)

But then, on walking your dog in your neighborhood, you suspect that this guy may live a quarter-mile away from you. What do you do?


friend: what i would probably do is forget the whole thing ever happened. no need in confronting him again. if you meet up, pretend it never happened and be like, “hey there, guy.”

me: You’re appealing to my the “cooler heads” side of me … and that’s good. I mentioned it to Latisha since I was thinking on it (she could tell something was on my mind) and she must think I’m psychotic, because I have half a mind to puncture his tires, confront him or something. But hearing it from you gives a level of finality that I can adhere to…

friend: ..he was wrong for passing you like that. perhaps you let anger get the best of you with the finger…it’s a double fault.

me: It definitely was a double-fault, because I felt extremely guilty after he didn’t requite my angry gesture… such a weird feeling it gave me, I must say. I felt like a barking dog… an old man waving a fist in the air… I guess if Jesus cut me off and I cursed him, he might simply wave at me and that kind of stopped me in my tracks…

friend: i’m still being a slug. i joined a gym, but i don’t go. i just lay there in bed staring at the ceiling every morning from about seven until 8:30 thinking about going. so kudos to you for being out there.

me: Stop thinking about it. Enjoy your slug-dom.. Enjoy your here and now. Don’t stew over what you’re not doing. The key to working daily is just getting up and doing and not thinking*… Stop thinking and you’re halfway there… the last couple days, I’ve been hating my rides and they’ve been hating me back: flats, (falling into a) potholes, the cold, traffic… sometimes if I think about it, I don’t know how I do it.

friend: keeping busy?

me: Somewhat… i just finished a review of my open projects and they’re all in review at present, except for some “free” ones… a rework of the original northwood site and an album design for a cousin who raps. He may pay something but I haven’t asked …

friend: both of the guys who are in charge of (my work) are out today so i’m going to slack as much as possible.

me: I view it like this: you’re not much into video games but, imagine that we all have power meters over our heads like as if you were a computer boxer or something … You might get work that’ll keep you mentally occupied for the next two weeks in two days. At least you had now to store up the energy to deal with that stuff… Sort of like a team time trial: in a team everyone shouldn’t have to work “full-on” all the time. I’ve seen Mariano Rivera asleep in the Yankees dugout on Sportscenter once and thought “so what”, cause he’ll come into games day in, and day out and close those things out…

Lastly, there’s a Bible verse (reaching back to my Flanders’ kid days) where the Israelites are about to engage in a battle. The troops stop to rest by a river. God “tells” the “general” those troops who act nervous and don’t put down their weapons and act nervous, to send them home. Those who relax and drink by the side of the water and take their time and gather their constitution, to keep them because they’ll do the “real” fighting. (mad paraphrasing) I kind of think of it that way…

I dream of owning a design shop that’s halfway big enough and successful enough where every now and then people can come in and sip their coffee and then other days knock shit out the box…

friend: although, i’m finding my slackable ways are slowing me down in every aspect of my life (not working out, coming to work at 10, watching too much tv at night, etc.) this is yet another reason i couldn’t run my own business or work freelance for an extended period of time. i’d just stop working and sleep.

me: I ride because without it, I reached a point where I couldn’t work or sleep…

November 7, 2005

I guess drivers cutting off or hitting cyclists is page 12 (inside matter) news if at all, so I’ll just give up the level of surprise that I have when it comes to what happens to me. Suffice to say a truck with a backhoe nearly ran me off the road today. He honked came around then simply slammed the door shut nearly edging me off the raod on Bellona Avenue. In previous blogs I’ve discouraged myself from reacting and using fingers and the like but I have to admit that I did then. The bastard.

It filled me with such adrenaline, I barely felt myself go up the hill there. That was beautiful. The source of the energizing way I went up the hill was clearly not wanted but I realized that the dim spirit of fall riding can be augmented by the anger of bad intentions—which I had had I been able to catch that bastard. I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad that I couldn’t catch that guy.

Today’s ride was an odd thing—the wind was so strong to the north and west that I lost nearly three minutes off my best time at the halfway point, only to finish with a 45:30 which is two and a half minutes off my best which is about a 43:06. The adrenaline and the push I had after really brought things back. Not to mention going with the wind. I used the old circuit because I feel so attached to it. I’ll have to stop using that route for my bike rim’s sake.

November 5, 2005

I rode for a bout a half hour’s worth of time today as I had a meeting at Cross Keys and I had to make that meeting behind preparing and sending out a brochure for a different client. It ate into all the time I would have used in transit. And in this city, the bike is the only credible way to get from here to there quickly. I was late leaving and I had about ten minutes to get there. I made it in fifteen, so I wasn’t embarrassing. The only problem was the sweating … which took a little work to tame. The meeting went well.

Today, I went to the bike shop where the guy who won the Jones Falls Valley time trial works and talked to him about it. He rides about ten to twenty hours a week he told me. We talked about the time trial a bit. Enough for me to want to win it next year—the only tangible, sane reason I can attach to this obsessive riding I’ve done.

November 3, 2005

This time of year is so tough to ride. With all the falls, vehicular incidents and the cold, it makes for some difficult rides. Today was no different. Most of the ride was okay except the feeling that I’m pulling along a piano at times. That’s an exaggeration, because I caught a rider today coming up Roland. I started at least a minute behind her, catching her before the light at Northern Parkway (going North).

After that, the ride was uneventful as I turned down Lake and she wen the other way. Actually “uneventful” not quite: I tried the new route Thursday and as I was coming down University, I got a flat. It was the perfect stor, because I had just used my air canister because my front tire seemed flat. Pumped that up during the ride so I was caught out there and had to walk the whole way back home from University—about two miles. Bummer.

My time until the flat: 46 minutes