Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The View From My Basement


I'm doing some serious vacillating about my decision to retire on January 2nd, 2014, precisely 393 days away. The more I ponder what to do the more I'm finding myself inclined to not put a firm date on it and just take it a month at a time. It's a nice position to be in and regardless of what we decide, the day will come and go all too fast. Keeping everything in perspective is important at this time while not becoming too seduced by the idea of the easy life. My ducks aren't quite as lined up as I'd like them to be. Close, just not quite there yet for the long haul, but soon.

Tammy and I spent most of Thursday at Foci. After our 12:00 to 3:00 slot time on the bench we went out for dinner at Cossetta's in St Paul before returning to Foci for a sandblasting class a few hours later. Glassblowing artists will often sandblast designs into their pieces or simply sandblast the entire piece to give it a look other than that of shiny glass. Craig sat with the ten of us and explained the process before giving a demonstration. It was interesting to watch but just as interesting was listening to Craig's approach to art in general. He spoke about how our mind likes to make sense of what it sees. Finding everything in order to our eyes, our mind is quick to move along and process the next bit of information it receives. By disrupting this order with some aspect of our art a little out of place we create interest as the mind tries to make sense of what it's seeing. I like that.

He taught us how to mask off areas of our blown glass and in the process create 3 dimensional images within the piece by sandblasting in stages as more and more of the masked off areas are exposed. I've got a vase at home that I think would be a good piece to try this on. I'm considering a delicate vine that winds around the vase as it traverses upwards. I'll have some of the leaves more recessed than others to create depth.

Changing gears...

I've been working out at least 5 days each week for the past several months. I've found a nice routine and I like that. Our elliptical machine gets the most use as it's my go-to workout when I'm pressed for time as is too often the case. I need at least a couple hours if I want to climb aboard my bike and hammer out some miles. My bike is easily my most intense workout.

Speaking of my bike, I had an appointment with a physical therapist last week who's been working with me on stretching. Sean, who has been trained in bike fit had me bring one of my bikes along so he could video me on a trainer to make sure that the issues I'm having with my knees aren't related to my position on the bike. It was one of the more beneficial hours I've had in a while. The video doesn't lie. My seat was too high causing my foot to come too much out of its flat profile at the bottom of my pedal stroke. I was also a little too forward in my position on the saddle. Pushing my saddle back 1 cm and lowering it 1.4 cm will give me a more efficient position and powerful pedal stroke.

Sean videoed me from 3 perspectives: side, rear and front. It was the front view that enlightened/disturbed me most. Ideally, when viewed from the front, my hip, knee and ankle should line up throughout the pedal stroke with no knee wobble from side to side. It was obvious to me that I have knee wobble and it could easily be the cause of much or at least some of my knee pain. I inserted small shims/wedges in each of my pedal cleats to help correct the problem. I've done two rides since using the wedges and I can say without question that they've helped me. I still need to transfer the changes we made to my blue Serotta's saddle over to the saddle on my red Serotta, the bike mounted on my CompuTrainer.

And, speaking of my CompuTrainer; I am loving that piece of equipment! I've been using it in conjunction with ErgVideo. Usually cyclists will speak of indoor training as being too boring or mind-numbing to be enjoyable but I'd have to disagree. I've put together a video of last Saturday's ride to show you what I mean.

But as fun as my indoor cycling is, it's still no comparison to my Mukluk. I'm less than two months away from getting back on that bad-boy and I can't wait!


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