Sunday, September 10, 2006

Some Random Thoughts

I was struggling with some fit issues on my bike earlier in the year and tried a bunch of different fixes but none of them were getting me the position I needed, or if they did it was at the expense of the handling of my bike. I worked with Scott Flanders at Flanders Brothers in Minneapolis and together we put together a new bike package for me. My new bike has a compact frame design (sloping top tube) which will more easily allow me to get the bars in a little higher position and remedy the fit problems I've been having with my other bike. We placed the order to Serotta in May and began the wait for the frame to be produced. Serotta has a demand for roughly 16 frames per day but is limited to a production capacity of 12.

I got a call from Scott on August 8th telling me that my bike would be ready later in the day or the next. I was actually just a bit nervous about my new ride...worrying that all the money spent wouldn't solve my problems. Scott had assured me when we did the sizing that I would definitely notice a difference and he was confident that it would work out well. It's been one month now and nearly 1400 miles and without question, I can say that my new bike is all I could have hoped for it to be. Within the first 2 miles of riding it, I could feel the obvious difference in the rear end with the carbon fiber seat stays and their ability to absorb shock. My position on the bike had also changed but I'd have to wait just a bit longer to confirm that it was what I needed. I can now say with all certainty that it is a change for the better. I'm riding faster and more comfortably than I have in a long time. Now the question becomes, what to do with my other bike? I thought I'd put it up on Ebay but I've rethought that and decided that I'll use it for my winter ride or for those times when I've got my new bike in the shop. It's been a great bike and I would never be able to get for it what it's worth to me.

I had several good rides this week but the one which stands out was a ride I took Thursday to Waterville, southwest of Fairbault. I was on the road by 8:20am and pedaling under a beautiful sun-filled sky with some tunes to keep me company. The only issue was a minor saddle sore but I won't elaborate on that. I don't usually ride bike paths but there is one which I occasionally pick up in Fairbault and ride to Waterville...about 15 miles worth of path. It's nice because there's little to no other traffic on it and when the wind is coming from the southwest it helps protect you from it. I got to Waterville at 11:00 and made a quick stop to refuel. I clipped back in and headed north on Highway 13 toward Montgomery and New Prague. It was at this time that I had this moment of clarity which said...this is why I ride. A light tailwind with a beautifully paved shoulder and very little traffic, cornfields and the occasional farmhouse, not too hot or too cool—just right. And best of all, I was feeling comfortable on my bike. I brought it home with an average speed of 20.1 over 106 miles which for this 49-year-old is good. I came real close to making this a 500-mile week on my bike but I've been rained (or drizzled) out today.

That's okay. Tammy and Rachel had the weekend from hell last weekend as so much went wrong with their trip up north to get her folks and take them to a relative's wedding in Park Rapids. Just as they arrived at their hotel on Friday afternoon Tammy's mother tripped on a curb and fell and broke her hip. Tammy phoned 911 and got her transported to the hospital where they scheduled surgery for the next morning. The surgery went well and Tammy and Rachel headed out Sunday morning with Tammy's father to take him back home to Babbitt and then head for home. It would be an all-day drive for them getting home just after 10:00pm. Tammy would go back up there last Thursday after work to bring her mom to back toward home to a temporary care unit in Virginia, Mn. The transfer went well and she got back home last night ready to put her feet up and try and recoup after a busy week of work and driving.

We're all just hanging out today. Rachel is working on her homecoming pants and making brownies and Tammy and I are going to clean the house together. We've got Trains, Planes, and Automobiles on the queue for tonight.

I’m being ostracized from many in my family for defending my cousin, Deborah, from a verbal assault she endured from my sister, Claudia, at the family reunion. I’ll never understand it. Is it wrong for me to stand up for someone when mob mentality takes over and people collectively lose all sense of reason?

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