Sunday, December 27, 2009

Listen to Santa!!!

Hello fellow travelers! I'm writing from Portland today, where I spent Christmas with the Bent Johnson family.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and that you got everything you wanted. I didn't really *want* anything - heck, I've got everything I need - but I got some really cool stuff anyway. Leading the pack had to have been the MUST have tool for a recumbent newbie: the Park Master Link Tool:

Yes - they make a tool for that! The oh-so-annoying master link that slides together so easily in your hands, and slides apart so easily at the shop, has a way of frustrating me - particularly when the chips are down and you HAVE to get something taken care of post-haste. Good news is - looks like it's not just me. In other words, I'm still quite possibly NOT the biggest dork on the block. And even though I'd NEVER admitted out loud to Santa that this was a frequent problem for me, he really does know when I've been bad or good, or at least he's tracking what leads to too many #$*&^@# swear words. And he decided that I was still close enough to being on the nice list that he'd do something nice about it.

So you'd think that when I went out on a ride on December 26, in the gorgeous (really!) Oregon sunshine, I'd have known that Santa intended me to take the Park
MLP-1 with me. After all, I even have a super race bag that would hold it:

But no...after all, when have I ever needed a Park Tool MLP-1 on a short, fun training ride before? Never - that's when. Until...yesterday. I was 95% of the way to Kerry's house - by which I mean I was 105% of the way to Kerry's house, and had just turned around to undo the excess 5%, when I heard a resounding CRACK, felt the drivetrain lose pressure, and watched the last few links of chain exit the chainwheel and aim for my wheels. Yuck.

I didn't have a chain tool. Mysteriously, even though I've got this amazing, huge race bag, I've stocked it with a weenie little micro-multitool. I've got a Crank Brothers tool that has a chain tool on it, but I didn't bring it. Kerry doesn't have a chain tool, either. We don't ask Tess; Mark already knows that Tess doesn't have a chain tool.

Fortunately, about half of the remaining trip to Kerry's house is downhill. And even more fortunately, Mark has a lot of bikes there. I got to borrow his Bianchi - a pretty danged nice steel bike. It kind of fits if I don't think about the top tube. So - I don't think about the top tube.

Since I didn't have a way home other than my bike, the first part of our ride was straight to the bike shop. I decided that it was probably a good time to be replacing my chain, anyway, so I bought two. And a chain tool. And a few master links, for good luck. Thank you, Bike & Hike!

Then we headed up to Mount Tabor, where we had an amazing view of Mount Hood with the city in the foreground. Fortunately no one had a camera - if we want to see it like that again, we'll have to wait for another amazing clear, cold day and ride up again!

Got back to Kerry's with the last of the light, and sunk into bike repair in earnest. Naturally, it takes just over two chains to do the job, so I've got to steal a few links from the old (dead) one. Even though I HAVE a chain tool, I decided that I'd really like to separate it at the master link, so that I could save one of the master links that I'd just purchased for a real roadside emergency. No dice. Of course, my PT-MLP-1 would've made short work of the job. I could hear Santa clucking all the way from the North Pole: you can lead a girl to water, but you can't....sigh. Eventually Mark jury-rigged something with a screwdriver and we got the thing to work.

After that, much pizza and RAAM conversation: Mark has gotten sucked onto a RAAM crew and I was trying to give him some sort of idea what he's in for. Then it was off into the really cold and dark (by now it was 9:30!), with an extra light and jacket for the journey.

An unintended (by me!) consequence of the borrowed goods was the need to return them, and the convenient way (!??!?) to do that was at a yoga class that Mark and Tess were going to this morning, right in my neighborhood. I was the first to arrive, and the instructor was, charitably, surprised to see me. I explained that I was meeting Mark and Tess there, which at least established me as a real person. She asked me if I knew that this was a "Level 2-3" class. That didn't bother me initially; I figure yoga must be a 12-step program, so if I miss the first step ("my name is Sandy and I have no flexibility...") I can probably fake it.

Naturally, I was incorrect. "Level 2-3" means "advanced". I was tossed into a room full of contortionists, doing moves that were WAY over my head, sometimes quite literally. I lived through it, but I can already tell that I won't be lifting my arms above my head tomorrow. And Mark has officially paid me back for the triple-tandem incident in August.

So, boys and girls - the moral of the story is, "Listen to Santa". Wear that sweater that he got you; it's toasty warm. Did he leave you a bottle of wine? Drink it in good health, with good friends! That nose hair trimmer...yep, he gave it to you for a reason.

Have a happy holiday and a wonderful start to 2010. I'll be down in Arcata celebrating the New Year with David Bradley and friends. I'm betting we'll talk RAAM a little.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

I've been....sick.

Happy holidays to everyone! Hope you're all where you want to be, doing what you want to do, or that your relatives are at least behaving decently and leaving you your fair share of cookies and eggnog.

I've been sick. As a RAAM athlete I've been extremely reluctant to admit it, even to myself. Being sick sets the training schedule back, you know?

So - here goes. My name is Sandy. I am recovering from a sinus infection. I didn't go in to see the doctor right away because I didn't even have a doctor in Eugene (because I wasn't planning on ever being sick, right?).

I'd just come off one of the most energizing training weeks I'd had in a long time - I could actually feel the power in my legs increasing through a workout; the numbers looked REALLY good and I finished every workout feeling like a champion. Maybe I overdid, but I don't think so; I think it was just my "turn" to get sick.

I knew it was there for about a week: the swollen glands, the fever, the headaches, the extreme fatigue...hours spent researching on the internet (instead of doing something USEFUL like GOING TO THE DOCTOR)...I had it down to a sinus infection, or lymphoma + simultaneous menopause, or a mysteriously-dead thyroid. At one point I was so wiped out and paranoid that I was thinking 'pneumonia', but that was an outside possibility. For some stupid reason I kept going to work. Notice that I don't say "working" - that's a little optimistic; I wasn't effective (duh).

I got in to the doctor on Monday and got the good news - yep, I've got a sinus infection. Hardest part was to convince her that a pulse of 72 was significantly elevated. Got the magic pink pills and I'm on the mend.

I've been on light duty workout-wise. 45 minutes on the trainer here and there has been enough to leave me drenched, so I've been adding more resistance work. Got a long ride in (Kings Valley) yesterday, not really fast but that's okay.

Slowing down a little wasn't all bad. Once my sense of taste returned, I tossed out all of the bad coffee and got some Cafe Mam Tango Blend. I decided that a really good cup of coffee, some good blues, and a Sensational York Peppermint Patty brownie (made a batch for the office Christmas party) constituted a Wellness Activity after a long, slow ride.

Bottom line - being sick sucks. Being well sure is better. Hopefully I've kicked this infection 100% the first time - but if not, I'll be much quicker to get it looked at again. And I guess it's better getting sick NOW than in April or May.

Suddenly, I've got a pretty compressed timeframe to get ready for Sebring, but I'm still feeling confident. I've got a lot of base behind me and I've proven that I know how to train to a peak performance.