Monday, February 11, 2008

Cheating never pays, and other Notes to Self

So I slunk back into Mecca (aka Get a Grip) yesterday to get some schwag for the Tri Club’s party at Galena this weekend, and to see if they could help me get my pedals off my bike, since this was beyond me. And yes, I was trying to turn them the correct way! My pal Jason is there, and after YoungCuteBikeGuy Matt loosens my pedals in about 3 seconds, Jason and I are chit-chatting, when I mention my Galena dilemma. To wit, do I a) ride my bike this weekend with shifters that don’t work, b) borrow Robyn’s bike, which has working shifters but is also Lilliputian in size, or c) try to not kill myself riding a friend’s tri bike, which she has generously offered to loan me. At this point, Jason looks at me as if I have two heads, and practically snatches FPOS out of my hands so that they can have a look-see.

Jason: And what are you doing standing there holding your bike instead of having us look at it??
Me (meekly): Umm, well, I hate to impose, you guys look busy.
Jason: We’re always busy! But we ALWAYS have time to look at Tri Club bikes!
Me (shuffling feet): Umm, okay then.

It took YCBG Matt about 5 seconds to find the problem.

Matt: Whoever worked on your bike last, they way overtightened the cassette, and that’s screwing up the cogs and chain and throwing everything out of alignment. (this is paraphrased, i.e. translated into Tashaspeak, so if it makes no sense, that’s my fault) You can probably hardly shift, right?

I looked at Matt, my new hero, with shining adoration in my eyes. Finally, someone understands!

Matt: Look here.

He shows me how misaligned the whole chain/cog thingie is, and even a bike neophyte like myself can see it. He doesn’t even tell me I need new shifters, as the other bike store that we’ll call “Johnny Sprockets” did – but now because of their incompetence, I will need a new chain and cassette and I think some other doohickey. But in the meantime, YCBG Matt says he can make it good enough for Galena, and then I can get it really fixed. Hallelujah!

As I’m ready to leave, Jason sense that I’m a bit...perturbed. Dumbfounded. Pissed off? Incredulous? He thinks I’m worried about my bike, and reassures me that they can fix it and it’ll be fine. Unable to take the pressure any longer, I blurt out:

“That’s not it! I...I...okay, I confess, I went to another bike shop! There, the horrible truth is out. I needed to get my bike looked at before my Missouri trip and they said they could do it right away and they did but then I got to Missouri and it was WORSE, it was horrible, just read the blog about my days of terror on those hills!” I babbled. “I should have known better than to stray,” I finish sadly.

Luckily, Jason understood the need for a quick turnaround, but when I mentioned that I had gone to “Johnny Sprockets”, he nodded knowingly, and pointed out that YCBG Matt used to work there. So obviously things have gone downhill since then, I’d say. Anyway, I think all is forgiven, though I should probably drop off some brownies at the shop sometime soon.

The point being, let this be an important lesson to you all – in fact, if you take no other nugget of wisdom from this blog, young grasshopper, just remember this: once you’ve found a great hairdresser and a great bike shop, never EVER give them up, or you too may find yourself careening down a hill in the Ozarks, cursing your fool head off.

Other stupid things I have done, so that you don’t have to, as well as other notes to self:

o The fact that there’s a strong ammonia smell oozing from my pores after I run is NOT a figment of my imagination. There’s a complicated scientific explanation for it, but bottom line it seems to be related to insufficient carb intake. Hmm. Who knew that while training for an IM is NOT the best time to start the Atkins diet?
o Going running in the afternoon when it’s 89 degrees is not a good idea.
o Not taking much water isn’t so brilliant either.
o Ditto on not taking a few bucks to buy water on the way.
o The next day, taking just a few dollars was a smart move. Because after about an hour, all those bakeries one passes start to look mighty tempting. Who needs this run bullshit? I’ll just go have an éclair! Passing Lutz’s Bakery was almost my downfall, but I resisted. That time.
o Bikes seem to have some built-in distress signal capabilities, unheard by human ears. Because as Robyn and I were biking the Barrington loop last Saturday, there weren’t that many people around, but as soon as we stopped and turned FPOS over to see if there was anything obvious wrong with the chain/shifters, there were guys on bikes crawling out of the woodwork, stopping to see if we needed help. As if FPOS were calling out to her brethren, to come save her. Hmm. Must remember this.

And finally, more Conversations With my Brother

Me: Yeah, biking in Missouri was insane, but it was good practice. Those hills in SF look scary!
Him: Are you sure you can handle this race? Maybe a nice latte and some bonbons by the beach would be a better idea?
Me: Umm, I’ve been training, you know. Just need to work on hill running. And biking. And swimming in choppy, wavy, shark-infested waters. Piece of cake.
Him: Seriously though… don’t want to hurt yourself. It’s not worth it. You could die!
Me: It’s only a sprint distance race, you realize.
Him: But still – I mean, if you get tired or don’t feel well, you’ll stop, right? You won’t just keep going if you can’t handle it, yes? You really have to be in shape to do that kind of a race.
Me: A triangle is a shape!

So yet again, another vote of confidence from my adoring public. Sigh.

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