I am a menace to society. People have hatred towards me. When people see me I honestly think that it must make their blood boil. I’m as heinous as they come. I should be locked up put away for my crime. What’s my crime, you ask? It’s because I legally ride my bike on a roadway.
After another close call with the car driving public, the thought of this is how life is for a cyclist passed through my mind. This is my life can have different meanings, such as:
This is my life… It can be positive, just like this blog in which I post things about the amazing experiences that running, triathlon, and life have provided to me.
This is my life… The things I do day in and day out. Mostly the same as everyone else, but from my perspective.
This is my life… Or possibly something that occurs occasionally that can be burdensome, such as doing laundry nearly every damn day.
This is my life… But my intended purpose of that statement today is that THIS IS MY LIFE YOU ARE ENDANGERING!!! DOES A HUMAN LIFE NOT MATTER TO YOU IN YOUR FUCKING CAR AS YOU TRY TO PASS ME IN A DANGEROUS SITUATION?
I was riding my bike on a road that within less than a mile I would hope off of to catch the adjoining trail. I just needed to be on it shortly. But to people in cars, I might as well have purposely gone out of my way to plan my ride to coincide with their trip to Starbucks or whatever.
I get being inconvenienced. I don’t like it either. But I am a life out there on a bike, exposed to the world and your one-ton enclosed, all steel, with numerous safety features vehicle. It blows my mind to think that a driver would go out of his way to avoid crashing into another vehicle, but some old guy in tight clothes on a bike is open game. I probably wouldn’t even scratch your car as you hit me.
I wasn’t really intending to make this post an argument for sharing the road with cyclists. I could tackle the arguments about why cyclists shouldn’t be allowed on the road, or give a counterpoint to “just because I can doesn’t mean that I should.” I’ll save it for next time if the next time doesn’t kill me.
So as luck would have it, I have a video of this incident. I have gotten to the point in my cyclist life that I feel it necessary to document my ride so that in the event that something happens to me, the authorities can look at the video and say “Yep, he was doing it right when he got run over.”
I was riding up some hills, the road was striped with double yellow, no-passing zone markings, and I was taking up a little more of the middle than the far right as safely possible just to give the impression that there wouldn’t be enough room to pass. She attempted the pass anyway. Watch the video. Form your own opinion. (Warning – The audio is quite loud – turn it down before hitting play.)
All I ask is that you think about that person on the bike when you drive. They are someone’s family. And it’s someone’s life that you put in jeopardy by not passing with caution.
IRONMAN TRAINING IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC – PART XIV
A few weeks ago I talked about how my bike was making some clicks, groans, and other annoying noises that I should probably address before they become bigger issues, and as I rode this week it seemed like they were really noisy to me, so I decided to see if I could figure some of them out. I had heard some people say that the bike shops have 2-3 week backlogs in servicing bikes due to the shops dealing with Covid-19 crazy people who all of a sudden need to have their bikes fixed so that they can ride during the pandemic. I figured that I have enough skill to handle fixing a bike. It’s not a car for Pete’s sake. What’s the worst that can happen?
Since most bike noises are bearing related and usually just require some cleaning and repacking with grease, the front fork seemed like it would be a good starting point and something I could easily tackle before I attempt to deal with the chain, derailleur, bottom bracket, and wheel axles. I probably shouldn’t have.
I often say that I am handy enough to be dangerous. I know I’m not my father. My dad was a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of guy, and a master of many. He could pretty much do anything. He wasn’t afraid to build an addition to the house, or put on a new roof, or build a small shed/barn. And as a pipeline welder, he was pretty skilled. He always said that he could weld anything – anything except a broken heart and a butt crack. That always got a chuckle out of me as a kid. He also had another saying though – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I think every dad probably has said that. That is pretty good advice.
Technically, my front fork wasn’t broken, but I felt that if I let the popping sound I heard when I turned the handlebars go for too long it could lead to something bad. So disassembly began by unscrewing a bolt that holds a plastic cap on over the top stem of the fork and covers a couple of bolts that are responsible for holding the handlebars on. Yes, two bolts clamp the aero bars to the fork. Not bolt the bars to the fork, but clamp them to it. You would think that would not be enough to handle the forces that I apply to the bars while riding but somehow they do. Then the fun began.
Side view uh oh…
Two metal spacer pieces needed to come off and they decided to be a giant pain in the ass. As I tried my best to not mar them up with pliers, I twisted them back and forth to loosen them and move them up and off the top of the fork. But they didn’t really want to come off by twisting. Time to apply a little “persuasion”, and I grabbed a rubber mallet. That seemed to be working but with every blow to the fork, I was extremely nervous about damaging a very expensive carbon fiber bike frame and fork. I eventually graduated to using a big screwdriver and prying in my attempt to remove them. The top one came off pretty easily but the second one required a lot more work but eventually relented and came off. Under the second one there was another piece that the bearings seemed to be attached to and it for sure wasn’t budging any further. It was awkwardly shaped enough that any tool I had really wasn’t effective. So I decided that maybe I should stop before I break something really expensive and admit defeat. With a couple inches of play now I had room to at least clean the areas where the bearing housing sits on the frame on both the top and underside of the frame, added a dab of grease to the area, and claimed a minor victory. Then I tried to put it back together. It was at this point I realized that I should have let a sleeping dog lay, and never messed with it in the first place. More persuasion with the rubber mallet took place, a pinched finger resulting in a pretty good blood blister occurred, some touch-up paint applied to my now badly scratched up spacers, and with some patience which I don’t normally have, I got the thing back together.
In the end, things seem to have turned out okay. I relearned that some jobs should probably be left to the pros no matter how long it takes. And by some stroke of luck, I no longer hear the loud click when I turn the handlebars.
The rest of the week went a little like this:
I opted to do the Monday hour-long swim instead of doing a 30-minute swim on Tuesday and Thursday. It went okay, but it did wear me out a little. I think I may alternate my swims by doing one hour-long swim one week and do the two 30-minute swims the next week. I think it may be beneficial to get used to that hour of suffering. And I wasn’t too bored to death.
My Saturday three and a half long ride started out okay but ended kind of bad. The wind direction was favorable for a change and I got at it early (around 6:45am) to beat the heat and the crowded trails. I had plenty of fuel and water and was hydrating well, but around 2.5 hours into it I could feel the bonk coming on and the heat was getting to me. But just 10 minutes after that my rear tire went flat just like a week ago. Not sure what caused it, probably a pinch flat. Fortunately, there was a shady, grassy area nearby and I took my time to recover a little while I changed the tube. When the job was done I got back to riding but I wasn’t in a good place. About 15 minutes from home I rolled by a newly built home that wasn’t yet occupied and refilled my water bottle with cold water from the hose bib. When I got home I skipped the 30-minute post-ride brick run and opted to rehydrate and cool off in the pool. I basically staggered into the pool. After a nap and some lunch, I felt good enough to do an easy 30 minutes of jogging.
I think the bonk was the result of dehydration and a little bit of heat exhaustion. I was drinking, had salt capsules and really wasn’t overdoing it. I just wasn’t exceeding my sweat rate with water consumption, I guess. And the heat was just adding to the issue. I did 2019 Ironman Chattanooga in 13:37 with 95 degree temps that felt hotter and did not feel like this. Training is not just doing the workout; it’s not just swimming, biking, and running. It’s also about learning to recognize the external factors and adapting, too.
The Tuesday run was fine and I texted my Gunner teammates that it felt effortless. Wednesday’s bike/run brick wasn’t so effortless though. I think I jinxed myself. On Friday I ran for an hour and it called for 7.5 minutes of Z4 after 45 minutes. I did fine on that but I think intervals longer than 3 minutes are tough for me to do because my mind will eventually wander, and my tempo will fall off and then all of a sudden I will realize – “Oh Yeah! I’m supposed to be running hard right now!” I’d rather do 2 X 3.5-minute repeats with a minute jog in between. My mind can handle that I think.