Sunday, February 19, 2012

I'm not walking...

One day last week, I was eating lunch in the corporate cafeteria, silently listening to several of my coworkers argue over a television program.  Noticing that I wasn't talking, which is unusual, and knowing perfectly well that I try not to watch TV, a friend turned and asked my opinion of the show.  I took the bait and went into my usual rant about wasting precious hours of life spectating and watching canned entertainment rather than doing and contributing, yada, yada, yada.

After I settled down and the laughing stopped, he asked seriously:  "So what DO you do?"  I reminded him of my workaholism, then listed family activities, home repairs, DIY projects, etc, etc, etc.  Oh, and bike projects.

Which leads to the subject of this article.  I recently decided to add a few short sections of bike chain to my tool bag, with pins already in place, in case my chain breaks while on the road.  I try to carry 'just enough' tools and parts to keep me riding, instead of walking or calling for a ride, and I think this will enable a quick repair.

But as I was working on this little project today, cleaning an old chain, separating it, and getting the pins right, I kept thinking back to last week's conversation and wondering: "Am I really spending time on this?"  

Well.  Yes, I did.  And yes, I'll be ready in case my chain ever breaks.  For the first time.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Where are the ladies?

I rode the RUSA Carthage Coffee Run 200K solo today.  The convenience store clerks in both Merry Oaks and Sanford asked where JJ and MK were today.  And the clerk in Carthage looked around disappointedly and asked if I was riding alone today.  What am I, chopped liver?

Actually, the ladies are more personable than I am, and they make a better impression with the clerks.  I just grunt, scratch, and get back on the road.  Oh well.

The last time we rode this route, MK and I encountered two big nasty dogs just north of Sanford.  Luckily, I did not see them today.  Instead, I encountered a 'dog block party' on Old US 1 west of Bonsal.  At least eight dogs greeted me and ran along both sides of my bike in the morning.  In the afternoon on my return, only three greeted me, but the rest barked from the sidelines.  See [map]

Today's temperatures started just above freezing, and warmed only slightly.  Intermittent light rain showers blew through the region on my return.  It was more like a cold mist spray booth at an amusement park in the summertime.  Water droplets stung my face, covered my glasses, and soaked my clothes and gear, but it was never really raining.  I was very cool all day, but never uncomfortably cold.

On the return, I gambled and rode the American Tobacco Trail to avoid traffic on NC 751.  The first section in Wake County is packed gravel, and was surprisingly dry.  The paved section in Chatham County had only a few puddles.  And the slimy clay mud pits in the Duham County section were no worse than usual.  It was a great choice.

Traffic was very light throughout the day, even near the finish at the intersection where NC 751 crosses I-40.

Overall, a great day on the bike.

A few boring checkpoint [photos]