Off and on for several years, I’ve wanted a road bicycle. Not the hundred-pound monstrosity I bought on ebay fifteen years ago that calls itself a mountain bike. Not even a quality mountain bike. 

A road bike. The kind made for asphalt and speed.  Never mind that I probably won’t ever ride it more than one hundred miles total. If even a tenth of that. 

I still want one. It doesn’t need to be a fifteen thousand dollar Pinarello, but I damn sure don’t want anything made by Huffy. My recent physical struggles with running have rekindled my interest, and if I am going to do it, I require quality. 

I think I’ve found the one – a closeout deal on a non-current model year of the Jamis Xenith Endura Sport. It has a carbon fiber frame and fork, and solidly middle-of-the-road hardware. It retails for $1,800 but can be had for slightly under a grand. All indicators point to it being a good, reliable machine. 

I have a lot of other irons in the fire, so to speak, and I probably shouldn’t have spent the money. But last night I went ahead and ordered one. It is scheduled to arrive here around the middle of next week. Then I’ll take it to a local bike shop for a fitting, after which I’ll be ready to ignore it. 

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Great Strides 5K

This morning they had a 5K walk to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research and treatment. FaucetCompany was a local sponsor of the event, so I got to participate без платно (free). Even though it was officially a walk, and even though many participants only completed one or two of the three laps necessary for a full five kilometers, I ran the entire distance. They held the event in the park where I usually run, so I knew the course.  They included the hill portion, and I haven’t done hills since the American Cancer Society 5K six weeks ago. And I haven’t been running regularly for almost a month. Which resulted in this pathetic time: 

But I ran every step after I got past the initial gaggle. I’m slow, but I can still do this. 

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The 5K That Wasn’t

I was supposed to run my second 5K this past Sunday afternoon. Those in charge cancelled the event due to rain and forecast heavy storms at race time. As it turned out, there was nothing but a cold drizzle until several hours later that evening. 

I’m glad that they called it off. I haven’t ran much since the 5K last month in an attempt to give my body time to heal. Consequently, I’m not in race form. Far from it. 

I’m unsure how to continue my fitness journey.  Even when my body will let me, running three miles three times per week simply isn’t enough exercise. And I’m nowhere close to even that at the moment. Do I fight my body and try to get back to that point? And assuming that I’m successful, what do I add to the mix to finish the job? If I can’t do it without some part of my body protesting more loudly than I can ignore, what then? 

But the biggest question of all is motivation. How do I convince myself to make time for whatever it takes? I was able to do the 5K because I had convinced myself that I had to do something, I had a specific program to follow and a deadline to meet, and there were people who didn’t think I could do it who absolutely had to be proven wrong.

But now? I’ve used my pain as an excuse to blow off many recent workouts. I struggled to find the hour or so every other day that my runs take. How do I increase that time and add more days? 

I’ve thought seriously about commuting to and from work by bicycle. I like the idea, because after I get over my fear of deserted roads after dark without an automobile cabin to shield me, it just makes sense. It will add over an hour to my travel time, and will regularly be unpleasant due to environmental factors, but it will serve a purpose. I have to go to work. It’s not time lost (in my mind) to exercising solely for the purpose of exercise. Therefore, I’m much more likely to stick with it.  

Several people have discouraged the idea, though. There’s the general risk associated with riding a bicycle on the road. And the increased potential for breakdowns that could make me late and cause issues with my employer. Then there’s the whole question as to how I can protect myself from the myriad of potential threats on back country roads at night without getting caught violating FaucetCompany’s “no firearms on company property” policy. 

All these are valid and reasonable concerns. But what alternatives are there? I have a gym membership. I could pick one or more of the many machines there. I could continue my running, adjusting time and speed as my body will allow. I could bike some of the local trails. I could use the exercise bike and workout videos that I already have at home. But every single one of those options is single use time. If I’m not doing something productive, I may as well be sitting on my ass relaxing. God knows, I get enough drama and excitement at work. And in my mind, exercising isn’t productive by itself. 

I’ve tried to ride the stationary bike while doing whatever I do to relax, but it interferes. I could bike and watch TV at the same time, but I seldom watch TV at home. Usually I’m reading or doing something on the computer. The movement of my legs makes it impossible to hold anything still enough to be able to read it.  

The obvious answer is to adjust my outlook to accept that exercise is a productive task, worthy of priority status. It’d be easier to stop eating. Or breathing. I guess I’m just fucked. And not in a good way. 

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Yesterday, I drove home from work via the route that makes the most sense by bicycle. It was intimidating as hell. Especially at midnight. I freely admit that I’m (probably overly) apprehensive about potential threats, especially those that I cannot see. But that road is just creepy. 

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Not Ready

But not horrible.

I started out strong, despite lingering hip pain. But I couldn’t keep it up. This time it was more a lack of wind than pain, although both were factors.

I want to be under 40:00 on Sunday. I’d love a new PR, but I don’t think that is a realistic hope. 

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Annoying Ex-Wife

A couple days ago, I posted on the book of faces requesting suggestions for a weapon mount suitable for use on a bicycle. I detailed my criteria – discreet, accessible while riding, somewhat secure, and weather-resistant. 

My ex-wife wanted to offer advice. I truly do appreciate that she tried to help. She is the typical blonde, so that excuses her somewhat. But at some point, basic logic and common sense should kick in, right?

She lives in the People’s Republic of Kalifornistan, where only the elite have access to firearms. She has never owned a gun in her life, and in fact asked me for gun advice not that long ago. It took her three attempts to qualify with the M-16 in Air Force basic training back in the early 1990s (minimum score at that time was something ridiculous like 15/40 hits). But she wanted to hand out gun gear advice. 

 Her “help”: Have you checked on Amazon? What about BassPro or 5.11 Tactical? Glock Store?

Bitch, please! If it was that easy, I wouldn’t have needed to ask for help, especially not on social media. I had already checked the obvious locations. My google-fu is at least apprentice level, perhaps even journeyman. If something suitable was available from any major retailer, or from a cursory Internet search, I would have already found it. 

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Mulching Kits … Don’t

Today I installed the mulching kit on my new Cub. I chose a Cub branded kit, so the part quality should match the original equipment. Should.  

These kits consist of a plastic plug that blocks the discharge port, and a set of mulching blades. Theoretically, the cut quality shouldn’t change. The plug just keeps the clippings contained inside the deck while the tops of the blades disintegrate them. Theoretically. 

I had already completed three laps when I decided that I had enough time to install the kit and finish at least the back yard before having to quit and get ready for work. The install was slightly less smooth than I anticipated, but still relatively painless. 

Immediately, I noticed missed spots. Lots of them. Maybe the mutant dandelions in my yard are particularly resistant to being cut. Maybe I was too busy smoothing out the edges to notice the misses the first few times around. Or maybe installing a mulch kit does something that prevents a clean cut. In any case, I’m back to a 50% overlap. Fortunately, 50% of 54″ is quite an improvement over 50% of 42″. If you don’t believe me, ask your old lady how much difference six inches makes. 

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