Despite being an avid cyclist, my ability to prepare for races is almost legendarily poor.  My race bike is down, my Camelbak that I had ordered (sorry, none of the model I wanted was in stock locally) has not arrived, I couldn’t find my helmet, the snowfall is going to require me to wear stretch jeans during the race to keep the powder spray from getting in through the tops of my Lake winter boots (an interesting design flaw), and the QT microwave breakfast burrito consumed at midnight is trying to fight its way out of my stomach like a fully gestated alien.  Yes, I am done now. 

With the help of a borrowed bike (thank you Steve Fuller), a good negotiating session with the contents of my digestive tract, and a messenger bag full of provisions I WILL be crossing the finish line, and with any luck will rise above my usual Bottom 3 finish.

See you in Cumming.

(Almost) Bludgeoned By An Axe Handle Pt 2

Here’s a quick update to a situation which occurred a few weeks back, when a motorist exited his vehicle and threatened me with an axe handle.

The Des Moines Police Department has not done a thing about my complaint against the driver.  I have left a few messages for the Detective in charge of the case and have received zero call backs.  Am I upset?  No, not at all.  I understand that our police force is busy doing things, and I wasn’t physically harmed in the event.  Do I think that my assailant should be dealt with?  Yes.  This person has demonstrated a penchant for violent behavior towards cyclists and is a threat to the safety of the public.  Until he does someone actual physical harm, the police won’t pursue a case against him.

I know that this person works in Valley Junction, and when cycling past his Pickup truck I saw the axe handle used against me propped up on the wheel well in the bed, awaiting another call to action.

So that is the end of the story.  For Now.  I hope that this dude doesn’t hurt anyone, that he can keep his “shit” together and act like a human being instead of an animal.  I would like some advice on whether I can post a picture of his pickup for other cyclists to see and watch out for.  Anyone out there have an answer for that?



Saturday Mud Fest

Livin on the edge of a broken...derailler

This past Saturday morning brought forth the usual yearning for a nice pre-work-commute stretch of Gravel Grinding courtesy of Adams Street, but was fueled by a bit of a manic edginess that has returned since my decision to ditch booze.  The weather was perfect with a nice (stiff) West wind (which makes for a good tail wind for the return home), and the temperature sitting at just below freezing (which keeps the mud at bay…or so I thought).

A quick 5 miles passed, and I was feeling strong and antsy.  Vintage Road caught my eye as I crested the last hill before reaching that mile-long level-B beauty.  The decision was made with little of my logic’s consent, I was going to make that turn south onto Vintage…and turn south I did.

The north side of the first hill was still wearing its snow and ice coating, and someone had recently taken a road grader down the stretch, improving to a “Level B+”.   The top of the hill was a different story.  The warm sunshine had begun blending ice, snow, and dirt into a muddy soup, but I drove on. (the picture in the header of this blog is of the view from the top of the first hill on that day) The mud began building up in my stays, moving on to my chain, crankset, brakes, and some even flew up and landed inside my boot (thanks to the Lake shoe company for that little design flaw in the MXZ302 boots).

At the bottom of the hill came the end of my heroics, stopping just before the mud had sucked my rear derailleur into oblivion.  A combination of tire levers, fingers, and snow worked for half an hour cleaning the peanut butter mud from components and frame.  Back on the road, I tried to stick to the snowy sides, avoiding the exposed mud bog.  Half a mile later the end of Vintage came, dry gravel bringing a normal cruising speed and flying mud chunks flinging through the air.

The rest of the ride continued without a hitch, except for a little chain noise, reaching home after another 25 miles.  I won’t be going down Vintage road in the mud any time soon.  I would rather try out sprinting farm dogs.