Monday, June 16, 2008

Dig, dig, dig... Sick, sicker, sickest

That's the way the last month has been.
And now it's coming to a head of sorts. If I don't get better this week I'm not going to be able to race, so says Betsy.
Probably shouldn't have raced last w/e at the Appalachian/Applalachain Classic, but I was hopeful and it *was* JR's premier event.
I'll blame it on Chris and JR.

It all started before May 23.
Chris was trying to talk us into doing the Kelly Bike Jam. I wasn't registered, but he was, for two races, so he agreed to let me "take" one of his races if I could get that to happen, and then we'd come over for the race.
So I pulled in a couple of favors, finally got myself registered, got Betsy registered and then woke up that Friday, May 23, sickly feeling.
After all the hassle and crap I had put some folks though, we made an executive decision and didn't go for the Saturday race.
Betsy ate her registration and Chris had to beg, plead, and grovel to able to get himself in both races again. He used the excuse that he hadn't allowed me to take his spot in the first place. Smart man Goose.

So Betsy did a mini-Death March and I laid around the house.
Then we raced the WVMBA race on Sunday, the White Oak Challenge.
I did ok, but wasn't feeling all that great. Had to use some "local lines" and such and a last minute effort to reel in a couple guys and get 4th for the day.
The next day we were supposed to join others on the Memorial Day Ride, but I was back to feeling crappy, so we just rode up to the "Gene" Falls later in the day.

Tried to get better that week.
Guess it failed.
I forget what I did or didn't do, but apparently it wasn't enough.

The next w/e was the Mohican 100.
At the last minute I opted for the little kids loop, 100K instead of the manly 100M. But I was going to be there.
We got going after Chris made it into Motown, but that freakin' place is out in the middle of nowhere and it took forever to get there.
We set up camp, got settled, then got to enjoy several thunderstorms rolling though.
I wasn't sleeping well and all I could think of was "there going to have to cancel the event, it's raining way too hard". That was my only hope as I didn't sleep but two winks and was still feeling el crapo.
Morning came and the rain had stopped.
I was still feeling crappy, couldn't get my head cleared, we had to drive to the start, and my head was all over the place.
Part of the race I raced, part of it I just rode along. Had my moments, coasted and heckled some too. Got 4th, to the same guy from the previous w/e, Brad W.! Funny but weird.

The very next day we had to drop Betsy off at the Airport, so we took our time getting out of Mohican, took our time getting across OH, took our time in the B&N in Pittsburgh.
Probably that week I didn't take the best of care of myself.
Still not feeling that great.

Luckily for me I was all registered and such for the 24 Hours of Big Bear, on a Duo Pro team no less!
It was another rainy week and I was half hoping that they would cancel that event too.
Alas it went off w/o a hitch, though I did have to pay the exhorbant price of 10 bucks to Dan to get him to provide Nanny services for the w/e. Yes sirrre I spare no expense...
Well I got through that adventure, got fast lap, put in 8 others for a total of 9, didn't feel awfully bad besides not being able to sit.

The next week Betsy took off to visit her family in Dayton and so once again I was left to my own devices starting on Wednesday, AND I had all of the Director Sportiff duties to preform on the bikes from the 24 Hour race.
Yeah it was a relaxing week for sure.

So Friday found me feeling overwhelmed and by night fall I didn't have the bus packed or all my ducks in a row.
Goose comes in, we eat some, watch some videos and get to sleep.
I can't sleep, then don't sleep to well, then wake up early cause I know I have tons to do and not tons of time to do it in.
The bus gets packed, we make some last minute provisions and vittles shopping and then clouds let loose their fury and we're on the road.
We have less than 2 hours to make the 2:16 drive to Granstville.
Lo and behold we get there right at 2:00pm, unload Betsy's machine and she gets to race. Goose doesn't want to and I really shouldn't.
So we set up camp, try to eat some and then all get ready for the Short Track, which is just nuts. 30 minutes for us, in which I do 23 laps and get 3rd to Jeremiah B. and Nick Waite, who I actually unlapped myself from!
That night the Weedhawks were playing, we show up late, it's a small but great crowd and they play until almost midnight. We so wanted to leave but it wouldn't have looked good.
So once again we're getting to bed late and I can't sleep.
Wake up the next day feeling only partially rested.
Shouldn't race but I begin preparing lots of food and try and cram as much of it as I can down my gullet.
High Noon finds me on the starting line, and although I try several times to "snap" into an aggressive nature, it just doesn't happen. I roll in a decent and admirable 6th, but the heat and everything else has really taken it's toll now.

Last night I stayed in bed, half sleeping, half feeling crappy for almost 12 hours.
Now I'm full on hacking, full on feeling stuffy all the time, full on deep in the Kimchee.
Bob V. has gotten the phone call and once he gets back from the river we're going to formulate a plan and get rid of whatever this is that afflicting me.

It's now or never.
Big and bigger races are still right around the bend.
All that early fitness and great riding is going by the wayside.

Looking back it seems so obvious...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm falling apart. More bane, teeth

Now mind you I don't floss or brush as much as Betsy,

But I do. Them both.

I think it has more to do with what I did with them as a child.
I guess I used my teeth as tools. Opening things, a weapon, a tool(s), many things when I didn't have enough hands or the proper machine-made tool unavailable.

I broke/smashed a tooth on the old Honda ATC 70 when I was kind of young.
Riding in the snow, having a good old time, sans helmet, but I had a toboggan on though, hit a patch of dry ground with one tire and ice with the other and smacked my mouth on the little bent up handlebar.
Had to rip the tooth out of my mouth cause it was just hanging there, blood everywhere since my lower lip was split open. Ride it on home...
Stitches in the lip, bone fragments in the upper jaw, and gap where the tooth used to be.

Got braces, and they *still* had to take some teeth out. And I was always playing with the bands and then they'd come loose and I'd flick them back and forth and then of course have to return to the evil orthodontist.

Well the fine ortho-man didn't leave me much of an over bite, so I started wearing my toothers out, grinding a bit at night, sharpening them up, to do some more cutting and tearing too. Just didn't stop.

And of course, like any good American boy, I had cavities. Not tons, but certainly I was no stranger to the dentist.

Had a buddy "help" me out by doing a wisdom tooth extraction on the cheap.
No antibiotics and of course I woke up that evening wanting to die. Had to get a buddy from Uniontown come and go get me the anti's and by day 2 I was finally able to get out of bed. It was rough. What a nightmare.
For the other side I did it the "front door" method and I was back at work later that afternoon. Amazing!

Now I gotta wear a little mouth guard so I don't grind my teeth down anymore.
I got fillings coming out if I'm not careful w/ my candy selection.
I chip my teeth occasionally.
They ache every now and again.
Sometimes I just want to rip them out and get dentures or something.

Had a big filling come out last week, just after I chipped off a slice of a front tooth trying to hold my jersey collar w/ my teeth and grabbing the zipper w/ my hand.
The big abscess is pretty far down the tooth and the Doc was a little afraid that I might need a root canal or crown or extraction.
Just great.
Yesterday after having a shiny silver filling put in (it should hold better than the more aesthetically pleasing "natural"), I couldn't open my trap much at all and felt like crap for the rest of the day.
And I'm still not recovered from the Duo 24 Hour race, so this is just ducky.
You ever try and take a picture of your mouth? It ain't easy-

Seems like a lot of stuff going on there don't it.

Well I'm feeling better today. No pounding, not sharp edges for my tongue to snag on, but I still have to go back and get the chipped front tooth worked on and they think that there's another "trouble area" inbetween two teeth that's just going to get worse...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Bane, my feet

These are my feet-

Not sure when it started,

But it may have been that "year of hard work". Working for Benji on his Custom Contracting Crew. But that in itself is worthy of a book, or a small tome.
Good guys, really hard work, quite enjoyable until things started hurting. A lot.
My feet went first.
The cold, the standing, the cold, who knows.

So that was 2006 or so.
That year for Cross I started cutting my insoles off just past the ball of the foot, to try and give my toes more room. They were hurting enough that it was beginning to severally deter my riding.
I had nice shoes, they were just too tight in and around the toes.

Come summer they get better.
Then last fall they got bad again. And I really couldn't even wear the cycling shoes I had. Went up stairs and got an old pair of 1996 Time's that were the "cold weather" pair cause they were on the big side.
But even they couldn't relieve all the pain all the time.
So I got that pair of Lake Winter shoes, but even they didn't stop the pain in the toes.
I took back the pair of Keen boots that MikeY gave me that I gave my dad. They were nice.

I need a pair of cycling shoes that are shaped like Keens or like my Whites, only taller in the toe box.

And mind you I do not have sensitive feet.
I walk on gravel, I run across the road, I spend as much of my day w/o shoes.
And what's weird is that my mammy used to say how much she loved to be w/o shoes. So much that she'd go off to school wearing shoes but shortly on the long uphill walk she would take the shoes off and then of course get in trouble for not having shoes on.
I didn't think it was cool back when I was young. But then sometime in the mid 90's I started going barefooted more and was actually trying to toughen up my feet.
It has taken years, but I'm actually most comfortable w/o shoes now.

Shoes are for sissies!
Except when you have to have them to race/ride your bike. And maybe mow the grass.

These feet do not fit well into these shoes-

Anyone got any suggestions?
I'm tired or it all.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lights, the Bane of my 24 Hour racing

I've had lights and have been riding at night since late 1989 I figure.

Back then we used lights that would be considered marginal at best now. But for us, we mostly rode in the dark, learned to "see", and just dealt w/ it.
Really hard to imagine the stuff we did ride and the conditions. Not really sure you could coerce me into doing it again, but it's what we did.

Then a few spent some serious dough and got Night Suns or Nite Riders.
I still had that old 4xAA halogen bulb contraption that you strapped onto the bars. It was "good enough" and made me tougher.
But I did see the "way" with the helmet lights, Night Sun being the first I remember.

Cut to 1992 at the first 24 Hours of Canaan.
Matt had us hooked up with some of those Nite Riders, both helmet and bar mounted units with the batteries that weighed several pounds and you had a separate fanny pack for.
They were going to be sweet!
Every lap I ended up coming in w/ dead lights. Every lap I carried more batteries and every lap I would ride behind or in front of someone else whose lights worked.

Next year Nite Rider set us up w/ some lights that were lighter and actually lasted the whole lap.

Now I don't ride much at night.
Why? Cause I don't have to. And that's really the only reason you do, cause you have to.
I'd rather watch TV/Movies in the dark.

But those blasted 24 Hour races still happen in the dark.

Still had my Nite Riders from back in the day. Both were aging and not lasting too long, 1:15 max.
So my buddy Dave let me borrow his new fangled ones, w/ the NiMH battery. They were lighter, had the digital head lamp, several light settings... and the batteries which had not been charged for a few years... were about toast.
I tried to cycle them through a couple times. The guy at Nite Rider said they were toast, you gotta keep them charged or they'll die eventually. But I used them anyway.
And 3/4 through the lap they'd fade and I'd be bumping along in the dark. Hoping for others.
Maybe the first night lap they both lasted. Then they just got progressively worse until both were fading.

So this year I got old ones, new old ones, ones that don't work, ones that seem to work.
Tried to take notes, measure, calculate which for what laps, then threw up my hands.
One of the terminals broke on the bottle-cage battery.

Yesterday I marched down to Pathfinder and w/ the sage advice from Robbie got a Nite Rider MiNewt.X2.
It is small. It is cute. It is bright.
Last night on the "low" power it lasted all night!
Also last night one of them (I bought one for Goose too) burned out. That ones Goose's.

Boy I'm really looking forward to the dark this year...