Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Theoretical Bicycle pt.2

I picked up my finished wheelset from the shop today. They are very pretty, very strong, and quite light (little over 1800gm/pr, if you really care).

Hope Pro2Evo hubs laced to
Mavic Open Pro rims with
DT Swiss double butted spokes and
black anodized nips

The Beef Wreath, a meatloaf ring with cranberry glaze went along with the wheel-shaped theme for the day. I didn't make it because of the round theme, it just tastes good and I haven't made it in awhile.

bread crumbs

That's not everything that went in there, if you really want the recipe I can get more detailed. Also, braised celery is delicious. We should all eat more celery.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

BRSCI XII: Mukilteo to Anacortes on 2 wheels (a.k.a. 4 state parks and a ferry)

November 3, 2012

6 AM: Met up with Ocean and Dyno for pre-ride breakfast at Speedway café . Not our usual waitress, had to wait a little longer for coffee and poached-not-over easy eggs, but would probably still catch the 7:30 ferry. But there was no 7:30 ferry. It was not merely workers boycotting ferry cutbacks, it is fall, no wait, it is winter in terms of ferry schedules. We had planned to hit Port Townsend and make this the 3 ferries- 91 mile BRSCI, but it’s November now, logistics change. Luckily there is an indoor place peppered with local newspaper clippings to wait in, even a bathroom nearby.

Love the ferry. Instant trip to far, far, away.

Landed in Clinton, South Whidbey at 8:22. Just glad to be back on the bike, and that the rain held off mostly. The island looks totally different going counter clockwise. The climbs were less steep and I didn’t mind.  Less than 5 miles in, mechanical #1 for Ocean, rear flat.

Then back on our way, lovely fall colors, kept wishing I had a helmet cam!

Very soon we hit South Whidbey state park, which is usually toward the end of our rides but today it’s state park #1. The water fountains have already been turned off but luckily bathrooms still working. Eat some snickers. Then back on the road. It sure was nice going DOWN Lancaster instead of up.

Then it was Fort Casey, state park #2. By then I was ready for lunch but Coupeville was still over an hour away, we could see the ferries going to Port Townsend. Windy and flat, coves and lagunes, different from our usual Whidbey experience, feels like I’m far far away from home but I’m not.

In Coupeville stopped for advil, caffeine, and snacks at the Red Apple market. Luckily lunch was not far away. Dyno has like 360 degree peripheral vision, able to spot species of birds and plantlife like snowberries while riding, and apparently, Thai restaurants masquerading as a random person’s house.

The décor was… unique. 6-7 birdhouses hung from the tree, dozens of clocks in one corner, several old radios in another. 

The hot broth tasted homemade, and hot tea was welcome. They had an interesting scale for the spiciness of the food. One chili = mild, 2 chilis = oops, 3 chilis = geez, 4 chilis = ya ba da ba doo. It was only Whidbey Island hot though. Then a trip into the most bizarre bathroom, lined with hundreds of cat figurines. What kind of weirdo would collect hundreds of animal figurines anyway?

Then it’s mechanical #2 (rear flat, Gerald). The blue tires that used to match my hair, that I got at STP are now looking pretty bald. Apparently the ratio of rear to front flats is 2:1.

Then a surprise at state park #3, Joseph Whidbey state park with not just any Scuttlebutt, Ten Below! My new fav brew due to cool label. Not to mention 7.4% EtOH content.

While I’ve pretty much mastered the art of peeing in under 15 seconds without hitting my shoes with the spray, there was a bit too much civilization to find many natural bathrooms en route to Deception Pass, state park #4. Passing rows of Madrona trees felt like walking through a sculpture gallery in fast-motion.

Ocean is way-layed by leg cramps so gets a ride with Skirtsteak while Dyno and I push the last leg to Anacortes so as to arrive by sundown. Somewhere along the way, I had what Ocean might consider a moment of clarity. I got it, what BRSCI is about, I just got it.

Finish line? Brown Lantern for beer, fish & chips with BRS. Dozed on the drive back to Muk, where I got the coveted BRSCI XII with moustache mug. Whidbey never gets old, and Whidbey does not mess around.

Opposite George

JJ100- attempt #2 (October 27-28, 2012)
Normally there is nothing I look forward to more after a demoralizing week at work than a good long run on the weekend. Usually 7-10 hours is enough to prevent withdrawal, but as soon as the toenails start growing back the thought of 100’s start creeping back. I have no great explanation for why I keep signing up for them. There’s not much to see at 2 AM. It’s not “peaceful” to be lost for hours alone in the dark in the desert/ forest/ mountain, freezing, starving, sore. I don’t get the huge sense of accomplishment that others speak of; I don’t even lose any weight.

Is it purely to suffer more to achieve a greater sense of relief afterward? Or the sense of hope at getting a 2nd chance at redemption? Sure, it made me feel better to sign up for another try after DNFing at VT100 (mile 62) and JJ100 (mile 70) last year. It sounded good in theory, but when it came down to pay up race week, I dreaded it.

That said, I can say I’ve not made the same mistakes repeatedly. But “learning” from my mistakes has somehow not increased my success rate. This is because I’m Opposite George.

“if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right” (George Costanza, May 1994)

I’ve gone out too fast and trashed my quads. I then went out slower and proceeded to miss cut-offs. I wore too tight socks and got heat rash. I wore loose socks and got blisters. I hurried through rest stops to save time and starved/ froze. I dilly dallied and overate, gotten stiff, missed cutoffs.

Arrived at the race headquarters an hour outside Phoenix by 6 pm. Picked up my packet and settled to my routine of eating alone in a hotel bar, explaining to the waitress that I did indeed want both the burger and the turkey avocado sandwich with onion rings, and yes on the 2rd glass of wine.

Next morning got up at 3 AM to dress, pack my drop bags, and drive to the race. The start was crazy crowded, nearly 400 runners in Halloween costumes and headlamps. 

I started to be aware of my toes rubbing the box of my shoes less than 10 miles in. That’s weird, I had carefully taped each toe with KT tape before putting on 5-toe socks filled with anti-Monkey Butt powder. I knew that to ignore feet was death, so I resolved to check my feet at the next rest stop at mile 15.5.

No chairs so sat on the sand, eased my sock off.  I could feel blisters forming already on the medial aspects of my great toes. Re-doing the tape would be a project, but I took a look and tried to pop it with my bib pin. Under all that callous, no liquid would come out. Powdered the feet and and put the socks back on, not too damp yet. Looked inside my shoes for the rocks I had felt. Where were the insoles? Must’ve been pulled out when I took the shoes off, but…. There were no insoles, only a stiff plastic bottom with holes. Sinking feeling with dread as I realized that I had packed only one pair of shoes, which I was committed to running the next 86 miles in. Crap crap crap. I had taken out the soaking insoles to dry after LeGrizz and forgotten to put them back in. 

Started 2nd lap shaken but kept moving. It was already hot at 10 AM, getting close to 90 by early afternoon. I lamented to another runner who was very sympathetic about my insole gaffe, though she was herself a barefoot runner wearing just sandals.

Got back to the main station at 50k anxious to change my socks and care for blisters. Bigger blisters, now something to pop, and the tape was falling off, had to cut new tape. Did I listen to Francine and let the medics fix it? No. Killed another 20 minutes retaping, looked for a clean pair of socks…. Where were those 3 pairs of socks I packed? I realized I had put them in the remote drop back with my flashlight batteries. Put my damp, stinky socks back on, popped more advil, and kept going.

Still made 100k in better time than last year (sub 16h), stopped to change into warm clothes so as not to freeze like last year and took a ½ a Provigil so I wouldn’t fall asleep, but overheated and slowed exponentially in the dark. Was passed by nearly everyone, including the 70 year olds and walkers. Made the mile 77 cut-off with over an hour to spare, still had 7:45 to run just 24 more miles. 

Then suddenly there was no one around. The same place I got lost last year, incredibly on the 6th loop I got lost again, wandering around for 90 minutes looking for trail markers, backtracking, despite 3 lamps. When they say, “it’s darkest before the dawn” they weren’t kidding. After the moon sets and before the sun rises, it was darker than dark for nearly 2 hours. Time ticking, every wrong turn I made, panic. Asked the mile 80 aid station people for new batteries. Was I still under the cutoff? I had made the last hard cutoff, they said.

The sun came up. Started seeing runners on their last lap coming the other way, and I knew I was in last place, but that I could finish. A jeep drove by me filled with DNFd runners, probably the same one I rode last year. I sped up, feeling good. Reached the mile 93 stop with 2:20 left to do the last 8 miles, but was told I missed the last cutoff by 10 minutes and would not be allowed to continue.

Went to the shower, and as soon as I sat felt dizzy, opened my mouth and the last liter of water I had chugged came up silently, mixed with with what I suspected was a little banana. My pee was brownish, not a good sign. Tried to smile feebly as I got my consolation buckle and looked for food that I wouldn’t upchuck so I could drive the hour back to the airport without bonking. 

Ocean checked back with me to see if my mood had crashed as it usually does after a race, but oddly, it hadn't. I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that I didn't technically quit; to go on in the face of certain failure is a trait I still lack. Maybe repeatedly failing makes it easier. Maybe my definition of failure is changing. I may be 2 for 6 now, but I'm still moving.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 New Music November

2012 NMN's theme is simply pick your favorite sixteen tunes along with a seven-letter animal.