Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday Morning Time Trial

I had an appointment at the eye doctor after work, so I had to go in early. This required getting up before dawn and being on the road a little before 6AM. Sunrise was at 6:08, so although I could see well, legally I should have had lights. I had breakfast and a quick cuppa, but when I looked up at the clock, I was astonished to see that it was almost 6 already! I had to rush. The Centurion has lights attached, but it's much slower than the Giant, and I was pressed for time.

I grabbed the Camelback with my work clothes and lunch, and hustled out the door. Partway down the hill from the house, I felt my jersey pocket to see if I had my all-important ID card that gets me through the security perimeter. It wasn't there! I started to panic, then remembered I'd clipped it to the Camelback so I wouldn't forget it. If I'd turned back to the house to retrieve it, I would have been late. Likewise, if I'd had to stop at security for a temporary badge, I would have been late. Big sigh of relief.

I hammered along in the big ring through a light crosswind, and then slowed for a left turn, dropping down to the small ring so I could accelerate quickly. I turned south, reved the bike up over 20mph, and then shifted back up to the big ring, and immediately threw the chain! A quick stop resulted in black, greasy fingers as I installed it back onto the chainring. I was off again, wiping my nasty, grimy fingers on my shorts.

Page 70 of this month's 'Bicycling' magazine has a full-page photo of gleaming white "Ralpha's African hair sheep leather Fixed riding gloves" at only $140. The name alone is worth at least $75 of that. It's so precious! Page 75 has white bib shorts: "Exte Ondo's Zuri" at $175 and "Nalini's Soroyo" at $110, though the copy notes that the Soroyo is available only in "shimmery black this season." Who ARE these people? Who in their right mind would wear white gloves and shorts?

Cycling shorts are black for a very good reason. Most of us don't carry pre-moistened towelettes, GO-JO, or a shop rag. We wipe our hands on our shorts. Black doesn't show the grease stains. We wipe our noses with our gloves too. (Never shake hands with a cyclist who's still wearing his gloves!) Our clothing accumulates snot, grease, dried sweat and Gatorade, food stains, and even dead bugs. Sometimes the bugs aren't dead, but that's a story for another time.

I thought about these things as I pounded down Mingo Road. It kept my mind off the complaints from my legs and lungs. And I arrived at work with 3 minutes to spare!

I didn't have to rush on the ride home - or so I thought. As I rolled down off the Bird Creek bridge, it felt like the back end of the bike was bouncing up and down. I was pulling about 100 revs, and I don't bounce until I hit about 115, so this seemed a little strange. The Camelback bounced up and down noticeably, pulling at the shoulder straps and thudding against my back. When I thought to look down at the back tire, it was definitely losing air. I pulled over.

The tire was leaking but it wasn't flat. I couldn't hear the leak anywhere, so I gambled that it would hold air long enough to get me home. I pumped it up quickly, then rode gingerly over the next 3 miles. I made it home, then had to rush for a shower before my eye doctor's appointment.

By the way, I was in for a glaucoma test. The eye drops didn't dilate my pupils enough, so the doc hit them with a second dose. It took a long time for my eyes to recover, and I did my best Mr. Magoo impression for awhile. But it's VERY cool to sit in a darkened room while wearing sunglasses!


Blogger Pete said...

It's true! Cycling shorts were originally black because all the saddles were black leather. Once treated with a liberal amount of saddle soap the dye would rub off on cyclists' pants.

That's the end of my Cliff Claven impression for today.

8:35 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Perhaps David Cameron would wear sparkling white cycling gear? It's easy to manage any little problem if there's a car following you carrying your kit, after all!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

Speaking of glasses, mine are presently at the bottom of a lake in northern MN. I'm running on my prescription sunglasses for a few days until a new pair I had made are finished. While the polarization is nice for a lot of things, it's a little more of a burden to do computer-related tasks through shades. :P

8:19 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

I have a sinus infection right now, so my gloves are even nastier than usual. I'll need to destroy those in an incinerator. Or perhaps I can donate them to a terrorist group as a bio-weapon of mass disgust.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

Meanwhile, Tulsa Police Santa Task Force member M. Knudson didn't show up in court in the case of "ride right" yesterday, when Santa lugged a TV set, a laptop, and a video camera on the back of SantaMobile, almost 20 miles round trip.

Knudson's Santa Task Force colleagues asked the Judge to continue the case to 18 July, 1400, due to temporary reserves deployment. Santa was graciously witheld any substantial objections.

10:35 PM  
Blogger hereNT said...

Thanks for reminding me that I need to steal some more latex gloves from work. We have them for working on the printers, and they're really handy for roadside repairs, too!

10:11 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I wear the green nytrile (nitrile?) gloves that are a bit tougher than latex. They're less pervious to chemicals too.

I use them when I'm working on aircraft handsets. There's an amazing variety of stuff found inside them, from caked-on lipstick and makeup, to what appears to be regurgitated food. It's gross, and it's made me very wary of public telephones.

12:30 PM  

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