May 19, 2006

Ready to get serious again

Finally, the temptations from the garage are gone - the swapmeet went quite well, and all of the toys and distractions from the garage are gone to good homes. Whew.

Now I can just RIDE what I have left, and enjoy it.

A recent conversation revealed, and I kinda knew it from the start of all this, that I had it right the first time - my stable has evolved a LOT over the last year. Only a year ago I realized the Trek 720 was too small, and off it went to Acme -- and I recently saw it built-up beautifully as a single-speed with sharp and purposeful-looking gear -- made me smile. Someone loves it again!

After that, a whirlwind of shop activity in my garage saw a Schwinn World Sport float in and out again, a Free Spirit fixxie came and went, I sold the old Schwinn Passage off, the Univega went bye-bye, the Bianchi was built-up and torn-down at least four seperate times, A Surly Cross-Check came in, and then left.. a Specialized Hard Rock came in, got a quick 1200 miles on it, and left again -- the Steamroller was back, gone, back, gones, and is now back AGAIN. And finally this last weekend all of the rest of the stragglers went to new homes. Holy mackeral.

Bike nut? Indeed.

But now, FINALLY, I've settled down again. And, I'm back to exactly what I had last year.

The Kogswell took the place of the Bianchi AND the Trek, and the Steamroller takes the beater-role. I'm back to square one.

I guess it took a full year of this activity to help me realize that, yeah, everything WAS fine. What, was I SO out of it that I kept wanting to tweak, recycle, and find that perfect combination of I don't know what that I completely let my fitness go. It had nothing to do with the bikes, or the gearing or lack of gearing they had -- I simply was spending too much time in the garage, and not enough time training. I mean, spending weeks at a time off the bike because of ALL THE BIKES you had, not ONE of them was rideable for a couple weeks? What's wrong with that??? Combined with the burnout of last season, no wonder I feel like I'm starting over again.

I've started up the research, the reading, the planning, however.
It's time for the slow march back to competitiveness. I mean - back in 2003 - the year I KEEP referring to - it really didn't matter what I was riding, because I only had two bikes. I had the Schwinn Passage, which was race-ready, and I had the Trek. I commuted on the Trek, and I "went fast" on the Schwinn. Period. Back then, keeping THAT formula simple made it easier to concentrate on ME, and what I wanted to achieve ON those bikes.

Now, I've let things get far too muddy. YES - the aluminum construction of the Schwinn was making the longer rides a comfort challenge, which is what justified that sale. The Bianchi solved that issue, but what, REALLY, was wrong with the Trek? Nothing. I think I just got bored, and somewhere along the way it became more about the bikes than about ME. Displacement, redirection of blame, etc. Call it what you want - looking back now, it's clear.
I didn't want to own the fact that it was ME slipping - not the bikes holding me back.

So, lesson learned, I have a bike now that is very versatile, and every bit as light (unloaded and un-fendered) as the Schwinn was - and far more comfortable. Not a true race pedigree... but neither am I, and neither is the type of riding that I do the most of. It drives home the point:

When the fitness is there, it won't matter what is underneath you.

Refer to UMCA article on a girl that finished Furnace Creek 508 on a fixed gear - the frame was a 1976 Raliegh.


A 2006 Trek Madone 5.9 with a 30-speed Dura-Ace triple set-up would've done JUST as well -- but if you don't have enough of yourself to finish the 508, IT DON'T MATTER.

So, since I obviously like to wrench, I can keep that outlet alive AND have the bike that I deem appropriate for whatever I'm setting out to do. The Kogswell without fenders, without bag, without lights, doesn't weigh much more than a full-on race bike with aero-bars and deep-dish wheels. I no longer have a beef about this -- I might get equipment envy now and again, but it won't change the fact that I know it won't make a lick of difference.

The Steamroller just needs to exist. That's it. It's the commuter - nothing more.
If I decide to do a few competitive events or rides on it - no problem.


So, today, as I hydrate every 5 minutes and polish off a few more carbs, I look forward to Phase One, which starts tomorrow.

- Lose 15-20 lbs by October, without sacrificing strength.
- Train carefully on the weekends, and ensure REST is a priority.
- Get 200 miles at Tinbutt. No reason not to. (Think 2003, 4th day lap.)
- Get at least a century per month, and train for a PR at the MS-150 to bolster the Tejas goal.
- Finish Tejas; nothing more. Just FINISH.
- Rest, recover, and begin winter cross-training one month after Tejas to begin 2007 campaign as a more complete athlete. Get the break in Nov/Dec, INSTEAD of Feb/Mar like I did THIS year.

Ok -- there ya go .... let's go get some.

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