It's been a while since I posted last -- life has been plenty busy, but unfortunately not so much in the bike game. That's okay -- I HAVE managed to ride at least once a week, so that is a plus - and more consistent that I have been in recent months, so I'll take it. The riding, however, has been limited to commuting only -- this coming weekend marks the FOURTH weekend in a row with the words "freezing rain" in the forecast somewhere - this time for nearly all 48 hours of the weekend. Yeesh. This is a problem.
<-- This is Kansas.
I'm awash with geographic jealousy for Ort and his warmer climes only a few hundred miles south of here. Deep in the grip of a North-Central Texas winter, they've played with the lower 40's.
Up here, we might see out first brush with the teens in the next 72 hours, as seriously cold air settles in just north of us. I feel daunted, and small in it's looming shadow. Around me, other riders that have not had quite as challenging an annum as I have are headed a little bit farther south for a brevet around Springfield, MO -- others still are braving the nasty conditions even farther north that I am. I ache for fitness, weight loss results, and just a little dry weather to test my wings. This is all good - because I haven't ached for a ride like this in quite a LONG time! Keeping that want occupied in the gym, however, is kind ... well, sucky. Weights class, rowing machines, stair-masters, and dumbbells are doing their jobs for me, and yoga is calming the soul and clearing the mind -- but I really REALLY want to feel that fine Italia leather under me, the feedback from the road, and the rush of air around the face. The dangling carrot of an extra permanent route card has been dangled in my face, so to speak -- and part of me really wants to jump. Then, of course, there is Texas in January ---- my RUSA breatheren.... they are always there to help, and encourage. I appreaciate that a lot. While I don't feel strong enough, I hear things like "It'll be a slow ride...", and "plenty of people to ride with" -- along with "just do it". A smile and good conversation await, and the commonality of the bike. I'm tempted in a lot of ways...
I've been keeping myself occupied, one way or another, though - the time is not wasted. Plenty of good kid-time, playing, reading, goofin' around. Good wife time, too -- TV, talks, etc. A little "me" time in the garage with the Trek 450 - which is shaping up nicely. It's getting too cold in the garage lately to keep the touch-up paint sticking, so the rest of the refinish and touch-up may have to wait until spring - but most of the bigger spots are faded in to the rest of the paint. It's THICK factory paint, too. Good stuff. I only have a handful of items left on the purchase-list, too - but I'm still not in too much of a hurry. I actually found a clamp-on Shimano 105 front derailluer (FD-5500) with the CORRECT clamp size of 28.6mm - which is harder to find than I though it would be. It's lighter than the stock Shimano 60 model, and the spring action is lighter - for smoother shifts. Plus, it's a good shiny silver color to match the rest of the components. I chose 105 for the front derailluer, mainly because this is the one place on a bike where it almost DOESN'T matter that much. There's simply not much you can do to it to make it better than itself - and the only difference between the 105 front D and the Dura-Ace front D is weight. The shaping of the cage, the spring, the adjusters - it's all the same. So, a little de-stickering, and it's nice and generic looking, but appropriate for the bike - and a perfect fit, with no weird aftermarket clamps or adapters or reducers. The Dura-Ace rear D cleaned up nicely, and is awaiting service. The Dura-Ace downtube shifters, indexed 9-speed, will solve the old auto-shift issues the old friction Shimano 600's were having, and they look REALLY sharp. The de-logo-ed MAvic Ksyrium wheels look awesome, too. The new stem is top-shelf Nitto -- very slick. The only thing left are bigger items - the bottom bracket and crankset, namely - and a good handlebar. Plus, sadly, probably a new seatpost -- I swapped in my Thomson Elite seatpost, which is probably the best seatpost available - I'm glad I kept it. With my older Selle Italia Flite T/A saddle on it, it's my perfect package. Only problem is, it's black -- it was originally purchased to match the Cannondale. Ugh. I didn't think it would matter to me, but honestly I'm taking the time to do this bicycle RIGHT, and with all the shiny silver components already installed against that gorgeous red paint, the black seatpost looks out of place. So, I've added that to the list of "nice to haves" --- the current one will allow me to ride it, so it'll work - but it won't last long, I'm sure. Same goes for the brakes. I found a set of close-out Tektro 420 road brakes - short-reach, which this bike takes, silver, so they match - but they are heavy, and sorta clunky looking in a way. The price was right. The take advantage of the Cane Creek SCR-5 brake levers, however, in that the brake calipers themselves don't have quick releases on them. The CAne Creek levers, however, DO, so I'd still be able to get the wheels out without issues -- but they just look odd. It's a Campy thing, having the brake release in the lever, but these are certainly not Campy-quality calipers. So, that might ALSO be on my list for aesthetic reasons alone. Tektro makes a FINE brake, and these dual-pivot, modern clampers will be a LOT stronger and more reliable than the old Dia-Compes they replaced. Still, they are kinda low-ball, component-wise - something that would come stock on a lower-end road bike today. Not sure if I want to call that "good enough" for this steed. We'll see. If my goal is to have her ready for a 200K by the end of March, then she'll be ready --- but maybe just not "perfect".
There's always time for upgrades...
The holiday haze, aside from the good points above, has got me shaken up a little, tho. It's hard to stick to the diet, stay in the gym, and put up with the ride-cancelling weather. I suppose it could be a lot worse - but it's hard to not just collapse on the couch with a plate of cookies sometimes. Now, I have not done that - and don't plan to - ecause I FINALLY feel GOOD -- REALLY GOOD -- for the first time in months. My system is clear of excess sugars, and I know it sounds weird, but I feel better. Spring-ier. Does that make sense? It feels good to take care of myself -- because I hadn't been for about a year. Maybe a 200K is exactly what I need...
Still thinking about it. Only a few short months, and this whole "winter" thing will be behind me. But, I'm defintely taking a jaunt south to LSR-Land early next year --- I just HAVE to get a break from this scenery, and feel some mid-60's weather again, now that I'm really itching to ride!
I have this comment on my office desk always: "To be interested in changing seasons is far better than to be hopelessly in love with spring! " Think of Chicago, if you want to appreciate KC. I think of Fairbanks, Alaska when I want to feel beeter about Chicago :)
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