Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Late Night Frustrations

The apartment has become a vast wasteland. Parts of three different bikes, bike tools, tape measures, dirty paper towels, and an array of tools that should never be used on bikes lay scattered from one end of the kitchen to the dining room to the family room. Anna has long ago decided she has mono or strep throat and retired to bed taking the smarter of the two dogs with her. Bailey, who stuck around for moral support, is running out of clear spots to lay. I am covered in grease in areas I did not know grease could reach, and none of my three bikes are operable.

Yes, I have been playing bike mechanic.

Normally, I am half way decent with a wrench in my hand. But lately, I have become an expert in exercises of futility. The only thing I have successfully worked on lately is my patience.

Many months ago I acquired a pretty decent mountain bike for an incredibly low price from a Trustfundarian college kid who decided he would rather buy an entire new bike then replace his stolen wheels and rear derailleur. It has taken me until this week to acquire the few parts necessary to rebuild the bike because I refuse to spend anything more than pennies on the dollar. In my excitement to get the bike running, I forgot to adjust the chain length before snapping the chain together, which means that it pretty much will not shift gears. Being the cheapskate that I am, I didn't want to use a chain breaker and buy a new master link, so I asked around for two days until the guys at let me use a master link tool today. I busted out the tools tonight and went to work attempting to fix the chain and immediately ran the chain on the wrong side of the chain guide on the rear derailleur. Of course I didn't notice this until after I had reconnected the chain. So now the bike pretty much won't move.

On to project number two!

A few days ago I bought a new bike, a 2003 Specialized S-Works E5 Road Bike. In typical Hunter fashion, buying as cheap as possible, this deal did not include wheels. So I set off to stripping the pedals, saddle, wheels, and cadence sensor off my tri bike to move to the new bike. I set everything up, fixed the brakes, and started toying with the front derailleur. After way more time than should ever be spend on a FD, I decided to fix the shifting in the rear. I couldn't figure out why it kept over shifting into the spokes and then I realized that I had a 10 speed cassette on these wheels and this was a 9 speed bike. This was not going to work no matter how much frustrated tinkering I put into it. I am going to blame these simple mistakes on restlessness from sitting on the couch for 2 weeks, not being able to train because of the flu and then an upper respiratory infection.

But being the typical first born, I cannot simply wrap up shop following a bunch of failures and then peacefully head off to bed. So I fixed the kitchen sink.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Keep Your Head Up

Most of the time while I am running, I find myself staring straight down at the path in front of me. This habit is borne out of two parts: 1. from running the downtown Mobile sidewalks where the roots of oak and magnolia trees have left the path looking like the streets of San Francisco in the aftermath of the 1989 earthquake. And, 2. from my former hatred of running. I would constantly look down so that I wasn't thinking about how far I had run or how far I still had to run.

Washington Square in downtown Mobile by Green Iris. Read her blog at

Often times in life I find myself with my head down. I dream big and sometimes when those plans and dreams do not work out, I find myself quite discouraged. This move to Boulder hasn't been quite what we thought it would be. It has taken a year longer to get settled in than we thought it would and many of the plans that we had for moving up here have not materialized yet for several different reasons.

We have some big things going on at work right now which means in a three week span, I am going to end up working 200+ hours. This coincides exactly with when I really wanted to step up my training and push into the coming season. We have seen some very cold weather here with the temperatures holding in single digits for a while. That is a major problem when it comes to training because I hate both the treadmill and the trainer.

These factors combined with several other would make it very easy to give in to Albert, my pizza, beer, and ice cream loving stomach, and sit on the couch watching football. But instead I have decided to keep my head up. I have worked out a training schedule around my massive work hours and I simply get in as many of the workouts as possible. If I have to miss something, it's ok. I know that I still got some training in and I am going in to tomorrow better than I was today.  Thanks to some great cold weather cycling gear from family for Christmas, I have learned to LOVE riding in the cold. I have enjoyed riding and running in temperatures I never would have imagined training in previously and have only had to succumb to one trainer and treadmill session.

I took off on my run this morning tired from the days before and hungry from a lack of breakfast options in the pantry. I did not really feel like running, but I plugged on anyway. The first half of the run was a mental struggle but as I hit the turn around point in the Boulder Reservoir I picked my head up and looked around at my scenery. I was running on a ridge past an open field of prairie dogs on one side and on the other side was a snow covered lake with a beautiful view of the snow dusted mountains in the background. Just then a pair of bald eagles flew directly over my head coming from the mountains. They were so close I could hear their wings swooshing in the wind. As they passed me they split heading in opposite directions across the field of prairie dogs. They circled the field and then flew back over my head as they crossed paths again heading towards the mountains. It was so awesome I stopped in my tracks and watched them fly around and off while chills ran down my entire body.

The beauty out there is incredible, but you will never see it with your head down.

The flatirons from the Boulder Reservoir. Photo courtesy of David Mendosa. View his other photography at