Saturday, January 24, 2009

Heart Not In It

It looked and felt like a winter day. It was cloudy, cold, and windy. I've been on my bike longer on colder days, but today my heart wasn't in it.

Maybe it was a better day to be inside by the fire. Maybe I was tired from the prior week and needed a little down time.

The original plan was to bundle up and ride for 3 or 4 hours. I thought I might stretch it out, put it on cruise, and have a new year fat burning session. But my heart wasn't in it.

A leisure breakfast seemed like a luxury I could afford, and it could have warmed up later. Then it seemed there were a few neglected inside chores that needed me today. Maybe I didn't want to "suit-up" with multiple layers when I was plenty comfortable right were I was.

Through the day, I'd check the temperature. I'd look out the window to see if the clouds were still there...if the wind was still blowing. I wanted to ride and needed a little nudge from the outdoor conditions to get things rolling.

Maybe it was the sadness in the house that took the zip out of me. Her littlest furry rascal was involved in an altercation yesterday and will be spending a few nights under the vet's care. He's still a furry rascal, but he's HER furry rascal after all, and she's not feeling so well right about now.

I finally bundled up, forced myself out the door for a few minutes, and did the 3-mile loop. I guess I can say I rode the bike today, but it was cold, cloudy, and windy...and my heart just wasn't in it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Hour In

"One hour in" is a single snapshot in a winter commute. At one hour in, there was another 20 minutes to go.

At one hour in, it was a brisk, dry 39 degrees. There was a northwest wind blowing at 10-15 mph and I was headed south. After rolling out in darkness, stars, and a piece of moon, at one hour in, the southeast horizon was glowing like a royal crown. The road was empty. I was alone in, relative to me, still air. Silent, save the humming of tires on pavement and my own rhythmic breathing.

At one hour in, my body was warm. I had established a rhythm, not only in respiration, but in locomotion. Legs spun pedals easily, steady as a metronome. At one hour in, I'd burned about 500 of the 700 calories needed for the route. I reveled in my good fortune.

At one hour in, a goofy grin formed on my face and I took out my camera to take a snapshot of my bike gliding like wind.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sod Bustin'

Ignorant city boy plans spring garden.

Yeah, I know it's just a pile of dirt. Maybe, if you squint your eyes just right, you will be able to tell that I've spent several hours preparing this pile of dirt so that it, one day, might be a garden. If not a garden, maybe an enhanced environment for weeds and bugs.

My bride, who actually, knows something about growing things has been providing advice. Deep down, I know she is right about all the recommended preparations and soil enhancements and fertilizers, and so on. The problem is I keep thinking there are all kinds of plants just growing out there in wilderness areas not prepared by man. So why work so hard?

For her sake, I loosened the first 3-4 inches of ground, removed some of the larger rocks, brought in a pick-up truck load of compost soil, and mixed it in slightly with the loosed native soil. The word "mixed" probably makes it sound better than it was actually done. I don't have a tiller, and I'm too lazy and cheap to drive to town to rent one (after all, this isn't a bicycle project). So I sort of turned the new in with the old with a shovel and garden fork. I was wearing my overalls while doing this so it's close enough, I think.

It's not a garden, but it might be one day. The locals tell me that potatoes and onions should be planted next month. If my new dirt doesn't blow away in all this prairie wind, I might be ready.

Stay tuned, this could be amusing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Planet Saved!

As advised by the card hanging on the towel rack in my hotel, I did not leave my towels on the floor. I hung them back on the rack and, just like that, now the planet is saved!

You’re welcome. It wasn't even that hard. I wonder what other amazing powers I have.

I just thought you should know that you have one less thing to worry about today.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fixed Again

Like a cat who wants to be inside and outside at the same time, I switched drive trains again. I'd really like to have a geared camping bike and a light, lean, and clean fixed wheel the same time. For now, this one switches back and forth with my whim. It was a good day to wash a bike and make a few refinements. I anticipate colder weather in January and February and not many camping opportunities. Although I love to read about her, I have no desire to be like Jill. Plus, I'm guessing a little more work out of the saddle to stay warm might not be a bad idea.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Out of the Gate S24O

From a cycling perspective, 2009 is off to a fast start. I saw the first sunset and the first moonset from my humble S24O abode. It was a spectacular day down in Texas. Comfortable temperatures and light winds. After the sliver of moon disappeared, the stars took over the show. When I got up for a short walk in the middle of the night, they startled me.

As usual, solo overnighters allow for pondering deep thoughts. Here are a couple of highlights...

1. Whoever said, "Don't worry, they are more afraid of you than you are of them," doesn't know me well. Between pack-of-coyote-howl-at-the-stars sessions, they would silently roam. A little later, they'd howl closer. As the night chill forced me deeper into my bag, I figured they'd be upon me about the time I had the zipper up to my ear. I woke to the sound of hundreds, and they sounded ready to pounce at the too literal version of pig-in-blanket. I wondered how long it would take to get out of my bag, find my knife, and if I could take out one or two before they had their midnight snack.

2. Speaking of sleeping bags, what do those temperature ratings mean? As a consumer (not experienced outdoorsman), I'm thinking the "rated temperature" is the one in which the bag can be used outdoors and duplicate the comforts of my heated bedroom. Now that I'm slightly more experienced, I'm here to say, "Not so!" Early this morning, it occurred to me that the "rated temperature" would better be termed "survival temperature". Either that, or true experienced outdoorsmen are about 20 degrees tougher than me.

Finally, I must apologize to any of you that live north of Texas. I read your blogs and understand that you have not been enjoying the fine weather we've been having around here. I really hate to torment you so. Tell you what, when you post your mountain camping adventures while I am watching the summer sun spontaneously combust my prairie, repayment will be yours. Until then, you can wish you were here.