Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thoughts on a disappointing weekend ...

So this weekend was supposed to be the Patapsco Sugar Hill Race in Baltimore, but weather concerns forced the promoter to postpone it for a week. I understand that decision but it was still a shame because  I was actually feeling pretty good after the last few weeks of training. On the other hand, it was probably for the best for me because of something totally unrelated that pretty much shot my whole weekend to hell.

First, I have to say that I am becoming a big fan of crowd-sourcing motivation. As I mentioned in my last post, I entered a silly online contest for riding during the month of March. There's no real payoff for it other than using the motivation to build fitness. And it was working pretty well for me on that account: in the first 15 days of March, I rode 13 of them, and 11 of those were on the singlespeed with an average mileage of around 22 per ride. The best part was that I was finding time to get out and ride when previously I would have thought I had no free time -- both Mondays in March, I was up at 4:00 for a two hour ride in Philly before work, and a couple of times I was saddling up for a ride over lunch or before work on the roads around my office. It was -- and is -- encouraging for the rest of the year, especially when I consider that this is my busiest time of the year at work. I had some good rides in there, too -- a week ago Saturday, I rode Wharton Forest with a couple of friends. It ended badly when one of the guys had kind of a bad crash, but up until that point, we were flying. That's a great place to get out and cruise. There's probably 50 feet of elevation on a 30 mile loop, and you can hammer pretty hard. In fact, it was probably one of the better training rides of the month because I was the only SS and I had to push pretty hard to stay with my two buddies who were big-ringing the whole place.

Even thought I've been working a bit later than usual, I've still found time to ride in March.

I was starting to get my legs back and was looking forward to this weekend for a good workout in Baltimore and then perhaps another ride on Sunday.

But that all went to hell on Saturday morning. Even though the race was postponed, I still planned to ride before the weather hit, so I was up at 8 to head down to Philly. But when I got in my car to head out, I turned the key and ... nothing. It wouldn't even try to turn over. I'd recently replaced both the starter and the battery, and the lights weren't dimming at all (so I don't suspect it's the alternator.) I tried everything to get it going but couldn't get it working, so I had to have it towed. But they weren't able to work on it until Monday, so I was pretty much carless for the entire weekend.

Now, I've been planning to get a new car this spring anyway, so I spent most of Saturday researching cars online. My original plan, an Audi A3, is no longer a reasonable option since the 2014s won't be available until late summer and no one can say if the new hatchback will even be available in the U.S. at all. I have no need for a sedan, so unless I could guarantee the availability of the "sport back" as they are calling it, I needed to look for something else. I ran off a whole bunch of options -- everything from Subarus to Acuras (I liked the new TSX) and then I spent Sunday afternoon going to a few dealerships with Joanna for some hassle-free window shopping. I think I have an idea of what I'm going to get, and now I just need to wait and see how much it's going to cost me to get my Xterra ready to trade in.

I should probably mention why I'm in such a hurry. I have an aversion to car trouble that borders on obsessive. When I was younger -- college and even a few years after -- I always had really shitty cars. And I don't mean cars that just looked crappy -- I mean cars where the only thing I could rely on was that they'd break down somewhere far from home. I've had some legendary adventures with cars breaking down -- most of them with one in particular, my Ford Tempo that I had in college. I once had a guy pull up next to me on the NJ Turnpike and motion for me to roll down my window. When I did, he told me I was on fire. And that wasn't the first time it happened. So I've had my adventures with bad cars, and now I refuse to deal with them anymore. It's not the breaking down that bothers me -- it's the not knowing if I will or not that I can't stomach. So now that the Xterra is starting to show its age, it's time to get rid of it. I just have no desire to wonder if I'll make it back when I go somewhere far away to ride or something.

At any rate, I did get back on the bike this week. On Monday, I was off work for a couple of follow-up doctor appointments in the morning and early afternoon. After that, I got out on the road for a miserable two hour ride on the 'cross bike in the wind and rain. It was cold with a soaking rain for the entire ride. I wasn't even sure why I was out there, but I did it. I was glad when I got home that I did it, even if I was shaking so hard fro the cold that I couldn't hear a word Joanna was saying to me. And then tonight, I got back out for a proper road ride through Hatfield and North Wales. That was a much better experience. Hoping to get out again tomorrow morning before work.

Oh -- and I'm not sure if I am going to go to Baltimore this weekend or not. I really want to get this car stuff settled ASAP, so I may blow it off to go test drive a few models on Saturday. Not sure yet ...


  1. Nice blog...where's my hyperlink?

  2. Man, I know how you feel. Last week was my taper week and I felt great. This week is all screwed up now. Dont know what to expect now.