Wednesday 1 April 2009

End of the Month Update

It has been incredibly busy at work, and my training program has not gone according to schedule for the last week. In spite of that, I managed to accomplish a few things: a new book review will appear on on April 3; I managed to get out on the Ancient but Honourable Bianchi for two hours on the Eastern Parkway on Saturday, but my plans to do so on Sunday were wrecked by terrible rainy weather, so it was back to the spinning class for an excellent workout. And I managed to get rid of BlackAdder's annoying squeak.

Any cyclist will tell you that one of the most frustrating things about bikes is how they seem to squeak without rhyme or reason, completely wrecking the Zen of your ride (as the hipsters put it). Last year BlackAdder started to squeak, with the noise coming from the right crankarm area. I cleaned and lubricated everything--still squeaked. I checked my cleats and tightened bolts everywhere. Nothing. Finally, I had the guys at the shop pull out the bottom bracket, clean and grease everything and put it back together. Still no luck.

While riding home on Friday and being driven nuts by the noise, I realized after listening carefully that it was only at the bottom of the pedal stroke that it would squeak. I pushed hard on the left pedal and no sound came from the right; I soft-pedalled on the left and as I pushed hard on the right pedal there was the noise. So on Saturday I pulled off the pedal and looked at it. Sure enough, no grease to be seen. This was rectified and as I got back on for a test ride I was thinking that there were no more options and I would have to just live with this. But--by Jens!--there was no squeaking. Hooray! For someone who has difficulty getting the tools out of the packaging from the store, let alone using them, this was a major thing.

Speaking of Jens!, Herr Voigt won the Criterium International for the fourth time this weekend, equalling the record of Raymond Poulidor. That is a good thing, as fans of pro cycling profess deep admiration for Jens! and his fighting spirit. Jim, the Unholy Rouleur, commented about Jens! this week at BikeSnobNYC in these words:

Key facts about Jens:

- Jens Voigt doesn't fear pain; pain fears Jens.

- Jens Voigt dropped himself once, just to show that, at least in theory, it is possible to drop Jens Voigt. Nobody else has repeated the feat.

- Jens Voigt is only good at two things in road cycling: attacking, and everything else.

- The hardest substance found in nature is Jens Voigt's heart.

- Jens Voigt's will is a good substitute for an anvil, in a pinch.

- Jens Voigt once won a martial arts showdown... against China.

- Lance Armstrong's girlfriend got pregnant by just watching Jens Voigt race on Versus.

- In the original Book of the Apocalypse, the end of the world was denoted by Jens Voigt on a pale bike, but they changed it to four horsemen named Conquest, War, Famine, and Death to make it sound less terrifying.

Well said, Jim!

It is the end of March, which means two things: first of all, I will leave at a ridiculously early time tomorrow and head down across the border and down I-81 to Banner Elk, North Carolina, where I will happily participate in a four day DIY training camp with the Badger, the Duck, the Tornado and Young Jeff. We will ride up massive cliffs, drink copious amounts of beer and feel Jens!-like, with any luck. Of course, this depends on my fitness level, which takes me to my monthly summary of my New Year's Resolutions.

My weight has continued to drop and I am now hovering just above 75 kg, which I said in January that I intended to reach in June. Two months early, but I'll take it. Except for this past week I was able to stick to my training schedule and even managed four rides on the racing bike on the road. I managed, somehow, to do 40 consecutive pushups and have increased my reverse chin-ups to 14. Ski season is pretty well over, so not much I can do in this direction now.

In April, I can look forward to the training camp and finally getting Dreadnought 2 onto the road in preparation for the traditional Good Friday Time Trial, on April 10 this year. I have a netbook computer now and hope to do some posting from North Carolina if I find an internet connection (apparently the local Chamber of Commerce offers free Wi-Fi). It might just be photos of guys drinking beer, though...


Lily on the Road said...

While reading this you and Donald are probably having a great time!

Glad you found the "squeak", that would be irritating to say the least!

Groover said...

Where have I been that I missed this post? Thanks for quoting Jim. This is absolutely hilarious. Those quotes, especially the one about Jens' heart and Jens dropping himself, must be quotes of the year, for sure. They should go down in cycling history. :-)

What are reverse chin ups?

Oh, and good luck for the ITT on Good Friday!

Sprocketboy said...

Groover, reverse chin-ups are done with the palms facing you on the bar, rather than facing out. Of course, Jens does his chin-ups with just one hand...