Well hello, dear readers!
So another week and another blog post–the time seems to go by so fast.
I guess the first thing that should be discussed is the Surly and how it has been working out. I won’t go as far as to say that it is everything I dreamed it would be, because my dreams are awesome, but it definitely fulfills what it was made to do. I forgot what a solid cromo frameset feels like. It really is the way to go when you’re looking for speed and comfort–good flex but sufficient rigidity to get up and go when the rider beckons. I have to say I love my new bike.
Unfortunately, I haven’t taken it out around town too much. Last week Chicago decided to start living up to its Horrendous Winter (also read “Every Season”) rep and began toeing the line of being uninhabitable. In the Midwest, February is often referred to by its pet name: “When Will Sweet Death Come-ruary.” To beat the cold, I rigged up the LHT for some indoor training. Which brings me into what I have been doing for the last week:
Patience cultivation is a wonderful in-home activity which can be practiced by almost any person. It describes a variety of mind-numbing tasks which, when done for any significant duration, deaden one’s social abilities, muddle the perception of reality and generally just make you feel terrible. Stay-at-home mothers, often considered the pioneers of patience cultivation, learned long ago that the activity is best supplemented by a crisp barrel of chardonnay or, for the classy lady, an oil tanker of Barefoot’s merlot. Once sufficiently sauced, one can take on the endeavor of their choosing (child rearing, “working,” and crocheting being particularly prevalent choices) and go at it for hours.
This past week I myself have been cultivating the hell out of patience. My chosen activity diverges from the traditional offspring-related tasks, focusing primarily on indoor spinning. Unfortunately, while spinning generally involves less disgusting bodily expulsion than child-rearing, this only remains true as long as I don’t invite alcohol into the mix. Alcohol doesn’t really like hanging out in my tummy when I’m on the trainer. (Some other athletics manage to work with it, though). Although alcohol is out, I still have the scenic vistas of a Pilsen-area residence, the rapidly fluctuating temperatures of a bedroom poorly converted from a poorly built patio and the invigoratingly poor air quality (credit to the I-90 overpass next door and the TWO local, 100 year-old, coal-fired power plants) to whittle down my self-worth and sanity nicely. I have to say that riding for a couple hours every day staring at a wall and breathing in the sweet smell of industry has been getting to me.
But hey, nothing builds character like some good ol’ attrition, right? Mark Twain once said “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.” Well, I’ll tell you what, he was fucking wrong. I’m sure all the drunk mothers out there would agree that character is the result of mental anguish and stationary bikes. Adjectives? I have been using adjectives since I was a kid. Kids don’t have souls. You earn your soul the day you sign up for the draft and not a minute sooner. How can a soul-less vessel have character, Twain? Oh, what…? No witty retort? Oh, that’s right. You’re dead. Checkmate, bitch.
In order to spin, I had to slip on my Continental Ultra training skin onto the rear wheel. Otherwise I would burn through my road tire and essentially waste it. For those of you who have never seated an unraveled tire I gotta say, you are lucky. Decent to high-end clinchers are always a tight fit but when the rubber has lost its shape they become impossible to deal with. So in addition to ruining your thumbs trying to work those last six inches of bead into the rim, you’re also driven partially insane by the tire flopping out of its seat on the other side of the wheel the entire time. Like I said, patience cultivation. Lucky for me I was able to take solace in the fact that my tire is signed by a very famous person. And the fact that the orange tire on black makes my bike look like Halloween.
We’re in for a SPOOKY ride. Eh? Eh?
Also, I suggest just disregarding the googly-eyed, moustachioed fan in the background. Some mysteries are better left unsolved, right?
Alright, but in all seriousness, the spinning I have been doing every day is definitely good for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is extra-terrible and boring but it does raise (what I am going to call) the patience threshold. Touring is a demanding endeavor and it will be day in and day out for me. Some of those days will be spent in Montana, Nebraska, or whatevs and my brain goop will ache for the stimuli of Pilsen’s splendor. Any sort of mental toughness I can develop now will likely prove invaluable for the long days in the saddle. Slowly but Surly (HA!) I think I am getting closer to my goal.
Ok dear readers, that’s it for this week. I’ll leave you all with the results of last week’s poll and a new one for this week.
Take it easy and keep gettin’ at dat patience.
So last week’s poll resulted in a tie for first place. With a total of less-votes-than-I-would-care-to-admit you, the reader, think that most people have asked me if I have accounted for the Bear Problem (yes, it should be capitalized) or if I had purchased a motorcycle. Well, you guys were right. Most people hear that I am riding through the Rockies and they immediately jump to the Nick Mauled by Bears scenario. I am proud of you all, dear readers. It is clear you are all conscious of the most dire threat to our nation and I am happy that it affects the thinking of your daily lives. Bears are vicious, blood-thirsty and, worst of all, conniving. Fiscally-motivated bears have even been known to rob banks. First American is the only bank I know of with a Bear-Robbery Contingency Plan (B-RCP). If that doesn’t sell you on First Am, then you shouldn’t own money.
Anyway, here’s this week’s poll. Check it out, bring out the family. I don’t care if you aren’t over 18. You can also vote twice under dead people’s names. Try “Mark Twain,” I’m sure he won’t be coming out.