Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wow, a lot has happened in the world over the past week. Japan. Gadhafi. Sadness & yuck. The earth is a hurting place.
All things considered, things aren't too bad here in Omaha. In fact, Spring is only days away, some local group rides are already taking advantage of extended daylight and the recent warm weather has prompted Bryan Redemske to spontaneously tweet that he's shaving his legs once more.
So with all of this local wholesome goodness, I was surprised to receive a grouchy-toned email today from everybody's good buddy, Shim. He was ornery. Pesky even. I wondered why he was acting out. Perhaps three days of traveling-- of being away from his wife & children, of subsisting on a steady diet of cheeseburgers, of sleeping in hotels infested with bed-bugs, and of missing his bicycle -- had something to do with him lashing out at me today.
When someone's hurting, I make it a task to find something to cheer them up. Like it says in the good Lord's book, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."
Resolved, I looked for an opportunity to put a smile back on old grumpy's face. I found it at the bike rack at work. In the very spot that Shim normally locks his bicycle, somebody's bike was already there, and it was in dire need of chain maintenance. I mean, check out the rust on that thing:
Fortunately, I had an oil can in my locker. I fetched it immediately.
Now before anyone (I mean you, Munson) says anything about the inappropriate use of 3-in-One on a bicycle chain, I want to draw your attention back to the picture above, especially those orange hues. That's some serious oxidation going on there. At this point, even a snot-rocket to that chain would have even been a lubrication improvement.
So anyway -- Munson -- when I apply chain lube, I don't hold back. In this case, I doused that thing liberally with half the can. It just soaked it up like sponge. I put on a second coat. Then a third. I didn't quit until a puddle formed beneath the bicycle. Now take a look at that:
Keep in mind that I have no idea who owns that bike, but by-golly, that chain sure looks much happier now. And because the bike is parked in Shim's normal spot, I bet he'll gets all the credit.
There you go, Shim, a good deed done in your name. Cheer up, buddy. Go ahead, you know you want to smile.
Happy Friday, everyone.
Friday, March 11, 2011
A few weeks ago during a cold group ride, Mark Savery (Mod) commented favorably on my 'eurotrash tights-over-booties' look.
That Mod said something positive about my cycling fashion was a real feather in my cap. I mean, Mod's the guy to turn to when it comes to looking good kitting up. He reads all of those eurotrash cycling magazines and has great taste in gear. His bikes are well-equipped and are always spotless. He eats a steady diet of twigs and berries, believes in colonic cleanses and shaves his legs. But I doubt he shampoos his hair. Eurotrash? Absolutely.
In this day and age of custom team kits about the only way to have some sense of individuality is by selecting your own socks and hats.
Taking Mod's cue, I stamped my own sense of individuality with a hat selection on last weekend's group ride.
At ride time, it was 19F and I was fretting over looking good and dressing functionally for the cold. I managed to piece together an ensemble that was both up to eurotrash snuff while providing excellent warmth for legs and torso.
But I had a problem with my head wear.
A thin balaclava provides good insulation for the face, but doesn't do enough to keep the rest of the head warm. So my solution was to add a knit skullcap. The problem was that my skullcap has got to be the ugliest hat ever made. For starters, it's Miami-Vice teal. Secondly, it has a dizzying array of orange, yellow, blue and green color splotches throughout. But the worst part are its ear flaps. Yes, the 'flaps push the hat beyond simply ugly and well into the hideous-phere.
But as I said, it was 19F, and a long, cold winter had already nearly broken me. In a moment of desperation, I convinced myself that my helmet would obscure most of the hat from being seen.
I rolled up to about a dozen riders finishing their coffee. Then somebody had a flat to repair before we pushed off. In all that time, nobody said boo about my hat.
A voice in my head reassured me that the helmet was doing its job concealing my secret.
I took a position in the back of the pack as we rolled down the keystone trail. Rotation of the pace line brought me through the rear quarter and middle without a mention of it. By the time it was my turn to pull up front, my confidence had swelled to the point that I totally forgot about the hat and its hideous ear flaps. I took a long pull with a little swagger in my cadence.
You could say I was be-bopping and skadadeling up there.
But as we turned northwest to go to Bennington, a solitary voice called out from the back of the peleton, "Does your wife know that you borrowed her hat?"
It was like being socked in the gut when you least expected it.
It was David Randleman. He rides for the Velo Veloce club. This is important to note because the Velo Veloce team, or 'Tiggers' as they're affectionately known, ride in powder blue and bright orange tiger-striped team kits. Until last year's Futon-Cervelo's tan-on-brown kit, the Tiggers had a very strong claim on the most outrageous kit ever created.
And now I was being called out by a Tigger.
David might as well have asked me if Barry Manilow knew I was raiding his wardrobe.
Which got me wondering if Barry Manilow would let me raid his wardrobe. I could certainly use the help. So I tweeted the following:
Copa-cabana pow -- that Barry Manilow is a one man marketing dynamo!
So anyway, let's recap: 1) I have an ugly hat that needs to be burned, 2) I've been called out by a Tigger and 3) Barry Manilow won't let me raid his wardrobe. Yes, I'm a little hurt. Defensive even. Yes, angry.
I now know what it means to be this guy:
Happy Friday everyone.