Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pimp My Ride

I haven't posted any pictures of my bike, so I thought I might post a few.  For you bike purists out there, be forewarned that this is an inexpensive "mountain" bike from Target.  I don't plan to ride down Pike's Peak; I just want to ride to work and ride with my daughter, so I didn't feel like it made sense to spend $500-$1,000 for a bicycle (not to mention that I can't afford to pay that much at this time).  Here she is:

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Here is a closeup of the handlebars.  The light on the left was the first light I bought.  It really isn't bright enough, but it has a flashing mode that I use to get the attention of automobile drivers.  The light on the right is my new one and is very bright, appropriate both for seeing where I'm going and making me more visible to to drivers.  You can also see my "rear view mirror," the little round Texas flag attached to my helmet:

Here is the back of the bike, where you cah see my underseat bag for carrying small items, my new bike rack for carrying my backpack or larger items, and my bright red blinking tail light (for saying to the cars, "Please don't hit me!").

I'm very happy with my bike!  Maybe down the road I'll see a need for a more expensive bicycle (and luckily all my lights/racks/bags can be mounted on any bike) but for now this meets my needs and is lots of fun!  If you ride, be safe and follow the laws!  Get a helmet, get lights, get seen!

I Saw a Bright Light.....

OK, it wasn't that bad, but it was pretty bad. I haven't been this sick in years. Last Monday I woke up at 8:15 AM, moved to the couch, went back to sleep at 8:30 AM, slept until 4:30 PM, woke up and drank some water, then went back to sleep until 8:15 PM, then got in bed and went back to sleep at 8:30 PM for the rest of the night. I don't normally even like to take naps, so this is really unusual for me. My head was killing me, my back and arms were sore, my throat felt like I had been drinking acid, I was coughing, etc. You get the idea. It wasn't pretty. I missed an entire week of work and missed Rocky Raccoon. Oh well, that kind of thing happens. Today I'm about back to normal. I have a slight, infrequent cough and a little bit of sinus drainage. Today I'm taking my daughter ice skating (she's started taking lessons and loves it) and then tomorrow it's back to work and back to reality.

On Friday I felt well enough to go shopping at REI with a gift card I received for Christmas. I bought a rack for the back of my bike so I could strap on a backpack with clothes, my laptop, etc. I also bought a much brighter front light, a "multitool" so I can do some of my own bike maintenance, and a bike maintenance and cleaning kit. And I bought a basket for the front of my daughter's bike. I'm planning to ride in to work tomorrow for the first time in two weeks.

Other than that, I'm not sure what my long term plans are. My wife and I are trying to save money and pay off some debt, so I may not do any official races for a while. I've been thinking about doing a "My Own Personal Ultra" series of self-supported races at locations I choose. Here are some places where I would like to do some all day self-supported "races":
Cameron Park
Dinosaur Valley
Cross Timbers
Isle du Bois and the Lake Ray Roberts/Lake Lewisville Greenbelt Corridor
There are other places, of course, but I could drive to all of these, do my own "event" and then drive home. I guess you could consider them all "Fat Ass" races: no entry fee, no T-shirt, no support, just fun. I might still do the Heartland 100 in October because I love this race and I still haven't done a trail 100. I'm also toying with the idea of the Ultracentric 48 hour in November (although the future of Ultracentric is in limbo because the RD is looking for a replacement and hasn't found one yet).

I also might see if I can get some work travel to coincide with an ultra. I have a new customer in Madison, Wisconsin. There are two Wisconsin ultras, one in May (Ice Age 50) and one in June (Kettle Moraine 100). Hopefully my customer will require some on-site services the week before either of these races.

So I'm planning to play things by ear. For some reason I'm really motivated to keep walking, but I don't care so much about races. Maybe that will change, but for now I'll just do my own thing. I'll also continue biking to work as often as possible, and biking with my daughter for fun.

I hope everyone who raced Rocky Raccoon had a great time and achieved their goals. I can't wait to hear some race reports. Take care--see you on the trails (or on the bike!).