walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Mo-ti-va-tion Time, Come On!

As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting much this semester.  I also haven't been riding all that much (sad, I know), so I haven't had much to report.  To some extent, I have been struggling with questions of motivation: specifically, I seem only to possess so much of it at any given time, and lately that hasn't been much at all, and much of the motivation on hand has been poured into other things.

I didn't hit a single 'cross race this year -- first I had mono, then the Creeping Crud (AKA the Head & Chest Cold from H*ll) that seems to have hit literally everyone I know pretty hard, and then the madness of Thanksgiving and exams, including one exam that I turned in on Thanksgiving morning (aced it, thank God -- there were two versions of that exam posted, so I was stressing hard about whether or not I had even done the correct exam).  I've also had a couple of bouts of pretty serious insomnia, including one this week that has torpedoed an entire week's worth of plans.  I am, however, slowly getting back on track now.

Suffice it to say that I'll be gladgladglad when this semester is over, even though the next one is going to be even busier, since I will be up on campus all the time being a proto-music major.  I have officially sent in my application to become a Real Music Major, with long-term plans of doing a master's in Organ and Sacred Music at the Jacobs in Bloomington (Hi, Michael!), but will not complete the audition process until the middle/end of next semester.

It is, however, likely next semester will involve a bit less writing.  I haven't done so much writing since my senior year in High School, when I was taking an AP English class and was also a writing major in a very challenging arts-magnet program.  I love writing, so on one hand it's great -- but on the other hand, it does take up a lot of time.

I suppose there is one more month of 'cross season left, with King's Cross scheduled for December, so if I really get motivated like RIGHT NOW I could race, but I think I'm going to skip it entirely.  First, I really don't have a suitable bike (though I could ride the road bike if conditions are dry).  Second, though my bike may be at least somewhat raceworthy, I am absolutely not right now.  A proper 'cross bike -- which will also pull duty as a Denis bike, a bad-weather warrior, and a grocery-getter -- will be my sole major purchase next semester.

However, I haven't been entirely slug-like.  I have actually felt more or less like a human being -- albeit an emotionally-volatile human being, since the grey and sunless weather knocked me flat on my tuchas pretty much immediately -- for the past couple of weeks (even my organ prof commented on the fact that I look better).  Better still, I have found a strategy that mostly keeps my left crankarm in line: I simply unclip on the and stand on the left foot instead of on the right at stoplights.

Thus, I am riding more happily than I have in quite a long time.  I still can't pop it in the big ring without having to tighten things up, since that also seems to stress the cranks in such a way as to loosen the bolt, but in a way that's kind of a good thing: it forces me to relax, and I think being a more relaxed rider will also make me a better rider.

It feels weird to unclip on the left, but it means that when I get going again, the lateral stress of the remount/first-pedal-stroke is on the drive side instead of the non-drive side, which seems to prevent everything from falling apart (at least for now; who knows what kind of untold damage I'm inflicting on my poor crankset in so doing).  I also try not to do the 'cowboy dismount' (AKA the Cyclocross-Commuter Dismount) that I so enjoy, for the same reason -- I don't like to do the cowboy-dismount-to-the-right unless I absolutely must (rabid alligators on left of bike, or whatever), for fear of hanging up parts of my body in my drive train.  To paraphrase, "Flesh heals; not Shimano."

The whole point is that I can rather enjoy riding again, finally, and also that I can now feel comfortable delaying a new crankset purchase until Spring semester.  I am disturbed that it took me this freaking long to hit on so simple a strategy for keeping the bike together, but I suppose that's not really important. 

Yesterday I clocked 35ish minutes riding up to my therapist's office -- 11 minutes slower than my best time (I did hit every possible light, though), but almost 10 minutes faster than has been my average during the time that I've had to stop repeatedly to fix my bike.  I picked a slightly longer route from there to church (for an evensong with bell choir), but it's still only about a 10-minute ride unless I intentionally go way out of my way.

I am, however, rather grateful for my ongoing crankarm problem.  Because I have the personality of an addle-pated border collie, I tend to fixate on things, and for a while I was very much fixated on performance, speed, and all that jazz. I suppose there's nothing wrong with performance, speed, and so forth -- but it's also nice to ride with a little less focus and a little more enjoyment.

Tonight, I'll be riding up to church again for bells rehearsal.  I'm thinking about leaving early and taking the long way 'round -- all the way downtown, then back up via the bike route that leads to the Beargrass Creek Trail and so forth.  That, however, ultimately depends on whether or not I'm organized enough to get my butt out the door on time.  Right now, organization is not my strong suit.

I hope also to actually remember to turn my GPS tracker on today, as I've been forgetting it on every single ride of late, which seems very silly indeed as it collects all manner of nifty data and doubles as a cyclometer.

In other news, I purchased a pair of Planet Bike's Speedez -- road-bike friendly fenders with quick-n-easy attachments -- a couple of weeks back.  I am, in short, delighted with them.  They're light, they really are quick and easy to install, and they work.

Plus, they look pretty slick:

From MyBikes
...so I'm happy. 

I do need to adjust them just a hair, as right now I'm experiencing some intermittent rubbing on the rear tire, but that's easy enough to fix.

Speaking of 'inter-mitten-t' issues, if any of you have a sugggestion for a really workable cold/wet-weather glove/mitten solution, I'm all ears.  So far, my proposed answer pretty much involves buying a bunch of grippy waterproof gloves (like the chem-resistant military ones) and wearing them on top of woolies when it rains or when the roads are slushy, but of course it would be nice to find something a little less ... well ... kludgy.

I intend to actually ride a bit more through the winter break, and I will definitely be riding more once Spring semester begins, as I plan to at least ride to the bus stop for the #72 three days a week.  I also plan to ride from campus to one of the other Indiana-side buses or all the way home after class except when there's ice on the roads or when visibility is very poor, as my last class on Tuesday and Thursday ends at 5:30 and the next bus doesn't get around to arriving for an hour and a half after my class gets out, and I could quite frankly ride all the way home in an hour and a half under normal conditions (not sure how long it would take me with bridge repairs ongoing).  When conditions are bad, I'll just hang around the library or the coffee shop (which is in the library) 'til the Express bus comes at 6:06.

As conditions improve in the spring, of course, I'll be ramping it up to doing the whole ride as often as possible.  I hope this will mean that I will be super-fit by the time late spring rolls around with its promise of long rides in beautiful weather, but I am also super-lazy of late, so we'll see.

And now I must turtle down again and go practice the organ, as I have been quite delinquent for the past two days and must-must-must nail down two more pieces solidly before juries at the end of ... eek, the week after next???

As such, I leave you with this inspiring image of my bestest-best* friend, the inimitable Robert Holland, sysop and programmer extraordinaire:
*Excepting DD, of course.

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