Tuesday, June 28, 2011

If I commute by bike, I arrive to a near empty office at 6:30 am. There is one guy that beats me here, but he is on the far end of the building. My quiet half is only broken up by a lone clock radio humming away down the hallway, whose clarity only reveals itself when I walk by on the way to the bathroom to change into work clothes. A full-throated and excited pentecostal preacher rails away for souls from a tinny little plastic box deep in an office. Another employee arrives sometime after 7 and undoubtedly walks in and clicks off the championing voice, though this does nothing to stop the next morning's pre 6:30 am ritual to repeat. It certainly has a mood of a horror flick or an eery roadside store one stumbles into, but at this point it has descended into a small note in my morning ritual. I look forward to it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Alaska is truly the last frontier. This means being aware of hypothermia when boating, having a break down kit and extra fuel when traveling in the winter, or just generally being more self sufficient than people in most parts of America. The climate and rugged country dictate this, though in Anchorage you can largely avoid these challenges. It's not the same as Chicago, but in most cases you can pick up the phone, whine, and soon have someone headed for your home to fix your problem.

I anticipate a frozen pipe someday, perhaps a malfunctioning boiler, or even a pesky septic. I did not plan for getting our water from a hose for 48 hours. It turns out a water main needed to be replaced in the parking lot and in order to have continuous water service throughout the repair we needed to have a hose mainlining water directly into our hot water heater. It worked out just fine, albeit with a slight dip in pressure. It just seems a little silly. The last frontier indeed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Catching up...

The triathlon went better than I had expected. I shaved 13 minutes off of my previous time and placed 75th out of 128. I improved greatly on my transition times. In the future I believe my biggest gains will be found in the running portion. Considering I dislike running, 29:33 for a 5K is not terrible. I could probably focus on a better kick and finds some gains there, though running with cement legs from the bike will not change.

Overall I had a great time and loved the feeling of pushing myself beyond preconceived limits. I don't know if I'll participate next year, as I'm hoping for the Fireweed 200. Eh, maybe I'll do both.


Getting older means slowly stripping away all of the little behaviors that I once thought made me cool. This usually happens years after everyone else in the world knows I should give it up. In high school my coolness told me that waiting for the bus in January without a hat was a good plan since only the uncool wear hats. Once I started commuting by bike to UIC I quickly got over any hangups on wearing a skull cap, though it took 7 or so years to complete that mental journey.

I have an aesthetic issue with too much crap on my bike. I like it lean and slick. However, I do not enjoy arriving at work with a mud racing stripe up my back. I've used a removable rear fender before, though it was marginal at best. I'm hoping to commute into the winter which means studded tires and some proper fenders for the cross bike. The Trek XO1 looks a little less sexy with its full Planet Bike fenders, but it was time for me to grow up. I commuted through a steady drizzle this morning and only arrived at work with wet hair. I'm a believer.

The Orbea will not be getting any fenders though.