Personal Time Trials, Broken Glass, & Mint

Always. Yes, it takes me about a week (or more) to lay down a post, but I do, and I’m more active on here than I’ve been in a very long time. Also, Twitter makes me a bit lazy here. It’s so easy to post a thought as it comes to me, so if you’re feeling saucy, +Follow @soulsidedown on Twitter for the ADD version. 😉
Right now, I’m waiting outside a local hole in the wall pizza joint, named Bella’s, awaiting a Veggie Supreme with jalapenos replacing the cheese. Yep, no cheese. Is it still a pizza? Most def it is, try it sometime. What the heck has been happening to me since my last post? Well, here are the Cliff Notes.
The Tour de France began last week, as I’m sure all of you bike nerds(that includes me) know. I’ve done my best to follow on my BlackBerry, which has been newly dubbed, the BlackBerry Projects, due to it’s inability to play Adobe Flash. Which any a computer savvy person knows, is the video platform of choice for the big thing that is the internet. So, I am limited to following text tickers, which makes me happy all the same. I’ve gotten to seeive footage via McDonald’s wi-fi. Yes, you read that right, I”ve stooped to hitting up McD’s for TdF goodness.

It’s days later, the pizza was yumz, and it’s hotter than Hades, but it’s all good. I loves me some heat. Now back to the blogginess.

Yes, you read that right, I did a personal time trial a week or so ago. I left for work way late, and decided to hammer it all the way to work. Well, I knocked 10 minutes of my average time…and that was on my singlespeed. That is the best I can do with it. I’m thinking, gears might be in my furture. SS is good for short distances, but I do 9.75 miles each way, and being able to kick it up a bit, would be nice. Someday.

Glass. It’s all over. Seems at times that the City of Columbus has some secret initiative to repair and pave the roads with broken glass, saving on recycling cost and repair cost. Just an observation.

The other day, I had to transport a mint plant home strapped in my messenger bag. Surprisingly, no one said a word. Really, not…one…word. Which is good I guess.

This week so far, I have not biked. Work and errands have seen to that. Thursday & Friday, I will pedal my ass off though. Stay tuned for my heat filled tweets. That’s all for now.

BTW, I’m rooting for the Garmin-Cervelo team in the TdF. GO ARGYLE!!!!

Peace, Patrick.

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Injury Criterium Commuting Chamois

Yes it’s a strange title, It’s also almost 1 AM and almost feels too late to be posting, but alas, here I lay in bed and in the dark. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted, but I have still been pedaling, just a lil less. This week I had an excuse, though. Somehow I injured my left hand, possibly strained it at work during a heavy day of metal work. It took a few days of icing and Ibuprofen before I was feeling like I could ride comfortably. So, it was another week of only 2 pedal days, though the week before was actually inexcusable. I’ve let myself of the hook over that.
Last weekend was the Tour de Grandview here in Columbus. I made it out and caught the Juniors, the women’s, and the pro men’s races. I can’t say much about the event as a whole, because I thought it would be cool to take my dog, Henri, with me while I shot some photos and posted on Twitter. Little did I know he would require so much attention, especially if there were other dogs, and he wanted to make friends. So, I watched more that I shot, but I did manage some cool images, which I’ll soon post. I will say this, more people need to support women’s cycling, coming out only for the pro men’s race is tacky and seemingly chauvinistic. The women push themselves just as hard as their male counterparts, so show them some love. Nuff said.
My own bike commuting adventures, which include the two days last week, consisted of a car accident, a tractor trailer rig fire, donuts (mmmmmm, donuts), broken glass, kind drivers, iced coffee, seeing a cyclist get doored (he was, thankfully, ok), snobby cyclists, cool cyclist, a myriad of interesting pedestrians, a lovers quarrel in a car ( and out of a car), a squirrel leaping like Pepe LePeu, and great Friday ride in heat and sun. I’ve also eaten too much Salt & Pepper Tofu from an amazing local Asian restaurant called Lotus Leaf(not really it rocks).
I would also like to make all of you cycle weirdos aware of a new website called Chamois News in their own words “We report the best cycling news on the web whether it’s true or not.” It’s like The Onion, but for cyclist, and they’re damn funny. You can find the on Facebook or on Twitter ( @ChamoisNews ) also. Be sure to check ’em out for general anarchy and frivolity.

I am sleepy and will now let the sandman do his job, as he is getting impatient, and dropping grains of sand on me.

Thanks for stopping by, and good night, Patrick

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Dude, You Gettin’ Played.

Last week I rode two days.

This week is looking to be the same.

Why?

Seems my lack of good rest the past two plus weeks, has rendered my sense of mindfulness, weak, to say the least. The lack of sleep is me letting life get the best of me, or I should say those aspects of life that cause us to stress and have anxiety, and for me, not unlike many in this economy, finances are a huge stress factor. I can’t breath, or so it seems, so I have restless sleep.

Well,  the ego in it’s infinite desire to protect itself from ill-perceived harm, and stay all comfy, has not lost any sleep, and with that, has weaseled it’s way into my mind, and worked me over like some street hustler. And you know what? It worked. I have effectively made excuses for why I shouldn’t ride. I am calling “bullsh*t” on myself. Yes, friends and fellow cyclists, I have fallen to the ego, the street hustler that is laziness.

How did I come to realize this? My latest issue of Dirt Rag Magazine that arrived in the mail. More specifically, the article on the Trans Iowa race. Yes, it’s on dirt/gravel roads, but the idea of these people pushing themselves in much harsher conditions than I, totally out of their comfort zone. I’m whining about rain and flats. Waaaahhhh! Enough! I’ve ridden in much worse conditions than what I’ve talked myself out of lately. Hell, I rode in snow, freezing temps, cold rain, and wind gusts to knock you off your bike, and I can’t handle a bit of rain. Come on!

Ego, I’m now on to you.

Ego, I am calling your ruse.

Tomorrow I ride, and the next, and will do so next week unless something truly comes up that I have to do by car.

I have to get back on my feet, both mentally and physically.

Peace!

 

 

Sun, Car Zombies, Ice Cubes & an Ozark Empire

Since I last posted, I’ve still been commuting daily, and Tweeting (@soulsidedown), the sun has returned, and heat has arrived. Yet, the rain did not go quietly. I, for the first time in recent memory, had to seek cover from a storm last week. The wind alone was a bully as the storm moved in, but when those first rain drops started falling from the sky like hydro-spears, it was time to seek protection. I found fire station and hunkered under the awning. A small break allowed me to continue home, but more rain was just waiting.
The sun and heat that have finally arrived are most welcome, at least for me. The low humidity and heat reminded me of my time in southern Utah. I smiled. I also had my first day of crazy driver zombies, which happened to be yesterday. The couple of days of heat has melted the brains and patience of those zombies in their automobiles. First off, they don’t want to wait for each other. That’s bad enough, with their honking horns and speeding around and in front of each other, but if you’re a human on a bike, they’re even less tolerant, and more apt to lash out. So now, not only am I hyper aware of Car Zombie Wednesday, I am having to ego check myself, hard, so I don’t become road kill. Remember kids, bike vs car = bike loses!
My first encounter was a double scoop of joy. I was pedaling minding traffic, having noticed the crazies, when I come up to a car waiting to turn left from on coming traffic. He saw me decides to go, stops, I brake to swerve, he goes again, cutting me off, I drop my head a bit not believing what Car Zombie just did. He then shouts at me an inquiry, “What’s your problem, huh?” I ignore this and pedal on, half expecting him to come back around the block for some odd reason. Nope.
Second wasn’t as dramatic, just someone with zero patience, puuling out in front of me. The good thing about those two encounters, is that they lit the fire under my butt to get new brake pads. More on that in a bit. The third and final Car Zombie encounter was actually a mini van of four CZs, two adults and two shirt less juveniles. I first came upon them at my second to last stop light before hitting the cemetery. I pulled up next to them at the red light, and I could feel eyes upon me, but I’m used to that. No worries here. Well, light turns green we take off, me faster than them, I get just past the I70 overpass and as they go by, ice and unidentified beverage remains come flying out of the vehicle and hit me on my arms and hands. First thought goes through my head “fu*kers!” They’re in a car, I figured them long gone, but nope they get stopped at the next light. All sorts of stuff is going through my head about what to say, my adrenaline is going, but I catch myself and pull an ego check. “Chill” I think to my self. I decide to take the non-violent route and not create any unnecessary bad bike karma. I roll up next to them eye the juvenile CZs in the back, see an older female in the passenger seat and an adult male CZ driving. I ignore them, that is until one of the juveniles says “hot enough out there for ya?” This is where I failed. I turn just a bit to my left and tell them to “fu*ck off!” I unclipped from my pedals just in case a door was to open, but they said no more. Light turned green, and as the van drives by, the distressed lady says ” I didn’t do that” in reference to the iced beverage. She knows her spawn are asses, I feel sorry for her. The rest of the ride home was chill. All safe!
Now for the new brakes. I’ve had an inkling that I have been in need of new brakes for far too long, and the near hits I had yesterday, brought it right front and center. I bought some new breaks at a local bike shop called Paradise Garage. The staff is always helpful and knowledgeable. I located the brake pads, spoke with a shop associate, who remarked at how worn my pads were. Yes, I am a lil bit embarrassed, I should have gotten new ones sooner. I picked up two sets of Velo Orange pads for $24 and installed them on my ride, made all the adjustments, and now I actually stop as opposed to slowing down. Sweet! Lesson learned.
I’ve created a page called Soul Product Reviews, in which I’ll, for the time being, inconsistently post reviews of products I purchase with my own cash and use in conjunction with my commutes. Keep an eye out for my review of the Velo Orange pads in the future.
Now for my last bit of rambling. I love music, all kinds, and I would like to share a new discovery of mine with you. The band is called Listener, and what they do defies definition or genre pigeon holing. What it is, is all heart, passion, and unique. The first song I heard was Listener “Ozark Empire or A Snake Oil Salesman Comes to Town” click the link to peep a brilliant song. If you dig, they are on tour, so peep their website: http://www.iamlistener.com for dates. I’m hoping to catch them here in Columbus.
I’ve taken up enough of your time. Thanks for stopping by, Patrick SSD Crew

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Comfort? I Don’t Need No Stinking Comfort!

Been a minute since I last posted, but I’ve been a commuting fool. Loco even, or so it seems sometimes. As I sit here in my warm, dry house, eating some killer homemade vegan chili (prepared by my girlfriend, Kelly <3), I think about my commute home today, and all of those I've done since beginning commuting, once again, back in early March.
If you are from Ohio, you know, if not, Spring is nasty here, to say the least, especially this Spring. I couldn't have picked a more uncomfortable time to start commuting again. It has all been about being out of that place the ego likes to protect, my "comfort zone". It has been nothing but windy, cold, and rainy. Now don't get me wrong, there have been some really "ideal" days of little wind, no rain, warm temps, and much sun, but only a small fraction of days. The majority being the former. Today really hit me in regards to that "comfort zone", this not being to worst of my days, but in the top 5. It was cold, rainy, and windy this morning, as well as the ride home. I'm about 90% prepared for commuting in this kind of weather, I lack waterproof shoe covers and light weight waterproof pants, but this hasn't stopped me from commuting.
It's during these cool, wet commutes that I get a bit introspective about why I put myself through it. I see those car dwellers in their warm, dry, wind free transports. The ego also sees this, and creeps in and asks " why can't we be comfy like that?" Now let's not forget, it's not just about the elements when it comes to our "comfort zone", it's also about safety and security. It isn't only vulnerability to the elements, it's realistically putting yourself in harms way everyday. Getting out there on a bike, and going into traffic and asserting your right to be there, is dangerous. The ego knows all of this and will do anything and everything to keep you in your car.
I feel that pull to drive my car, but since I've pushed through and ridden in the crappiest weather for 2 1\2 months, it's almost like I reached a sort of bike "enlightenment". It's where I can see the ego doing it's best to protect itself, and being able to acknowledge it and see it really has no power, get on my bike and pedal. I now feel like I would be cheating if I drive, it's actually easier to get on the bike, even on crappy days.
I love being on my bike, because once you get a taste of the freedom that comes from pedaling outside your comfort zone, you want to keep doing it. The connection you get to your surroundings and the people you meet and greet, is truly priceless, it makes you human again. You see other people, all people, panhandlers, homeless, rich, poor, city workers, etc. You can wish people a "good morning\evening!", a "Hi!", a wave, and even a smile. This is something I appreciate deeply, it nourishes the soul.
Being on my bike is my new comfort zone.
That's all I have right now, I'm sleepy. Thanks for listening to me rant, I appreciate it!
RIDE SAFE!

Patrick- SSD Crew

3 Out of 5, A Gorilla Named PJ, & Roadkill

Today’s ride was day number 3 out of 5, and it was spontaneous, and almost too late to ride and get to work in a reasonable amount of time. Yet, the pedal bug bit me hard, so I rushed around the house getting ready. I got dressed, and luckily I checked the tires the night before (all good there), I peeped the weather online ( temp 28*F with a “light” SE wind about 6-8 MPH), so cold and windy. Nice! Well, not really.

Out the door, onto my steed, and off I went. The wind situation made itself known as soon as I hit the first busy road. I made a right hand turn, and the gorilla, whom I’ve named PJ, hopped on my back and settled in for his ride. See, his schedule is wide open on windy days, and he is more than happy to go where-ever I am headed. Today he was kind enough not to make it feel like my brakes were being pinched. Note to self, when the weather site says the wind is coming from the South-East, it will be a head wind all the way to work, with very little relief. So I pedaled, and it felt slow, but my legs were feeling good and my bike computer said I was pushing along pretty well, but the cold wind was tough. I actually felt like I had made a bad decision in riding, even with my head and face covered, the cold wind hurt where-ever it crept in. So for the first 15 minutes or so, I had great doubts. That all began to wane fairly quickly as I pedaled and began to heat up,  then it didn’t seem so bad. The ride was mostly uneventful, with the exception of the realization, that with warmer weather (though not this morning) comes…roadkill. Ewww!  But as Mr. Tom Waits says “…’Cause road kill has it’s seasons, Just like anything, It’s possums in the autumn, And it’s farm cats in the spring…” Some is bad, some not so bad, but it’s death all the same, people just don’t watch. The last bit of the ride in was tough, PJ had at that point, pretty much drained my energy, all I was thinking on my last stretch of road was, “All the way, all the f-ing way.” Yep, the wind had done a number on me, I was whipped when I rolled into work, but felt good that I chose to ride.

It took a good bit of the day, but I recovered and wasn’t dreading the ride home. It was still fairly cold out and no sun, the wind had died down a good bit, so I had no company from PJ on the ride home. I actually moved a pretty good clip, averaging 13.6 MPH. My legs felt strong and that gave me more confidence in traffic, so I moved smoothly along Parson’s Ave., not putting my feet down once, which is nice. I practice my track stands more now, and it feels good when I have a long run. I cruised through Greenlawn Cemetery, hearing familiar bird sounds, but not taking time to look. I was on a mission to get home, I had a date with my girlfriend, and my mom, and my sister who was down here for work. I was excited to see my mom, whom I haven’t seen since X-Mas .

I arrived home a bit tired, but safe. Showered and off to dinner we went, which happened to be Thai at Basil in the Short North. They have some of the best vegan Pad-Thai, it’s so spicy. Yum to the 10th degree.

I’m tired and will be going to bed after I post this.

RIDE SAFE!

Thanks for stopping by and reading, Patrick