I live in a house, and have so for the last eight years. I say this neither as a boast nor a jab at my apartment-living compatriots, it is simply a statement about the conditions in which I currently live. I live in a house, and what most people neglect to tell you before you buy a house is that, if not given constant attention and care, a house will try its best to fall over and turn into a pile of rubble. They may appear tranquil and sturdy when seen from the street or sidewalk, but houses are maniacally suicidal, inside the siding and shingles, they are a disaster waiting to happen. Houses are full of systems: heating, plumbing, cooling, and electrical systems form the guts of a house. And the natural resting place for all of these systems—if unattended—is in a pile, smoking.
You see, nothing about a house lasts forever. If you ever find yourself riding in a remote rural location and see an empty foundation of a former house, the forlorn rocks or concrete that are left behind when a house has been vacated, you see what happens when you neglect a house. It turns into grass, weeds and an empty hole. You can try to fool yourself into believing that a roof or a water heater will be the last one you ever purchase, but what you are really doing is starting the clock on the time it will take before you have to replace the aforementioned roof or water heater. Nothing about a house is truly permanent. Everything you put into it will eventually be put out to the curb.
Speed (in the bike sense, not the toothless meth sense) is the same way. You only rent speed, and in order to keep the smallest amount of it, you have to maintain the systems that produce it. You have to eat things that aren’t poison. You have to ride and race enough to push all the meaningful relationships in your life to their respective breaking points, and then you need to rest like a three-toed sloth with a sleeping pill addiction. Speed, like a house, requires constant maintenance, lest it crumble into a heap of muffin runs and charity century rides.
As of late, my house has required a full bleeding of the pipes, a coat of paint to cover a water mishap and the I’ve been coughing up hot glue. Things do not bode well for a season filled with speed.
January 9, 2013
Today I rode with Rapha Mike, I call him Rapha Mike because I don’t like to use full names in my training log, lest someone be outed on Google, and because he rides for Rapha—I’m not Mark flippin’ Twain, OK? RM is a younger fellow who is very fast on a bike, and has a schedule like mine that allows him to occasionally ride during the middle of the day. On Wednesday we took advantage of our schedules and met for a ride.
And that’s when he tried to kill me.
Actually, that’s not true. RM was probably just on a normally paced ride for someone who is fit and not yet thirty. The issues that I had with were that I can barely remember thirty and I’ve been a mucous laboratory for the past three weeks. We traded pulls, but as the ride progressed, my cruise boat was heading for an underwater rock formation. But I did not abandon ship, I hung on. I pushed my engine room to its breaking point, lost contact a few time, but ultimately brought the ship to port. And that’s all of the nautical descriptions I know.
Afterwards, my legs hurt, I had a headache, my whole body felt slightly barbecued and I think my teeth were even a bit tired. But these are all sensations that racers relish, because it shows we’ve put in a good effort and it shows that we are out of our minds.
And I’m pretty sure Mike just felt like having a sandwich when he got home.
Roman’s Beer Corner
Because people have been asking for more readily available beers, Roman has picked Southern Tier Imperial Cholat Imperial Stout as his choice this week. There. Are you happy? You made Roman bow to your wishes. But, he says it’s stout season, so all you whiny lighter beer complainers will just have to wait.
The man is an artist.