Friday, January 1, 2010

read it.

i just finished reading a book, two different books in the last week, actually, and i think it's time for some change.

the first book i read was tim krabbé's The Rider, highly recommended by rapha (of course), and an engrossing read that i finished within 24 hours of receipt. one of my favorite aspects of it is that krabbé was just starting to race when he was twenty-nine. having just turned twenty-nine before the holidays, i can identify. and i fantasize about being able to race, and then to write eloquently and existentially about it. so really, i'm just like tim...

the second book i read was The Shack. given to me by my curious and amazing and spiritual grandmother, i was skeptical before i even opened the thing and read the (terrible) first sentence about weather. thankfully, my skepticism and judgementalness were thoroughly addressed and forgiven a hundred pages later, by which time my theological musings had turned my brain to mush and the bailey's wasn't helping either.

the best option in such a state: subject (inflict) myself to the blog.

the holidays come with a few things: expectations, obligations, and resolutions. though this is not the most joy-promising list one can imagine, i figured all of it out in my adventures of last night and the day before, and all in the kitchen.

you see, i don't have a home work shop. we have a home. we have lots of bikes (minimum 2 per family member, so at least 8 in full working order...). we ride lots of bikes lots of the time. but no shop to keep these bikes in repair keeps things interesting. hence, the kitchen. also, learning from both mr. miyagi and my dad, much mental progress is to be made while performing manual labor. whenever i needed to figure things out in high school, i went for a long ride or a run or whatever. now, i inventory the long list of problems with any of the bikes at hand and devise reparations, then get my hands full of grease. i do this in the kitchen because the floor is tile and easy to sweep. it's also the furthest away from the kids' room that i can get without going outside (it's january in toronto). 

so there i was, in the kitchen, figuring things out.

i figure out many things in the kitchen, some culinary, some machinery, some theory. i figured out a couple of things in the last couple of days, and i'm going to write them down here so that i don't forget, or maybe so i get a kick out of myself later. one: things aren't always as hard as they look (and a little WD40 goes a long way). i was somewhat dreading, somewhat looking forward to the necessary overhaul/replacement of my lady friend's commuter's bottom bracket, as it was old, it was loose bearing, and it was in a steel frame and ridden in the rain and salt. probably it would be stuck forever. and seeing as we don't have a bench vice in the kitchen (yet), it would probably have to stay that way. nevertheless, i brought the bike in, propped it against the play kitchen and the wooden step stool, and spritzed/doused the BB area with WD40. fantastic stuff, and the aroma goes nicely with brie and pecans. i then set about bringing in my own commuter, righting the brake lever knocked awry by an unprecedented meeting with mr. front bumper of unsuspecting minivan, and adjusting brake cable length and headset tension as well. then i left on some errands. upon return, i had secured a cheap sealed BB of the shimano type for under $20, and was cautiously planning on swapping it out for the loose bearing one in the frame. now for the critical moment: would the cups come out of the frame?



the cups came out so easily, they were practically loose to the point where i could unscrew them by hand. ridiculous. all this dread and fear for what? naught. 

so the old BB came out, the new BB went in, the crank went back on, the rear tire got switched out to a treaded cyclocross jobbie, and i washed my hands for the 28th time that morning.

things are not as hard as i think they are (sometimes).

another thing i learned: i am getting old. following the holidays and all their materialistic, familial, and post-coital wonders, i am slowly recovering and realizing as i rinse of the stupor (yes, of) - i am old, and i need things that will make things easier for me. i need the third hand tool to adjust brakes (i even used it for the front derailleur cable and it was good to go, if upside down and backwards). i need one crankset tool that does everything, including switching the pedals. i need..a..compact crank. yeah. for real. whatever. i hear tyler hamilton used to use them. racers i know use them. okay. i don't know any racers. but i'm sure someone fitter than i uses one. and maybe one day i'll be fit like him or her. in the meantime, i'll just revel in all the new hill-climbing gears i have, at a quarter of the price of a new cassette! the truth, however, remains: i'm getting old. i guess it's time to buy a workstand for all of this learning...

anyway, happy new year. happy getting old. may as well. tim krabbé did it. and he even won. no powermeter, heart rate monitor, carbon fiber, or anything. just a good 5 speed cassette and the need to hurt. love it.

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