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The week in Tri: Mondegreens, Roland, and the Frankfurt Ironman bike course

Yesterday Thursday was (another) (somewhat) long bike ride. Here’s how that went down:

In the morning, I said we were going for a nice three hour ride (like a three hour tour but no Gilligan) then changed tack midway through (see what I did there with the nautical reference?) and decided we should do my 5 hour long ride instead because mostly cloudy is still partly sunny (look, another pop culture reference, but without boats. Well, there was one boat. And shrieking eels.) and that was the best the weather would have for us for the next three days. I had cleverly and sneakily packed extra gels and a spare Powerbar for just such a possibility.  Luckily, my wife is not only patient and kind, she is also a hell of a bike rider and even with a slightly sprained ankle was game for it.

We rode the Frankfurt Ironman bike course which has the advantage of being clearly marked all year around with permanent signage. Still managed to miss a sign in the middle and ended up doing a bit as an out and back instead of a loop, but whatever. This is the third time this year that I’ve ridden part of the Ironman course. I’m trying to convince myself that an average speed of around 15 mph over that course on a weekday with traffic and stoplights will really translate to more like an 18 mph pace or so during the real thing. Yes. I’m certain of it.

Pretty road bikes are pretty

This picture of our road bikes is not from Thursday, but the ride we did last month of the course, but I forgot to take a picture last time.

Things that were memorable about this ride:

1. Mondegreens

Mondegreen the first:  At the horrifying cross street downtown where we have the choice of a really baffling and bizarre bicycle cloverleaf or a straightforward car lane with no shoulder and lots of honking trucks. “Did you just ask me if I wanted Apartheid Chocolate?”

“What the heck is apartheid chocolate?”

“I have no idea. The stuff you don’t eat when you ain’t gonna play Sun City ?” Or maybe this?

Mondegreen the second: When passing the McDonalds just past the horrifying cross street, necessary because of the urgent need to pee, probably resulting from the truck-honking choice at the intersection that does not actually, in fact, support segregated sweets. “Goggles!” “What do you need your goggles for? We’re biking not swimming.” “No, not goggles, McDonalds!” “McDonalds? Are you hungry already?” With legs crossed in desperation,”Please, will you just watch the bikes?”

2. As mentioned above: “Honey, how do you feel about 80 miles instead of the planned on 40?” “I’m ok with that, the weather’s nice and I feel pretty good.” I totally win at Wife!

3. Roland. When riding the ridiculously well marked Frankfurt Ironman course, there is a lot of left over road art from the previous year. Roland was apparently going for a sub-11 hour race last year. He had fans. I hope he made it. I immediately and irrevocably had Warren Zevon’s Thompson Gunner inhabiting all my auditory circuits  until the Wife started reciting German doggerel at me: Roland der Riese, Am Rathaus zu Bremen, Steht er ein Standbild, stetig und stark. (Actually, I just looked it up and the last line appears to actually be: standhaft und wacht.) It translates to: Roland the giant, by the Bremen town hall, A statue he stands, steady and strong. (Or steady and watchful) Anyway, they’re talking about this statue of Roland, who is now on my list of things to see in Germany this year.

4. The wrong turn (also as mentioned above). Yes, on a clearly sign-posted route that I had just biked 3 days previously, I managed to miss a sign and get us partially lost. Or in the explatoray portion of the ride, as I like to say. Luckily, I recognized the Elvis intersection (which can be seen here) From behind and we managed to get back on the right road after only a small hill.

Only an idiot can miss these.

One of the very clearly marked signs for the Ironman bike route. Clearly, this is not the sign that I failed to spot. This one happens to be just past the delightful half mile of uphill cobblestones on the course. See the picture of our bikes for an idea of the road surface.

5. On bike saddles and my girl bits. So, the new tri bike I got about a month and a half ago came with this really nice Fizik Arione 2 because my bike shop guy likes me and happened to have one laying around the shop. He said that it should be very comfortable and most of the serious triathletes are riding them. He’s probably not wrong about either of those things, but the truth is, it was making my girl bits hurt so much that I was becoming scarily adept at shoving a hand down my bike shorts during rides to try to alleviate some of the stress and pain. I was also losing the ability to focus on anything but the pain after about 40 miles or so. After 5 weeks of trying to make myself adapt to this saddle that clearly wasn’t working for me despite the fact that it is a good saddle and ought to have worked, I remembered the first rule of riding: If the saddle is uncomfortable, get a new one. Now. So I changed out my road bike saddle (a Specialized Ruby Pro with a very strategically placed cutout) onto my tri bike. Wow, what a difference. The birds sang more melodically, the flowers smelled more sweetly, the colors around me were more vibrant, and finally, finally I was able to concentrate on something other tha5800n the pain in my crotch. Damn you bike guy for having me convinced that there was something wrong with me for not being comfortable on the saddle, instead of just finding me a new saddle at the time of bike fitting when I said I didn’t thing it was going to work. Damn me for forgetting that listening to my body is more important than listening to other people tell me what my body should want. Anyway, problem very thankfully solved.

During the ride, I consumed two bottles of water (one with a NUUN tab in it), 4 Powerbar gels, and 3/4 of a Powerbar only three months past the expiry date. It was just about enough for the ride, but would need to be about doubled for Ironman.

I’ve spent the rest of the week biking, running, and swimming:

Bike rides: Total number: 4, Total miles: 212

Runs: Total number: 5, Total miles: 33

Swims: Total number: 2, Total meters: 5800

Note that for the second week in a row, swim night at the lake has been cancelled because it’s too fucking cold to swim in it and that’s why there are only two swims on the board, third one was cancelled and I failed to reschedule.

Tomorrow I’ll post a pictorial of how all my favorite runs are flooded out because in addition to it being too fucking cold for June, it’s also been raining in ark-building quantities for most of the four day weekend.

And have some bonus cat pictures. This is Captain Dukie’s secret identity as the Hairball Avenger, who saves us regularly from the evil machinations of zipties, bed sheets, and his own tail. You’ll have to ask him why his cape is pink.

captaindukieisunimpressed catsigh ihearthecatsignal

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Advent 8 and 9: Winter Wonderland

Welcome to Advent weekend number 2. A double post as I missed yesterday, what with sleeping at night and all. I’ve been having serious problems with sleeping the last few weeks including crazy worry about races that are 7 months away, odd dreams (about my mother and swords, I don’t know either), and just general inability to actually fall asleep, so the fact that I was in bed by midnight and actually asleep by 1:30 was something of a miracle. Anyway, excuse time is over, on to the interesting part of the post.

First up, Advent chocolates from yesterday and today, which came with directions about maintaining an appropriate work/life balance (the two cornerstones of happiness are love and work). As you know, the Wife and I have got the love part figure out these days (marry someone who doesn’t object to your bicycle habit and likes to run, then actually manage to live on the same continent and in the same apartment after a couple of years of long distance relationship.) Thankfully, I have triathlon to take the place of work for the moment, that and German classes (and something else that I’ll tell you about in a few months if it all works out – keep your fingers crossed for me. It’s something that I really want to be able to do, but I’ve shot myself in the proverbial foot over this before, so I don’t want to jinx it.). AC/DC disappoints once again with repeats of the AC/DC logo (which looks a bit more like BC/DC on this one) yesterday and the lightning bolt today.

Day 8:  Santa's head has been eaten and replaced with the Lindt truffle. The AC/DC chocolate by his feet prophesies the coming apocalypse. Or maybe it's a partial list of who's been naughty...

Day 8: Santa’s head has been eaten and replaced with the Lindt truffle. The AC/DC chocolate by his feet prophesies the coming apocalypse. Or maybe it’s a partial list of who’s been naughty…

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