Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mein Bike ist Kaput

So, I get a new bike soon. No, not a motorcycle, though I am an accomplished rider and someone offered to swap me one for my Bronco (take all of that with a huge grain of salt).

It couldn't come quick enough. I say that because my current ride is just about dead. Dead, you say? I said mostly dead. There's a difference. Mostly dead I can work with. My goal was to keep the bike ridable without spending any money on it. I was doing good until Saturday.

Anyway, you may not be interested, but I thought I would chronicle the demise and deterioration of my bike. To begin with, I've begun to realize that the bike wasn't all that nice to begin with. I got it from a bike shop, which is much better than, say, walmart. But, I basically got the bottom of the line; the components are from the bottom of the Shimano offering and the wheels aren't that spiffy either. So it didn't have that many things going for it in the first place.

Then I abused it. I left it outside on a porch for like 4 years, not riding it. I started riding it to work, 22 miles each time I rode. Apparently that's hard on it. And I carried a bunch of gear, plus my own weight (which started at 265 and is now around 235). Again, not easy on the bike.

So, on to the stuff that broke:
  • The rear rim developed a crack. I don't know how, though I suspect I went over too big of a bump. The sidewall is bulged out, which makes the back brake broken, but it didn't lose air, so I kept riding it.
  • The large chainring broke. That's the ring up front. This is where my rant about lousy components starts. Most good cranks are bolted to the chainrings, so if one breaks, you can just get a new one and bolt it on. Not my piece of crud bike. The cranks are riveted to the chainrings, so I have to replace the whole thing. So, I opted to ride using only the middle chainring. I can't go as fast, but...
  • I broke a spoke in the rear. I could work around everything up until this, but this is a deal breaker. While a spoke is fairly easy to fix, nobody is going to fix it to the previously mentioned cracked rim. So, then I'd need to basically get a new rear wheel, which costs money.
There you have it - I have a bike that needs some amount of $$$ to get it road worthy. But I get a new one really soon. Should I tell you about my new bike? I think I shall...

I am now primarily a commuter and road rider, so I needed a whole different type of bike.
  • For comfort and better speed (especially into a headwind), I'm getting road geometry. Think drop handlebars, no suspension.
  • For durability and strength, I'm getting a steel frame. It's not nearly as heavy as you think.
  • For simplicity and low maintenance, I'm getting a single speed.
  • For carrying all my stuff, it's got a rack.
  • For the rain, it'll have fenders.
All in all, it will be a pretty simple utilitarian bike. I'm excited. Can you tell?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

AT&T Half Marathon Results

OK, Troy, here ya go:

Sunday, Feb17, I completed my first half marathon. Yes, I finished it. Did I have the greatest run ever? Not exactly. But I finished. And I did finish running, though in a bit of pain. OK, actually, a lot of pain. Enough of the sputtered sentence fragments already, here's the details...

I was ready. I thought so anyway. I had done the long runs, and I could keep my goal pace. And it wasn't even an extremely fast goal pace. 10 min miles, that's it. We (Doug and I) started along with the other 13,000 people going across the river on Congress. It was quite the view, really. Way too many people up and running in one place on a Sunday morning.

I'm going to do a quick cut-and-paste from an email I wrote right after the race, which captured my feelings and my story:

Thursday I ran and my right leg kinda hurt afterward. It got better each day and was feeling fine on Sunday morning. Within the first mile, it started hurting again (almost tripped me up a few times), but it got better, so I thought maybe I just needed to warm up. It was nagging me from then on and I decided to walk a bit somewhere in mile 8. About 10 steps into my walking, my right leg/knee just about exploded in pain (I almost cried). I said almost; I’m a man, I’m 40.

Anyway, I sent my brother on to finish his race and was going to walk to the aid station and get a ride to the end or something. Well they gave me an ace bandage, and while that really didn’t help at all, I decided to continue walking. Somewhere in here, I remembered the verse I had read that morning, Heb 12:1, and I decided this was my race to run with endurance, so I finished it. After punch-dancing out my rage and suffering an extremely long and very painful fall, I realized what had to be done. I couldn’t just walk across the finish line (that would suck), so I started running for the last 2 blocks. It hurt, a lot, but I finished it running…

So, that's the end of my recycled summary. My time was 2:45:45. Not spectacular and I finished somewhere near dead last for my age group, but I did get the medal and the finishers T-shirt.

Since the race, I think I've isolated the source of my pain. It wasn't my knee, as in a joint problem, but my hamstring; or at least the lower tendon connected to my hamstring. I am going to work on strengthening that muscle and just running very carefully to make sure I'm healthy before I go running again.

You may ask "Gee Paul, are you gonna try it again?" Unfortunately, my bus route in the morning goes along part of the route, so I'm constantly haunted by the memory and taunted by the cold, cruel pavement. I think I have to try it again. It is my destiny. Maybe a solo effort or maybe at next years event. Either way, I need to finish it strong.

Unfortunately, I've worked in some movie and/or youtube quotes in this post. If you're not familiar with Hot Rod and Mike Gundy, it may not make sense. I don't apologize for my actions, but I do think they are funny. ha ha

Monday, February 4, 2008


Hey folks! My sister has a link on her blog that I decided to check out. Needless to say it brought me to tears for a number of reasons. One was God is at work in the lives of believers, and He is making Himself known, and I love seeing God work. Another reason is because I am a girl, and that is how I express any emotion. So I am asking you to pray for Nate, Tricia and Gwyneth Rose, and when you get a free moment check out their blog. It is As you read and pray reflect on God and his character, praise Him for who He is and what He is doing in the lives of this family, and pray for continued healing for all of them. I can't wait to see what God does in their lives.