____, Run, Bike

A Busy, Successful Day Will Lead to an Exhausted Day

22nd of April, 2012 ·  1 Comment

Today is Sunday and I didn’t wake up to an alarm.

That’s a big deal because yesterday, Saturday,  I set my alarm and woke up early so I could go do one of the hardest 5K runs I’ve ever done, ever. It was the local Firefighter’s Association’s fundraising run, and it was delightfully difficult. Only about a third of the run, maybe less, was on flat ground; the rest was in a place called Stadium Park, and it was steep and rocky and traily and horribly good.

I walked up some of the hills and galloped down some of the others. I don’t know what my final time was, but out of about 120 people, I was 45th.

I’ve been practicing my hills in anticipation of this run. On Tuesday, I thought I was doing pretty good, hill-wise. Trouble is, this run wasn’t a little hill, it was a monster. At one point — and I swear it started out as coincidence — I decided I’d quit running and hike up as quick as I could instead, I did so behind a couple of good looking women, and that helped out my gumption.

Elsewhere on the course, experience gained by hiking with Blaine and Christopher came in really handy. People were running down the steep, rocky hills in self-made switchbacks, or otherwise going down really really slowly, picking their steps, arresting their descent. I threw myself down those hills and made up a ton of time with the weird galloping gait developed on hikes with my hiking brethren. So thanks for that, gents!

I got to the bottom of the hill and was all set to turn right and head home, but the paramedic(!) at the bottom directed me to the left, back up another hill, instead. I thought that was singularly unfriendly of him. I made a mental note to remember his name and punch him later, but I forgot.

In the end, I finished the race and did pretty well. Here’s a map, as tracked by Nike + GPS on my iPhone.

I ran to the race — well, slowly jogged, really — as a warmup and that was good. Without it, I’d have warmed up on the trail, and that’s a great way to come in in the bottom 50 percentile. But since I’d run to the race, when I’d done all the socializing I wanted to, I walked home and found I was locked out of the house. My dad came and unlocked it for me.

After a shower, I headed over to my dad’s house to finish assembling my road bike. It’s a 1973 Peugeot and it came with a bunch of heavy, horrible steel parts on it. I took all those off and replaced them with new stuff or stuff from a crashed Motobecane — a high-quality bike from the same era — and the thing is pretty damn splendid. I’ve even got integrated shifters on the thing, thanks to Keith at K-Man Cyclery. It’s why he’s my bike shop.

The big project yesterday was putting on an in credible new front brake. With integrated shifters, the brake cable puts a lot of pressure on the brake itself. New brakes were designed with that in mind and are able to deal with it better than the old, classic brake I  had on there the day before. The advantage is the new one looks better, stops the bike better and feels smoother. I can’t wait to get the back brake on there, too.

Now, the brake thing would never have happened without my dad. I helped him in a couple small ways, but he built the part that lowered the brake enough that it can actually be effective on the rim of the wheel. Actually, he built the part years ago for a my wife’s first pile of crap bike, now retired. We found that part and modified it for this project, so that’s really cool in a sort of “what goes around comes around” kind of way. He also figured out why that brake was made the way it was. He also long-term-loaned the brake to me; he was going to use it on a bike that doesn’t exist, so I don’t feel too bad about ripping him off.

All that’s left is some fine-tuning of the drivetrain. If I’d worked on the bike instead of running a 5K, I imagine I’d have gotten the bike totally ridable yesterday. Alas, it was not to be.

There’s still work to be done, but I’m feeling heartened. I think I’ll be ready to ride the thing 25 miles after a 1-mile swim and just before a 6-mile run in two weeks. Probably.

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