Monday, June 15, 2009


On Tuesday I finally actually rode my bicycle in to work. It went about as well as I expected. The stretch of road I was most worried about was mitigated by going through shopping centers and waiting for a couple of long lights. I stopped twice going uphill on 360 to catch my breath. I got to the office drenched in sweat and went to hit the showers. I had to wait a few minutes since two other guys rode up on their bicycles just moments before I did. I brought lunch instead of my usual going out, and ate it a little at a time throughout the day. I left the office around 5:30 after changing back into my workout clothes, which were ickily still wet after having sat in a plastic bag in the bottom of my backpack all day. It was quickly apparent that my legs were still tired from the morning ride, even though I was going downhill. It was really nice to whiz past all the crawling traffic, but past the bottleneck traffic light I had to worry about getting run over. I stopped to catch my breath near the top of the hill just before the shoulder pinched off. When I was rested a bit, I had to wait for a break in the traffic to get going again in a traffic lane until I finally got to a sidewalk. Down Manchaca I stopped at the farmers market to get some fruit before riding the last 3 miles home.

On Thursday I decided to blow off training for a few days for the annual Republic of Texas biker rally here in town. I rode the Night Train in to work Thursday and Friday. After work on Thursday I went to bike night at Twin Peaks. There were a few bikes when I got there, but they kept coming, eventually filling the parking lot. I ate dinner, then wandered around outside to look at bikes and of course the women hired to promote one thing or another. I went back in and sat down with some people from the HOG chapter, but jumped up to see the ladies competing in the bikini contest. When we saw the weather report including tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, and a big angry radar blob headed our way, we all hurried up and headed out. I left around 8:30, earlier than I had expected, but I did make it home before the rain hit. Fortunately there wasn't any hail at my house, at least not enough to do any damage.

I didn't get out of the office until 6:30 Friday. I stopped and had dinner at Uncle Billy's on my way downtown. I parked just west of Congress, and started wandering. I went up Congress and got a beer as much for the novelty of drinking in the middle of what is usually a busy street as for thirst. I went up as close as I could get to the setup for Robbie Knievel's jump, which still didn't allow me to really see much of anything. I wandered down Sixth, checking out bikes. It was still on the early side, so bars were either empty or packed, depending on whether or not a group descended upon it. I made my way back to Congress, where the parade was starting to stream in. I watched for a bit, then ventured to cross the street. I went to the Gingerman, amazingly for the first time since they moved around the corner in March. A bartender I always talk beer with asked what I thought, and I gave a pretty noncommittal "it's nice." Really, it's a nice place, but it doesn't have the character (and certainly not the soaring ceilings) of the old place. When I closed out to leave, I found I'd only been charged for half the beers I'd drank, but I didn't complain. I wandered some more and started to look for a place to stand where I could see Knievel's jump. I sat down at 11th and Brazos on a railing such that I could stand up for a better view. It turned out that was the takeoff side of the jump, so Robbie was making runs up just past the crowd and fence. I couldn't see much of him as he went by, other than to know he was there. He did several passes before the actual jump, probably at least partly to build it up, since he was riding a wheelie at least one time as he came back up. When he did make the jump, I could only see a little bit of it through the trees between me and the site. There was a bunch of pyro, and then it was all over and people went on their way. I walked back to my bike, rode home and went to bed.

I woke up at my usual time on Saturday, had breakfast and went to the Harley shop, getting there about 8:20, and reported for duty as a paid "volunteer." I was originally scheduled to be working in the t-shirt area, but the motorclothes manager pulled me off of that to help in the helmet area. Because of increased police enforcement, they had been selling a lot of helmets that weekend, and needed someone who knows something about fitting a helmet to help out. There weren't many customers at first, but the started coming in more steadily after 10. By noon, the shop floor was one giant mass of people. I didn't have nearly as many people to deal with as the actual employees, but I was still pretty busy. Because helmets are all sized differently and nobody's really sure about the fit, I had to run back and forth to the stock room a lot. That was one of the challenging parts of the job, since there wasn't a lot of walking space to begin with, and with so many people it was tough to get through. Fortunately, everyone I dealt with was patient, even the group of people who weren't really that serious about actually buying a helmet. At noon I was pretty hungry and took a break to eat some of the mediocre pizza they'd ordered for everyone, then went back to work until 1:30. I was signed up to work in service for the afternoon, but I was going to talk to the coordinator to stay in motorclothes. Before I could talk to either of the ones in charge, another service volunteer grabbed me and dragged me back there. The service assignment was not nearly as good of an assignment. The biggest problem was that it was a lot warmer in that area, since the doors rarely stayed closed, and I was in and out the whole time. The other thing that made it an inferior job was the much drabber scenery. The only female who works in service is not nearly as cute as the motorclothes girls, and female customers weren't hanging out in that area. The job was to write tickets for any customers showing up to get service on their bikes- just basic information like name, address, and what was wrong- then ride the bike inside, and the professionals handled everything else. The work was really lumpy- there would be nobody for 15 minutes, then 3 bikes would come up in the next 5 minutes. There were three volunteers, and we would stand around and bullshit when there weren't customers. I was getting pretty tired of standing by 6:30, and there were almost no customers coming (plus they were planning to close up around 7), so at 6:45 I checked out with the service manager and went to check out with the volunteer coordinator. I had to wait a little while with a growing group of volunteers for her to come back prepared with cash and gift cards. I went home, changed clothes, and went over to Jimmy's for some dinner. We were all vegetating in front of the TV around 9:30, so I had to pick myself up and drag myself home before I fell asleep right there.

I woke up early Sunday morning for no reason. I tried to get back to sleep, but didn't manage, so I got up and went for a hike before it got back up to 100 degrees outside. I hiked along Barton Creek from MoPac to Camp Craft, starting at 9:30. I was hiking with my new 80L pack, stuffed with two pillows and weighted down with my mountaineering boots and crampons, plus 5 liters of water. I had previously weighed the pack at 20 pounds with only 2 liters, so it was somewhere around 27 pounds. The pack didn't bother me, but I was sweating within 15 minutes of starting, mainly from the temperature. The trail was pretty flat until right at the end, which I've heard called "the hill of life." My plan going up was to take a break once my heart rate hit 185, but I stopped at a nice little spot at 183. I drank some water and continued the little bit further to the very top. I walked back to the spot I had stopped and ate a snack. I decided I hadn't had enough vertical gain, so I decided to drop my pack and jog back to the top. On my way back to my car, I went down to the creek to investigate the sound of running water. There was a small falls and pool, with a few people bathing. I seriously considered jumping in, and probably would have if it was a few degrees hotter, but continued, getting back to my car around 11:30. According to the trail map I saw, the distance I hiked was about 2 1/2 to 3 mile each way, so I felt pretty good about it. I got lunch nearby at a taco place I sometimes go to, then went home for a nap. I slept too long, from 2:30 to 4:30, and was really groggy once I finally woke up. Once I did, I ate a snack and then around 7 I went skating at the veloway. My first 5K lap went pretty well, so I just kept going for a second. I contemplated doing some more, but decided not to push it, plus the sun was starting to set. Overall, I was feeling a lot more fit than I had in a long time.

Of course, I'm paying for it today. I rode my bicycle to work again, and my legs are feeling it. I discovered I had a flat tire from a staple within sight of the office, so I decided to just push the bike the rest of the way rather than change the tube. My legs were already tired, but they were burning trying to get to the office without getting run over. My legs are still a little sore, and now I have to fix my tire and ride home...

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