Thursday, February 08, 2007

California - Day One

This was a day similar to Pedro Delgado's first day in 1989 Tour de France - where he missed the start by 2:40 and was dead last by the end of the prologue. It wasn't quite so significant for me but it was a long day.

I was up at 5:40 AM to prepare for a 6:00 AM "confirmation" call that my brother would be up and ready to go. Taking a shower at about 5:46 AM, he called. So my wonderful fiancee got up to answer the phone and confirmed my brother was on the way.

A little groggily, we bade each other goodbye for my two week trip and I left.

We arrived at the airport 90 minutes before the flight and things went smoothly. I couldn't self check in (my name's on the TSA list and in a perverted way I'm proud of that so I haven't done anything about it) so I always have to go to a counter. Plus I had a bike to check in.

JetBlue is a lot better with bikes - $50 fee and not a lot of BS. I also managed to videotape them loading and unloading the bike - last piece on the plane, first piece off. How special (really). And when they slid it into the luggage trailer, one guy looked at it, thought about it, and (thankfully) tipped it vertical. My wheels were safe.

I slept a bit on the plane and didn't see anything significant (I did catch the take off and landing though). After landing, I turned on the phone to retrieve voicemails. This is where it gets a bit complicated.

First, the plan was to do the following:
1. Get a key fob for my friend's car, he would mail it to me.

2. Said friend (well, the wife half) would drop the car off at the airport - she was flying to the East Coast on the same day.

3. Using fob, get into car, where there is a key, the parking stub to exit the parking lot, and a garage door opener.

4. Drive to friend's house, open garage door.

5. Retrieve hidden house key, get into house.

6. Build bike, eat, and go for a nice ride.

The way it actually turned out:
1. Fob overnighted to the office.

2. Temporary receptionist did not get mail so fob didn't arrive. This didn't dawn on me until after the post office closed.

3. Call friend, key now hidden on outside of car.

4. Parking stub left in wife's pocket so not in car.

5. As car registration and driver's license do not match, could not leave the parking lot. Negotiated with parking security but to no avail. Ultimately I understand but at the time it was a bit frustrating. Call friend, update him. I have to take the shuttle.

6. Found parking (not an easy task - there were dozens of double parked cars) and brought the bike, gear bag, clothing bag, and backpack back to the ground transportation area.

7. Got Cloud9 shuttle (one I've used before, excellent service, highly recommended). The suntanned, sunglassed, shorts-wearing dispatcher reminded me I was in California when he pointed at an incoming shuttle - "Dude, that's all you." You wouldn't hear that in NY.

8. While on shuttle, called friend to report progress.
"You did remember the garage door opener, didn't you?"


9. Last stop, get gear and stuff to the house (and to the back of the house since I can't get in).

10. As my friend has a fully stocked bike tool bench type of setup, I brought no tools. Normally I bring a set of full size allen wrenches, cassette tools, cable tools, a full sized floor pump, etc. This time, just a Specialized multi tool, my Blackburn mini pump, and some tire levers. Using the multi tool, I put my bike together, including the pedals (!). I can't believe the tool has an 8mm but it does. Awesome. Pumped up the tires to about 60 psi.

10. Rode to the local shop. Rolled around the bend, onto the sidewalk, and wondered why the shop had such an interesting looking mannequin - it had white thigh-high stockings, garter, and a bustier. I figured it was a Valentine's Day theme or something. Nope. When I looked up I realized I was about to ride my bike into an Adult Store. Apparently the shop had moved a few weeks earlier.

11. Went to the other local shop which never really impressed me - a Trek Superstore. They did allow me to pump up my tires (a plus), they had some energy bars in stock (a plus since I hadn't eaten for about 9 hours except for two 100 calorie snacks and one PowerGel), and they let me try on some helmets. But they thought my crit-bend bars were "track" bars (what?), they asked if I was a Cat 1 (I guess it's like being carded when you're 30, it's flattering and also a bump to the head when you realize you aren't what they're expecting), and they basically admitted they have no small parts (no axle spacers??). At least one guy, Eric, offered the advice of going to a hardware store and getting a 10x1 spacer. Not sure if it's right but it sounded good.

12. I rode around for two hours till my friend came home from work, the last 15 minutes in the dark, doing loops around his block. At least I had the forethought to put on my blinky headlight and taillight.

The only positive thing is that I realized I might have to update my sprinting primer, the one that talks about speed. I was trying out my "glute recruiting" positions I recently rediscovered on the trainer and found that, yes, I had a LOT more power. So I was enjoying this and accelerating from lights or up the long grades found here, standing and shifting.

At one light - with a long, 4 or 5% upgrade immediately after - I went when the light turned green and shifted, accelerated, shifted, accelerated. I wasn't "sprinting" and I wasn't spinning by a long shot - just churning the gear and shifting when it felt right. I shifted again and again until the derailleur paused. The thing is it only does that when shifting to the 11T (until I fix it - the cable needs to be slippier). I looked down and sure enough I was in the 53x12T. I checked my speed.

32 mph.

Uphill and without going too hard.

This was a good sign.

But my Maximum Optimal Sprint Speed (MOSS) minimum from my sprint post should probably be upgraded to 34 or 35 mph. But I'll leave it for now.

At the equivalent of about 2 AM "home time", after retrieving the car from the airport parking lot with my friend, I fell asleep exhausted. I knew I was exhausted because when I woke up 8 hours later, I still had my glasses on.

What a long day.

Day Two will bring two things on the agenda - fix the 5th chainring bolt and the first attack of Palomar Mountain.

1 comment:

woots said...

Yeah, that fob package. It arrived the day you left. I sort of had a chuckle to myself when it came because I knew you were expecting that fob. However, now that I have read your post and all the things that went wrong it doesn't seem so funny.

Sounds like Murphy came along with you on your trip. Hopefully he got tired as well and will leave you alone for the rest of your vacation.