Sunday, July 21, 2013

Life - Heat and Stuff

So the blog has been sort of slow, so I apologize for that.

The main thing is that it's been hot around here. For the last week or so we've had some pretty high temperatures, in the upper 90s consistently. This put a kind of drag brake on life in general, at least for me. I don't work well in the heat.

Luckily we have air conditioning at the house. We try to be economical about the whole set up - we don't have central air but we do have permanent wall mounted units. The house is a modified cape - two stories with a very open floor plan.

In the summer we run just one small air conditioner upstairs. Normally that's enough to cool all but the den and the bathroom attached to it - it's really meant to be a master bedroom suite but it's a den / guest room for now. During the extended 95-100 degree temps (we hit 101 in both of our cars once) I learned that the "One AC" tactic effectively dropped the inside temperatures about 20 degrees. This meant that we were at 75-80 degrees at best. We have a second small air conditioner but we haven't turned it on in years, and there's room for a third but we removed it and put a pellet stove in its place (and we learned that the pellet stove alone, on low, will drive the interior temperature up 20 degrees as compared to outside).


What's that got to do with bikes and such? Well, my trainer has been in the office, which, being a dead end room, doesn't get much air flow. This means that my trainer room, if you will, ended up at about 85 degrees most of the time. I had the trainer in the den, which has its own large air conditioner, but due to some circuit issues I can't use the AC and a large fan at the same time so I would do trainer rides with just a large fan, typically in a 75 degree room. By the end of my rides the room would be close to 85 degrees. When we had a guest over I had to move my set up to the warmer office.

This makes it less appealing to ride the bike.

I've also been trying to get outside to do some yard work. With just two half days free I don't get to do much on my own. I typically get about 3 hours twice a week, between about 1:30 and 4:30 PM, not enough to do more than one or two major things. I could go for a long ride or work in the yard or clean out the garage or clean up inside the house but usually not more than two of them. I enjoy doing yard work, especially on really hot days (because there are less mosquitoes).

In fact I really hate mosquitoes and will avoid being outside for even brief periods of time when they're active (70-80 degrees, winds under 2 mph). I'm a human mosquito magnet - I would often get bit just getting out to the car. I also don't like to slather DEET all over myself regularly (main exception is for yard work) so I keep indoors in prime (mosquito) weather conditions.

Tuesdays I don't ride because I want to race. With the iffy weather patterns (sunny and hot until 6 PM then clouds rolling in and sometimes severe thunderstorms or even a tornado or three) sometimes the race doesn't get canceled until 20 minutes before the race. I spent more than a couple Tuesday afternoons not riding only to have the race that night canceled. When the race gets canceled I've committed to spending an hour organizing the office - so far I've done two of those hour sessions.

Thursdays I try to ride, but if it's too hot or it's pouring out then I'll focus on other things, usually housework or a few particular things that need some work. One day I fixed a loose baby gate + cat door bar, re-anchored another baby gate, and worked on a little RC car that Junior likes to chase around (it's still not working, after sucking up some cat fur and mucking up its gears). Other days I'll run some errands, do housework, stuff like that. If I have an event services gig coming up I spend my time working on that.

Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays I have Junior the whole day so I hang out with him. I try to bring him places - he loves running around in big open stores. He has a limit of "Car Seat Cycles" - the number of times we strap him into the seat. At about four he gets pretty cranky, and five or six and it's not really good. With him the supermarket becomes a 2 hour visit. A fun 2 hours, naturally. I'll even bring him into stores I don't need to go to just to let him explore a bit.

I should also point out that the Missus is super supportive of my riding. She's usually the one that gets me out the door on the bike, or on the trainer. I stay indoors when it's pouring out (and some of these storms have been doozies) and although I kept telling myself I'd ride outside when it was hot I ended up doing other things. The last free half day I had I spent it outside pulling vines that were threatening pretty much all of our trees and shrubs in the front yard. Luckily I didn't spot any poison ivy and I'm still free of any rashes after six days.

July is the time when my bike starts to falter a bit. The travel to the races means a lot of wheel removals, maybe some marks/scratches, tape starting to get a bit tired, stuff like that. My rear tires are starting to wear a bit (the training rear tire is two years old already). My BB30 bearing are creaking like a pirate ship. I haven't cleaned my bike in forever. I still need to check my new deeper drop bars. I want to try 40 cm wide bars. I want to set up my cranks so the two bikes are the same (one has 170s, one has 175s). My tape is a bit ragged on both bikes. I want to get some other minor stuff done - even out the levers on the red bike, re-do the SRM harness on the black bike, stuff like that. It all takes time and it's all time that I haven't put into the bikes.

The blog has suffered too, obviously. It's not a job per se, it's only for fun, and to be frank I really haven't done or experienced much worthy of the blog.

I did get a few helmet cam clips going. One is "simmering" - I finished it a week or two ago and I know that there will be some minor errors that I need to correct. It's a long clip - 18 or 19 minutes - and it should be both educational and I hope a bit entertaining.

I have two other clips, both still in the formative stages. It's tough working on them in the hotter office but it should be a bit better now with the cooler temperatures outside.

I realized that I race the same races over and over. This year isn't the best year to record clips for me because I'm not very fit, but I was still hoping to get New London and another Naugatuck. Unfortunately both those races were canceled. My next races will be at Rocky Hill, a new race this year, so I hope to have a clip from there.

I have a couple pet projects I'm working on so that's taking time too. Most of them involve sitting in front of the computer, and time just flies when I'm tapping away at the keyboard.

So for now I don't have a lot of news. I'm just hanging out, sort of in a status quo type of situation. I hope to change things in the next week or so, trying to unplug my queue and get things flowing again.

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