Friday, May 29, 2009

It's All About the Bike

Back in the early 90's, the woman that I had been married to for a decade decided that I was not providing the lifestyle that she wanted to live. It took a few years, but eventually the marriage dissolved, and we went our separate ways. I was alone for the first time in many years, and I needed a way to deal with it. So many times in my life, I had turned to various methods of overcoming loneliness, most of which were not that healthy. But fortunately, I had learned how to use more positive addictions to heal myself. This time I turned to my bike; a 1989 Fuso FRX, built by a framebuilder named Dave Moulton. When I bought it, I was working at a Fuso dealership, so even though the FRX is not a custom built frame, I had the opportunity to call Dave and have some features added, including a Cinelli bottom bracket shell with above bottom bracket cable guides, and a Fuso head tube badge (he had gone to decals a few years earlier). I wanted the bike to be bright yellow, but Dave suggested that I add gold pearl, a very nice touch. I built the frame with all Suntour Superbe components, because I didn't want any Shimano, and I couldn't afford Campy. Today, this bike is a dinosaur, but in its day, it was beautiful.

Anyway, enough porn. I started riding. A lot. Tuesday night North Gwinnett Club ride, Wednesday night the Chicken City Cyclist club ride, Thursdays, another N. Gwinnett club ride, and then Friday nights a small ring only ride with some Chicken City guys, followed by pizza at the Monkey Barrell. Saturdays were usually an organized long ride, and then Sunday morning a solo time trial. Same thing, every week. It kept me sane, it kept me somewhat sober. It was the best rehab I could have found.

Time went on. I met G (a Chicken City Cyclist), got married, moved to Idaho. I hooked up with some mountain bikers at Vertical Earth, a local bike shop, and kept riding. I started upgrading my mountain bike, till I finally ended up with my current one, A 4" travel dual squishy that is worth more than my truck. It is a sweet ride, and I love it. Northern Idaho is an amazing place to mountain bike, and I hate that I am going to lose a season due to my knee.

The Fuso is an old bike now. I drool over a Scott carbon fiber bike every time I go into the bike shop. It's lighter (5 lbs), stiffer, faster, newer. It is also out of my price range in my current financial situation. But at this point, that is not a bad thing. After I hurt my knee, I spent some time on eBay, found some good deals, and upgraded the Fuso. It now has a 9 speed drive train with Shimano (yes, Terry, I know) STI shifting. I got one short ride on it before my surgery to make sure everything worked. Everyday, I go down and look at it. I know that it is going to be 12 more weeks before I can ride it, but I just like looking at it. It is still a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, a totally utilitarion machine, a piece of art.

The title of this post, of course, is playing off of Lance's book. And I understand what he meant about it not being about the bike. Rebuilding your life, whether it is a major rebuild, such as recovering from cancer, or from the death of a marriage, or if it is a smaller overhaul, as from knee surgery, it is about how you handle yourself and your priorities. It is making sure that when you recover, you are stronger and deeper.

But it is also about the bike. I know that in a few weeks, I am going to climb on the Fuso and ride, and I know how that bike will feel. I have thousands of miles on that bike, and at times, it has been a part of me. I am looking forward to the ride.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I'm Back

Dude!!! Feeling much better; beginning to think that maybe I'll live. I quit taking the heavy duty pain medicine, and that has made a big difference. I would rather be in pain, than feel like that shit makes me feel, so I'm just using Tylenol to take the edge off. I even was able to deal with a somewhat major plumbing issue today. G went downstairs to the studio this afternoon to get something off the printer for me, and when she returned, the conversation started with those words that I never like to hear; "now I don't want you to panic, but..." The carpet in the computer section of the studio was saturated with water. To make a long storyshort, with the help of our neighbor, Mike, they were able to move all the furniture, equipment, and shelving, so that we could pull down the paneling and find the leak. There is never a good time to have a water leak, and a week after knee surgery seems especially bad, but we were lucky to have help from the neighbor, and it was a relatively easy location to get to, so I was able to repair it myself. If it had been somewhere requiring a lot of crawling to get to, I would have had to call a plumber on a holiday weekend. That would have sucked!

Oh well. like I said, I'm feeling better. I'm even starting to look at some events to focus on after rehab. There is an Xterra triathlon at Farragut State Park in 2 weeks. I am going to assume that they will have it again next year, and if not, then I will find another one. It looks pretty doable. An .8 of a mile swim, followed by an 18 mile mountain bike ride, then a 6 mile trail run. As usual, the swim is my biggest obstacle, but I can actually see myself being able to swim this distance. The ride would be long, especially if there is a lot of single track, and a 6 mile run is a long run for me, but like I said, It all seems doable. Something to focus on.

There has been some positive notes to the last week. My Occupational Therapy staff sent me some adaptive equipment, including a very useful reacher/grabber. Designed to pick things up without having to bend over, or to reach things without having to get up, it also has enabled me to pull the dogs tails from across the room, cop a feel from G while remaining out of reach from her backhand, and to generally annoy all those that get within 4 to 5 feet of me. Quite entertaining.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Holy Crap! If there is one thing that I learned this week, then it is that it hurts like a son-of-a-bitch when they drill a few holes in your (my) body and start replacing parts. I had no idea! Man, I figured I would be up and going in just a few days, but that does not appear to be the case. Instead, I'm spending most of my days stoned on hydrocodone and morphine with my leg strapped to a cpm (continuous passive motion) machine trying to get full extension. The doc said 3 months before I can get on the bike, and at this point, I think he has a valid argument. I can't even imagine turning a pedal.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I get to get up nice and early tomorrow for surgery. I'm friggin thrilled. Having not had anything cut off of me since I was 3 days old, this is a new experience. I am really not looking forward to the next few weeks. Oh well.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ride Your Friggin Bike!!!

Tomorrow is the first day of National Bike to Work Week, and I am busy getting my shit together so I can ride to work. Doctor told me that I could try riding, as long as my knee didn't swell too much, so I went out yesterday on the commuter. It was awesome! It was sunny and warm, and it felt good to be back on the bike. My knee did pretty good; I only forgot and stood up once to power over a small rise. I did not forget again. I definitely have to granny gear up everything. As far as my knee went, I feel that "not much swelling" is very open to interpretation. I iced it, ate some advil (yes, Rebecca, I took some auntie montana also), and it was all good.

So tomorrow, I'm riding to work for the first time since March 13. I will have a smile on my face, and a chip on my shoulder. If you have never ridden to work before, this would be a great week to try it. And if you are a local, don't forget that this Friday, Doma Coffee, is having their National Bike to Work Day pancake breakfast. There is nothing better than sugar and caffeine to get a commute going.