Jul 19

What a different a thunderstorm makes

Here, like many places around the country in this totally unexpected, unpredicted and entirely without historical precedent of a month called … let me make sure I have this right … Ju-ly … have been enjoying some warm temperatures. On Saturday evening I went for a bike ride early in the morning and it was already 100 degrees.

Sunday evening I took another short spin. There was a new road I wanted to try, and when you get those in your head they are difficult to shake. There are generally two approaches. You could cheat and look at a map, or you just ride the thing. Well, I just road the thing. Again, it was meant to be a quick ride, and while I looked at the temperature, again offering a heat index of an even 100 degrees, I neglected to look at the radar. So I got rained on a bit:

And while that only increased the humidity, it cooled things off considerably. It was 78 degrees when I got back home, and that drop happened in about 30 minutes. And just like that, this most recent heatwave was broken.

By the time I got back to the house and cleaned up, it was time to run a few errands. I mis-timed one store’s closing hours, which is fine because that probably saved me $20. But, still, there’s always another store to go to.

Turns out there were two more stores to hit, because the first didn’t have what I was after. That only happens every other week.

On the way back in, I looked in my mirror and realized that I haven’t tried a sunset-in-the-mirror photo in some time. It’s probably been three-plus years. How often are you driving west at just the right time of day with a clear view behind you? If you live west of where you’ve been, don’t answer that. It’s unusual for me now, as a pure happenstance, which is fine. One really only needs this shot every so often, anyway.

I bet the ever-changing symbolism is still changing.

Jul 19

And sure, I’m now all caught up on everything

Still filling time in this space for the week by catching up on things I haven’t already put here while updating the vacation pictures. Next week I may have to build out a section of the site just for that trip. And some of the stuff will definitely go on the front page. I’ll let you know.

Anyway, here’s something completely unrelated that I’ve re-learned. If you wait, usually for just a few seconds, that flower photograph …

… will reward you with something a little bit better:

I think I may re-learn that every year. Is that possible? Could it be that sometimes you and your brain disagree on the importance of things when you file them away for recall? I’m not speaking of distraction, or short term memory or forgotten things or even a serious neurological condition, but the simple stuff.

No, in fact, Noggin, this is a useful bit of information and I’d like it ready for immediate recollection, please and thank you.

Or it could be that information like this, knowledge which slowed The Yankee and I down from getting lunch on Wednesday by a good 15 seconds is something she’s de-programming. She could be spending the night whispering “That bumble bee thing isn’t important at alllllll.”

(Because it was on a television show somewhere once upon a time we now think this is how we are programmed, by whispered things said over and over while we sleep.)

I’m not saying she’s doing that. It’s probably just something my brain doesn’t prioritize in lieu of, I dunno, which light switch does what on the kitchen wall or where I left my phone charger last night. Nevertheless. Sometime in May next year, when I’ve long and truly forgotten how they sound, I’ll be startled by the sudden and late presence of bees and then two or three weeks later I’ll have this realization: If you don’t rush right off after taking your petals picture a little winged creature will come by and make your composition that much better.

That just doesn’t seem like a thing you’d need to re-learn, is all. And yet I think I might be doing that almost annually.

In these last few days we’ve had something of an anniversary around the house. Seven years ago, last week, I had a big bike crash. I hit something I didn’t see and went straight onto my shoulder and head at a respectable speed. Seven years and two days ago I had a surgery that put me some of the finest medical-grade titanium that Germany has to offer into my shoulder. I was off my bike until the next year January, and the plate and six screws mending my collarbone were just part of it. I don’t remember as much as I should about the next six months or so, owing to the crash and surgery and medicine, I guess. But I remember being amazed at what happened to that helmet. It kind of exploded on impact.

That helmet took a huge blow my skull didn’t have to. It did its job. Maybe it saved my way of life. Maybe it saved more. Of course, after you destroy a helmet you have to replace your helmet. It turns out you should also do this on a regular basis as well. It’s a shelf life thing, basically. The good people at Giro Cycling, who make my favorite helmets, recommend doing so every three-to-five years even if your previous headgear hasn’t been damaged. So keep your purchase dates in mind.

Anyway, it was time for me to get an update, and I got an upgrade. My new helmet, a Giro (with MIPS!) arrived today and we took our first spin together Wednesday evening.

Looks sharp, right?

If you ride a bike and don’t wear a helmet, it’s worth considering. I get it; I’ve heard the arguments against helmets. They all sound thin to me. You’ve heard the arguments for helmets, and maybe you disagree. I simply suggest that it’s worth considering how they can be helpful in some circumstances. Or, as I tell my students I see riding around town, “You’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on your brain; protect your investment.”

If you do wear a helmet, make sure yours is still roadworthy, undamaged and up-to-date.

Jun 19

Still riding slowly

It was a 26-mile-after-work kind of ride. I spent the best part of it chasing The Yankee pretty much the whole time.

I chase her more than a little lately these days, and so it was your standard issue fun spin around part of town.

It was a nice ride. Good warm air, a lot of UV, only about 14 different air quality concerns. I was able to accelerate up a hill. The rest of everything else was slow, maybe, but it felt nice. I should have stayed on the bike for longer. Maybe that’s what the slowness is about.

Jun 19

Not pictured, because she was way up the road: My wife

Sixty or so miles over the last few days has, thus far, been high volume for me this year.

On the last two rides there have been 10 timed segments. All of them were well off my pace. But that could be the theme of the year. Well off my pace. Maybe the next ride should be a recovery ride.

Jun 19

Putting in a few more miles

I went over this particular route a few weeks ago, but I’m getting smarter …

I turned around before the really hard part!

That let me throw down the fastest time of the year on the last stretch of road before the end of the ride. Still four seconds off last year’s fastest time ever on the same segment. That was in July of last year, so I have a few weeks to improve that particular challenge on a seasonal basis. If I can’t, the only possible conclusion would be that I’m getting slower.

(I already know this to be true.)