May 17

Petal to the metal

Let’s just get it over with. To the puns ‘n’ roses!

Listen, bud, though some might say we haven’t rose to the occasion, we’re going to have to stem the jokes, bouquet?

Those are on the a bush on the side of our house. The ones I put here yesterday are in a bed on the front of the house. Good soil, I suppose. But I was working around the back of the house this evening. I had to install three sets of blinds.

The instructions suggested this would take 30 minutes per set. This would be possible, perhaps, if all of the parts were there. Or if the instructions were any good. But hey, in one box there were two sets of instructions. But, hey, I got to use my circular saw on something. Measure twice, keep your fingers out of the way, cut once and all of that.

I was done in two hours. Even still, the project isn’t truly finished, but there are blinds in windows instead of in boxes.

When you hang blinds, I think, you see the value of curtains.

May 17

Thorn to be wild

Well I’m having a lovely week so far. How about you?

I’d like to sleep a bit more, but that’s a problem for another day, it seems. Otherwise, the days are pretty rosy. Take this bush out front, for example:

Rose bush, rosy, get it? (I have another one of these jokes for tomorrow.)

Anyway. There’s the day’s work, of course. And all day long I have felt fairly fatigued. I think it is a lack of good sleep and my ride yesterday. So I took today off from the bike and got some evening shopping in. I picked up a few lights for a photo project and got some groceries and went home for dinner, a bit of house cleaning and to watch the day’s bike race.

That’s the pace of things this week — an easy, one thing at a time, few things a day, one day at a time pace. That’s my pace of things.

May 17

Mondays never have clever post titles

The best restive kind of weekend. Slept in and and then did only what I wanted to do on Saturday. This included turning on lights seldom used and in random combinations throughout the evening. Also, I cleaned out the leftovers from the refrigerator. To most people this means dragging the garbage can over and doing the transfer of goods routine. Or the Transfer of Foodstuffs That Were Once Good and No Longer Are routine.

Me, I just ate them. Two dishes from last week that made their way into the fridge were lunch and dinner on Saturday. Then I cleaned my office.

Sunday, I made the mother’s day calls, went to the grocery store, watched a bike race and road my bicycle.

I made several passes on that deer, so I got plenty of fuzzy photos:


Also, nearby, was a rabbit:


Maybe they’ll both come over and help with the next set of leftovers.

Today, back to the office, where things are taking place and some work is getting down and meetings are being held. Then home and, while walking to the car, I saw another rabbit:


I’m guessing it was a different rabbit. It could be the same one. The two sightings were only about a mile or so apart. I don’t know why that first rabbit would need to hop this direction, but it is possible. (Not pictured, another rabbit, which was hiding in the shrubbery.)

And then another bike ride. I did an hour in a low gear, mashing and lifting the pedals as quickly as I can, on the flattest course I could find, where I still managed to gain 503 feet over 16 miles. But I held my highest pace of the year so far. That deserves a handlebar shot:


And another ride tomorrow.

May 17

Oh no, we have slowed because H20 has flowed

On tonight’s group ride we went slowly. One of the fastest guys in town was there, but he was in a chatty mood. And various other people were only interested in seeing standing moisture on the road and stopping for it almost entirely, as if the gathering of three molecules in a specific formulation in the smallest of volumes could harm their bicycles.

We stopped a lot. Four times in a 24-mile ride. That’s barely enough to get and keep the heart rate where you might like it. These were flowers I found at the first stop, after just six miles of riding:


Those four stops took place because this is a no-drop group, which means there are plenty of chances to regroup. Or stop and wait, depending on where you are in the scheme of things. The four stops we counted do not include a fifth stop.

Topping the biggest climb of the day, a long and slow 330 feet or so that has hurt me each of the few times I’ve done it, one of the riders in the group had an accident a bit ahead of me. When I got to the top of the hill there were already two cars stopped and someone said a rider had been hit, which sends a chill. But it seems a dog ran out in front of the rider and she took a tumble. Fortunately, she was OK. And fortunately one of the riders was a physician, and one of the people that stopped was a paramedic. After a few minutes, some Neosporin and a few small bandages, she pronounced herself OK, got up and we all rode off down the hill.

The larger group made one last stop, but we skipped it. We were close to darkness, because all of these stops had made a 24-mile ride into nearly two hours. It was damp and chilly and a tiny bit frustrating. I think I am coming to form my opinion on group rides.

On the way back to the house we have to pass over a creek, which was almost ready to to threaten the high banks after more than a week of rain:

flooding creek

All of the water here is swiftly moving, which is more than we can say about our ride this evening.

May 17

Keeping up

Tonight I had the chance to enjoy my first group ride of the year. The group has been going out probably for a month or two now, but I’m hanging out with the students on Tuesdays and Thursdays while the cyclists are out riding around. But with the summer upon us, my Tuesday and Thursday evenings are free and I can ride. So there I was, sitting in the office considering with dread a route I’ve been on before, thinking of how poorly I’ve ridden it the last two times out and wondering how today could be any different.

We got to the parking lot of the giant church where the group meets and there are 17 or 18 people and we all set off on this little 25-mile course. I think I was the third wheel at the beginning, which basically just means I pushed off from the parking lot early. So there was Kyle, who is in IT at the university, and then The Yankee and then me and behind us a bunch of other interesting and talented people. And after a bit The Yankee passed Kyle and I went with her and some people latch on to my wheel and we just go. She’s crushing rollers in the 20s and I’m not even using any of my gears. I’d put my chain on one of the harder gears and it stayed there for the first eight miles, until we got to a real hill. My legs, which had felt tired all day, came alive and I’m sitting just off to The Yankee’s side and she’s leading the whole group. My heart rate is up a little and the breathing is up a tiny bit and I’m singing. I’m singing while I’m riding and just trying to hang on to the leader of the pack.

And she was so strong on her bike today that if you slowed up to take one picture — or to get a swig of water, or to glance at your gears — you’d spend the next two miles working hard just to catch her again. So this was the one photo I took:


There were never more than two or three people ahead of us, the real climbers of the bunch put us in our place on the hills, which we are still learning how to deal with. But we were bombing the downhill runs into the low 40s with ease, and then riding that momentum until we’d get to the next uphill.

It was my first “fast” ride of the year. The sort where you are a bit silly with the speed and delirious about how your legs are moving up and down. It was positively average, really, but I’m taking it.