A full day’s worth

This morning we took The Yankee’s car to a mechanic. It was a planned event. She needed an oil change and, I suspected, a radiator flush. She searched around, found a place that got great reviews, and made an appointment so, literally, a planned event.

I followed her over, we met the guy, sitting three rooms deep into his shop. Large fellow, sleeveless shirt, bandana on his head. Hunting paraphernalia on his desk. There were fishing rods in the corner, a Dale Earnhardt flag hanging on the wall. I felt like I understood him right away.

We left the car, which he said would be ready this afternoon. We headed back, stopping off at the grocery store for a few lunch supplies. The afternoon passed easily enough. I believe I was finishing up a bit of reading and writing on LinkedIn when she said the mechanic called and her car was ready. So we went back over, the first half of the short trip entirely by memory. And the car was ready! Windows rolled down. Key in the ignition. Inside, she paid the fellow. Cash. He made change, from his pocket. He said the radiator flush was the right call. Said he tested it. So we established I knew what I was talking about, that he’d work on both of our cars, his prices are fair and, possibly, he doesn’t hold up progress by slow-walking maintenance work.

If that’d been it, that would have been a day’s worth, right there.

At the house, she said, there was something she wanted to show me. Turns out, we’ve got a peach tree.

Five varieties of peaches grow here. Now we have to become peach experts.

There are also some tomato plants out back. Do you know who is a tomato expert?

And there’s a corner of Lactuca sativa. Funny, you just don’t think of growing your own lettuce.

This is something called clammy goosefoot, an herb from Australia. I don’t know what you’d use it for, and I have yet to find a site that screams “You simply MUST put this on your pasta.” So probably I won’t.

But we also found some chives …

Nearby was the oregano.

And, of course, the sage.

We’re going to have to determine the schedules for all of these plants now. And, if that had been it, that would have been a day’s worth. But no.

For, you see, we went to join this running club. But, for the second week in a row, they no showed. They are, in fact, running away from us.

Which is fine, because I need someone to chase I wasn’t going to run this evening anyway. It usually works like this. I think Rest day? Schmest day! And then, the next day, I realize the error in that thought, and the wisdom in a rest day. So today, I did not run, or anything else, because I had eight days of workouts (be they ever so humble) in a row, and 11 days in the last 12.

Tomorrow I’ll … exercise … or something.

Instead of running, we got milkshakes. Dinner. We got dinner. And also milkshakes. We carried that back to the house and watched today’s stage of the Tour de France. And here’s the thing about the Tour … it’s 21 days of racing and this is the 110th edition and that means there’s a lot of history and trivia and wonderful anecdotes and a lot of it, until recently, wasn’t kept with baseball statistic precision. We did know, coming into this stage, that this was the third-narrowest time differential (10 seconds) between first and second place riders after 15 completed stages. We knew that because the TV producers made a fine graphic telling us about it.

Also, you know, it’s a bike race. Real roads, differing technologies and external circumstances and terrain and routes and all of that. It’s hard to compare the apples and pears of the time differential in this year’s race with the leading comparable statistic, which was four seconds between Jos Hoevenaers and Federico Bahamontes in 1959.

Bahamontes wound up winning, Hoevenaers finshed eighth, down 11-plus minutes. But everything about the style of the race was different then.

It also seems difficult to compare the tight affairs of this year’s Tour with the legendary 1989 race, which was a 50-second race on the last day, ultimately won by Greg Lemond by eight seconds. Someone put together the Lemond and Laurent Fignon time trial side-by-side.

Evolving cycling technology is coming into play here. Lemond, on the left, has aero bars and a new teardrop-shaped aerodynamic helmet. He only used the disc wheel on the back. Fignon ran two disc wheels, which leaves you more susceptible to crosswinds. Also, Fignon road a conventional style. It got so silly after the fact that people also speculated that, had he cut his hair, Fignon would have avoided eight seconds of air drag.

I’ve heard Lemond say, more than once now, that he was told Laurent Fignon was haunted by that race for the rest of his life. That he walked around counting eight seconds. Fignon, in his autobiography, wrote “You never stop grieving over an event like that.”

Anyway, that was the closest finish in history, but after 15 stages, the difference between them in first and second was 40 seconds.

It’d be a bit easier to compare the technology of today to the second closest, the 2008 edition, where Frank Schleck, of Luxembourg, was leading Australian Cadel Evans by eight whole seconds after 15 stages. (Also, bikeraceinfo.com reminds me that Austrian Bernhard Kohl was in between them, down only seven seconds to Schleck. Kohl later confessed to doping, so he disappears from the official records.) Eight seconds! Neither of those guys won the Tour.

At least that looks familiar. Modern. It’s only 15 years ago, and those riders have all retired, but the names are familiar. Indeed, I remember that particular tour. The technology and nutrition have jumped significantly ahead in the generations hence. Even the way they race, in terms of strategy and tactics, has been evolving since then. It’s the same, but different, remember.

But this year’s tour will be difficult to forget. Today …

Time trials aren’t usually very interesting to me, but I’d love to know how this ranks historically. The guy in second place, two-time Tour winner Tadej Pogacar, started the day down 10 seconds, and he had an incredible ride. The only problem was the guy behind him, his rival, the defending champion and current leader, Jonas Vingegaard, had an incredibler ride. A gobsmacking ride. Watching the time gaps grow at the checks was something that strained credulity. You could tell he was riding hard, working for it, riding well. It was in the body language right away. But that stage was a deconstruction. This is a place I actually want more statistics. Has a time trial ever done such a thing to an evenly matched opponent? SBS offered a slightly more technical comparative look of the two rivals.

What started the day as a tense, 10-second race finished a mind-boggling one minute and 48 second race between the two best road racers in the world. This will be hard to forget. And there are more mountains to come.

If that’d been it, that would have been a day’s worth, but no.

Because I also updated and upgraded a deadbolt. I only messed up two parts, and it only took several more minutes than the directions promised. But, it is installed. It is square. It matches the door knob. And, importantly, it is functional.

Each entry and exit through that door will now be reported to the ninja barracks out back, via a military grade wifi network, so that they can monitor and approve of all of the comings and goings.

When they aren’t worrying over that oregano.

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