Sunday, December 1, 2013

Belated gratitude, a bike fitting, and happy December!

With my students' late work, I often try to take the "better late than never"attitude (with some consequences, of course).   I suppose that I'm using this same perspective to frame my belated Thanksgiving thoughts.  And it's still November, for a few more short hours!  (Okay, it was, when I started to put these thoughts together, but that time has passed!)

So, Thanksgiving - it was a wonderful break!  Making it to this point in the academic year is even better because it gives me the sense that I can make it to the end of May, even though I really think that my AP kids are WAAAAAAY behind on the material.  From here, we roll into the Christmas, and then January is quite a nice month for the teachers.  But back to the Thanksgiving break, it was a good mix of work and play.  Work involved house stuff, because we painted our kitchen over the break!  I actually can't include myself in the painting process, but I helped in minor ways, like cleaning, dusting and figuring out our meals while the fridge was off-limits.  Thanksgiving isn't the ideal moment to paint a kitchen, but since we had a quiet Thanksgiving dinner, it didn't matter that we moved everything portable (except major appliances) out of the kitchen, covered the surfaces and the appliances with drop cloth and sealed the area off for a few days.  I also managed to grade, grade, grade!  Not exactly good times, but I feel pretty accomplished as I start the work week tomorrow and begin the month with plenty of items crossed off.

In addition to being thankful for a longer weekend, I've appreciated a few things that did NOT happen. We did not travel, even though we looked into tickets to visit my family and also considered a trip to the desert.  While both of those options would have been great, hunkering down and staying put ended up feeling like quite a gift, especially now that we finally made progress on the kitchen.  We also avoided the Black Friday sales events that apparently did happen, just not in our world.  I can't, however, claim that the weekend was extremely frugal because I ended up getting another bike fit on Friday and also started to actively plan my 2014 races ('actively plan' = registered for one of the races that are on the list).

The bike fit on Friday was pretty interesting.  I've been torturing myself, looking at eye candy for a while:

Imagining/hoping that I'd look something like this:

Okay, I haven't actually been looking at top-of-the-line bikes because that would be silly.  But I have been admiring some considerable cheaper models and looking for deals.  Fortunately, I also kept hearing the voice of reason bouncing around my head, the one that kept telling me that I have a great bike (which I do!) and that the last thing I really need around the house is another bike (very true!).  I also read all sorts of threads on Slowtwitch and other forums about the fact that if you have a good road bike, the tri bike really won't be a HUGE advantage and that for someone who is not super competitive (that would be me), is it worth it spend thousands of dollars to improve by a few minutes.  Additionally, I know that a tri bike can make a big difference on the run, but I've never had issues going from the bike to run.  Knock on wood!   The clincher was when several good friends who are excellent cyclists rolled their eyes about my wish for a new bike.  One of these people just finished her 9th (!!!) Ironman, and she very matter-of-factly informed me that I could get way more bang for my buck in other ways.  

With all of that, I decided to content myself with my little Trek and see if a new fit would make me feel a bit more aerodynamic on the bike.  A member of the tri group was certified over the summer to do fittings, so I went over to his place on Friday afternoon and got a fitting!  My last fitting was about 2 years ago, and I know that I told the bike guy that I wanted to be comfortable on the bike.  Now, I'm okay sacrificing some comfort for speed.  Anyway, this bike fit was great.  I felt very "Bionic man" as he hooked up all these sensors to me.   It was interesting that he didn't have to make MAJOR adjustments nor did he recommend any upgrades for me - he just tweaked a few things here and there which actually made a big difference.  He also did not insult my bike or ask me when I was getting a tri bike in order to really compete, instead he said that he still missed his Trek Madone (he was hit by a car while riding it - yikes!).  As for the 'aerodynamic' and aggressive fit, I do feel faster on the bike, although whether I am or not, remains to be seen!  I'm definitely more forward and he lowered the handlebars a bit, but I really feel the changes in my legs which seem to have more snap.  

So, I'm not getting a new bike this year or next, but I feel like a kid who just got a shiny new toy.   My old bike feels better, and I'm excited to put in some saddle time (as evidenced by a nice easy ride yesterday morning)!

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