Thursday, September 18, 2008

My cross to bear.....or is it?

If you were to ask my wife, (but please don't), she would tell you without hesitation that I am one of the most organized, neat, tidy, Type A, anal retentive, bordering on obsessive compulsive, people that you are ever likely to meet. I just cannot help myself. I absolutely know that those socks that are put away in the drawer will be just fine, even if the toes on some of the socks point towards the back of the drawer, and the toes on the rest of the socks point towards the front of the drawer. I know this. But even if I somehow manage to put the socks in the drawer going every which-a-way, close the drawer, and walk away, I won't make it 10 feet before I have to turn around and go back and put the socks with the toes all facing the same way. I know. That's just nuts. But it's just the way I'm wired.

I work for Southwest Airlines as a Computer Programmer, in their headquarters building at Love Field here in Dallas. People literally come from all over the building just to look at my cube because it's so neat, clean, and organized. People just assume that I don't do very much at work simply because when they come by my desk, it's always neat and tidy. I could be knee deep in chaos, with the world tumbling down around my ears, but by God, that desk is not going to be a mess.

This "affliction" of mine, does not manifest itself more at any time, than when it comes to my cycling. Specifically, when I'm getting ready for a bike ride. And even more specifically, when I'm getting ready for a bike ride that will require me to drive out of town. Let me give you a run down of what I go through in getting prepared for an out of town ride. Just so you know, I'm going to break this down into two or three post. There's just too much information to cover in just one posting.

Fred's Ride Preparation: Part I.

About two or three days before the ride, I will wash my cycling clothes. I have to start this process at least a couple of days ahead of time, because I will want to wear a specific jersey, with a specific bib, and a certain pair of socks, and a specific pair of gloves, with one certain head wrap. Those magnificent coordination's that I show up at the rides in aren't going to put themselves together. And since I don't dry my jerseys and bids in the clothes dryer, that means they have to be hung up and dry overnight. I'm sure that they would be just fine if I dried them in the machine, but somehow I got it into my head that they will shrink, or fade, or explode, or something, and be ruined if I dried them in the machine, so they get hung up.

If I may go off on a tangent here, I just looked in my closet, and I have a collection of about 25 jerseys now. Funny thing is, I can only remember actually buying about 7 or 8 of those jerseys. The other's just seem to show up on their own. Is this phenomenon localized to my closet, or are others familiar with it? What would all of those jersey's have to gain by congregating in my closet? What is their ultimate goal? But I digress.

So the day before the out of town ride, I will usually get my truck washed. Drive to a ride in a dirty truck?!? That's just crazy talk. If it's getting close to time to get my tires rotated and/or my oil changed, then I'll go ahead and get this done too. That afternoon when I get home from work, I will at least lube my bike chain and wipe down my bike. If it's been a few weeks since it's been washed and greased, then I'll go ahead and wash, degrease, and re-lube. I won't go into the details of that process, as it's about an hour and a half before I go to bed, and I simply don't have the time.

Now that the truck and the bike are both's time to pack. This is not a frivolous undertaking. It requires planning, strategy, cunning, guile, checks and balances, and the most important thing of all, a packing checklist. Go ahead, laugh if you must, but I have never shown up at a ride without everything I needed for that day's ride.

Okay, that's not entirely true. You don't know how hard it is for me to admit this, but there has been two occasions when I showed up without everything I needed. One was at spin class. I have to admit that I showed up without my cycling shoes. You can take some perverse pleasure if you like in the fact that my wife still laughs about that one. The other incident happened this past August at the Hotter-n-Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, TX. I was in the parking lot getting ready with a couple of friends. When I went to put on my gloves, I suddenly realized that I had two left hand gloves. That simply meant that back in my hotel room, there were two right hand gloves just sitting there. But that wasn't the packing list's fault. I had packed the gloves, I simply grabbed the wrong two when I left for the ride that morning. So you know what happened as soon as I got back home; the packing list was updated so that it read "1 glove left ___, 1 glove right___". Now the list is perfect. Let us never speak of these two events again.

Alright, that's enough for tonight. Besides, it's Thursday night, there's a ride this Saturday, and I've got clothes in the laundry.

Tomorrow, in part 2, we actually start to pack. Then in the 3rd installment of our series, we actually leave for the bike ride.

Peace out......Nearly Famous Fred

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