Monday, September 22, 2008

Ride Prep Part III - one final peek into my dementia

Unlike The Fat Cyclist, I didn't get invited to speak at the Interbike Show in Las Vegas. I can only assume that this was some sort of Postal Service error. But since I have nothing else to do, I though I'd go ahead and wrap up our little series on what it's like for the obsessive compulsive cyclist to get ready and ride in your typical Saturday bike ride.

When we last spoke, we had gone through the process of washing the car, prepping the bike, actually packing, loading the car, and stoking up on way to much caffeine the morning of the ride. Now we actually get to depart for the bike ride. One of my more prized possessions is my new GPS unit that I got for my car. It's really quite amazing when you think about it. That all you have to do is enter an address, and this little box, along with a few dozen satellites, can tell where you are, where you want to go, and give you turn-by-turn directions on how to get there. As I understand it, the GPS system that we use today, was actually developed by the U.S. military. So you can imagine the millions, possibly billions of dollars that went into it's development and testing. Given all that, in addition to my GPS unit, I still print out Google maps to take with me. Ever since I saw "Independence Day", I've never really trusted any sort of satellite based technology. You never know when an alien life form is going to invade the earth, wipe out all of our satellites, and there I'd be lost on my way to Greenville Texas for a bike ride. But with my trusty Google maps, aliens be damned, I'd find my way to the ride.

Among the numerous things that you should know, but will probably never understand, about the Type A, obsessive compulsive cyclist, is that we absolutely hate to be rushed. Rushing leads to being hurried, and being hurried leads to things being left behind, or the ultimate sin, things getting lost. One year, I came back from the Hotter-n-Hell in Wichita Falls, and I had somehow lost a pair of gloves. I was positively clinically depressed for a month. These weren't even my favorite pair of gloves. But they were lost, and I had lost them.

It is this desire to avoid being rushed, that leads me to arrive quite early for your typical bike ride. Take this past Saturday's ride for example. The ride itself was scheduled to start at 9:00am. It's about a 45 minute drive from my house to Greenville. I got up at 6:00am and showered. I believe that we've already recognized and discussed the illogicality of showering before a bike ride, so deal with it. As the truck was already loaded, I was able to depart for Greenville at exactly 6:30am. Not needing to stop for gas, and I know this because I topped off the tank the day before, (please see the pre-ride checklist, Section III - Non-Bicycle Related Activities, Sub-Section C - Automobile Related Prep), I arrived in Greenville at 7:15am. That would be exactly 1 hour and 45 minutes before the ride was scheduled to start. Now all I had to do was get myself and the bike ready to ride.

Given that all of my clothes were neatly packed, it took me about 20 minutes to get myself dressed and ready to ride. Getting the bike ready, which is basically making sure the tires are up to pressure, took about 5 minutes. That left me about an hour and twenty minutes before the ride. So I had a couple more cups of coffee. This led to the inevitable search for a port-a-potty. Now, I don't know what your feelings are towards port-a-potties, but my past experiences have been less than pleasant. Typically, if I feel the need to use one of these devices, I will put it off for as long as possible, and that's only if I have something to do that can't be accomplished behind a tree or bush. I think we're all on the same page here, so I won't explain that any further. So this means that by the time I actually use the port-a-potty, it's later in the afternoon and the facility has been well "broken in" by other riders. Given that in Texas in the summer, by the late afternoon, the temperature is usually quite hot, and given what has been going on in this facility, I think you can understand the usual "unpleasant" experience. But I have to say, getting to "christen" one of these things first thing in the morning, is a different experience all together. It's usually quite cool. And, as no one has been there prior to you, understand. So it was actually quite nice in there. If I'd had a newspaper, I might have missed the start of the ride.

As far as the Cotton Patch Classic bike ride goes, I enjoyed myself. For those of you not from Texas, I don't know if your familiar with a type of road surface called "chip-n-seal". I hope that this abomination hasn't made it to the rest of the country yet. If it has, you have my condolences. I'll cover my feelings toward chip-n-seal in the near future, but this weekends ride had it's fair share of it. As I have been involved with the production of several bike rides in the past, I generally try not to complain. But I do have to mention one thing. To all of you bike ride directors out there, let me just say that one port-a-potty per rest stop is not enough. Funny how it always comes back to port-a-potties. Luckily for me, I didn't need to do anything that required anything more than a tree.

I hope that this little peek into my head has been helpful. The next time you see someone just sitting on the back of his truck ready to ride, an hour and a half before a ride is supposed to start, now you might understand why he's there. And the next time you enjoy the use of a port-a-potty first thing in the morning, and you hear singing coming from the port-a-potty next door, just try and remember what it was like the last time you used one late in the afternoon. You might just find yourself humming along.

(That's a whole lot more than I ever thought I would have to say on the subject of port-a-potties).

Peace out.................Nearly Famous Fred

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