The bike you need, Pal, is the Beru F-1 Systems F001. This $30,000 chariot of the gods, or Chariot of the Dentists, anyhow, has more carbon fiber than a crate full of Kashi Good Friends caught in a house fire. But you expected that. The really good stuff it has, includes sensors that capture:
Pretty good stuff man. Throw on an ANT compliant Garmin and an SRM, and you will have route tracking and straight power measurements, plus you'll be able to use it with the Training Peaks / WKO+ software you already own. Pretty friggin' sweet, eh?
I think the critical features are rider temperature, respiratory rate, and most of all lean angle. I find when I'm riding, I have no way of knowing whether I'm sweating or breathing hard, so these monitors will help me figure that out, so that I can strip off or add layers at optimal times. Most important, however, is the lean angle sensor. How many times have you been in a race, only to find yourself in the weeds because you weren't sure how far to lean over in a turn? And how many times have you found yourself in a roadrace, pedaling along in the air, upside down, wondering how the hell that happened?* A heads-up display (for an additional $3000 or so) showing your lean angle could prevent such embarassing events from occurring, and help you win more races, or at least cut down on the head and cervical spinal injuries you keep suffering.
* Full disclosure: this only happened to me once and it was not my fault. Besides, everybody knows that if you want to know your lean angle, all you need to do is look up to the sky and gauge the angle of the horizon relative to the kink in your neck, and then subtract that number from 180. Works every time.
Now this, from our "If It Weren't For Bad Luck" Files... you think having a two-flat ride or a two-crash race is bad. What about if you got nuked twice in three days? Yeah, y'know, had an atom bomb dropped on your ass repeatedly in the space of 72 hours?
Tsutomu Yamaguchi had already been a certified hibakusha, or radiation survivor, of the bombing on Aug. 9, 1945, in Nagasaki, but he has now been confirmed as surviving the attack on Hiroshima three days earlier, in which he suffered serious burns to his upper body. . . .
Mr. Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on Aug. 6, 1945, when an American B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He returned to Nagasaki, his hometown, before the second attack, officials said.
I don't know about you, but if I was Mr. Yamaguchi, I'd have gone to the local Shinto shrine, invoked my ancestors, dropped a bag of burning dog poop, and then run out of there without ever looking back.
How absurd is that, to survive an A-bomb blast, only to return home and get blasted again? I'm not even commenting on the merits of using or being a victim of one of the more terrible weapons man has ever developed,** I'm just talking about the infernal luck. It's like surviving Ebola, walking out of the hospital, and contracting yellow fever. Then you somehow survive that. What do you do then?
If that was me, then first, I'd stand there screaming at the sky and at God, "Go ahead you bastard! What next?" I'd do that until I was hoarse, or until I stopped vomiting and hemmorhaging blood, whichever came first. Then, for the next 70 or 80 years, I'd walk around punching walls at random and screaming "What the f*** did I do to deserve that?" at the top of my lungs. I'm not exactly Job-like in my ability to endure preposterously awful suffering, and that would send me over the edge.
Not Mr. Yamaguchi though. He is apparently made of sterner stuff. Then again, they only just certified him as having been bombed at Hiroshima - perhaps he only just recently stopped punching walls and wandering around Japan screaming "What the f***?" Who knows. Either way, my hat is off to Mr. Yamaguchi, who is certainly the unluckiest man alive.
Serious Metaphysics & Stuff, Read at Your Own Risk. There's no laughter after this point, just some heavy stuff.
** On the merits, consider a projected million allied military casualties and several times that many Japanese projected casualties (mostly civilian) versus perhaps a hundred thousand Japanese civilians killed in the blink of an eye, and another hundred and fifty thousand who died within days. How do you factor that equation? There doesn't seem to be a rational solution to it. The only thing I ever get on the other side of the "equals" sign no matter how I try to work it out is that "man is the Alpha predator and predation is in his nature; forget this fact at your own risk." That we dare each other to war is akin to sticking a hand in the tiger cage at the zoo, though tigers probably don't kill each other as a hobby to quite the same extent as humans seem to.
Hence my laughter at Mr. Yamaguchi's situation... you have to laugh because a failure to laugh will leave you contemplating man's dismal imperfectibility. Click through to that at your own risk and look on the evil man is capable of.
Ironically enough, evil is one of the reasons, one of the most compelling reasons, that I have faith. I don't look at evil and say, "how could this happen?" Instead I view it - we're talking actual evil here, not cigarette vending machines or people we disagree with or higher marginal tax rates - as a challenge, a test to see if we can get to the cheese in life's rat maze.
I have my rational reasons for belief in God that get me through to at least Deism - the classic Thomistic / Aristotelian reasons. It's pretty solid formal logic stuff about unmoved movers and ultimate causation and whatnot; even a lot of atheists and agnostics find that the notion of a force beyond our measure as the initial ordering force in the universe is a decent answer to the ontological question.
I find deism an empty stopping point, however; it's like finding a beautiful empty building, and not knowing who built it, or why, and in fact denying yourself the privilege of inquiring into it. Hi God, good to see ya. How's the kids? Great. Gotta run.
That doesn't do it for me so I've continued on in my journey. Intuitively I know there's got to be more than that; the Celestial Engineer can't be a mere chemist; nobody of genius would make toys this smart and then forget to wire them up with some special software.
That's where evil enters the picture as a compelling argument for the contrary position. I've looked on evil and seen unnatural destruction, some things wrought by man as well as the (usually) weaker, yet still horrible destruction wrought by nature. On the balance, and despite nature's occasional wrath and pipsqueak man's amazing talent for destruction, the universe seems very much bent on creation. Therefore, I reason, the creative force, the celestial engineer, must have the upper hand in this universe; there must be a creator whose goal is building rather than tearing down. That just seems to be the direction the universe moves in, periodic floods, asteroids and lightning strikes notwithstanding. The whole natural machine, if left alone, may destroy some stuff but always in the act of creating something new. Not so with man; the people and things we wreck tend to stay pretty much wrecked, and unlike the universe we don't do it as part of a cycle, we do it for fun and profit.
Acknowledging that the universe as a whole seems to be geared towards creating is the running start to my leap of faith. You could call it a simple sense of wonderment, though I've thought about it a bit more than the chimps standing there agape at the monolith in 2001: A Space Oddysey. The leap from there to my Catholicism, from agnostic acknowledgment of the high likelihood of a celestial engineer to a belief in an engaged creator to whom individual cogs in the natural machine actually matter, is an act of faith and also the logic of desperation.
You get the faith part I'm sure. The other part may not be as obvious. It is an act of desperation because if a good God does not exist, then all we have is man, and man's most monumental achievements generally involve great evil. We can't match the beauty and scope of the Milky Way galaxy, but in an instant we can melt a city. There's no indication that we can really figure out what makes a human body tick much less clone it really successfully or understand why the chemicals in our brain add up to emotions and the ability to play chess, yet in a second we can wreak the most concentrated and horrifying destruction our wing of the universe has ever seen and kill a hundred thousand or a hundred million men.
Is that all there is? Can it be so? Stalin's purges with perhaps 60 million dead due to his paranoia, WWII, Mao's 100 million dead for the sake of proving an economic theory to be vapid, Pol Pot, and many other lesser slaughters are on one side of the balance sheet. If that's all there is to life, if we came from nowhere and the end is simply ashes, then there's good reason for despair. But if there's more than that, a transcendant God or even something like it which we don't quite properly understand but which nevertheless gives us a divine spark, then life is worth living. If there is constant creation and indeed evolution, then there's got to be another side to life's balance sheet.
Now, I'm not a holy roller. In fact I'm more of a medieval Catholic in my approach than anything - sin heartily, repent well. Like Chaucer's Knight, my habergoun is definitely bismotered, and if I ever claim otherwise please slap me in the face. But that's just who I am, I can't help the hard wiring. Inside though, I've made a journey over the last several years, and while I'm not at my destination or far up the path, that I've traveled some is clear to me. So I'm just taking stock here, it's not a change in my viewpoint.
Perhaps my spiritual journey hasn't been about desperation per se, but a revolt against it. It's hard to explain, but I can't logically accept that the purpose of our existing is to bring about the ultimate triumph of evil, failure and destruction. If that is true, then we have no purpose to exist.
So I revolt against despair because I despair of despair; I reject it. My instinct to reject desperation and the evils I've seen basically drove me into church, weird as that sounds, where the message I heard was to have faith and hope and work actively against the triumph of despair and evil. The shoe fit perfectly on my foot. The message filled the gaps that my logic and educated guesses could not fill. I'm not worshipful or reverent, that isn't in my character, but I am starting to think that perhaps I do have some faith. Am I right on my theology and cosmology? I do not know about the finer points but think I'm on well trodden ground on the major points. Would you be happy walking on my path? I do not know that either. What I do know is that for me, I am on the right path, and it's a pretty clear and straight road from here, from where I stand and look up the road.
I need to offer Mr. Yamaguchi my thanks for reminding me not to despair. I guess if he got through two A-bomb smacks, I can deal with more routine issues positively too.