The ride was marred by the absence of Young Buck Tom, who got himself doored yesterday in Annapolis after the Ride to Work Day event. They were cruising up West Street at low speed when a guy flung his door open on them. Tom hit the top of the door with his throat and it laid him out pretty hard. Headline in the local paper: "Two bicyclists injured in bike safety event." Man bites dog, I guess. Tom is okay, other than a busted up trachea. He's in the hospital but is expected to make a full recovery, but send him some good karma anyhow, willya? The driver's defense, natch, is he didn't see anybody coming. Yeah, 'cuz y'know, a bunch of dudes soft pedaling up West Street at 9:00 AM in bright yellow and red FBS and Blue & Electric Green ABRT team colors is basically just invisible, right? The other cyclist injured was T2, Tyler, one of the wrenches at the FBS. Tyler needs to be called T2 from now on because he took a whack on the head that needed 10 stitches and probably got a concussion, but he didn't bleed, while the door was destroyede. That's right, Jon uses non-union cyborg labor, because it's cheaper and never files worker's comp claims... Seriously though I'm very glad both of the guys are in one piece but I'm pissed about the incident, just another driver who didn't see a pack of cyclists because he wasn't looking for them. Yes, I'm sure he looked in the mirror, and I'm just as sure that the image of the cyclists didn't even register, because he doesn't expect cyclists to be using the road.
Anyhow, despite the absence of Tom & Tyler (whose bike was impounded earlier, probably at the secretive U.S. Government Black Site, Area 53:11), it was a nice ride. We took it pretty easy out to Annapolis, and stopped for coffee at the Hard Bean. The group wasn't real motivated, I think yesterday's events wore out Jon and a couple of us haven't been riding much, so there were a couple little attacks, but no pep. I led us down to the blessed coffee because if we weren't going to ride hard, I was going to at least have fun. Yes, that's how sad life is when you're an overworked 40-something family guy, a cup of espresso is "fun." Deal with it.
After that we swung back by the mall, then took a right down General's Highway, toward Crownsville. Right away, Jon got after it, Timmy attacked, and we all got on the A-train. Jon did most of the pulling, and Tim (not Timmy) did some too, and we ground along. I was pegged the whole way, at about 95% effort for much of it, and we hammered up and down the long rollers to Millersville Road. It was a good 20 minutes on the rivet, and in spite of getting a bit of soft pedaling and even coasting in on the downhills, I managed to rack up a 273 watt average, with a 345 watt NP for the 20 minutes. Take out the zeros and it would look heroic, and the NP for the ride wound up being 294, with 192 TSS points over 2:06 of riding and a .965 IF. Maybe my threshold is higher than it was 5 weeks ago when I did my last test but still, that's a pretty hard ride. The two or three early attacks on the hills, two or three late moderate pushes on hills after we slowed, and the hard 20 minute section in the middle combined to make it about as close to an NP-Buster ride as you can make a casual ride.
I only throw the power geek numbers out there to tell you what is so damn frustrating to me right now. It's clear I'm getting a decent set of legs under me at this point. I'm not in race shape - my threshold is probably barely 325 or 330, and to be actually fast I need to be closer to 350 or 370, and my weight needs to be about 30 lbs lighter. But with the damn toe/ankle problem, I haven't been able to do roughly half my workouts. I'm the kind of person who, no matter what I eat, will not lose weight if I don't get 90 minutes of spinning in, on average, 5-6 times per week. It takes me eating right, *and* consistent exercise. For the most part, I've been eating pretty decently, but missing half or more of my workouts due to Teh Cankle is killing me. This is intensely frustrating because I know that two months steady effort, hitting 90% of my workouts and not dieting but just eating right, basically puts a jet pack on my bike and makes me, on the right terrain, faster than just "kinda fast for a fat guy."
The frustration comes in two doses. One part of it is that my workouts have been hindered. I really wanted to be moving myself to the next level - from poor/mediocre in B cross, to mediocre/good. That's a big leap, and building the fitness / deconstructing the lardass needed to be well underway at this point. This stuff takes time and you can't shortcut it by dieting or training harder, you need to build methodically, and I may not be able to do that this season. I kept my legs through the winter and was looking forward to getting after it in January. Instead, it's been a 5 month detour.
The second part of the frustration is that in (hopefully) fixing Teh Cankle, I will definitely be off the bike for a week or two, and may wind up being off it for much longer than that. Yeah, just what I need, a week or two break, or possibly a three month break. Rest assured, I'm going to be busting my butt as hard as I can with the physiotherapy to get back up to speed, but foot surgery is like hand surgery, you just never known how it's going to turn out. I've read that this surgery winds up making things worse in about 15% of cases. That thought is preying on me, not so much out of the possibility of the foot being messed up (it's already pretty debilitating) but because it will piss all over my race plans and efforts at general good health. I guess nothing's ever simple.
Then again, when I'm feeling sorry and frustrated about all this, I gently give my psyche a little hug and quietly whisper sweetly to myself using my inner voice: Quit yer bitchin', pussy.
Now for something completely different: Here's some guys who hunt feral pigs and more dangerous razorback hogs (they will gut you if they can) with spears. Feral pigs are increasingly nasty and wild, and a real environmental menace, because there are no alpha predators to take them out. They started out as hogs gone wild, but seem to have evolved, or cross bred with wild boar, into some nasty critters. They pose a looming threat in large areas of the country, and at some point, the DNR's in the states affected will need to step up efforts to promote hunting them. An area worked over by a small pack of wild hogs looks like it has been bulldozed and plowed up.
Don't click on the video if you think spear hunting will make you go all queasy or swear off baby back ribs.
My takeaway from that? *Do not*, under any circumstances, mess with that dude's rice. I don't care if you're the bus boy at China Wok at the mall, don't touch it, m'kay? Could be the last thing you do.
Now feral pigs are dangerous, and they could mess you up, especially if there is a bunch of them and you get knocked down, but razorbacks are in a whole 'nother category of dangerous.
I'd like to try hunting razorbacks sometime, not sure if I'd have the stones to do it with a spear.