Friday, July 15, 2005

I am so dead

Lifetime Tri is tomorrow, bright and early. Just found out at packet pickup tonight that due to high water temps, wetsuits are not being allowed. For anyone.

I'm really pretty fucking irate about not being able to wear my wetsuit. Yeah, my wetsuit is a crutch, I'll admit it. With it on, at least I know that if I get into trouble on the water, it's impossible for me to sink. Without it, I'm just not comfortable. Given a choice between potentially overheating or drowning, I'll take the risk of overheating - since I don't believe that it's a risk in the first place.

They expect water temp to be 84 degrees, and USAT rules say that wetsuits are not allowed for 84 degrees or above. Never mind the fact that the water temp in Cozumel was 86 degrees, and after 20 minutes of snorkeling (without a wetsuit) I was chilled. I really don't think I'll overheat. Low body fat can be a real curse - you chill very easily in the water, and you sink like a brick.

I'm not a strong swimmer, in part because I'm bricklike, and it's not helped by the fact that I don't really like swimming, so I don't train much. I have enough to keep me busy w/biking and running. Case in point, I've been in the pool only twice in, oh, the past several months. Both times were within the past 5 days. Swam about 800 yards both times, with ample rest between 100's. The .9 miles tomorrow will be a challenge that I've never faced.

I can't even remember the last time I've been this annoyed/stressed/pissed/irate. This is so NOT me. But seriously, I've done warm-water open-water swim training in my wetsuit with no problems. I can handle it. Haven't I already signed enough disclaimers that their collective ass would be covered anyway?

I didn't pay $125 to enter this race, only to find that I can't race it as planned and spend the night worrying about this. I'm not even racing as an age-grouper - we entered the lame-ass "Friends and Family" division so we could race together despite being different ages, which automatically means we're not elegible for any awards, prizes, etc. So why should they give fuck if I wear a wetsuit?

This was supposed to be a fun event to do with my friends, and now I'll spend all night in a foul mood worrying about this. Sucks. I consider myself an endurance athlete, so I suppose I should suck it up and just demonstrate a little endurance.

Rant mode off.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hangin' with the Sis in Chicago - Part 1 - Thursday June 23rd

Here's my first attempt to start catching up on recent weeks events. Flew down to Chicago to visit my little sister jojo. She had a weekend of bikey events lined up, most notable being the June Chicago Critical Mass, and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's entry in the Gay Pride Parade.

Arrived late afternoon on Thursday after ducking out of work early. The ride from O'Hare to jojo's hood was pretty painfree ... a 45 minute ride on the Blue Line train, followed by a 10 minute walk got me to the Handlebar (bikey bar restaurant of which jojo is quite excitedly a part-owner.)

Jojo met me there for dinner, and we chatted for a while w/some of her CBF friends. I couldn't stick around forever though, as I planned to head downtown to see folksinger/storyteller Utah Phillips that night. Jojo set me up with one of her bikes to ride ... her Mint Julep fixie. This was to be my first time riding a fixie, and I was already running a little late so I hoped the learning curve wouldn't be too steep. Thankfully it wasn't. I wist I could say the same of Julep's gearing ... 53x16 makes for a tall ratio - just under 90 gear inches. Pretty sick. Not a problem on the flats, but even moderate hills are a challenge, especially when starting out from a standstill. Julep has a front brake, so stopping isn't an issue, although I practiced using the brake as little as possible, and found that it sometimes took as much as a half-block to get'er stopped if you're moving at a good clip. Jojo commented that she really needs to learn how to bust skids - I think she's more likely to bust her knees - it would take a ton of torque to skid with that gearing, and she'd need superhuman knees.

It was about 5 miles to the Utah show at the HotHouse, and unfortunately the show wasn't that great. There was singing, and storytelling, some of it very good, but the truth of the matter is that it was more of a labor rally, as the show was in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW or otherwise known as the Wobblies). I didn't realize it would be a union rally ... all I knew was that the Ani Difranco/Utah Phillips album "The Past Didn't Go Anywhere" is really, Really good, and I wanted to go see him. Oh well.

Ran into Jojo on the street a few blocks from the Hbar (they were closing up, and she was walking home). Met her roommates John and Mia back at her place, who seem really cool, and were super gracious to let me crash on their couch and monopolize their living room all weekend. Not that I was there much, but still, Thanks!