Not going anywhere for a while?

The storm has past and left a memento in the form of two feet of snow. The roads are plowed fairly well, but really there’s nowhere for the snow to go. We’ve got some pretty good drifts going due to the dryness of the snow and 50+MPH gusts we saw earlier today. I’ll probably be holed up here tomorrow since downtown got it at least as bad as we did here in Milton, and the T will be horrible.
We’re all fine – well, actually I’m crippled since my friend Johnny Smooth took my sorry, weak self on a two-hour ski tour yesterday over terrain more suitable for snowshoes, or perhaps an ATV. But that’s my own fault.

Doctor, it hurts when I do *this*…

So, just as I was getting back into the swing of training after the holidays and feeling some fitness come back, my left knee is complaining again. After riding the trainer on Thursday I felt a familar burning and tightness on the inside of my left knee. Those few of you paying attention will recall that the achy-breaky left wheel first surfaced in late 2003 and played a big role in getting me back on the bike. Well, now the bike appears to be part of the problem, and that’s got me just a bit frustrated.
I think I know what triggered the current round of pain: isolated leg training, a fancy name for pedaling with one leg. This is a great technique for building cycling-specific strength but, since it’s done in a big gear at low cadence, it also puts a lot of force across the knee. My log shows that I hadn’t done ILT more than once a week before the new year, but I incorporated it into three training sessions last week and two sessions this week. In retrospect, that was probably a tad aggressive.
So, it’s back to the ice and Advil (aka “Vitamin A”) to get the symptoms under control. That shouldn’t take too long, judging from experience, but I’d like to find a way to cure the underlying biomechanical issue so I can just suffer athletically according to my whims. Right now, I’m motivated to get on with training, but I’m not physically ready to match my mental determination. As ridiculous as this may be for a recreational rider of my modest abilities, taking a weekend off has induced a little stress – it’s cold outside, but I’m ready to ride. However, I’d much rather get a slow start than be sidelined with this problem in June. So I will attempt to exercise some discretion for the next few days, though if we get enough snow tonight I’ll probably try to ski tomorrow. Now where did I leave that ice pack?

Retro rant

Really, I’m not much of a grouch. Cycling is human-powered technology, and I readily accept that technology advances rapidly even for a product as mature as the bicycle. However, it seems as though current product offerings are driven as much by fashion as by true technological advances.
Here’s what’s stuck in my craw right now: I’m trying to find parts to fit (in both a mechanical and aesthetic sense) a couple of older bikes. Neither one is truly antique, the older one dating from the end of the 1980s. And I’m not talking about a restoration project, either. I just want parts that look appropriate on bikes from that era. But it’s easier said than done. I find that polished (as opposed to anodized) box- or semi-aero-section rims have dwindled to an offering of one, the soon-to-be-unavailable Torelli Master. Ergo-bend handlebars (such as my original 1992 TTT Forma SL) can now be had only in black, apparently, which looks just plain wrong on a skinny-tubed steel bike. Quill stems, too, have gone. The European manufacturers have bailed, and apparently only Nitto continues to make a nice, forged aluminum quill stem.
I’m probably going to be able to find what I want, but that probably won’t be the case in another year or so. So, if you’re also in the hunt for “vintage” parts, and feeling old like I am right now, better stock up soon.

Oh man, I’m so plastered

So, more progress on the bathroom: we have walls. The plaster went on today, and though I’m not much of a judge I’m mightily impressed at the trowel work. Next comes finish carpentry and tile in the tub.
We picked out a sconce yesterday, and I think the bathroom is going to be the best-lit room in the house now. Three recessed lights in the ceiling, four over the mirror…stay in too long and you’ll need sunscreen.
We have yet to finalize paint and floor tile, and know what we want for countertop and fixtures but still need to hunt them down, along with a mirror of appropriate size. Still, it’s nice to see things start coming together.

If that’s “stun,” I wonder what “kill” does

I haven’t written about it yet, but we’ve embarked on a bathroom remodeling project. Demolition started on the Monday before Christmas, and from then until now we’ve had a gaping hole where our only full bathroom used to sit. So far I’m pretty pleased with the process and amused to see how home remodeling project work resembles software project work. Such as:

  • No matter how much you think you know after your initial assessment, you don’t know the real story until after you start. We had hoped to move the toilet a bit, and that seemed possible until we demolished the floor and the plumber got a look. We could move it, but we’d have to raise the floor a couple of inches to provide adequate pitch in the new pipe run. Hey, I know it’s a throne, but we don’t need a dais.
  • The sooner you find your mistakes, the cheaper they are to fix. Today the GC was framing the floor and managed to drive a couple of nails through the radiator pipe – and he said the nail gun was just set to “stun.” Fortunately he thought about that after he had laid some cement but before he placed and nailed the plywood. The plumber’s here fixing it as I write this. I’m sure glad we caught that before we laid tile.

Anyway, I’m so far very pleased with the contractors – they communicate well, they show up when they say they will, and they admit their mistakes and make them right. We should all do that well.