One day last weekend I snapped a few pictures of the magnolia blossoms in the yard. The tree bloomed late this year.
I’m feeling a lot better.
I finished the antimicrobials yesterday, and felt pretty well.
At work today, I did some pushups in my office. I felt fine after work, so after supper took an easy eight or so mile bike ride.
On Saturday I finished the brief course of antibiotics I’d been prescribed Thursday. I continue to take the antimicrobials as prescribed, however, today I feel again almost as ill as I did when first struck by the waterborne parasite. Yesterday evening I did not even feel like riding, and returned home after rounding the block. This morning I rode only about three miles, then returned home and sprayed front and back yards to kill bugs. By lunch time I was feeling poorly. I felt worse still after a short nap.
On the other hand, I am happy to report that the work of my local bike mechanic effected a cure for the shifting mechanisms’ problems, and front brake now also works very well.
You’ll recall that last weekend my friend, Adrian, and I drank from a stream close by a spring taking only swiftly running water. No farm runoff nearby, nor any herd animals in the area. That was Saturday. By Sunday night, I’d developed fever, chills, deep muscle soreness at thighs and buttocks, pain at the site of past injuries and surgery. Other, intestinal, symptoms manifested by Monday afternoon. By the time I returned home from Gallatin, where I worked Monday through Wednesday, some of the symptoms had resolved, but others had not. A medical examination Thursday morning revealed that I had, as I suspected, acquired a waterborne parasite. A couple of scrips should clear it up in a few days, but until then, my gut just isn’t right. Instead of the usual 12 to 18, I’ve been firing on about eight cylinders and none too sequentially.
The take-away lesson from this is: Use the water purification tablets if you’re going to drink streamwater, even if it is near the spring.
Yesterday, my friend Adrian and I rode to Normandy dam and back again. The day was moderately hot, dry, and a little hazy. We’d intended to make an early start, but got delayed and left about 11:30 am.
We took some pictures at the dam, and Adrian lost his anti-glare glasses after having put them on the rack of his new-to-him 1990’s model Bridgestone MB-6 Trailblazer mountain bike. We searched for the glasses diligently, but could not find them.
On the way back, we stopped and had a quick lunch at the Normandy River Café, but we forgot refill our water bottles there. Instead of making a longer loop and taking the relatively heavily traveled main highway back to our starting point, we decided to return by the steep, bumpy road down which we rode on the way out to the dam. Upstream from the distillery, and without a herd of cattle between the spring and the creek, Adrian and I filled our water bottles from the swiftly running water by what I’ve been told is probably a sycamore tree. I took a couple of swigs, and it tasted better than tap-water, but I was none too confident in its purity, so drank very little of it.
Because I’d failed to follow Gerry’s advice and get the gear-shifting, gear-popping problem tended to, I was unable to ride up the entire hill. About a third of the way up, I lost momentum when, for about the fifth time, the gear/chain/sprocket-thing popped into a higher gear.
Most of the bicycle manufacturer’s websites I’ve visited have charts talking about frame geometry that mention tube lengths. Lately, when looking at my bikes and photos of bikes, I’ve noticed the shape of the trapezoid made by the frames’ two triangles, and been thinking about wheelbase length, head-tube and fork angles, seat-tube angles, and manner in which all of those together affect a bike’s handling. Sadly, I lack the math skills to think about these things in a way that facilitates the information’s meaningful communication. Still, have a look at the angles in the photo below.
Castelli Jersey, new, in bag
Because I liked the idea of zippered rear and three other pockets, as well as having something to wear that doesn’t flap like my overlarge sky-blue and stodgy-looking paddling shirt, last weekend I bought a Castelli bicycling jersey from Sierra Trading Post and it arrived Thursday by least expensive shipping option. That’s it in the picture above, still in its bag. I could’ve got it in black and white, and myself tend to like the harlequinesque look, but I preferred the blue. The jersey isn’t as unflattering on as I thought it would be; I don’t much like the scorpion logo, but do like the little Italian flag on the garment’s right side. Now the problem is that I can’t wear a cycling jersey without cycling shorts – I’ve placed a Father’s Day request for a pair of them.
Yesterday afternoon I went for a ride and tackled a hill that’s intimidated me since I first rode down it to a small “lake” a few miles from the house. In the past, I’ve ridden down to the lake, then up and around veering right, then left, up a less steep hill. Yesterday I rode fast down the zig-zag hill to the lake, then up to my left – and up. I tried to super inflate my lungs. In the lowest gear, a sprocket “popped,” then the chain caught a gear and I was able to maintain momentum. Again a “pop” but the chain caught before I lost momentum, and I kept pedaling. My thighs hurt on the outsides not far below the hips by the time I’d reached the crest, and I kept going.
Eventually the road leveled out a bit; I didn’t stop until I got to an industrial building a mile or two further on where I dismounted, drank a little water, and rested for about four minutes. I snapped a picture of the bicycle, also at rest. You’ll note, if you look for it, that I’ve clipped the rear light to the rack – the velcro straps included for the purpose of securing the Blackburn Flea lights to seatpost or handlebar are not well-enough made to last more than a few months. In fact one of them broke the first week I got the lights. I stopped early yesterday at a computer supply store and bought some Belkin velcro cable-ties, but although they were the correct width and length, they were not suitable for the task.
So far, the very best shoes I’ve found for bicycling are not those specifically manufactured for use while bicycling, but are an old pair of New Balance 806 trail-running shoes I normally use for painting and yard-work. The soles are stiffer than the New Balance shoes I purchased last year or the year before, but sufficiently flexible that I can feel the pedals through them. If you’ve got a pair under a bed somewhere, I suggest you get them out and try them. Here’re a couple of pictures. My guess is that New Balance no longer makes them like this. Maybe you can get a pair on Ebay (not my size, those).
As I continue to observe and reflect upon the behaviors of human beings in a work context, I have developed standards for judging the usefulness of people as they go about their assigned tasks. What I am looking for in others is:
- Orientation to reality
- Competence (and it won’t develop/exist without orientation to reality)
- Some evidence of basic goodwill – not a false altruism that thrives in the absence of an orientation to reality
If you haven’t got the first or second of these qualities, you’re not going to be able to produce value or function as a leader. If you haven’t got the third of these qualities, you will fail to build and maintain trust necessary for the work group or unit to function. Failures to have and develop these qualities lead inexorably to the Potemkin Village model of public service and, unsubsidized by redistribution of taxpayer wealth, to the collapse of commercial and industrial ventures.
“This is the day I ride to the top,” I thought as I rose out of the saddle pedaling but then, a sprocket-thing felt like it slipped and the crank met no resistance and without motive force my bike and I lost momentum and I had to get off it and push it a few yards before getting back on and pedaling the rest of my route. I was bummed; I may have cussed. One of the other hills was pretty tough, but I had no problem riding it. The main highway back to town presented me with a not-quite-howling-but-still-strong headwind all the way in to the right turn I take before the traffic light. For a lot of the ride today, I rode like a stranger in my own body and a stranger to my bike – none of my movements coordinated well together with body or bike. Still, I got some exercise and took some pictures at a waterfall on private property a few miles from my house. Click on the pictures for larger images.
Yesterday evening, after a family bike ride with the Trek Navigator, I took the Razesa for a short six-mile ride at dusk. As I cornered while moving quickly and had to quit pedaling hard to make the turn, I imagined I could feel the chainstays and seatstays flexing slightly as I rode.
Last night I corresponded with a bicycle restorer about a 1978 Trek 700 series with Campagnolo Gran Sport group. I have been really interested in Bruce Gordon’s Taiwanese manufactured BLT, and Carl Strong’s “Personal Blend” as touring/camping bikes, but at this point balk completely at the prices charged for these bicycles. I’ve seen pictures of the Trek 700 series set up for touring, but they’ve got a completely different, Suntour, group (and I hope I’m using the term, group, correctly meaning drive-train, brake whatnot, seatpost, and headset). The Trek’s probably a 10-speed, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem considering I don’t make full use of the 12-speeds my Razesa’s got.
I’m still fully enjoying the Razesa bicycle. Frequent, even short, rides have helped me keep the weight off and clear my mind. I do want to get out in a kayak more this year. It’s been about a year since I last paddled. The Pionier 450-S sits under a tarp in my garage, and I need to dust it off and look it over, maybe this weekend, to make sure it’s ready to paddle. Then inspect the gear in the boat-shed and get it packed and ready. Once that’s done, it’ll be easier to load up and head out on a whim.
Last week, while at Gallatin, I worshiped with Reformed Baptist congregation in a part of town bypassed by commercial-strip or residential splendor, and it was good to spend an hour or so with other believers. Here at Stepford, the Reformed Baptist congregation with which my wife and I have worshiped for probably five years or more, has been and continues to be an oasis of biblical sense and real theological inquiry for me, as well as source of good fellowship. Although it has another official designation, I think of it as Ziklag Baptist Fellowship more than I do as Stripmall Church. It is wonderful to have no target demographic beyond the elect God sends our way, even though sometimes I wish God would send more. There is something glorious about maintaining, for as long as we can, a Reform witness in the metaphorical steeple-shadows of several “First Churches.”
Every minute with my family is of greater worth than all riches. We are grateful for God’s happy providence and humbly rely upon God’s sovereign and sustaining will.
Do your own work. People will find out if you don’t, and it will be ugly.