Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where The Fuck Have You Been?

This is kind of a mish-mash of a post, but I've been busy the past few weeks with planning a 50th anniversary party, trying to get my third floor apartment in Manchester rented, and stuff that I actually get paid to do. But here's what's happening.

I was thrilled to see a Tour De France special that didn't involve Lance Armstrong. The Sundance channel played a program called "Blood, Sweat, and Gears: racing Clean to the Tour De France" last night.

It's about the history of the Team Garmin/Slipstream, and their bid to get a spot in the tour. It isn't that I don't like lance, I am in fact a lance fan, it's just that there isn't nearly enough coverage of the other americans in the race. I haven't had the chance to watch all of it, but the first 20 minutes or so were pretty good. I'll have to force my wife to watch it to get a perspective of a non-cyclist.

The party last weekend went off pretty well. In case you haven't been reading, my parents 50th wedding anniversary party was last week end. I held it at the Phoenix Room in Newburyport.

I hired a string quartet to play baroque and chamber music for the first half, a folk duo (the Ayotte Brothers) to play folk songs from the 60's and 70s for the second half, then wrapped it up with a performance of "Seasons of Love" from Rent by the First Religious Society Choir of Newburyport, and a finale of "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" by Green Day, with one of the Ayottes on guitar/ vocals, and a friend of mine and me accompanying on violin and flute. The Ayotte brothers were quite good, with a very wide repitoire and exceptional harmonies.

So now I'm back to being able to focus a bit more on training, even though I still have to get my 3rd floor apartment rented - meaning I'll have to re-arrange my schedule for showings. I fucking hate that house, and I hate being a landlord.

Even still, I managed to get some riding in last week, I stuck to straight commuting, just for the mental balance, and of course it rained pretty much on every ride. Last wedensday, as I was preparing to leave work, I found I had a flat tire. Now, Last year I blogged about wearing tires out. After that post I bought a set of my favorite commuter tires, Panaracer Stradius Pro. Well, lo and behold, This is what I found when I went to remove the tire.

If you can't tell from the photos, There's a lot of cord showing. I'm talking, like 50% of the circumference of the tire. Those are actually three _different_ sections of the tire. The flat was a puncture as opposed to a pinch flat. Now, As already noted, I've had at least a dozen flats already this year. Really, I'm not kidding. So it isn't as if I haven't been paying attention to the condition of the tires. This happened rather quickly, sometime in the past couple of weeks. So, I repair the tire, and note how much cord is showing, and think I should really take it easy on the way home, easy spin up hills, no sprinting for lights or truck drafts, keep the power to rear wheel smooth, so as not to wear through the cord.

I get outside, clip my right foot in, and push off slightly with my left foot and hear


I look down, and half of the sole of my shoe has separated from the upper.

I stuck a roll of tape in the gap to show how far the sole ripped off. The dark and light grey patches are where I've used epoxy in the past. My theory is, the shoe has been wet for so long, that the fibers of the upper (some type of processed leather) finally got saturated enough to detach themselves from the epoxy.

Now, these shoes don't owe me a fucking thing. Northwave Team somethingorothers. I bought them in 1997 for $180. Amortized, that's $18 a year. I probably have 50,000 miles on them, if not more. They've been crashed quite a few times, and repaired. I repair them with JB weld epoxy. It forms a great seal, is waterproof, and very rigid. Their ad suggests it can be used to repair engine parts, and is strong enough to be drilled and tapped. But, after ten years and then riding in the rain for a week, I'm not surprised. It isn't the epoxy that's failing, it's the fabric/material in the upper. The last epoxy repair I did was over two years ago, and I had noticed that it was starting to separate again a few weeks ago. I'll give it another repair, What the hell, if they fall apart again, I'll think about some new shoes. I have three other pairs of road shoes, anyways.

Of course, this made the ride home _extra_ interesting, since I could put no upward pressure on the left side. Hey, things could have been worse......

Besides, Solo ain't got nothin on me for wearing shit out.

Oh, one last thing. My wife retired. She's worked for the various iterations of verizon for the past 23 years. They're reducing headcount, and asked for volunteers on the idea of early retirement. If she leaves now, they'll give her the entire retirement package she would have been eligible for had she stayed the extra 14 months. She'll end up with about a years salary, health benefits for as long as they offer them, plus her retirement pension - lets just say we could live off that for years to come.

Here's the kicker - Verizon is famous for double dipping. In 6 months she'll be eligible to go back as a contractor, getting a contractor wage, while still drawing benefits from the pension system, and as a contractor if they tell her she needs to stay late to do some project she can say no.

Long ago, there was a singer songwriter by the name of Mason Williams, who had a very quirky sense of humor - he used to work with Steve Martin in the 60s on the Smothers Brothers show.

He Wrote - "Once there was a man who worked at the same company for 25 years, and never missed a day. When he retired, they had a party and gave him a gold watch. Just imagine that wondrous watch. Being able to see the last 25 years of his life at a glance, while letting him watch the rest of it run out".

No comments: