Back In The Hunt
I’m back on the bike today, and feeling fairly well. (Though, in case you’re keeping score at home, I’m still a complete jerk — I ran into a old friend today, one I hadn’t seen since long before the wedding … did I tell him I married an absolutely wonderful man? No, I told him all about my awesome new bike. Amazingly, I am sleeping indoors tonight.)
I also snagged the number two spot on a little Strava segment on my ride home. Podium! (Hey, small victories…) Since I now actually know where the segment in question begins and ends, I’m going to have to dedicate some time to knocking off the top spot. That may never happen, but it’ll be fun trying.
The ridiculous part is that Strava somehow thinks that something on this stretch of road constitutes a Cat 4 climb (that’s Cat 4 in terms of climb categorization, not in terms of relative racing n00bie-ness). Admittedly, Cat 4 is small, but it’s supposed to be … well, I don’t know, small like Batman if Cat 1 is the Hulk and Jens Voigt is Hors Categorie (after a certain point, actual size is totally irrelevant and only toughness matters), not small like … um. Robin, maybe? I can’t think of any really tiny superheroes right now. Admittedly, I have never been much of a hero-worshiper, Jens Voigt excepted, and superhero comics have never been my thing.
Anyway, I’m not sure how exactly that Cat 4 categorization came about: I consider the Louisville portion of my commute to be flat with a capital F-L-A-T. Denis disagrees with me, but our perspectives are a little different. The only explanation I can imagine is that it’s a short segment and that it has two not-insignificant dips in the road — yielding a couple little “climbs” (those are not extraneous quotation marks, there; I routinely bang up these at 20 MPH without so much as breathing hard). What goes down must come up.
Anyway, that’s not important. What’s important is being back on the bike, for real(-ish; since this is a race week and was supposed to be a taper week, it’s pretty much going to be Damage Control through Friday, race Saturday, ride recovery pace to bells on Sunday, easy day Monday, maybe a rest day Tuesday…).
Even though I’m sort of just back on the bike now, I’m feeling more confident about this year’s Death March than I did about last year’s. I suppose having a solid start on the year’s miles, not to mention a really nice bike, doesn’t hurt. I also know, for example, that I have ridden Combes
Goat Track :::ahem::: “Road” once before without dying, so it is reasonably likely that I will be able to do so again. I am trying to visualize actually cresting the gnarly climb this time. I made it most of the way last year before getting stuck behind a guy who wasn’t making it and spinning out. (For what it’s worth, I’m not afraid of the climb; it’s the descent that gives me the willies.)
I was hoping to make it all the way to my first race without getting sick. I’ve restarted my counter, so to speak, and now I’m hoping to make it to Almanzo without getting sick. I suppose this will require prudent health management, etc. “Prudence” is not exactly my middle name (“Bian,” which is nothing at all like “Prudence,” is my middle name; really, if we’re assigning middle names based on moral qualities, my middle name should probably be “Self-Centered, Mildly Narcissistic Bike Dweeb”).
Speaking of counters, I should make one. Like, you know how shops and industrial workplaces and so forth have those signs that say, “006 DAYS WITHOUT A BLOOD-CURDLING DISASTER” and so forth? I should make one that says “XXX DAYS WITHOUT GETTING SICK.” I am aiming for >62 (actually, if I am not allowed to get sick ’til after Almanzo, that’s 75 days — 76 if you add one for our first anniversary; I am pretty sure that graciously agreeing to travel to Minnesota for a grueling 100-mile gravel grinder the day before our our anniversary means Denis expects me to be functional on said anniversary). Lately, it’s been basically every two months like clockwork.
In other news, school is going well. I’m firing up a research project, because evidently I am not only crazy but also stupid (I have enough on my plate, thanks). We’ll see where it winds up going.
Right now, I’m in the planning phases — sorting out which prof to hit up for supervision, how to get my proposal past our IRB, etc. I’m also hoping to bang out a little presentation for an upcoming conference — meta-research, there, so probably nothing that would require an IRB. I have some thoughts about neuroscience and gender relevant to recent findings in the somatosensory cortex, and the Mother Ship is conveniently hosting its Conference on Women and Gender in April, which offers a promising opportunity.
Why do I do this to myself?
Oh, yeah. Because I’m a masochist, and also a sadist, and that makes for a highly-motivating combination. You wanna suffer, me? That can be arranged, but you’re not gonna like it.
Anyway, I should be in bed. Finished my math homework like an hour ago. So, that’s it.
Rubber side down!