Saturday, March 22, 2008

Vernal Equinox - Welcome Spring

Spring time in Minnesota is very hard to beat. Many people pack their bags to head south in hopes of rejuvenating themselves after a long cold winter. Those more hearty soles take on whatever Mother Nature can dish out with a hearty fervor. Some of us actually embrace the possibility of more snow or we travel in search of it. Granted this has been an unusually long winter comparatively speaking that is. We have had some pretty cheesy mellow winters as of late.
I think we've been spoiled.

Knowing that snow was in the forecast, my cycling brethren and myself decided that this would be a good day to get together and celebrate the arrival of spring with a bike ride. As the week and day progressed however, things changed. Kenny "Fair Weather" to his friends, decided that he would not partake in such foolishness. Given the weather conditions he decided to go to the club and run on the track. Matt "Grasshopper" had family matters to deal with. Bob "Crazy Bob" and myself had difficulty coordinating times due to appointments and other matters. The two of us would each go out separately to enjoy the day and the weather.

My day started rather early. I awoke at 4 AM groggy and tired from my week of outdoor fun on the North Shore. My legs felt very mushy and stale and I was in no particular hurry to get to the health club. I did however go, and was greeted with smiles and jokes about being late. The coffee girls were amazed that I wasn't there spinning above a pool of sweat when they arrived. Usually I'll already have about 45 minutes in when they arrive. They seat themselves off to the side, coffee in hand and chat, laugh, and sometimes cheer me on. Eric was also there brooding over the bad news that Larry at Trailhead discovered what appeared to be a hairline crack in the carbon frame of his prized Bianchi. The frame will be replaced, but in the meantime we are searching for a 58cm loaner for Eric to use until his bike is ready. With the Minnesota Ironman approaching in April he will need to get some serious outdoor saddle time in.

After spin class Matt and I went for a short run outside. I really didn't feel much like running, but Matt can be somewhat demanding and the last thing I needed was him giving me crap. The run actually turned out to be somewhat refreshing. My only thought was how would I feel on the bike later in the morning when I went for my ride outdoors.

After leaving the club I went to the car dealer to have my 2003 Subaru Forester serviced. Upon arriving at the garage they took my info and asked if there was anything else I wanted them to look at. I had mentioned an engine knock that recently has been rather persistent. Subaru's boxer engines are known for what is called "piston slap". Upon cold starting the piston is somewhat loose in the cylinder causing it to make a noise and after warming up and expanding the noise goes away. It's very common and is said not to cause any damage to the engine. She told me they would take a look at it. I retired to the customer lounge for coffee and the paper. About 45 minutes later the service manager came and told me that they would have to put a new engine in my car. WTF!
She said the mechanic was quite sure that whatever it was making the noise was not normal and serious enough to replace the block. They would know more once it was torn down. I was totally surprised. Fortunately, Subaru's extended warranty plan which I somewhat reluctantly purchased when I bought the car, would cover the entire cost. Very cool, I get a new engine and my car should last much longer than anticipated. Maybe this is a sign from the cycling gods to let my car sit in the garage while I ride my bike. The manager told me they would have a loaner up front in about 5 minutes. A short while later they pull up this beautiful black Subaru Legacy 4 dr. sedan. A very sweet ride. "That's my loaner?" I asked. "Yes, Bill, this will be your loaner until your car is ready." I jokingly told her she was an evil temptress trying to get me into a new car. We both got a laugh out of that comment.

After returning home from the garage I immediately got into my cycling clothes and headed out for a two hour ride in the snow which was accumulating quickly. I had a blast! I went south from the house and road the city trails and side streets down to Medicine Lake. The roads were very sloppy and some spots on the trails were difficult to negotiate. All in all it was a fantastic ride. The only issue I have is footwear. My feet were frozen when I got back to the house. I may have to get a good pair of winter riding shoes for next year.

After getting home I had about 20 minutes to get undressed and ready for my 1:30 appointment at the clinic. They need to run another blood test to check my thyroid. We are still trying to determine if this is what was causing my heart problems back in January and February.

We ended our day meeting the Amigos and their wives at the Claddagh Irish Pub. It was an enjoyable evening and Patti really enjoyed meeting the guys wives. I'm fortunate to have met such a good group of people. After leaving the pub we went home to watch the Minnesota Gophers beat Colorado College 2-1 to advance to the championship game tonight. I'm looking forward to a day of college basketball, college hockey, and shoveling heavy wet snow.

At about 1:30 this morning I awoke feeling nauseated, chills, sweats, etc. Spent the next 2 hours in the bathroom worshiping the porcelain god. I don't what the hell it is or was, but I was really horrible for few hours. Not sure if it was the two pieces of chicken and garlic pizza or just an intestinal bug. I feel much better right now. Just somewhat run down and tired.


grasshopper said...

demanding what the hell!

Vito said...

Let's face it...

Well, are you running or what?
I believe those were your words.