Friday, October 26, 2018

Embracing My Inner Rodent

Mammals, as a class of animals, are rumored to first have made an appearance on this rock called Earth roughly 200 million years ago. It was a complicated period in time. Pangea was still a thing. Dinosaurs were walking around uninhibited. Trees hadn't been invented yet. The Banter was trying to figure out how to be a runner. It was utter confusion.

These mammals were egg-laying, pouch bearing creatures. If it weren't for them, cycling would have never invented the rear-jersey pockets. So sport has the Triassic Period to thank for that invention. How do they know this? Well, they found a tooth somewhere in China and they just sorta pieced the rest together. As it turns out, we were very rat-like.

The problem is that the real mammals, the ones that didn't behave like platypi crossed with genetically challenged kangaroos, didn't make an appearance until the Jurassic Period. Contrary to what Hollywood and Michael Crighton novels would have you believe, T. rex wouldn't be around for many more millions of years. T. rex's cousin, Allosaurus was the terrible lizard du jour. The longest animal ever recorded, Diplidocus, was meandering the plains. Stegosaurus was plundering around. Pangea broke itself into 2 halves. The Banter was still trying to figure out how to be a runner. Mammals continued to be rat-like creatures romping around in the underbrush. How do they know? Yet more teeth.

As the northern and southern halves of Pangea drifted apart, starting the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, land animals had to learn how to swim. They didn't like it so much, which is why the swim portion of a triathlon is so ridiculously short, compared to it's other multisport brethren. This is what's commonly known as the Cretaceous Period, which is Latin for "we hate the water but don't want to do a duathlon". T. rex finally made an appearance. Bees learned how to make honey. The Banter was still trying to figure out how to be a runner. An asteroid hit the Earth which spurred  a sudden onset of global warning, which the politicians require us to call 'climate change'. Most of the scary animals died out. Much like today, mammals didn't really notice. Triathletes applauded the extension of their season.

Flash forward by about 65 million years to the present day Quaternary Period. The dinosaurs have been reduced to chicken-like bird thingies. The Atlantic Ocean had expanded enough that even the most dedicated of open water swimmers paused before making the attempt. Triathletes immediately looked at the set and said, "No thank you." Mammals, without their terrible lizard competition, were thriving. Triathletes were still conflicted between the concept of climate change and a potentially extended race season. The Banter was still trying to figure out how to be a runner.

In an effort to understand  one of the most perplexing questions ever to elude the most brilliant of minds- what might make a runner out of the Banter- scientists had this brilliant idea to start studying the rodent (Aside: This had absolutely nothing to do with the Banter's physical appearance. At least, that's their story... /End Aside). Lab rats aren't really that popular and, historically, have had little scientific value. But, since the mammals got their start from rodent-like creatures, scientists decided to take a risk and study the most ancient mammalian form.

To do so, they traveled to the depths of the rain forest, where triathletes hate to venture because the heat and humidity ruin their ability to train hard. To test this idea, they placed a running wheel where no rat had ever even seen a running wheel. The hypothesis was that this stupid, foreign object would be completely ignored since rats can run wherever they want, whenever they wanted. Why would they want to use a device that let them go absolutely nowhere when they could go anywhere they wanted? Granted, they had to place a plate of food near the machine to attract the triathletes, err, rodents. The scientists were dumbfounded when several different rodents of several different species ignored the food, went to the running wheel, and spent an insane amount of time on the device.

Using the momentum of this experiment, scientists extended the lessons learned to a different, semi-talented triathlete currently living in northeastern North America. They went and got a large running wheel and placed it near the larger-rodent-type mammal of modern day known as the Banter. For years, nothing happened and the Banter remained a slow, sloth-like runner on the triathlon course. They revisited early experiments in vivo and tried again, only this time with food. Still nothing. The Banter remained resistant to intelligent training techniques.

The scientists were ever persistent. They re-worked their running wheel design. Instead of metal rungs, they went with a flat belt. The goal was to move the rodent from the inside of the running wheel to the outside of the running wheel. Hence, the invention of the treadmill. The Banter remained resistant.

Nearing the end of their funding period, the scientists were desperate to gain any kind of success in getting the Banter to resemble anything close to a runner. He'd been immune to all efforts for several millennia now, complete with race results to prove it. Such results do not prove well in recruiting sponsors. They tried putting down food, a la the rain forest experiment. Surprisingly, even that didn't encourage running. In fact, that particular action backfired as the Banter would just show up, eat the food, and leave without working out.

In a last ditch effort, scientists took a picture of the Banter as he readied himself for a race. They waited until he had predictably terrible results at that race. Then they sent him the picture. The hypothesis was that showing the Banter how he's leading with his belly instead of his brain might make encourage him to make the change. To their relief, it worked!! The Banter not only started to run more, which is the single most important criterion if you want to run faster, but he also didn't shy away from the flat, belt-like running wheel. If you're interested, you can see the exact picture that sparked the change, as presented in a previous post, found here. I do not suggest you click that link nor look at that picture.

Even though the experiment is still in it's beta stage, early findings are looking positive. The Banter has been running more, as evidenced in number of runs per week, number of minutes per week, and average number of complaints spewed. In the past 10 days, the Banter has logged 12 runs with 11 of them on the rodent wheel. There's a high probability that the Banter will develop a case of the Sudden Hatred of Indoor Training before the experiment's funds run out. But, as reported by his training log, his desire to be fast and fit might finally trump his hatred of the treadmill. And, based on all of the running without actually going anywhere, the scientists concluded that he's still mostly rodent. But you probably beat them to that conclusion.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Wake Up Call

Everybody is a genius, in their own way. Everyone has their own talents, including me. It's true! For those of you who know me, I know this is a difficult pill to swallow and you are already starting to call BS. Now, before you go bashing me in the comments section of this post, allow me to 'splain. (Note: Feel free to bash me in the comments section, I'm only asking that you hear me out before said bashing. /Note)
Image result for if you judge a fish poster
I used to have this really great talent of being able to run down hills faster than the average bloke. Based on several sweat-in-my-eyes filled observations (read: probably not that accurate), I might have lost this skill. In its place, I have gained something entirely less useful. I now have the ability to put forth yet another season of disappointing showings at triathlon.

This season brought forth a smattering of unspectacular results. I had no PRs in any of my races. I have often sat back and reflected upon the reasons why, with little to no success. My swim times were about average for me, which is indicative to nothing since I don't train my swimming all that much. I set no bests in cycling, of which I was surprised since I had done an extensive training.  My run times weren't horribly bad but they didn't cast a shadow over anything remotely close to being called good.

During my mental brainstorming, I came up with these ideas, none of which actually explain my lack of results:

  1. I'm less buoyant than I used to be
  2. My bike has a chronic brake-rubbing problem 
  3. I have an ankle issue
  4. I don't do well in the heat
  5. I'm a pansy

A couple of weeks after my last race, which yielded another disappointing finish that culminated a third disappointing season in a row, I received the answer I was hoping to find. It just wasn't the answer I wanted to have.

Warning: The section below contains images of a disturbing nature. Viewer discretion is highly advised. Smart readers will close their browser now. The Banter is not responsible for any blindness, vomiting, or vision-induced trauma that can, and likely will, result from continuing to gaze onward. I've hit the return button several times just to ensure that you had an adequate opportunity to bail out...

Click to enlarge, if you dare.

What you see here is The Boy getting ready for his first 70.3 distance race, which happened in a foreign country. The start of the race is roughly 10 minutes out. The Banter, unfortunately, had forgotten his heart rate monitor chest strap. The Boy's then-girlfriend (Note 2: She wouldn't be his girlfriend for very much longer. /Note 2) was most excellent and retrieved the aforementioned chest strap and had recently handed it off to the Banter, who was preparing to don this technology. That explains the reason your eyes are now stained with the vision of his semi-toplessness. They say that the camera adds 10 pounds and I shudder to think of how many cameras are on me at this time.

There are a few inexplicable, umm, okay I'm not really sure what's going on here. Honestly, no one involved in this picture remembers any other details about it. The Boy's soon to be not his girlfriend doesn't remember taking the picture. The Boy doesn't remember being asked to pose. The Banter is clueless about almost everything that happened on the day, so he's of no help. I can only imagine that the Boy's girl-thingy said, "Strike a pose!", or something on that ilk. I was attempting to do Blue Steel but accidentally achieved Ferrari with a bit of a smirk. The picture arose when the next inexplicable thing happened, someone actually went through their pictures stored on their digital technology. Then they sent it to me as a joke.

But, instead of it being a joke, it was a huge smack in the reality face. The answers to most of my questions all funneled into the very large point between my nipples and my waistband. There's the reason for my lack of success these past few seasons- the gooter (which is probably spelled 'guter'). I'm definitely more buoyant. The chronic brake rubbing is really additional downward gravitational force. The ankle issue is likely extra compaction on the landing. The extra blubber is an insulator in the heat. At least I got the pansy part right.

It turns out that my old skill of running down hills faster than the average bloke has been superseded by my ability to extra calorate beyond my means. This fact will likely dominate the next few months of my training and eating life.


As an aside, the Boy did quite well in his first 70.3. Not only did he collect his finishers medal and hat to prove his awesomeness, he collected something else.

The Girl actually said yes. The Boy's previous girlfriend had magically transformed into the fiancée. Any woman that can look at a triathlete at the end of a near-6 hour effort, including the olfactory onslaught, and still think that marriage is a good idea is a keeper. The Boy had better do right by that amazing specimen.

In post proposal interviews, she admitted that she couldn't see anything because her eyes were still hazy from some blacked-out reason that occurred just before the start of the swim. But, deep in her heart, she knew that the blacked-out reason was disturbing enough to encourage her to lock in the Boy, lest she be stuck with something as haunting as the Banter. He still hasn't thanked me for that.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

8 Days Without Training Makes 1 Weak

Warning, the blog post you are about to read has been rated PG-13 by the Blogging Association of America (BAA). It has been deemed that some information may be considered inappropriate and possibly awkward for young readers, sensitive readers, or readers that have at least 8 functioning brain cells. The subject matter has been deemed as highly sensitive in nature, not very exciting and on par with Vogon Poetry. The reader is advised to proceed with the utmost caution.

Let it be known that this will be the only opportunity I am granting on this particular topic in person or in print. I'm not one who normally hands out personal or private information but for some reason I'm feeling the need to tell this story in this medium at this time. Should you see me in public and ask, I'll likely make a distracting joke and not really dive into the topic nor answer the question. Sorry.

Here's the thing, after all the recent attention I've given on being consistent and then on feeling S.H.I.T.ty, if one were to look closely at my training log, I dropped off the face of the exercising Earth. Here's what I mean. If you look at the first 3-weeks of February, things look pretty darn good.

The biking fell off a little bit at the end, but that was in the middle of a biking-based recovery week and some other life stuff happened (more on this in a moment). That was also linked to my drop in indoor exercise motivation.

Here is the last 2 weeks, including today's exercise, in all of it's lack of glory.

What you see here is the excellent bike ride I did with the Boy and the Outlaw on the 20th. And you see a couple of runs. And then there's this great big gap in training. That's the first time I went that long without training in more than 2 years, which includes a stretch of time when I had a fractured bone in my foot. I went back in my training log and discovered that the last time I took 8 full days off of training was in 2016 after my final race of the season. I took a 10-day off-season and promptly got busy doing the next rounds of doings. 

This week wasn't considered a planned off season. I had some work done, umm, down there. Now, let me promise you that I'm not going to dive into too many details or specifics about what they actually did to my crotchal region. All the major parts are intact and I won't be receiving a sympathy call from Lance Armstrong any time soon. After the follow-up visit (tbd), it's highly likely that this will be the last time I pay a man to put his hands on my groin. The reason I won't be broaching the subject again is that I've found that most people really aren't that interested in anything my crotch has to offer. Every time that I've brought up my crotch in conversation or tried to provide a visual, the patrons cringed. Here's a re-enactment. 

The procedure took place on the first Friday of down week. It was quick and I'd like to tell you painless, but I'm not one to lie. Perhaps I'll embellish a bit for comedic reasons but that's not the same thing. I did not cry. I did almost bite my lip off and was congratulated on the record amounts of perspiration left on the examination table. So I got that going for me.

I asked the Doc about the recovery. He says that I'm to be on light duty for at least a week. Then after 7 days, give 'er a try. He speculated that biking might be the most challenging of the disciplines due to pressure points. I suspected that running would be worse due to the impact forces and jarring on the body. He said that I might have a point and to make sure I run slowly. We both had a good laugh at that one, as if not running slowly were an option. I asked him about swimming. He paused and we both had our second good laugh in as many minutes knowing that I have no intention on getting in the water.

The recovery period was tough. Not because of the procedure but because of the gluttony and sloth. Whereas the average American bloke relishes in the concept of being forced to not exercise, it's not something at which I excel. I could feel my muscles atrophy, which is significant since I don't have much to start with. On the bright side, my hunger was boosted meaning that I managed to pack on all of the pounds I took off in the previous 7 weeks. Score one for the Banter! Oh, wait. Never mind.

Day 8 arrives. It was a chilly but pleasant morning. The type of day that I wouldn't have hesitated to run outside.  I decided to head out to the treadmill. I had no idea how my body was going to react to the first day back and I didn't want to be miles away should it take a turn for the worse. I hopped on the dreadmill and pushed the 'slow' button (easily recognizable due to it's overuse while the faster ones are seemingly untouched). It was clear that after the first mile, my legs were happy to be back. My crotch was still a bit sensitive. My lungs were on fire. O.M.G! It was as if someone reached inside my chest and squeezed all of the life juices directly out of my alveoli. This would be considered pretty good had I been attempting to make wine. But for a slow run?

I eventually got to 45 minutes and all of my cells, crotch-related and the other ones, were for once in agreement that I'd had enough. I came in and got cleaned up. I was afraid to wash my nether regions in fear of the pain. I shuddered to think about what I'd become.

Now, a smart man would have called it a day. The Banter? (I think the question answers itself.) I decided to put on some lycra and head back out to the workout room for a bike ride. I just had to know if I was more correct than the doctor about which discipline would be worse for wear. Since the run was slow, I decided to attempt to be fair to the competition and make the bike slow too. Normally I finish a weekend workout in 90 minutes with a normalized power around 230 watts (out of about 270). This day I went for 60 minutes with an NP of 183 watts. On a normal crotch day, this would be considered a recovery ride. And, since I'm recovering...

You'll be pleased to know that I was indeed, from my anecdotal n=1 pseudoscientific experiment, more correct than the doc. The areas of concern were not in contact with the bike saddle. The legs felt pretty good. The lungs weren't leaking any ethanol. I have to go back for a follow up visit in late April. I can't wait to tell him. (Ya know, because I'm trying to boost his knowledge base.)

Based on my running experiment, I decided to take one more day off. I have expectations to re-start normal training on Monday. It'll be more of the same. Run slowly, not necessarily by choice. Bike in the garage, begrudgingly by choice. Play with my crotch. Repeat. I'm happy to put this experience behind and am pleased that I can again get jiggy with it it happened early in the season. I'm so motivated that I may even get back in the water. (<--You're supposed to laugh at that.)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nuances of a Group Ride

Apparently, people get together and exercise in groups bigger than one person. In fact, they do so often. For some people, they refuse to go riding unless there are other people around. As an introverted triathlete, this makes no sense to me. I can't think of a better ride where I can go for hours without seeing another person. Why these other people need to get together in skimpy clothes and ride so close that you can actually smell the stench and get smacked in the face with their sweat-laden backwash is beyond me. They've even invented internet based apps so that you can participate in a group ride even when there's no proximal group to be had. (Efforts to import smells and perspiration droplets to be added in future versions to make the experience more authentic.)

If I had to be honest, I'm a little afraid of the group thing. It's probably because there are some rules that I don't fully understand. Groups typically don't like aerobars. They expect you to call out obstacles, such as potholes, cars, and hotties running down the road. You're expected to take turns in the front of the pack- a condition oft referred to as "breaking wind". (Note- this might help explain that smell I was telling you about.) If someone is too slow, you kinda have to know whether or not it's cool to leave them behind- known as dropping them- or to hang out with the pokies.

Given that it's February and I'm dead stuck in the middle of feeling like S.H.I.T., motivation to ride has been waning recently. Then, Mother Nature (who apparently reads my blog), decided to toss a little bone towards the indoor riding angst and make it nice outside for a day. And this niceness coincided with a day off. Since everyone was being nice, I hollered out to a couple of guys who I know wouldn't pass up a chance to do the group thing (although, looking back, one of them may have been expecting something completely different).

The forecast had called for a rainy morning with the clouds breaking by early afternoon and highs in the mid 60ºs. With the overnight and morning wetness, the roads would likely be slick but at least most of the salt would be washed off. I scheduled for the Outlaw and the Boy to come over at around 1:00. (Aside: I had no intention of actually riding at 1:00. I was stalling to give the weather a chance to improve and hopefully dry itself up. Plus, the guys are rather pleasant to hang out with, especially even when donned in lycra. The weather wouldn't fully clear until about 15 minutes after the ride ended. That's the way it goes. / End Aside)

My bike has been locked on the trainer since October. Temperatures and daylight dictate that outdoor riding is reserved for maniacs and badasses (Aside 2: There's a fine line between maniac and badass. Both terms are meant for people who are willing to do things that normal folk wouldn't even attempt. Riding when it's cold and dark is on the list. It's such that I can't normally tell maniac apart from badass. It's mostly moot since neither are adjectives that would be used to describe me anyway. /End Aside 2)

Our small group rummaged around my cluttered garage looking for items that we'd normally already have out and about but have been relegated to being tossed aside for the hibernation. For example, my helmet, sunglasses, and riding gloves. I don't need these things when strapped-in to my trainer. The Boy didn't have a spare kit or even a place to hold his spare kit. I had an extra bike bag that I found underneath a shelf. No, not on the bottom shelf, but underneath the bottom shelf. I have no idea how I knew to look there. I handed the bag to the Boy and don't expect it back. He sees it as a gift. I see it as getting rid of crap that I'm not using and freeing up some space underneath a shelf. It's win-win. He asked for some CO2 cartridges, which I buy in bulk. I handed him a couple realizing that it was stupid since he didn't have a chuck to dispense the air. (Aside 3: It' was a completely wasted gesture. The Boy didn't even know that he needed a chuck nor how to use one if he'd had it. It was pretty clear that if he had a flat that I'd be changing it for him with my gear, either first hand or donated stuff. This is the reason he's been dubbed "The Boy". /End Aside 3)

Our 1:00 ride started promptly at 1:45, earlier than expected. I, being the senior member of the group by more than a decade, and being the host, was expected to set the course. Like any good guy, I like to include the junior members in the decision. Option 1- go on the same route I've taken them before. This route is through the country and features 1 stop sign in roughly 40 miles of road. It's mostly flat and has frequent views of Lake Ontario. Translation- it's perfect! Option 2- go on a mostly new-to-them route with several stop lights, higher densities of traffic, and a lot more climbing. The road conditions would be considerably crappier. It has a fun-factor several degrees lower than option 1. Just when you think the people you hang out with are intelligent individuals, they surprise you. The guys opted for the latter.

In their defense, one of the reasons for choosing the more tedious, less-fun ride was the fact that the Bay Bridge was open to road traffic. Or, I think it was closed to boat traffic. Okay, I'm not exactly sure how they term this as open or closed. It depends on perspective, I guess. Either way, we likely won't get the chance to do this route again for a very long time. Most of the year, the bridge looks like this:

This means getting from one side to the other is difficult. Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking dear god why am I still reading this gibberish that we are triathletes and therefore swimming across should be in our skill set. However, you're overlooking the simple facts that most triathletes aren't well-known for their swimming prowess (although this group actually breaks that mold since we were all collegiate swimmers) and we are pansies (this group embodies that mold since we're pansies). The water temps in the winter time are well below YMCA climate standards and, since it was warm outside, we didn't have our wetsuits on.

During the winter months, when the seafaring blokes in the area put away their boats, the Bay Bridge looks like this:

This is much easier to navigate, even for a few lycra-wearing pansies like ourselves. We took advantage of a rare, warm, winter day to traipse through a section of road that would otherwise be off limits. Let's do this thing!

Now, I had full expectation of going easy and enjoying the ride. Then, the male-ego kicked in. And, it wasn't just for me but for the Outlaw and the Boy simultaneously. An easy effort would have me well below 200 watts. Our first 5 miles averaged 226 watts, which is roughly race pace for me. The Boy thought I was going too slow so he broke the wind for a while <insert joke about the smell here>. When we turned the corner to go up a hill, the Boy was still in the lead. The Outlaw rode up next to me and asked, "How long until he fizzles?" I panted my answer, "Hopefully <gasp> sometime soon. <gasp gasp>" My wish was granted soon thereafter.

At around the 11 mile mark, I pulled the guys over to the side. This is one of those funky features of a group ride- talking to the people you are riding with. And, since I'm an out of shape, gasping for air pansy, we pulled into a parking lot. This particular talk was more of a lecture about the up-and-coming stretch of road. Specifically, there was going to be a nice downhill in which I regularly hit 40+ mph. Since it was winter and a rough one at that, I couldn't vouch for the pothole conditions and I sure as hell wasn't going to point them out at speed. It had also started raining again. I advised the guys to stay out of aero, not gun for speed, and to not bunch up so we could take evasive maneuvers if necessary.

We took off down the recently warned about stretch. My Garmin lists me as hitting only 35 mph. The Boy decided not to heed my warnings and draft. I'm sure his Garmin lists a top speed greater than mine, as evidenced by his passing me at said top speed. Then he pulls into my line, dumps all of his road spray directly into my face, and took evasive action on some potholes. Yup, it'll be a while before he ditches "The Boy" monicker.

The Outlaw was proving to be the most intelligent rider of the threesome. He's been concerned about his ability to ride. His early season training has been run-focused. He thinks that his power on the bike is dropping and that his training plan hasn't been sufficient to keep up with even lowly riders like the Boy and the Banter. I think he's dead wrong and this ride did more to validate me than him. What am I using as evidence? The climb up the other side of that hill, that's what. As I attempted to clear out the gunk from my eyes and glasses, the Boy was doing something that resembled riding, the Outlaw powered past us like we were standing still. When he hit the hill, I was pushing over 400 watts to hold just under 9 mph in a feeble attempt to stay on his wheel. He might have finally broke sweat for a short period of time on that 1/2 mile stretch.

The route for the next 5 miles was less than ideal but a necessary evil to get to the next stage of good riding. The reason for the evil lies in the ever-growing battle for road space between the vroom vrooms and the guys who need to 'get off the road you bike riding freaks- the roads aren't meant for your types'. Sigh. These people really should do some research as to why roads became existent (hint: it wasn't for cars). There's no reasoning with motorists when they're in this mindset, including with the bloke that almost side-swiped the Boy. You really have to be missing something in your moral compass to want to physically harm someone because they forced you to slow down for less than 10 seconds of your life. The good thing is that an overwhelming majority of people on the roads do not share this mentality and are pretty good people. The bad thing is that it takes just one of those mentalities to really ruin someone's, possible more people's, life. We ducked off of the easy path to meander through a residential neighborhood.

The Boy and the Outlaw are known for their short bursts of racing. While in the side-neighborhood, I told them of a nice stretch that would cater to their racing needs. When that section hit, they took off. I was going to (attempt to) hang. It was still raining, but the drops had turned to drizzle. As they took off, I felt an unfortunate wobble in my back wheel that was reminiscent of a flat tire. I slowed a bit and tried a couple of on-board tests. After reassuring myself that the tires were fine and it was the road that sucked, I looked off into the distance only to notice that we never set rules as to if this was a no-drop ride or not. I had clearly been dropped.

The guys took a break from their hijinks to pull over at a gas station and wait for the old man to join the happy couple. I really wish I was there the whole time, only because I learned that the Outlaw can't dismount his bike without hitting a pothole and falling off. The Boy was there and he recapped the story in all it's glory. I almost feel bad for laughing since the Outlaw was slightly injured from the fall. It was that injury that made the decision to head back versus extend the ride.

From that gas station, it was a short decline down to that gloriously open/ closed bridge. Being old also means that I have experience at such skills as getting into my cleats and taking off. I was able to do so and catch the green light while the inexperienced Boy and the injured Outlaw struggled and got stuck by the red. The red light also meant that the cars weren't coming either and I had the whole wet lane to myself with no fear of getting a face full of idiot backwash. Once over the bridge, I pulled over and waited for the guys to rejoin.

The rest of the ride was familiar and uneventful. I dropped the guys off at the Boy's house, chatted for a while, and concluded the day with a short jaunt back to my house. According to my data, the ride was just over 31 miles of wet but pleasant February riding.

When I got home, I surveyed the damage. Okay, there was no actual damage, just about 12 pounds of dirt and grime caked to various parts of me and the bike (10.5 pounds directly caused from riding behind the Boy). From a distance, it doesn't look that bad. (Click to enlarge)

Up close, the dirt better presents itself.

I got out the hose and sprayed down the bike. Then I found a towel (possibly under a shelf), wiped off all of the good spots. Then I got out the lube and applied liberally. It had been a pretty fantastic day.

Shortly after settling in for the night, I received a message from Strava (one of those virtual group ride app thingies). The email is screen shotted here to preserve all of it's glory.

Like I said, I don't fully understand the group ride thing. And, it's possible that they are using the term 'ride' differently than me. I had thought about doing the group ride thing more often but this email has me second guessing that thought...