Monday, March 12, 2012

Accepting the hidden challenge

The Challenge
Earlier this weekend, the Banter-in-Law sent me an email. It can be seen below in its entirety. I have edited the link as I do not have permission to share the nitty gritty of his Garmin data with the entire world. It's off by only 1 or 2 characters for those of you who are feeling ambitious and are hoping to hack into the BIL's Garmin files.

To: The Banter
From: BIL@BilsPlace.Net
Subject: Ride Baby!
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 Here's what you don't see. You miss out on the hidden agenda blatantly clear when one triathlete emails another triathlete. Since Google translator does not speak triathlete, I'll interpret for you.

To: The Banter
From: BIL@BilsPlace.Net
Subject: Ride Baby!

Dear Pansy,
What a nice blog article last week on how you are stuck in your basement. I, however, live in a better place than you. I am not sequestered to a bike routine of going nowhere. Just to prove it, the weather here was so pleasant that I went on a 40+ mile bike ride. It was a little bit windy but I planned it perfectly so that I would start into the wind and fly home without doing any work. Here's my Garmin file. Read it and weep you big loser. Should you ever get out into the real world instead of being an agoraphobic, see if you can beat me.

-The BIL

In his defense, it was a really good ride. The BIL is training for Olympic Distance races with the hopes on upping the ante to a half-iron. Either way, a 40+ mile training ride is pretty cushy at this time in the season. He averaged 18.4 mph over the duration, which is faster than the average athlete in most given races.

Well, BIL, I read your trash talk and your challenge was accepted. Up here in the north, winter has released its feeble grasp. This past Sunday, I went on my own 40 mile ride. Or so I thought.

Pre- Ride
This was a perfect opportunity to test my mettle against the BIL's. The last time we raced head-to-head was in 2010. I, of course, won. He had a good showing at that race but it was early in his triathlon career, he was on a borrowed bike (mine), and he was running an unfamiliar course. This time, he had the home court advantage, full knowledge of the challenge ahead of time, was on his own bike (a nice aero Cervelo at that), and had weeks of outdoor training.

He had reported that there was an average of 10-15 mile winds on his ride. Since this is a competition, and I am cursed with the Male Ego Gene, I am proud to report that our winds were 20 mph with gusts into the near 30. Take that BIL.

As I set out, it had dawned on me that I haven't been outside of the basement in 2012. It took me a while to get set up. First, I had to find the front wheel to my bike. The basement does not require both wheels and, due to the nature of a wheel, it moves around from time to time. Upon successfully finding and securing the wheel (without which I would have surely lost the race), I moved on to finding my helmet, glasses, gloves, and spare tire. None of these are required in the dungeon. Technically, they are not required on the road either but they are a very good idea.

When I stepped out into my garage, the wind gusts, which were out of the west, smacked me dead in the face. Brr. I went back inside. When I returned, I now had on 3 shirts, ear warmers, and full gloves instead of those with the finger holes cut out. Not only did I have the wind and the cold working against me, but I added about 15 pounds of fabric weight. I was not deterred. In hindsight, I was WAY over dressed. This fact had no bearing on the competition at hand.

The Problem
As I got ready to mount my faithful steed, there is one more piece of the puzzle, The Garmin, which would prove once and for all who is the greatest triathlete in the family. The Garmin was with me a couple of hours ago when I went on my morning tempo run. The Garmin goes with on every run. On every basement ride. And now, new to 2012, on every outdoors ride. Only this time, it refused to work. I'd like to think it had performance anxiety. It had plenty of power. Still, it refused to start up. I tried everything. Apparently, begging doesn't work on your 310xt. Another solution would have to present itself.

<Aside: I took it with me anyway. At the 45 minute mark, I pulled off into a small park and attempted to start the Garmin again. I suppose that trying to restart the Garmin (complete with a 'soft reset') no less than 4 times at home wasn't enough to convince this idiot of its uselessness. As you can probably guess, it didn't work again. End Aside>

(I secretly think that the BIL convinced the Wife, his sister, to sabotage my unit. Sneaky but effective.)

The Less-Than-Perfect Solution
I have an old Timex watch. I licked it a long time ago. Than goodness I had the clairvoyance to do that. It was ticking perfectly. The downside: no gps. I set out on what I thought was at least 40 miles. It took me 1:57.12. Ha, BIL. That's 20. <something> mph. In your face.

Later on, I googled the route. As it turns out, my ride was just over 38 miles. Give me credit for planning a 40 mile route and getting to within 5% with only my brain as a guide. Caveman approach. This brings my average down to about 19.6 mph. Still not too shabby.

And the Winner Is...
Alright, I'm gonna call it a draw. The BIL had a great workout. He had hardcore evidence to back up his claim to awesomeness. The Banter had his ego, an old watch, and sketchy directions.

Be wary BIL. I will ride this challenge again. And when I do, you can bet that I will have healed the Garmin. I will be ready, once and for all, willing to reclaim the "Best Triathlete in the Family" Title. Until then, keep up the good work. I am proud to compete against the likes of you.

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