Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘preparation

Too Tired

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My middle-of-June biking and camping week begins one week from today. I am looking forward to being able to ride first thing in the morning when I am fresh and surrounded by more than a hundred friends sharing the experience with me.

I resumed my forced preparation cycling yesterday after work, alone and exhausted before I even started. The good news is that my butt appears to be toughened up by last weekend’s riding. The bad news is that my 90-minute ride was far short in terms of preparation for the days and many hours I will be on the saddle in a week.

After the day of work and the drain of a long afternoon drive home, I was more interested in a nap than a ride, but I got out there anyway.

This morning, I am too tired to think and write. Here are a couple of images from my adventures up north last weekend to distract you…

I’m going back to bed to catch a few more winks of beauty sleep.

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Written by johnwhays

June 7, 2019 at 6:00 am

Rough Approximation

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Having my bike up at the lake allowed me to put some time on the two-wheeler in an environment that can loosely be compared to the regions of northern Minnesota where we will be riding this year on the Tour of Minnesota. We are heading from Grand Rapids, MN up to Ely and back again.

The rural countryside of northwest Wisconsin isn’t that far away from northern Minnesota. We are just on the other side of the tip of Lake Superior.

I would not have been one bit surprised to have a black bear dart out of the woods and lope across the road in front of me.

It was two great weather days for biking and the scenery was superb, but there was one essential element missing that would make for perfect preparation for the middle of June Tour of MN.

I was all by myself. Solo riding in the woods can be beautiful, but a tired rider could sure use the distraction of a good conversation to while away the miles. As it was, my increasingly uncomfortable seat on the saddle grew hard to ignore and made it easier to give in to a message from my legs that they wanted to stop pedaling.

It becomes a game of stand up, sit down, pedal for a while, stand up, sit down, readjust position, pedal, stand up… you get the drill.

The ride was wonderful, despite being taxing. It’s the odd thing for me these last few years. I don’t bike regularly anymore, but I love participating in the Tour of Minnesota. So, I end up needing to put on some forced miles to prepare for the one week of constant biking.

At the end of last year’s Tour, I experienced the feeling that I didn’t really need to do any more rides. Been there, done that.

When registration time arrived in February, I found that I couldn’t resist the urge to be with my riding friends one more time, even if it meant some forced riding to prepare.

That is the one thing that makes the trials of trying to get into riding shape in a short time span so absolutely worth it.

So, ignore my whining.

I can’t wait for the trip and spending a week with some really fantastic people whom I miss dearly for fifty-one weeks out of the year!

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Written by johnwhays

June 3, 2019 at 6:00 am

No Mow

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I leave for vacation today whether I am ready, or not. I’ve got it covered well enough… I’m sort of ready.

Yesterday was my final day of work before departure, and I tried in vain to get everything completed to my satisfaction. I had hoped to leave early enough to fit in one last cutting of the lawn when I got home. I didn’t hit either target. I didn’t get all the work done before I had to go, and I left work later than I wanted.

As a consolation prize, I was going to get the mowing completed so I wouldn’t have anything that demanded my attention this morning except for finding and packing everything I want to have for the Tour of Minnesota bike trip.

It should come as no surprise that I couldn’t get the mowing done, either.

After a mere 2 or 3 minutes into the job, the power to the mower stopped abruptly. I thought it was possibly the seat interlock, but nothing I did re-enabled the PTO to engage. Then I spotted the belt was completely loose from the engine pulley.

Closer inspection revealed the idler spring had broken.

Really? After 12 hours of operation? This is how new products get a bad review.

I couldn’t find a replacement spring in stock anywhere near us. Everyone was happy to order one for me, but that wouldn’t solve my problem. The grass is long, now. I’m leaving home today for a week of vacation.

I thought maybe I could steal a spring from the old mower, but it didn’t have one matching the size I needed. The mowing did not happen. Unless I get lucky and find one in stock this morning at the one place I couldn’t check last night (because they had already closed for the day), this will be another thing I am leaving behind for others to deal with while I’m gone.

So, I’m sort of ready to leave my responsibilities behind for a week, and I’m sort of packed.

I would venture to say this is the least prepared I’ve been of all of these bike trips I have done over the years. I wish I could say that previous experience allows me to prepare less, but I don’t believe that is the case.

Right now, it feels like previous experience is informing me that I will soon be missing the comforts of home.

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Why don’t I ever take a vacation where I just stay home and relax for a week?

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Written by johnwhays

June 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Not Progress

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You’d think that, with my annual bike trip in June fast approaching, I would be riding often in preparation. Actually, I have not ridden once yet this year. It was a long winter!

Now that it has warmed up, it would make sense for me to get out and log some miles, but what did I choose to do instead? I started dismantling my bike to give it a much deserved cleaning.

Do you think there could be some subconscious factors at play that have me sabotaging my preparations for this year’s trip?

Why didn’t I do the bike maintenance when it was snowy and cold?

I am my own worst enemy.

In case you didn’t notice, my post for yesterday didn’t publish in the morning as I had intended. I don’t know what step I may have missed, but I have no reason to believe it was anything other than an unconscious oversight on my part.

By late afternoon, when my sister, Judy, checked in with me to learn why I hadn’t posted, it only took one swipe to publish from my phone. I had been that close. Just missed the last step.

I was probably distracted by thoughts of how I could be dismantling my bike down to the raw bearings to clean and grease everything so that I could then start riding it in preparation for the trip.

I wonder if my diligent planking exercises twice a day to support my ailing lumbar discs will translate to biking fitness. What I should really do is rig up my office chair to mount my bike seat on it so I can start building up calluses on my caboose while working at my desk.

It seems like the only progress I am making is in complicating my preparations for the Tour of Minnesota bike trip this year.

That’s a lot more like Not progress in my book.

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Written by johnwhays

May 15, 2018 at 6:00 am

Prepping Machines

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It seems like it should be simple to just cut down a couple of trees and grind the branches into chips, but there are a lot of little steps to setting up and actually executing the tasks.

After work yesterday, I set about prepping some of the equipment, in hopes of priming this morning’s start on this weekend’s logging project. The chipper attachment was stored a couple levels deep in the shop garage. I needed to do some rearranging before I could get access to it.

The back-blade was still on the big tractor, so the first order of business was to find somewhere out-of-the-way to park that.

Except, that wasn’t actually the first order of business. I decided to move the Grizzly out, to make room for fueling up the New Holland, and in so doing, ended up driving the ATV down to the barn to hook up its trailer.

After that, I was finally ready to back Big Blue out of the garage and get rid of the back-blade.

Once that was done, I hooked up the chipper to the 3-point hitch and parked the rig in the barn.

Next, I started collecting equipment I would want to haul to the work site in the ATV trailer.

Chainsaw. Check.

Chain oil, mixed gas, wedge, face shield, leg protectors, ropes, come-along, chains, pole saw, log holder, hand saw, ax, spare ear muffs/hearing protection, ladder, rake, branch pruner… and if I can find it, a kitchen sink.

Still, there will end up being a need for some item that I forgot to bring. Honestly, one goal of bringing so much down there is so that we won’t need it. I’m not above using a little reverse psychology with the universe.

My hope is to have tedious setup tasks taken care of in advance to get full benefit of volunteer help for cutting limbs of felled sections of trees, feeding branches into the chipper, and cutting trunks into logs. If we are really productive, there will be the added chores of driving loads of woodchips away and dumping them, or hauling logs up to the woodshed.

Most importantly, I’m looking forward to the opportunity for hearty fellowship in the great outdoors and an outcome of safe and healthy success for all bodies involved, particularly the discs of my lower back.

I don’t want to get too greedy, but some time for good-natured banter around a fire with people’s favorite beverage after a day’s physical workout would be a fine outcome, too.

I’m just sayin’.

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Written by johnwhays

December 1, 2017 at 7:00 am

Last Gasp

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While engaged in several projects of preparation for freezing temperatures yesterday, I spotted a few flower blossoms that appear to be entirely oblivious of the fragile existence to which they cling. It is inspiring to see such optimism from our flowering plants at a time when a killing frost is so close at hand.

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We moved horse-care products and medications that shouldn’t freeze out of the barn and up to the shop, drained and rolled up hoses, and blew out the buried water line to the labyrinth. I taped up a plastic barrier over the window of the shop and rearranged some things in preparation for winter storage.

Starting tonight, and continuing through Friday and Saturday, the overnight temperatures here are going to be at or below the freezing mark. That becomes the official end of our growing season.

Something in me wants to consider hibernation. Imagine if humans hibernated like some animals do. I think I’d enjoy the part where you eat non-stop right before the long rest.

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Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2015 at 6:00 am