Well, it's been a quiet week in Spring, Texas, my home, out here on the edge of the Megalopolis where the coastal plain meets the piney woods.
These are what they call the "dog days" of summer, that time in August where life becomes like an old scratchy, vinyl record--what little you hear is obscured by noise and seems to keep repeating itself, never moving forward.
seems to keep repeat
seems to keep repeating itse--
never moving for--
Sort of like the movie Groundhog day, only without Bill Murray, romance, humor or popcorn.
Every day starts the same. Even before you get up, the city has started to sweat. It's nearly 80 degrees in the dark, with humidity so high the windows on the houses and the skyscrapers downtown are sweating condensation. Your car sweats as you make your way from the kid friendly zone into the money making zone--i.e., from the suburbs where it is possible to have a yard and a non-lethal school to the central business district where it is possible to have a job capable paying for yard and school. As it happens, these two zones, which are needed by at least a couple million people in the megalopolis, are situated at least 20 or 30 miles away from each other and are designed to be traveled only by internal combustion engine.
I usually do the trek between 4 and 5, and right now, I'm trying to run. There's a bit of a breeze between the buildings downtown, but as soon as you exit the city, every flag is limp and wilted on the flag poles, looking like they've been soaked by a downpour and then baked into place. With no race on the horizon, and no friends to meet, even five miles feels like a chore. A watched Garmin never turns over the next mile. I feel like I'm running the same quarter mile over and over
the same quarter mile over
quarter mile over and
mile over and over
But even this black hole has little bits of light that escapes. Mother nature reminded us this past week that things are subject to change without notice. One morning on the commute, the freeway signs flashed
STORM FORMING IN THE GULF
FILL YOUR GAS TANK
Tropical Storm Edouard (that's Edward for you Anglo readers who live in those portions of the United States where English is still the common tongue) decided to form off the Cajun Coast and take a sight seeing trip to Houston. Edward turned out to be more like "little Eddie" or maybe Edouarlito, but at least it was variety. It gave the local news something to do other than car wrecks and shootings, and enabled at least one evening walk in temperatures that were marginally survivable.
And there were other milestones to break the monotony of the dog days. Superpounce, newly home from her 2008 World Tour, turned 11 today. She's still a tiny thing, but no longer so tiny that I can hold her entire frame in one arm to feel her first breath of the day---or her first breath ever. She's free of her cast and her ears are newly pierced. She reasoned, "if I can take a broken arm and an IV, then I can stand getting my ears pierced."
And like a Russian trying to weather the endless winter on the featureless steppes, I am managing to anesthetize myself from the sameness of it all with an addiction. With no race goal on the horizon, I've become addicted to Chain Love and Ebay for purposes of pimping out my road bike. Every time I see something new and shiny and carbony, I have to instant my bike adviser, discuss the merits of the new toy, and likely as not, pay for a new "hit" like a junkie in a back alley littered with syringes--or in this case seat posts, saddles, bar tape and handle bars.
And possibly later cranks and shifters and wheels.
If I switch from my triple front chain ring to a double, do I need to change out my shifters, and deraillures too? Should I just go for a whole new gruppo? Wow, that top-of-the-line SRAM Red looks pretty sweet.
And like a true addict, the trip I'm on always fails to satisfy--like when Chain Love bitch slapped me with carbon handle bars that were 104 grams lighter than the carbon handle bars I had just purchased barely 4 days before. Sure they were way more expensive, but what's $1 per gram as compared to the unequaled rush of having the carboniest handle bars ever and casting aside that 104 gram anchor that you haven't even installed on your bike yet?
OMG, I so need a training group or a race or a program to shake me from this sweaty-hit-the-snooze-button-and-roll-over-and-have-another-pizza-and-beer-commuter-desk- job-hell that I've fallen into.
Feel free to stage your intervention in the comments.