December 9, 2004: Veinte loco

OK, let's start this off with a rant. NEVER BUY FROM PERFORMANCE BIKES ONLINE. Their fulfillment services suck. A couple of years ago, I vowed never to order stuff from them again after it took them a month to get me some tires and other parts I needed to get the Hoo-E ready for a race. I ordered the parts three weeks before the race thinking that I'd be covered, but Performance completely fucked it up and sent me the wrong stuff a week after the race. That was just the final straw in a haystack full of Performance fuck ups.

Well, time heals all wounds, and I allowed myself to be lured back into the fold by some sale prices (same stupid thinking that got me the Spinergy rims that I hate). So I order some stuff Christmas gifts from them, get an e-mail confirmation, and even a shipping confirmation. A few days later the stuff comes, but the one thing I really wanted (a Crank Brothers 17 multi-tool for my brother B) was not in the box. What was in the box was an infuriating little note that started off with "Oops, we goofed ..." Turns out the tool is out of stock, and was out of stock when I ordered it. However, if they had told me that at the time, I might have taken my business to an online vendor that had what I was looking for. Instead, they duped me into thinking it was on its way. Now that I know that I've been had, it's nearly too late to get something else ordered and delivered to my bro before Christmas. Thanks Performance. To top it all off, the Oops, we goofed note states that as soon as the tool is in they'll just go ahead and charge it my credit card and ship it to me. Fat lot of good that's going to do me and brother B in the middle of January. Nashbar, Cambria Bicycle Outfitters, and BeyondBikes have never had any problem getting stuff to me on time; it's only Performance that can't quite figure out the U.S. postal system.

The EG lions

As for tonight's ride, well, I could have cared less. Literally from the moment I clipped into the pedals, the only thing I wanted to do was to get back to the warm, dry house. It was really, really foggy out tonight, so foggy that I couldn't wear my glasses or use my headlamp. Not being able to see more than 20 feet in any direction can tend to take some of the interest out of a ride. Plus, I was so tired. Work has really been a drag lately, and it's hard to escape its dark cloud even out on the bike. Tonight was simply a quest to log 20 miles and get the hell home.

Aboard the Hoo-E again tonight, I zig-zagged around EG for a while then headed up the Lion's Heads. This is a very challenging, unrelenting climb to the top of EG. I didn't have my inclinometer today, but I'd say the climb averages 10 degrees and tops out over 20 in some spots. Per my winter training regimen, I wanted to do the whole thing sitting, but about three-quarters of the way up my hammies were threatening to pop like some springs in a cartoon couch, so I did a little standing to ease the pain. At the top, I gave the each of the EG lions a pat on the head, as is my usual custom, and started down.

The lack of glasses was fine on the slow, steamy climb up, but I really needed them to stop the tearing on the way down. It would have been worse, but my brakes are still so shrieky that I couldn't open it up on the descent. Basically, I crept down the hill at a speed slow enough that I could use my brakes without alerting half of EG to my presence. It felt like kind of a waste not being able to go for it on the downhill, but as I always like to say, safety first!

Against my better judgment, I decided to cut through La Mirada to get to the coastal bikepath. Things were fine until I got to the sloppy, muddy gash that doubles as a water drainoff ditch -- La Mirada crossing. In times of weather, the crossing becomes a huge mudhole, bridged by a large piece of plywood that usually floats unsecured on the muddy, stagnant water. As I came around the corner to the crossing, I noticed that the plywood was in a different spot, so I stopped to reconnoiter. The plywood had been moved to cover some muddy grass and provide a less treacherous route than the original crossing. I decided to go for it and pushed off hard to get enough speed going to roll across the plywood without pedaling. As soon as my front tire hit the plywood though, a huge hole opened up and swallowed the front wheel. I nearly flew over the handlebars, but was able to save myself with my right foot, which slid dangerously close to a pulled groin across the slick plywood. Thankfully, my cleat caught in knot in the wood and I narrowly avoided plunging headfirst into the jacuzzi-sized mud pit. It could have been really bad, but I escaped with only a completed soaked right foot.

At this point, I hadn't even logged 10 miles yet, I was wet, the bike was a muddy mess, and I sooo wanted to head for home. Dutifully though, I continued down to Half Moon Bay, mindlessly pedaling away to fill time and space. I had to get my 20 in. On the way back to EG, I realized I wasn't going to reach 20 unless I added a couple more niggles here and there. Sigh. I was fighting this ride the whole way. I was bored and tired and had a lot of other things on my mind. Usually a ride washes away the negative thoughts and the anxiety, but today it offered nothing except one more task that had to be completed.

I did finally get twenty, but it wasn't pretty or fun -- neither was the half hour it took to wash and lube the Hoo-E after the ride. It's going to be a long winter.

A lot of bunnies out tonight, but no sign of any other critters.

Mileage: 20.17 Time: 1:46:50 Avg: 11.3 Max: 29.9 Weight: 175

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