Tuesday, June 3, 2008

And So It Begins

A number of things are happening this week that mark my reentry into the cycling ‘sub’culture. I’ve read a few blogs lately suggesting that some high class cyclists think we are a super-culture. Randonneurs are I believe truly a subculture. Oh not in the sense of the fixed gear, baggy cargo pants, pierced and inked messenger class. (They are almost in uniform, hard to see much individuality there) Randonneurs are perhaps a bit more eclectic. A mix of custom Ti, and off the shelf fixies; road racing bikes and crossers, tending to feast on anything from liquid sports nutrition formulas to the ever popular stale pizza pocket. I’m excited!

'Thing' Number 1:
Last Sunday I tricked Mrs C into accompanying me on the tandem around the Populaire course I wrote about in my previous post.

I don’t think she was ready for the challenge of pedaling my size XL caboose around the countryside, but she handled it with great grace and dignity. On Saturday I was doing grounds maintenance at Rocky Acres and my good friend John V rolled up on his classic Ericson Randonneur. We chatted and when he learned that we would ride the populaire the next day, he was all over it like a duck on a June bug.

We had a great time. On the tandem we huffed and chuffed as John did lazy loops around us, or out and back forays just to maintain contact. We were working pretty hard (Mrs C and I) but we did have a fun and a leisurely ride. I think John appreciated it too, as he was still working through the last vestiges of recovery from his Oregon 6ooK jaunt of the weekend before.

'Thing' Number 2:
Today we had the weigh in for the triple 10 fitness challenge at work. 12 of us will compete to meet weight loss goals through the spring and summer. It’s not just about weight loss but also keeping it off.

In prep for that I did a little looking on line last night to try to figure out what would be a reasonable, healthy, weight loss goal for me. I also tried to figure out what would be an audacious goal. I was a little surprised and dismayed that they are one and the same. Using the Body Mass Index system to determine what my healthy weight should be, I will have to loose 61 pounds(!) just to get out of the ‘overweight’ category! It seems that my current weight puts me at high risk of weight associated disease. So to get to normal weight and an attendant normal disease risk I will have to loose a pound a week and it will take over a year! I really don’t want to wait that long. I just had a birthday, and this time next year I will be 60!

I remember my 50th birthday like it was, … well the fact that I can remember it is worthy of note. We had a party at the McMinnimins Olympic club in Centralia. I also remember distinctly feeling that I was possibly in the best shape of my entire life. Well perhaps age adjusted: I probably was a little faster on the track in my 20s, and maybe a little stronger in terms of muscular strength but I had incredible endurance and power, well, for me anyway.

I can’t say that now but I would like to be in that kind of shape next year when I turn 60 and I know that the way to get there then is to start down this path now.

So I’m putting this out there. This is not necessarily the Dr Codfish weight loss and fitness challenge (ala Fat Cyclist) but I know that one way to reinforce an attempt to accomplish a goal is to make it public: If you all know that I am going after this, then I will have more incentive not to falter in my efforts (sheesh, isn’t the internet a disgusting place at times?)

'Thing' the third:
I brought my bike to work today and rode home: It’s 26 miles one way, so I thought I would ease into this. I thought twice about it this morning. It wasn’t pouring but by anyone’s standards it was definitely raining. (I can say that, I lived in Forks WA for a few years). By the time I left it was just real cloudy, windy and treatening rian. Adecent day for riding this spring. Sun would have been nice but I’ll settle for no rain. It was cold and I got a butt load of that onshore wind throgh the Chehalis gap, great for training I guess.

Thingamajig number 3a:
Here is something to ponder: Do you transport your fancy bike on a car top carrier? Do you park your car in the garage? You know where I am going with this right? Well not quite. If you have ever run your bike on top of your car into the garage door because you forgot it was up there, I have a sure fire, can’t loose, bet the farm solution! RAISE YOUR HOUSE! On Saturday as I was getting the tandem ready, I had to put it up on the car top rack to adjust the rack boom from single bike to tandem bike configuration. Once I got things sorted, adjusted, and cinched down, I noticed that it LOOKED like the car, with the bike on top would fit in the garage! Oh man, this is like a cat coming upon a snake! I had Mrs. C come out to eyeball progress as I slowly backed the car/bike into the garage. Voila! Ready to get up early in the morning, bike loaded, and head off to the ride start. Yes, for a mere $65,000 and a 4 month hiatus from your home, you too can effect this quick, convenient, fool proof fix for that age old problem; overhead bike ramming. Remember, you heard it first from the Dr C problem solution desk.

Thingy Number 3b:
Talking with the organizers of this weekend’s 600K it appears that I may be providing support to riders on Sunday. We are still ‘in negotiation’ but I’m hoping to work the junction of Hwy 12 and 123, on Sunday, just outside the boundaries of Mt Rainier National Park. This will be just at the bottom of the White Pass descent and just a few miles before the climb up Cayuse Pass. I’ll stop by the Wally mart pharmacy on the way out to see if they have any generic brand EPO, I’m sure it would help many riders scale Cayuse! THAT is a brutal climb. If I can’t get the EPO, I’ll look into installing fixed ropes for the really steep pitches. This climb woould perhaps put the likes of Hampsten, Armstrong, and Pantani in a ‘spot of bother’ but of course for randonneurs it will just be the last of four passed in two days, a memorable part of another weekend in the saddle. This ride will likely generate some rando lore in the future.

Chapeau to those who ride this epic route!


  1. Thing #2 is absolutely the greatest decision you can make, Dr. C. What a huge difference this will make in your current health, and your long-term health outlook.

    Regarding Thing #3b: see you Sunday Morning ... and if you can, bring me a can of Starbucks Doubleshot!


  2. Dr Codfish6/5/08, 6:42 AM


    Um yeah, it will be transformative(?), thransfoming(?) transformatastic! Actually it will be harder than riding PBP in the rain, or Gold Rush in 110 degre temps. but I overcame those thorny little challenges so so I'm up for it. This does not really rate on the 'epic' scale, but as you aluded, the result will.

    Double shot eh? I think your rando development is now complete, once you've learned that little trick it's up the road, in the rain, with a smile on your face.

    Bonne chance et route!

    Dr C