Saturday, June 23, 2012

Changing Gears

My right foot has been schitzo. It started hurting last September. It wouldn't stop hurting even when I stopped running, but running certainly aggravated it. It's not a running injury. My guess is arthritis.
I've been doing more biking and hiking than previous years.

Several years ago, the Trek bike rep for eastern Colorado happened to be my next-door neighbor. I took advantage of that. We went biking a couple of times and he offered to build me a bike. He builds "demos" all the time, shows them for 1-3 months, then sells them cheap. So he built me a bike to my specs.
I told him, I'm not going to own 2-3 bikes, one for racing, one for training, and one for kicking-around. I want one bike that can do it all. I know I won't be winning any races on it, but I would like to be able to race it if I got addicted.
He built me a Trek Top-Fuel 8 with Fox from suspension, Manitou rear shock, and Juicy disc brakes. The wheels were tubeless, but to save me money, he sold it to me with tubes and regular tires.
I just dropped $900 on entire new wheel sets, including brakes and rear gear-cassette and chain. The old tires are trashed, but the old wheels are still good. Instead of owning two bikes, I'll own two sets of wheels. I need a different set of tires, unlike the new ones.
Old tires: 26"x2.1".
New tires: 26"x2.2".
The wider tires are very noticeable. Fro one thing, I thought for certain I'd be losing some weight, since I'd be losing the tubes! But the extra width and lack of worn-off rubber meant the new tires/wheels were each 1oz heavier. Damn! They sure ride smooth, though.

For the old wheels, all I need are the tires. That's a bunch cheaper than what I just paid. I'll go tubeless for the old wheels, too.
Apparently the new latex sealants, like Stan's Notubes, put True-goo and Slime to shame. There are Youtube videos of people hammering nails into their tires and they don't lose more than a few pounds of pressure. Here's a great one. Not only is the model hot, she does the work herself, all while posing and smiling at the camera. What awesome skills! (I think she's the Stepford bike-tech.) But you can skip to the end to watch her butcher the tires. Holes seal almost the instant the latex flows in. Since my area is infested with goathead burrs, that's awesome! I was always pumping-up my tubed tires.
Nearly all how-to's say to squirt sealants into tires after mounting. I chose to pour the sealant in when half-mounted. I never had much luck trying to force sealant into the tiny, threaded stem tube. (It's "sealant" after all!)
Between Idaho Springs and Georgetown, pointing north towards Longs Peak. You can see the hazy smoke from the High Park fire.
Fast-forward many years. I never raced, and in fact never got addicted. I always wanted to run. Well my body won't let me do that much anymore. My Mom's side of the family is plagued by arthritis and carpal-tunnel syndrome. My knees used to be wreaked, but proper running form allowed me to repair and rebuild my knees better than they've ever been in my life.
I wish I could say the same for my right foot.
I refuse to live on drugs the rest of my life, and natural/organic anti-inflammatories are pitifully incapable of remedying my problem. Even with insurance, drugs cost too much. With insurance, my asthma inhalers cost about $75. My antibiotic eye drops for an eye infection I recently had cost over $80. You want to know why healthcare costs more? Because people are choosing to spending more. It's their choice. In the past, people didn't spend money on so many remedies. They altered their lifestyles realistically to avoid the aggravation of injuries. Americans, and especially ultra-runners, aren't into realistic lifestyles. they are heavy users of drugs, from ibuprofen to, sometimes, steroids.

No, life is huge and there's no reason why I have to mentally/emotionally imprison myself into the mindset that running is all there is. If I stop running the Big Miles now, then I won't be crippled the rest of my life. I'll be normal, or still better than normal. Normal people think of 3 miles as pretty far. While that seems really bizarre to me now, there's nothing wrong with it. And if I can keep doing adventures via vehicle, bike, and hike, then I can only relish that and not dwell on the loss of big running miles.
 Other than biking, hiking, running, and going on desert vacations, I've been shooting. I recently visited Dragonman's museum and shooting range. He's legally licesned to own and shoot any kind of weapon, including miniguns, RPG's, silenced submachineguns, etc.
A tempest blowing in from the west at the Dragonman range near Colorado Springs

So how does Dragonman really feel?

OK, I concede - Dragonman's toys are much cooler than mine.

All Class 3 weapons. He has boxes of hand-grenades, mortar and RPG, and oodles of bullets. But no Phase Plasma rifle in the 40-watt range. Maybe he has one on backorder?

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