Monday, November 25, 2013

Weather or Not...

I look out the window at the gray day. Winter is finally showing in North FL.  The high today is far below what we've had recently, and the wind bites a bit at bare skin.  Yesterday, I got texts and emails, saying it would be okay if we cancelled the morning ride due to in-climate weather. It was cold for us. High 40's when we rolled out.

But when I look out that window, I imagine the lone figure plowing his way against the wind. Doing the work that others save for fair weather.  I romanticize the struggle against the cold.  Maybe it's the images of Andy Hampsten over the Gavia.

Maybe it's wanting to emulate a fraction of the perseverance of those hardmen that raced the 2013 spring classics.

Maybe it's just me enjoying watching the local skinny fast guys shiver and shake. They certainly showed me no mercy during the summer, when my clydesdale sized fame wilted with core temps in the millions. 

I think mostly, I just like the change.  Cycling can take many flavors in our home town.  The brutal oppressive heat and humidity of the Summer, gives way to golden yellow Fall light, and the smell of leaf fires in rural yards.  Winter brings the cold black of night rides, until Spring rolls around with all of its colorful visuals and the sweet smells of nature awaking from its slumber.

Each has its time and place in forging us in our pursuit of fitness, growth, perseverance, mental toughness, or simple peace.  Like any great new album, play it long enough, you'll be ready for a change. Right about now, I must be ready.  That cold gray road sure looks good to me.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Let It Go

Daylight savings has ended, and it's quite dark when I leave the confines of the office, at the end of the workday.  Last week I dug out my light systems, to see what was still functional, and what was in need of repair.  Repair is a tough call on these light systems.  We ride a lot at night, and the guys I ride with go damn near as fast in the dark, as they do in the light. Consequently,  the light systems have gotten expensive, to produce the light needed to keep up with these fast bastards. I try to take care of them, but during the long hot summers, cycling through battery charges is far from my mind, and the batteries occasionally come up short the next season.

Batteries have gotten outrageous!  A new battery for my HID light runs about $135, ON SALE!!! That kills me, as I can buy an overseas built, new school LED light, for about $85. The whole system for $85, and they work great. I have one now, and use it almost every ride. My hang up is with the waste. I cannot stand to toss a perfectly good light, that simply lacks a battery. In the appraisal business, we call this incurable functional obsolescence. The cost to cure the problem, exceeds the contributory value of the item damaged. Or in this case, it exceeds the value of the ENTIRE system.  But the waste....

I go through the same thing with cordless drills. I have two drills that I bought for about $135. But both batteries are roached, and no longer take a charge. New batteries run $45/ea. Here we go again....

I have two dead drills and multiple dead cycling lights, all sitting in no man's land on a shelf. I can't bear to toss them, but they don't work.  I have a few friends that have dared to call me a hoarder. These are close friends, and can get away with that, but still... Is it truly hoarding when you just don't want to be wasteful?  I have a shop full of 10 generation old cycling parts, and I'm a hero when I pull out that 1994 widget that saves your favorite ride's shifting.  But the rest of the time, folks snicker and point, and suggest that I should be on that damned TV show. I can see it now, bald and wailing as some bright shirt and glove wearing jackass tosses my first generation XTR cranks into a trash bin, and a counselor tries to discover what grave happening in my life triggered my salvation excess.

Maybe there is some great issue in my past, that my psyche decides to bury beneath bike parts. But mostly, I believe it comes from not having money as kid growing up. So now, when I have something nice, I intend to hang onto it until it rots away in my fingers. Even in my shop days, I was a fixer, more than a replacer.  I always tried to get that guy's shifter to kick out a few more weeks, because I knew his money was hard earned, too.

But now I'm at a crux. These lights, they cost more to fix than a whole new light, so that runs counter to my saving the cash ideology.

But the waste...

I think I have a problem.  Anybody know a good hoarding counselor?