Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Continuing with Perceptions

Thank God that we have been given the abilities to come up with the instruments of science to temper our perceptions with reality. Okay, you can thank whomever you want, but I truly thank God for coming up with such a clever being to begin with. Despite our propensity toward laziness, we’ve somehow managed to channel that laziness into constructive pursuits. You see, I’m more of the believer that it is not necessity that is the mother of invention, it is laziness. That is a completely different topic though…

Yesterday morning at -3 degrees, I was prepared for the worst and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was very comfortable. Last night, it was the complete opposite. I glanced at the computer to determine temperature; with the innnnernet telling me that it was 20 degrees (somewhere) I dressed for what I thought was going to be a warm and balmy ride home. However, I was cold and uncomfortable. I swear it was windy and single digit temperatures. Sure ‘nough, rode by the TCF and there in the orange digital glow of incandescent lights: 20!

There, done… perception of it being cold: WRONG, thanks to the valued contributors to science in the form of the thermometer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermometer I was reminded of just how easy it is to think things are different than they are.

For me, this brings to mind another example from yesterday of perceptions being way off.

I have been experiencing some pain in my right foot and Achilles heel. Sometimes being cold makes it uncomfortable riding this winter. Due to adjustments in equipment and clothing, it has led me to a series of adjustments to position of the saddle on my bike. There was an early winter adjustment required due to the increase in thickness of the sole of my winter cycling shoes.

Someday, I will learn that I KNOW where my saddle should be based on HUNDREDS of hours worth of experience. Someday I will learn to trust myself and not second-guess. Ignoring my sensibilities, I have made some roadside adjustments in the position of my saddle. I’ve raised it thinking it was too low. I’ve lowered it because I could feel myself extending my right foot “ankling” to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke. From experience, I’ve recognized that this pedaling action is what causes the pain in my right Achilles heel, an early sign of tendonitis.

Riding home, I tried to figure out what wasn’t right: cleat placement on shoe? Saddle height? Fore-aft position of saddle? Angle of the saddle? I found myself sitting on the nose of the saddle, and looking down I would have sworn it didn’t look like I was high enough, my legs didn’t look like my they were fully extended. I was ready to stop and raise my saddle.

When I got home, the bike came inside and right into the stand. Behold, the scientific instrument: The Tape Measure. The ah-ha moment, putting that tape measure to the bike and measuring the points that I know must be: Saddle to center of crank: Should be 765mm + unknown offset for thicker soles on boots. It was 775mm. My soles cannot be a full CM thicker than normal cycling shoes, so DOWN went the saddle.

This morning, 20 degrees. Prepared for what 20 degrees really feels like, dressed right, bike felt perfect. Now, to take it easy for a while to make sure to get my foot, ankle, and Achilles heel back into shape before April.

Where am I ad for mileage? Thanks to Pete, I have an example of a spreadsheet to keep track. We'll see if I get there though.

Monday - 30 - Commute
Tuesday - 30 - Commute
MTD/YTD - 375

1 comment:

-d said...

Watching the (not necessarilly the) news this morning, they had a dude in Minn telling people how terribly cold it was. He was standing outside and acting like he was going to die. They did a whole thing on hypothermia, as well as telling people they shuoldn't go outside.

I hoped and prayed for a cyclist to ride by. It would have been perfect.

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