If you want to find out just how bad your Web addiction is, try having your modem implode on a Friday morning -- with the replacement not scheduled to arrive until Monday night. It was a sad weekend with a heavy Internet monkey on my back, stealing bandwidth from my wife's Web-enabled phone, public libraries, the Apple Store, you name it. Hi, my name is Jason, and I have a problem.
Without my favorite time-waster, I was actually forced to ride on Saturday. Tooled down to the local bike shop in search of a replacement stem after applying my famous "Fists of Ham" human torque wrench to the fixie and snapping a handlebar-clamp bolt in a location that absolutely defied extraction. Then, it was on to the Walnut Creek Trail, site of my infamous leg-breaking crash last year, out to the Greenbelt, and on to the Raccoon River. Bonus discovery -- there's a bike shop just off the Raccoon River trail in Waukee that I'd never visited!
The trails were all open, though they displayed that silty, sandy crud that says, "I've been under flood waters recently." The fields weren't so lucky. A trail that should have been surrounded by knee-high formations of corn or lush creeping carpets of soybeans often looked like a path across the moon's surface.
I had my iPod with me, though I'm discovering that it may do more harm to my riding than good. Sure, there's a motivational factor in the music, but something about riding in isolation, increasing the wind noise, and engaging the drivetrain without hearing it seems to suck my energy. I almost understand the RAGBRAI rider's preoccupation with external stereo speakers, though I still hate it with a passion (but more on that as RAGBRAI season gears up).
On the return leg into Waukee, I happened to meet up with my ex-boss Tom Anderson, who shamed me by a) forcing me to work really hard to catch him, b) having plenty of breath to chat once I did, and c) doing so on his full-suspension mountain bike, while d) on the tail end of a gravel-road century, when I was e) at the 50 mile mark of an all-pavement ride on a road bike. Tom is an animal.
All told, I got 65 miles in just over four hours' ride time, and I was just tired -- not totally wiped out -- by the end. Metric century! 100k brevet! LimpStrong II training ride! Call it what you will, I call it a success.