The Look

First, true confessions: I did not successfully complete my penance, unless a bath counts. Ah, well, such is life.

Saturday – great day! I ran the base perimeter. Somehow, on Friday night, the heat finally got turned on for the summer, and what had been a cold spring, with temps rarely hitting the 60’s, turned into bluebird skies and 80 degree weather. Ouch. I did not know it at the time, but I was running into the same wall Jon did. He did better with it than me, but hey, that’s life.

The run started off great – good stride, good legs, good breathing over some decently tough hills up from the gym, behind the Sub School officer training building, past the commissary, and over to the beginning of the perimeter trail. About halfway up the last long hill (as opposed to the steep hills that were still coming up), I ended up stopping for a while as base security pulled one of their trucks out of the ditch on either side of the road. After stopping, I was kind of thrown for a loop and never really got the rhythm back on the tough section of the run. But, the birds sang, the breeze blew, and the sun beat down on my ears. Life was good.

When I got home, the wife and kids were hanging out in the yard. I was starved after my run, so we ate an early supper. Then, I was able to talk my lovely wife into riding the bikes into town for dessert! She’s always been a gym/machine kind of person – cars and roads kind of spook her, so her agreeing to do the 5 miles each way was a big step. Especially since it meant spending at least some time in public with helmet hair!

The ride into town was great – the birds were still shining, the breeze was still blowing, and the sun still beat down on our ears, though a cool evening breeze was coming off the sound. We were locking up the bikes in the public parking on the Groton side, just off Main Street, and Melissa said “You know, that wasn’t bad at all.” My heart went pitter-pat…

On the way back, we made the turn back into the neighborhood, headed up the first small hill, and the next thing I know, Melissa’s up out of the saddle, and heading up the hill. I about died laughing (and I really mean died – dragging 100 lbs of boys and trailer up a hill really tests the whole VO2MAX thing) after she gives me the look.

Yeah, you cycling fans know which look I’m talking about: the one that Lance gave Jan

For you non-cycling fans, let me expound.

The 2001 Tour was where Lance Armstrong became Lance Armstrong and not just some American who’d won the Tour. Yeah, there was the whole cancer survivor thing, but 1999 and 2000 had been kind of weak tours overall. Armstrong taking those two – sure, the kid’s got potential, but let’s get him some real competition, and he’ll crack.

In 2001, the whole cycling world was in pretty good shape (at least they thought), Armstrong hadn’t had the best off-season, and all the big guns were firing. Stage 10 ended atop l’Alpe d’Huez, a classic climb. After bluffing like he was struggling up an earlier mountain in the stage, Armstrong and Ullrich were in the second group on the final climb, trailing Joseba Beloki (who biffed hard on a downhill in a later tour, breaking his pelvis and essentially ending his career) and Christophe Moreau, who at one time was the next great French Cyclist, and has since been replaced at least twice).

About 10 minutes from the finish, Armstrong looks over his shoulder, locks eyes with the German, and then ups his cadence and pulls ahead without breaking more of a sweat. On TV, it couldn’t have been clearer – Armstrong was looking to see what Ullrich had left, and inviting him to bring it. When he launched, Armstrong was gone and Ullrich didn’t even flinch.

In short order, Lance passes the two leaders, and wins the stage, takes a commanding lead in the Tour, and leaves no doubt that Americans, for the entire 20th century and into the 21st, have always been better at kicking butt in France than anyone.

Until that point, Armstrong, while surely to be listed among the best riders to win the Tour, hadn’t really established himself as a Great. With the Look, with the win on l’Alpe, and several other wins that year, Armstrong pedaled into legend.

In any case, the same look is what my lovely wife flashed me as we hit the smaller of the two hills approaching the house. And, like Ullrich, all I could do was sit there and take it.

Plus, I didn’t want to ralph delicious Kona Ice Cream.

So, I ended up with 2 hours of running (give or take), an hour on the bike, and no swim, but an hour in the bath. Close enough.

The old Trek frame and fork is repainted. I took both down to bare metal with aircraft stripper, steel wool, and elbow grease. The “aircraft stripper” is extremely important – I tried some other stuff from WalMart, and it worked like crap. Picked up the right stuff at Auto Zone, and the paint peeled off. The other trick is to only work a small part at a time – coat a tube, wait 15 minutes, rub off the paint, and move to another tube. If you don’t the stripper and paint dry back to the frame, and more stripper is required to get it loose.

Washed both with water. Primed both with auto primer, and sealed with primer sealer. I painted the fork using auto paint – it looks GRATE! The frame I did with Rust-Oleum, since I wanted a nice, bright blue, and there wasn’t auto paint in that color. Doesn’t look bad, but not quite so flash as the fork. I’ve hung both of them in the space with the furnace – warm, low humidity, should cure the paint really well. Later this week, I’ll smooth out any runs with fine grain sandpaper, and put on auto clearcoat. Should work fine.

In the future, though, I’ll probably try one of those places that strip and do Imron for $150 + shipping – this has been a PITA.

7 thoughts on “The Look”

  1. Wow, I’m impressed! You run a race AND go for a bike ride. I usually go home and nap…lol.

    Would you believe I’ve been tempted to repaint my grey bike, pink…lol.

  2. LOL! Oh yeah, the look. :) My wife went biking with us the other day for one of my runs. She hadn’t been on a nike in a loooong time. No look from her yet, but she’s working on it.

    And don’t get that stripper on your hands. Yikes! I stripped a set of scuba tanks once with marine stripper (heh, heh) and that stuff is incredibly aggressive.

  3. Thanks for a great workout story. After weeks of neglect, my bike is gettinng dragged out of the garage. I’ll probably look more like poor Jan I’m afraid.

  4. bill, you got the look?! how humiliating…what a blow to your manhood! hahaha!

    but, yes, getting a look like that from your spouse, knowing that she’s enjoying herself while partaking in a sport that you love…that would make my heart soar.

    you’re a lucky guy, mr. jank.

  5. Jank,
    If I’d gotten the look, I’d have dug down…and probably screwed up months of training.

    And Dawn, how would a mid-80’s bike in lavender w pink accents make you feel? It’s a 56cm, so unless you’re tall, it’s a no-go.

    neca, to look like Jan on one of my good days is something I aspire to.

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