Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's those tiny little things that hurt the worst

Ok, my bike is just a possession. It's only a thing. I accept that. I am not made to worship things, I am made to worship Him.  And I'm totally bummed because my bike is busted. I was going to go on the Saturday Shop Ride yesterday morning. But I slept late. So I pulled the bike into the sunroom and set it up on the trainer and that's when I saw it. A crack, a tiny crack that goes straight through a small part of the frame. It's right where the rear wheel bolts on. 

A testament to the fact that I am a big, heavy guy who pedals really hard to get up hills. I took it to the shop and asked about it. I just had it in the shop last week and though that they had messed it up, but no, if they had, the crack would have been different than it was. I can't ride it until it gets replaced. The frame is made from aluminum and once aluminum bends or breaks, you can't weld it back. It's busted. It's flat busted. And that means that I can't ride.  Riding on this, I would risk a catastrophic crash, or I might just goof up some of my other components by having all the stresses wrong.  I don't miss the bike, I miss riding. The bike is just the means. And for me, as funny as it sounds, I think of it something akin to worship. I float and I suffer. I offer my efforts and taste the rewards of my relationship.
So the frame maker has a warranty program. I think that, with a couple more pictures, I could get a new one sent out. Then I could ride again.  Maybe next week.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ice Cycling

For those, ok, for you, Professor X, who has been waiting for me to continue my Orthodoxy vs Orthopraxy blogging, I'm working on it when I can. I'm just not satisfied that I have some posts worth publishing yet.

Yesterday, I rode my bike in to work. It was below freezing and it felt like skiing. Wind in my face, the urge to blow my nose every two minutes. The roads were clear of any ice and the sun came out every now and then, so it wasn't too bad. It felt cold at first but I started to warm up about ten minutes into the ride. What was I wearing that I could cycle in freezing temps? A light, silk weight DuoDry shirt > a thicker, long sleeved version of # 1 > jersey > wind-vest. I added arm warmers and gloves and liners. For my legs I had leg warmers, no not the kind from Flashdance, like these ones from Specialized. Then I had on a set of thermal bib knickers. Most folks would wear leg warmers with standard shorts or bib knickers, not both, but I wanted to keep the blood going to my toes as warm as possible. I had on some really warm shoe covers and wool socks. My toes did get chilly. The best part? Pulling ice out of my beard when I finished.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The triumph of Orthodoxy over Orthopraxy, part one, personal perspectives and bias

So I've been a Catholic all my life. I've also been involved with other Christian traditions (or "ecclesial communities") over the years. I went to Young Life and some Baptist events as a teen. I worked with Young Life for five or six years through college and into my career as a Catholic Youth Minister. And my family attend a Baptist Sunday School in addition to Mass each week. Long stories behind each of those, I'm still Catholic though, still Orthodox in my understanding of the Eucharist. I don't have any issues with Church theology from Trent to Vatican II, or even with Humanae Vitae or Mary. We have six kids and respect the fact that God may call us to having more. But suffice to say that I have a fairly adequate understanding of both Catholic theology and fundamentalist theology. I won't put that last one with a capital "F," because it's a loose system, especially in Southern Baptist churches. I also see some things, some things that trouble me.

Why the disclaimer?
I say this because the direction I'm going is fraught with the limitations of human perception (so if the Church really is the Sacrament of God's Presence here on Earth, being able to wrap your brain around it would be as difficult as trying to wrap your brain around God) and the fact remains that I may very well be looking at things with an improperly formed conscience or a damaged set of life-filters. So be it. All opinions here are just from one guy named after a barnyard animal. This is all free advice and you get what you pay for, your mileage may vary, etc. But as Chesterton wrote, "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." He was talking about generalists who do things out of love as opposed to specialists who do things because they get paid lots of money, taking the most important parts of life (child rearing, for example). This is something that I feel I have to write despite the fact that I may be a poor writer, or one with a skewed view of reality. I have to say what I see because it appears that folks in these two polis' are too wrapped up in the validity of their own respective viewpoints and their historical differences to see the areas where they are deficient. Or Heaven help us, actually look to the other for guidance. One has the right theology, and sees that as their credentials, but the other has a better sense of the practice, and of course sees that as their "fruit."

Which side am I on?
In the title, it may seem as if I have a side, or that I see one as superior, and that is partly true. On one hand, I am going to speak mainly from the Catholic view, one I can't help but shake, and yet on that I have freely chosen. On the other hand, I see this triumph as a bad thing. The fact that these two traditions don't cross-pollinate enough to see the ways that they could benefit from each other is a great thorn in the side of Christ's Bride. We are not whole in the way that we should be. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things, points out that in some way, we are unified, else the prayer of Jesus that we would be one didn't come to pass, and I'd hate to bet against the Lord Jesus and his interests, but this communion is not one that we fully live out. I am for the Catholic "team." I wish for all other "ecclesial communities" to know the truths that God has vested in the Church for their own edification. And I feel that the Catholic Church, while flawless in theology, had deep issues in how it practices, and I'm not talking about Liturgy. But more about that later. OK, everybody up to speed on where I'm starting from and a general idea of where I'm going? Good.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Jr. team is doomed, I tell you, doomed!

Last night, the Junior section of my cycling team had a pizza dinner/parent's meeting. Last season was a rough one, the couple who has been the heart and soul of the junior team got overwhelmed by the responsibilities. Since the guy is a total cycling geek, he's stayed on trying to coach. But the gal has pulled herself out of the team to spend more time with career and kid, I think. The problem is that he was the cycling coach but she was the Momma Bear. She organized everything, got deals on registering the whole team at once, made sure everyone had a ride, etc. So the team has just been running on inertia since then, doing what they always have done, just showing up and waiting for stuff to happen. Being a new year, the pres called everyone together to get some level of organization. In the process they named me as Race Director. I pointed out that I had never finished a race better than last. I pointed out that at my first race, I got beat by a girl. A girl who mentioned that she had just finished her last Chemo four months prior. I took the position. Those kids are doomed.

Oh, and Joseph got a very nice trophy, the only award given, for being the most improved rider. The pres and VP had very nice things to say about him, and even though I'm his Dad, I know they weren't just blowing smoke up his backside. You can see it in the way that he finishes, the way he goes past the point where he used to quit, in his results, and more importantly, how he gets treated by his competition. They respect him now when before they just ignored him. Little brother Jacob spent the rest of the night playing with the trophy while making space battle sounds. Those are my boys.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

OK, it looks like I only have one spare der, not two

Upon further review (it took a while), my old derailleur cage is bent. It looks like it's not, but the teeth of the two pulleys don't line up, so something is messed up. A buddy of mine (Matt) who works as a wrench in the Keller shop told me that you can replace the cage, he even showed me the part, but he said that it's a pain in the butt. Actually, he said it was a *itch, but I don't like using that kind of language. Maybe if he had said that it was a positively craptacular way to spend an afternoon, I'd post that. But instead he said bitch. Doh!