March 24, 2006

Sock It To Me, Sock It To Me...

Morning Workout
Hey, wait a minute. What the hell am I talking about? Today is Friday... it's an official rest day. I'm resting, I'm resting!!! Watch me rest. Can you see me rest? Here I am... resting. Woohoo! Can I get a little R-E-S-T-P-E-C-T. Yeah, find out what it means to me..


I'm not much for the technical gobbledegook (which apparently is the correct way to spell gobbledegook. And this entire time I thought it had a 'y' in it. Huh. Go figure.) When people ask me about the detailed specifications of my bike set-up, as a for instance, I usually just stare at them in bewilderment, my eyes clouded over in agoggleness (yeah, I made that one up) and, I'm not too ashamed to admit, oftentimes with a driblet of drool dropping from the corner of my mouth. I know that the bike has two wheels and when I push on the pedal thingies it goes forward. If I push on the handlebars it may even turn in the direction I intend every now and then. And there are a couple of little lever thingamabobs that help me slow down when I go so fast I begin to crap my shorts, which, in case you care, have so much padding in them it feels like I have an extra set of last night's undies crumpled up in there by mistake (and I know you know what I'm talking about..) I'm told that my wheels are a size 700 and I've got a size 25 of something-or-other somewhere down in the chain ring vicinity, whatever that means.

Truth be told, I don't even understand what the numbers of my blood pressure mean. Or anybody else's blood pressure, for that matter. I'm told that mine is very low in a good way, but I couldn't tell you the difference between a fifty over ninety and a seventy over one eighty. Hell, I don't even know if those are in the range of blood pressure zones. I'm just not a technically minded person.

So you can probably imagine the cranial meltdown I've been experiencing since I decided to purchase new handlebars for my bike. I'm moving from the standard "drop downs" to the more aerodynamic and, honestly, much cooler looking, "bull horns". I won't bore you with the reasons for doing this because, frankly, they're just plain shallow. I'm really here to talk about the mentally exhausting process of making this technical decision.

About four months ago when I originally decided to get bull horns, I did a cursory search and decided that the ones I wanted to get were the Hed aerobars. I saw them on a couple of professional racers bikes and, well, they look really fast. But when making this type of decision, that reasoning alone didn't sit well with me. I mean, after all, I have to get the one that is best for my riding style and capabilities, don't I? And I sure am of no professional caliber. Far far from it. So I started the process...

Like the stages of grief, there are various stages of my technical decision-making process. It kicks off with perhaps my most favorite stage: procrastination.

Tough decisions like this really require a fair bit of procrastination. I mean, you can't make rash decisions in such complicated matters. It'd be too easy. I find it much better to talk about it for a few months as if I were actually going to make a decision. But don't worry, I'm not. Yet by talking about it I can continue to get more and more stressed about having to make the actual decision without the real relief of decision making. Once that stress level reaches a critical point (which, coincidentally, is about the same time that Cat starts pressing me on a daily basis to get my ass in gear), I know phase one has come to a close, so I move to phase two: research. And that, my friend, is where the trouble really begins.

I started by asking a whole bunch of people what their opinions are on which are the best handlebars to get. I spoke with triathletes, road riders, bike shop owners... I'd say I spoke with about twenty people. And, as we can all expect, I got twenty different answers.

That's about the time I find myself at a cross-roads. With all that technical information sitting in my lap, I could easily parse it out and weed down my decision to a few specific items. It's a short process that leads me right to purchase. On the other hand, I can get all befuddled and slip back into the procastination phase. That's the road I decided to take. If I didn't think about it, I thought, maybe it would go away and the decision would be magically made for me.

Well, that plan didn't work out so well.

So here I am in Phase Three going through all the information to try and figure out what handlebar will work best for me, based on my body, experience and understanding, all of which are quite limited. I'm reviewing all the technical rigmarole and juggling the gibberish which is all just a bunch of mumbo jumbo that is crowding itself into the already overdeveloped real estate of my brain. It ain't easy.

You see, with all the different opinons, they inevitably begin to contradict each other. This person says to buy the fifteen hundred dollar custom set-up, while that person says to get a hacksaw and chop off the drop down on my current handlebars. This person says Company A makes the best set-up in the world, while that person says Company A has got their respective heads up their respective asses. It becomes very difficult for a non-technical little brain like mine to take it all in. I want to know the reasons for the opinions. But the reasons are all even more technical and, as we already established, I'm not a technical person.

But nobody said triathlon was easy. To complete an Ironman distance race, you have to dig into reserves that you never knew existed within you. So I dig down a little deeper. I become one with the technical information. I read the recommendations, I cross-reference and compare. I look at pictures online and at pictures in magazines. I put checks and arrows and funny little asterisks next to some suggestions while I cross others out one by one. And eventually I am left with only one final choice. The handlebar set-up that is the best choice for my Ironman pursuits. And guess what....

Its the exact same one I wanted to buy four months ago.