Sunday, February 10, 2008

Decisions, decisions...

In the broadest sense, years worth of experimenting, fiddling, making mistakes, then re-experimenting have led me to this:With two weeks 'til I'm on the trail and pedaling, most of the big decisions are already in the rear view. Too late to change the plane ticket, the destination, the frame and fork, sleeping bag, hubs, wheels, etc... that stuff is all happily locked in. Likewise with the food (taste tested, portioned, packed and already loaded on the bike), peeper protection, clothing (last stitches were added and checked today...), leash, and so on, right down to the bearing grease.

Which means that I'm in that no-mans land where all I can do is second guess everything that's already been done. Can't add any more fitness--I can choose to maintain or I can choose to be stupid and kill what little I *do* have.

Decided to take today off the bike and enjoy some non-pedaling time in the winter alpine. Skate skis were the toy du jour and in the brief few minutes between the non-existent warmup (thanks Dave!) and the tumble into a bottomless (and glycogen-less) pit I was able to see and think very clearly. Lucidly, almost.I didn't have many happy thoughts:
>Should I reinstall the steel crankarms with the crappy chainline, or keep the carbon ones that might delaminate at -40?
>Is the marginally better shifting of the carbon caged rear-der worth the worry that it too will delam in sub-zero temps?
>Hey--was that a weasel?
>Is one spare shift cable enough? Who am I kidding?! If I need to replace a shift cable out there I'm gonna shoot myself before it happens a second time...
>Shaving grams from a 140 pound bike seems a bit silly, right? So is it then wrong to wonder if titanium-bodied pedals are the best choice for a 25-day unsupported expedition?
>Has anyone ever tested the o-rings on those MSR fuel bottles? How can it be good to have a caustic solvent on one side and -60 degrees on the other? And if they have tested them, how? And if the results were bad, why?
>What effect will a 340lb bike/rider combo have on a thin-sidewalled balloon tire run at ~9psi for a thousand miles through the equivalent of sandpaper? Will a thicker tube make any difference at 'supporting' the thin casing? If so, how thick before it becomes a liability in itself?
>When it comes to freeze dried stewed prunes, is three enough???!
Those types of questions have free run of my mental cache right now. There are answers, but there's no way of knowing the right answers. Sleeping fitfully as a result.

Next week the answers still won't have come. I can merely hope for a state of grace where I accept that what's done is done and that's all what can be done.
Apropos of nothing above, and wholly representative of my mental state right now, the only way I can think to end this entry is with a quote from Mandy Patinkin:
"Sleep well and dream of large women...".