Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Replacements

Tomorrow I go for my first follow up visit with my orthopedist. I'm anxious about it because obviously the first period of time after the surgery is critical. If things are on track, then we are moving down the path of progress. If not, then the week and a half since the surgery has been a waste of time. I'm also interested to see tomorrow's x-rays since they'll show all of the metal bits. Should be good for some grizz factor.

I haven't thought too much about my bike since the accident, in the specific sense. I've obviously thought/dreamed/wished about being able to go and ride it, but is it fit for doing that post crash? I took a pretty good look at it yesterday and it's a bit of a toss up. My front wheel is badly untrue but should be easily salvaged. My levers were turned inward really hard but they can just be twisted back into place. The frame has a small dent on the top of the top tube just forward of the seat tube. It's more of a flat spot than a dent, and pretty insignificant. It's a Six13 frame, and the dent is in the aluminum lug. If it were in the carbon part it wouldn't be a dent and it would be definite terminal damage.

This frame is a bit of a funny thing. I love it, it rides great. I got it last March to replace an old aluminum Fuji frame, which also I really liked but not as much as the Cannondale. When I was in the market for this frame, I was going to get a CAAD9 and call it a day. The only reason I wound up with the Six13 is that is was sitting in the shop, having been returned by the original buyer, who decided after two rides that it was the wrong fit. I got a Six13 frame/fork/headset for about 60% of the price of a CAAD9. Even though I think it's poseur as hell to have equipment that oversteps your abilities, and this frame certainly oversteps my abilities, I have to admit to being a bit spoiled by it. So the questions are: can I safely continue to ride this frame or should I crash replace it and if I crash replace it should I go with the cheap and ready CAAD9 option or dig a little deeper? In all likelihood it's a CAAD9.

Lots of turmoil still in the markets. The best thing so far about being laid up is not having to buy any gas at over $4/gallon (car takes 93). Oh the pain. In the long run, I think it's probably a good thing and necessary to instigate some changes in the way we all mindlessly burn fossil fuels. We've seemingly reached a point where consumption is on people's minds. The next inflection point will be where it inspires substantive and pervasive behavioral changes. Of course a lot of people are just bitching for the government to do something to bring gas prices down.

The "gas tax holiday" proposals and now Chrysler's $2.99 gas guarantee for new buyers are two of the stupidest things I've ever heard. Maybe the current gas prices are overly high because of speculative buying in the market, but we in the US have paid a lot less at the pump than most comparable countries, including large producers of oil. In the UK, they pay like $8/gallon, and in Canadia it's not much better. Throughout Europe, gas costs a ton. As a result, they have small diesel cars whose efficiency makes our US car fleet seem absolutely voracious, which of course it is. But this Chrysler thing has got me flabbergasted. If it fails to inspire new sales it fails to inspire new sales and ends thre. But let's say it takes off. Chrysler now has some ridiculous obligations to pay new car owners about $.05/mile (figuring a composite 20 mpg for their fleet and $4/gal gas). If they sell 200,000 cars (a low ball figure - remember we aren't talking about incremental carsales due to the promotion here, we're talking about all sales) and the average new car buyer drives 12000 miles/year, they are on the hook for $120,000,000 in the first year if my math is correct. 2,400,000,000 new car driver miles * $.05/mile Chrysler contribution to gas per the above premises. That seems like a lot even for a car company to lose.

Since I'll have a bunch of time that I would have spent training on my hands while I come back from this deal, I'm going to take some online courses in green building. It's an interesting deal, and exciting since the field is developing really quickly. I also can't help but think that it will be a really marketable thing to have on my CV.

Don't crash.


RayMan said...


Good luck with the x-rays and follow up visit. Be conservative and let it heal completely.

I saw my ortho today, and he said everything looks good, but wants me to stay off the bike for at least two more weeks to allow the ligaments to get stronger. They are still weak if I feel on the shoulder again, I could do more damage.


Jim said...

Even though I think it's poseur as hell to have equipment that oversteps your abilities,

You know, I kinda sorta feel that way sometimes. But on the other side of the coin, as a middling Cat IV, I suck among racers, but am god-like to a pretty vast swath of rec riders, the vast majority of them. I don't remember this until I join the guys from work who bike commute on a post-work Hains ride and a beer. Man, they can hammer it at like 18, 19 MPH for a lap or two, then they need to back it off... Then there's the Bike Trail Guys on expensive rigs and full ProTour team kit, and the occasional commuter who wants to chat as I easy spin my fat ass up the CCT - dude wants to race up the flat part of the trail but then blows up on the false flat. We deserve at least carbon rear subframes, I tell you.

And give yourself some credit. If middle-aged wannabes like us didn't buy the good stuff, the companies sponsoring pro teams could only afford to give them re-painted used Surly Cross Checks.

Besides, you're the one with Titanium legs. You can't put yourself on a crap bike when your legs are made of Ti, ferchrissakes. I sense an upgrade in your future.

Chuck Wagon said...

True dat, true dat. But it's a thin line between love and hate.

I've got no Ti in may legs - pure type 316 stainless for me. Ti has a tendency to cold weld itself to bone, eliminiating the chance of later removal. Not that I relish the thought of setting a doctor back in there to dig around and remove all of my bionic bits, but any further breaks are tremendously complicated by plates and screws, etc.

Are we really middle aged?

Chuck Wagon said...

Ray - Thanks and good luck. You must be really psyched to get back in the game, although I have to say that I saw Mrs. Ray when I was in the ER visiting a team mate after Poolesville - she didn't seem to keen on your return to the peloton, gotta say.