Saturday, September 14, 2013

When Water Bottles Suck

We got in a lot of good rides this week. A couple were damp. We made top speed on one as we raced to finish before the rain caught us. Mainly, though, this week has been me experimenting with water bottles.

My right thumb is wonky. They gave me a brace thing to keep me from tearing it up, but, for now, I'm learning to do things without stressing it too much. I've figured out how to shift, brake, steer, and use a variety of hand positions without over loading it. But grabbing a water bottle? It's not happening.

When I couldn't master the water bottle using by left hand, it was time to move on to other solutions. The simplest solution? Use a CamelBak for hydration.

I tried Al's CamelBak first. Only those who have used a backpack on a bike know the exquisite lumbar pain you get when the weight isn't correctly positioned. I adjusted everything that could be adjusted, but Al's old pack just wouldn't work. Next I pulled out my old fall-back, an ancient Patagonia messenger pack with a wide cross body strap and stabilizing waist straps. It can hold a 3 liter bladder, and the tube fits nicely through the slots designed for an earphone cord. All I had to do to make it work was add a hanger inside for the bladder's clip. It held the weight of the liquid right where it needed to be for comfort. A working solution that I could live with!
A few years ago when water skiing was what we did, I got a new ski. I was over-the-moon happy with it. It only took a tiny twitch to make it go flying off to where ever you pointed it. Problem was, I couldn't ski on it. I'd blow the starts. I'd crash when I was close to being up. I'd get up, think I was home free, then crash. Over and over and over again. After drinking half the lake one morning, I had a hissy fit. I was in the middle of the lake, crying, practicing colorful language, slapping the ski silly with a free hand, loudly proclaiming that I'd never be able to ski again, and generally acting like a complete fool. Al never said a word. He just slowly circled me in the boat, watching me with his "look." When I finally calmed down some, the only thing he said was, "Ready to try again?"

This is why I do stuff with him. He tells me what I need to do. Then he waits for me to figure out how to do it. In the meantime, he gets to use his patented "look," which keeps me on track and never fails to make me smile.