On The Downhill Slide

 11 weeks to go ’til “the big one” so I’m on the downhill side of the 24 weeks of training. The cold symptoms are pretty well gone, although the snot rocket count on my rides and runs is at a record high.

Sunday’s long run was from the cottage at Crooked Lake. Diane is still grousing a little because she is in a recovery week and I told her the run was around the lake and flat. I meant “Barry County flat”. The hills aren’t steep, but they’re long and there are lots of them.

I apologize for the confusion about the water stop. On the printed map it said it was at Oak Drive, and I highlighted that spot with an arrow. I told everyone, when I explained the map, the water was at the stop sign at Oak Drive. As we walked out the door, I announced to everyone the water was at Oak Drive at the stop sign. For some reason, the directionally challenged lead group thought I may have said Peninsular Drive since they sound so much alike. Anyway, they missed the water stop at 5.5 miles. Sorry!

As smart as I always think I am, I’m embarrassed to admit that Saturday’s long bike ride was a nutritional meltdown. I should attend one of those meetings with all the other nutritional backsliders where I stand up and say “My name is Jack and I don’t know how to eat on a long bike ride”.

Jean and I went with Bill and Nancy Bradley to Striders in G.R. and Gazelle’s in Holland Friday looking for tri suits. Instead, the trip turned into two hours of agony watching Jean try on every running shoe in both stores and not buy anything. We all decided to drown our sorrows in a vat of beer so we went to the brewery in Holland. Actually, we each only had one (glass, not vat) except “Nancy the Lush” had two glasses of wine ‘cuz she wasn’t going on a long bike ride the next day. Bill and I talked about the Saturday ride and what we needed to bring for nourishment. He wanted to go between three and four hours, and I needed to go between five and six. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice it to say that six scoops of CarboPro along with one scoop of Gatorade in 26 ounces of water, 40 ounces of Gatorade in a camelback, and nine figs will not take a 185 lb. man one minute longer than 5:23:55.

So did I take the second six scoops of CarboPro to mix when the first bottle is gone as I intended? No. Did I take any of the HammerGel that I knew agreed with my stomach and I would need on the bike as I told Bill, Nancy and Jean the night before? No. Did I stop at the Gun Lake Shell station and refill the camelback knowing I couldn’t make a long bike on 40 ounces of Gatorade? No. Did I use any of the PowerGels I had purchased the night before? No. To not belabor the point, I need to write these things down and use the checklist on my way out the door. I guess I don’t want to face the fact that after the bike dive of ’03, I can’t remember things like I used to.

While we were in Holland, we went into a store that specialized in furnishings for cabins and cottages. Much of the furniture was made from Red Cedar and was quite unique. Bill and I walked by a stuffed Raccoon that had one of his paws in a box of Cracker Jacks. He couldn’t help but make a comment about the chipmunk idea from last week’s e-mail. So all day long on the Saturday ride, he was evaluating whether the “road kill” raccoons and ‘possums were in good enough shape to be used for my cottage decorations. He’s as sick as I am.

So after last week’s chipmunk weirdness, here’s a thought-provoker. You all know me as Mr. Straight Arrow (no, I’m not having my name changed). But this week I have a real conundrum (is that really a word? It sounds so Junior High funny). I’m not a shopper, but since I bought the cottage, I think I’ve been in every store in Michigan at least twice.

Last Monday I was in Wal-Mart, “where America shops”, at around 9 A.M. when the geezers are having their free coffee at McDonalds so it wasn’t very busy. We don’t want to go into shopping experiences, because they would make a book unto themselves, but I saw some of the largest people I’ve ever seen in Barry County at that store. I checked out at the only register open and was behind a young mother with a child in the “jump seat” and a cart full of kid crap. She shoveled everything out so it could be scanned while her child extended his eight arms and legs and was into everything.

The checker ran everything through the computer and came up with a total that the mother either charged or wrote a rubber check for. As I stood there, I noticed that there was a “Hot Wheels” car still in the cart, but under the child. The mother didn’t catch it and the checker didn’t either. So here’s question number 27 from this series of e-mails. Should I have pointed out to the mother and/or the clerk that the Hot Wheels car was stuck in the cart and didn’t get paid for?

On the one hand, if I had gotten home and found I hadn’t paid for something, I know I would have gone back to the store and paid the $1.29 so the store didn’t get cheated out of its sale, even if it cost me $2.00 for gas. But, on the other hand, stores have been very bad about having the correct prices in their computers, and this oversight would surely have been offset by that woman or other customers being overcharged for what they bought.

So, what did I do? And what should I have done? Instead of sending your answers to http://www.whocares.com/ as usual, please send them to me and I will forward them to the National “What’s Right” Clearing House.

Ta Ta – 13 down and 11 to go,

Just (Hiring a Dietitian) Jack

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