Monday, December 10, 2007

Biking or Climbing and December

Either are crap combos, believe me.

Bikes, like cars, in my opinion always break down when the weather is foul. Call me paranoid, but I’m pretty certain they plot against me and always go wrong in late autumn. I don’t remember much about how to change the fuel tank on a Mini or the brake shoes on a Chevette, I only recall how cold my hands got in the process of doing those jobs. So despite having the relevant spare parts now for a few weeks, my commuting bike has been in bits in the shed, waiting for it to stop bloody raining or snowing so I could change the bottom bracket, crankset, and do the various other jobs that needed doing. Eventually I came to the conclusion this wasn’t going to happen so decided the downstairs bathroom was going to have to be pushed into service as a (heated) workshop. The new BB actually fitted which is always a hold-your-breath moment when you have ordered the parts from the internet, although the locking nut is sticking out more than I would like. It is also plastic and as a colleague at work, who used to race MTBs and knows his way around a bike, said “plastic BB locking nuts – they’re the work of the devil man!” I can see his point. Hopefully I’ll flog the bike and it will be someone else’s mental health at risk in trying to remove it. The new crankset looks dead smart but of course isn’t the same size as the old one, which means moving the front mech, and then you’re straight into a world of hurt, which I’m sure will involve hours of fiddling and cursing whilst trying to get it to change smoothly. Sods law says my old mech will be somehow incompatible with the new crankset but it will take me hours to actually work this out. Anyway, after an hour or so and realizing this was going to take a good couple of hours more and it was already 10 pm I decided to put the less-so but still un-rideable bike back in the shed and leave it for later.

An anonymous desperado, playing with himself. Slowly. ;-)

The weather has been so crappy this last week and, Helsinki in December being Helsinki in December, the days so short that it feels like I haven’t actually seen daylight all week. I go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, and spend the intervening hours in my new office which has a really crappy little window overlooking the side of another building. This is in comparison to the great view from my old office. What little sky you can see from window has been uniformly grey all week with low cloud and that means that it’s pretty much dark by 3 pm. So despite far more sensible suggestion from mates to go to the climbing wall this weekend, I found a fellow desperado and we headed off to Kirkkonummi on the quest to find real rock in the fresh air to climb. The weather forecast was vaguely optimistic, but it pissed it down most of the way. We got to the cliff to find it (yes, I know, completely predictably) pissing wet. Fortunately we had aid gear so set off turning HVS cracklines in to A1 rope-solos (actually C1s, if you are really down with the kids). For non-climbers what aid climbing is, and the difference between A grades and C grades doesn’t really matter. All you need to know is that aid climbing is traditionally done on the 1000 metre high, majestic, sun-baked cliffs of California’s Yosemite not on damp, wee, 15 mtr high crags in gloomy Finnish forests. I climbed one route in normal style: it was very wet, my fingers quickly went numb and water managed to run down my sleeves as far as my armpits. Oh well. Christmas is coming and at least we’re not turkeys.


Katie W said...

I'll have to remember that as the kids behavior gets worse as we get closer to Christmas. My mantra for his week "At least I'm not a turkey!"

jussi said...

"Biking or Climbing and December
Either are crap combos, believe me."

At least the finnish summer is beautiful....