I think I may be neglecting my TandemGeek blog a bit of late as keeping my journal up to date for my mother’s consumption seems to be sapping a lot of my writing juices. So, forgive me for “poaching” a few lines from last weeks’ other blog to bring readers up to speed on where we are with our tandem cycling interests. It’s not that we’ve lost interest in tandem cycling, it’s just that we’ve successfully gotten ourselves involved in so many other varied things that it now makes finding time for tandeming a bit more of a challenge. On the bright side, we’re certainly not getting burned-out on tandeming!!!
However, to properly set-up last week I do need to mention that on Tuesday the 15th I began to have some dental related issues, e.g., a very sensitive lower left jaw and molars. It was just an annoyance at first but by Thursday the 17th I was popping Motrin and applying Benzocaine and asked Debbie to see if our dentist could see me on Friday. She succeeded in getting me an 11:30am appointment so I left the office around 11:10am on Friday the 18th and decided that if I was in any shape to work on Friday afternoon I’d just do it remotely from home. The initial prognosis was, my teeth were OK and I was having a periodontal flare up. I thought I’d cracked a tooth or something more serious just based on the pain but I was OK with the other diagnosis if it meant no further dental work and a happy mouth in a day or so. Yeah, well… it was another sleepless night on Friday, about the fourth in a row.
As Saturday the 19th came around I was able to keep the level of dental discomfort in check by eating Ibuprofen like candy to the point where I was good enough to allow Debbie and me to head out on the tandem for a 25 mile ride from the house on our local loop. It was pretty darn warm out in the sun, but the low humidity made for very pleasant cycling weather so long as we were moving. Sitting at stoplights, not so much fun.
We were back at the house around 11:00am where we relaxed on the breezeway for a few moments before I turned my attention to several hours of yard work. I was feeling a bit gassed from the lack of sleep, but what are you going to do, eh?
We had a fairly busy Saturday after our ride what with the yard work and our typical Saturday night out at the local watering hole. Again, it was another sleepless night back at home.
The plan for Sunday the 20th was to get in another tandem ride, but one that was a bit longer than our usual loop. Given my lack of sleep, I was up early enough to get Debbie’s car washed before it would be time to head out for the ride. It had probably been a couple of weeks since the rain had let up enough to make washing her car worthwhile, so it was sorely in need of a good bath, inside and out.
With the car washed and back in the garage I think it was about 9:15am when we finally headed off on our tandem ride. Things were going well up and until we ventured onto the Seven Hills loop — something we hadn’t ridden in well over a year or two. It was at one time a really nice, low-traffic ride through some beautiful back roads in Pauling County.
Yeah, well… add in a few thousand new homes, shopping centers and clogged up major arterial roads that put folks on those same narrow back roads as a shortcut and it’s the last place you want to be cycling. Seriously, it was quite awful. And, to add insult to injury, the shifting on our Calfee tandem decided to act up once we hit the steeper hills and needed to use our “alpine” gearing. Sadly, the tandem wanted no part of shifting down into the smallest chain ring so I had to make a couple of on-road adjustments in and amongst all of the traffic.
Sadly, the combination of my dental discomfort, lack of sleep and angst from the traffic and mechanical issues with the tandem had me being a bit-short tempered at Miss Debbie’s expense. Oh, and did I mention that it was hot? And by hot I mean really hot, like upper 90’s to 100’s on the black asphalt hot.
So, the mixed grimace and smiles in the above photo taken just 1/2 way through the ride were probably a lot more stressed looking by the time we finally made it home around noon. Honestly, I was never so glad to be off the tandem and I swear we’ll never head out to the Seven Hills area to ride again; ugg!
After putting the tandem in the work stand and fiddling around with a few adjustments I finally came to the realization that I should have changed out the Campy Record front derailleur for a Shimano Ultegra model when I switched out the shifters. The Campy had “worked OK” for the big to middle transitions, but was always balky when it came time to shifting into the granny / alpine gear. And, today had been the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
A quick check on ebay brought up the exact dark grey Shimano Ultegra FD-6703-G Grey Triple 34.9mm Clamp On Front Derailleur that I’d need for the Calfee. It was a brand new take-off from a seller up in Ohio. His opening bid hadn’t been snagged and the auction was just a day away from closing so I made a good bid and assumed I’d have the piece of kit in my hands in a few days. Well son-of-a-gun if someone else didn’t throw in; dagnabit. Oh well, it only cost me an extra $5.00 and for the $52.00 it was money well-spent.
The derailleur arrived on Thursday the 24th along with some new KMC ti-nitrite coated “gold” chains and the Calfee was looking good again and “seemed” to be shifting better than it every had with the correct front derailleur now in place. Funny how Campy and Shimano are always just different enough not to work well together.
In the meantime, by Tuesday the 22nd my toothache had not improved one-iota so I had a follow-up appointment in the dentist’s chair on Wednesday the 23rd. The visit began with an x-ray which now revealed the crack in the tooth that I’d originally through had been the source of my dental pains. Our dentist opted to try using just a crown to stabilize the tooth to eliminate any pain from the tooth moving around and that ended up being an abject failure.
So, Thursday we were back on the phone and it was decided that what I really needed was a root canal which we scheduled on my off-Friday the 25th at noon. Once the dentist got into my tooth he discovered that one of the segments of pulp and nerves was seriously infected which fully explained my condition: good thing I’d gone on antibiotics Wednesday afternoon! The root canal procedure took about 1.5 hours all told and there were some tense moments when it was thought the tooth would be a goner. However, everything was finally sorted out and by late Friday night I was finally pain-free. That lasted until around 3:00 on Saturday the 26th when the temporary crown popped off; really!? I was able to flush out the crown and tooth cavity and pressed the crown back on which has only popped-off once since then.
Sadly, between the Friday dental appointments, some friends having a 25th anniversary wedding vow renewal event Saturday afternoon which had us out-of-pocket until 5:00pm, and then a birthday party for two of the granddaughters on Sunday at noon we never were able to make it out on the tandem for a post-repair shake down ride.
Suffices to say, I’m anxiously awaiting that opportunity. However, at this point I’m not sure when we’ll get to do that! Our dance card is pretty full and then there’s the weather to contend with as I’ve got to go back to the dentist on Wednesday the 30th to have my root canal finished, short of the final / permanent crown which will come a bit later (I think). The rain from Hurricane / Tropical Storm Harvey will also begin to arrive here on Wednesday and looks to be ever-present through Monday, making the Labor Day weekend a bit sloppy. But, then again, we already had plans to be out-of-town on Saturday and Sunday and then Debbie has to go to yet another granddaughter birthday event at noon on Monday. So, it’s not looking good for a tandem ride in the near future.
I think our next best opportunities will be the Beautiful Backroads Century out in Cartersville, Georgia on Saturday, September 16th… which would be the first time Debbie and I ventured back out to a large, non-tandem specific organized ride in several years. Not sure why that seems tempting, but it does. And, there’s a Tandem Club of Georgia ride down in Newnan, Georgia, on Sunday, September 17th too. We’ve not made it to many or any of those this year for some reason.
This also reminds me that I still haven’t firmly committed to our attendance at this year’s Southern Tandem Rally over in North Carolina on the September 20th – 22nd. Guess we need to do or not do that pretty darn soon! If only we could know what the weather would be. Historically, STRs in North Carolina during the fall seem to get more than their fair share of rain: not a fan of driving 5 hours up I85 in the first place, never mind if the weather’s not going to be exceptional! Do we roll the dice or….???
And, well… here’s the real challenge. We still have friends who want us to head out on motorcycle day trips, visit with them out on the lake where they all have boats and/or we have kind of gotten spoiled by our monthly trips to the North Georgia Mountains for a get-away weekend now and again. It’s not that I’m complaining, but it does make for a busy life. I guess that’s a good thing.