It always happens. The closer you get to a holiday, the tighter and tighter things start to stack up. It’s like some kind of pre-holiday Doppler effect. The quick bullet list goes something like this: Thursday night a week ago Dad breaks his hip, is in the hospital, then a nursing facility, then back to the hospital where he spends all night in the ER because there are no beds; Listened to a USAC continuing education workshop on 2014 rule changes on my cellphone while sitting in the ER waiIt always happens. The closer you get to a holiday, the tighter and tighter things start to stack up. It’s like some kind of pre-holiday Doppler effect. The quick bullet list goes something like this: Thursday night a week ago Dad breaks his hip, is in the hospital, then a nursing facility, then back to the hospital where he spends all night in the ER because there are no beds; Listened to a USAC continuing education workshop on 2014 rule changes on my cellphone while sitting in the ER waiting room; My neck still hurts when I ride; Bank account has been overdrawn, again, by she who will not be named because she probably bought you a Christmas present too; Levee bike path is about to close; Weather fluctuating from 38 to 80 degrees; Ordering prescription Oakleys to use up leftover FSA funds before the end of the year; Neighborhood bank armored car delivery holdup and murder; And then last night a drunk hits the curb on S. Claiborne behind the house at high speed and the car goes diagonally across the wide neutral ground, miraculously missing trees, across Broadway, across the oncoming three lanes of S. Claiborne without hitting any cars, and crashes into a fence behind a house. Totally drunk out of his mind guy gets out of the car and starts walking home down Claiborne toward east Carrollton. All the neighbors run outside, We call 911 and follow him for a few blocks hoping the police will show up. Police show up about two hours later. Should have implied that shots had been fired. And yes, I still have to take that 90 minute USOC/USAC required SafeSport continuing education things on how not to be a child molester. Today I left the office around 11:30 to ride over to Touro hospital so check on my father who finally got a (very nice) room. When I got back to the office a couple of hours later the door was locked and all the lights were off. Monday is the last official day of work around here before the holidays, but for all practical purposes things shut down today. Last weekend most of the Giro Ride ended up doing Keith’s TVR ride down Metairie Road and looping around on the levee back to Audubon Park. TVR stands for The Vagina Ride, which I think it intended to ensure that the pace remains at a level suitable for the fairer sex, despite the fact that a number of that sex’s members could readily rip his and my legs off at will. Anyway, it was a nice ride although this time we didn’t find any handguns. Louisiana Cycling Club 1891 Anyway, I have been squeezing in a barely reasonable amount of riding in the mornings. Last weekend the Giro rides were once again pretty thin because of the weather, and the mornings remained quite cold until Thursday. This morning I had to check the thermometer three times before I believed it. I think it was something like 65 degrees. Shorts and a jersey on Dec. 20. Bet that doesn’t happen in Minnesota. Unfortunately, it looks like the morning levee ride routine that has been my bread and butter for ten years is about to be upset. When we came down the exit ramp after Thursday’s ride there were a couple of workmen putting up fencing there. This morning I was not surprised to find the on-ramp fenced off completely. I stopped to take a quick photo for Facebook, but up on the levee I could see a few riders waiting for me. All of the auto/truck access roads were open, and indeed the entire bike path was open. I fear that by Monday, however, the actual work zone will be entirely fenced off and it will be a couple of years before we have the full bike path back in action. It has been suggested that we just ride on River Road past the construction area, which would probably be a mile or two, before getting back up onto the bike path. Riding on River Road is not for the faint of heart, however. It’s narrow and there is absolutely no shoulder, just a ragged asphalt edge. It probably wouldn’t be too bad in a group at 6:15 am, but by the time we come back around 7:45 it will be terrible. Often, traffic is backed up from Oak Street to Ochsner, and since the road is so narrow I’m not even sure we could ride past the line of stopped cars. I am seriously considering going back to riding Carrollton Avenue out to do a lap on Lakeshore Drive and perhaps also a loop around City Park. Carrollton is well lit and wide, and the only real traffic issues would be on a 2-mile stretch on the way back. The other problem, though, is that we’d lose quite a few minutes because of traffic signals and that sort of thing. Should be interesting, anyway. So I ordered a pair of Oakley Half-Jacket sunglasses with bifocal lenses from Sport RX for $315. My old Oakley M-frames are hanging in there and are fine with my contact lenses, but since I had the opportunity to get these I figured I’d go for it. They can’t really do the same prescription lenses for the M-frame, so it was a bit of a compromise. Otherwise, I feel pretty out of shape right now, and the fact that the house is absolutely crammed full of chocolate and candy is not helping one bit. Although I’ve been putting in some miles – fewer than I’d like but better than nothing – I haven’t done anything that would really constitute training in over a month now. The twice-weekly physical therapy visits have been fine, but I haven’t noticed any dramatic improvement. Instead it’s been a very slow process measured in weeks rather than days. By the end of the rides my neck and back muscles are still fairly stiff and painful but at this point my attitude is “screw it, I’m riding.” I recently found a photo in the Louisiana Historical Society archives from 1891 of the Louisiana Cycling Club’s house just off St. Charles Ave. on Octavia Street. It is still standing across from Daneel Park as a nicely kept home. I stopped there today and gave the owner a copy of the photo. Then, on the way home from the hospital one day this weekend I went to see if the old New Orleans Bicycle Club house was still standing and was surprised to find it was finally being repaired after having half the roof ripped off in hurricane Katrina.