Well, last Saturday was a complete wash-out. The weather was just miserable all day. I ended up finally getting a good start on a little project I’d been putting off for the past, oh, six years. The basement. After Katrina it was briefly all nice an cleaned out. If there’s one thing good about a flood it’s that chance to start over with a clean slate. It didn’t last, however. Before I knew it, the basement had become a repository for cast-off items from about three different householWell, last Saturday was a complete wash-out. The weather was just miserable all day. I ended up finally getting a good start on a little project I’d been putting off for the past, oh, six years. The basement. After Katrina it was briefly all nice an cleaned out. If there’s one thing good about a flood it’s that chance to start over with a clean slate. It didn’t last, however. Before I knew it, the basement had become a repository for cast-off items from about three different households. My little corner that I keep for bikes and maintenance and tools and other workshop stuff kept getting smaller and smaller. So Saturday I started throwing out stuff. Stuff like old 28-hole GEL 280 tubular rims and venerable Fiamme red labels. Of course there were also other things like the numerous cans of old paint that are still drying out behind the garage. It took me the better part of two days to straighten out and rearrange that one quarter of the basement, but now all the bikes have their places and there’s enough open space to actually walk around and work on a bike. I’m just hoping I don’t come down with a Hantavirus infection after stirring everything up so much. Sunday morning I got on the bike in the dark and started out toward the lakefront to meet the Giro Ride. It was damp and a bit foggy and felt at least ten degrees colder than it actually was. Four blocks from home I said, out loud, I don’t feel like riding today. It was only by force of will, or perhaps guilt, or maybe compulsive tendencies, that I kept going. The turnout was fairly low once again, but after an Americano I felt a little better. The ride was pretty tame by Giro standards, no doubt influenced by the dreary damp morning. By the time we were on the way back, however, the sun started to come out and right away everything got better, and warmer. So what had started out as a pretty miserable ride ended up as a nice brisk day under a bright December sky. Go figure. Up in Minnesota Brian Toone was slogging out a few miles with chemical heat packs in his socks on a ride with an average temperature of something like minus 17. Brian, you gotta draw the line somewhere, man! Anyway, I spent much of the afternoon on the basement project, but didn’t really finish it up until Monday. This morning I went out a little late. I hadn’t slept very well and awoke with a headache, probably an allergic inflammation from inhaling all that crap in the basement. I went out to the levee expecting to be riding alone but ran into a rider from Washington who was in town and looking for the morning levee ride. A bit later we met up with Donald, so we had a nice 16 mph type of ride. Unfortunately, the headache just kept getting worse and my neck kept getting more and more stiff, so by the time we were halfway home I was pretty uncomfortable. There’s only one day more in 2013, and when I checked my year-to-date mileage I realized I needed only 25 miles or so to hit the 12,000 mile mark for the year. Mileage isn’t necessarily a good indicator of training value, of course, especially in my case since most of my training miles are done with some sort of group, but even so, 12k is a respectable annual total. I doubt I’ve been under 11,000 miles in at least ten years. So today I saw that David LeDuc got a two-year suspension for testing positive at masters nationals for EPO, and testosterone, and amphetamines. He’s about a year older than I am and I’ve been seeing his name in masters nationals results since the early 80s. I don’t know what to say. Doping to try and break into the Pro ranks is one thing, but doping to race in the 60-64 age group is something altogether different. If he’d tested positive for just testosterone, or Viagra, I could probably see how that might happen, but EPO?