LCI Seminar Trainwreck

Day’s Verse:
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

Oh my goodness. It is so much worse than I thought or expected, and I already had extremely low expectations; it really is like a train wreck in slow motion. I’m not going into the full extent of the awfulness here right now, but let me just mention one extremely disturbing development: The LCI Coach is the person who teaches an LCI Seminar and he’s responsible for training new LCIs. The LCI Assistants, of which I am one, serve as extra eyes and ears for the LCI Coach in assessing the new LCIs as they teach. At least, that’s what I was led to believe.

Last night, however, the LCI Coach mentioned sort of off-hand, “I have assigned a few presentations to the LCI Assistants, and I trust they’ll volunteer to cover those.”

Let me just say right now that when I did my LCI Seminar in October, I spent hours preparing for my two presentations. I created lesson plans, I designed handouts and printed enough copies for everybody in the class (something this LCI Coach and the organizer of the Seminar both seem incapable of, but that’s a different story), found props, and practiced over and over to refine the amount of time my presentations took. Ian got really tired of hearing me talk about bike nutrition and bike fit, but even with that preparation, I felt a little bit anxious. Happily, my preparations paid off and both my presentations went beautifully; everybody loved them.

That said, imagine how I feel when last night, with no advance warning (despite my having emailed the LCI Coach and the seminar organizer in charge of the event asking if I should prepare in any way) or any time to prepare, I found out that I would be responsible for a group presentation today (Saturday) and an individual presentation on Sunday. And the LCI Coach specifically mentioned that he wanted “assess me” because he’d never seen me teach before, since I took my LCI Seminar in Boston with a different Coach. Yet that Coach passed me as an LCI-in-Training just fine. Why do I need more assessment?

In short — I know, I know, too late — I am seething. I agreed somewhat spur-of-the-moment to help with this because I thought it would give me a chance to review LCI need-to-know information before I start teaching bike classes myself. Also, they offered $100 for the weekend (not exactly a prime motivation since I’m spending over 20 hours on this activity in 2.5 days). Now I’m ready to walk out, not just over what I described above, but over a number of other issues. Only my concern for the other LCI Candidates, one of whom was in tears because of the other issues with the seminar Coach when I encountered her in the bathroom yesterday evening, makes me willing to go back. Boy am I glad I didn’t pay money for this like all the LCI Candidates.

I’m just keeping my eyes on the goal: Monday, and getting one class under my belt so I can shed the “In Training” part and become a full LCI. When I get to go back to work at the usual time without any breaks after this grueling weekend, and I’m confident I will feel only the deepest relief that Saturday and Sunday have passed.

Here Goes Nothin’

Day’s Verse:
“Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you…”

Jeremiah 1:5

This entire weekend I’m spending as an Assistant LCI for the LCI Seminar Cascade Bicycle Club has organized. 20 hours in 3 days. Perhaps you remember the misery I went through back in October when I took my own LCI Seminar. Which raises the question: Why am I doing this again?

Pretty In Pink — My Bike, That Is

Day’s Verse:
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Isaiah 62:3

Yesterday Ian gave me an unexpected but wonderful Valentine’s Day present: New fenders. I kept seeing and drooling over a pair of fenders in the window at JRA Bike Shop, which occupies part of the space at the BikeStation, where I work. Finally yesterday afternoon I guiltily confessed my obsession to Ian. The guilt came from knowing that my old fenders worked perfectly fine, and I really only wanted the new ones for their looks. Ian immediately told me to buy them for myself and consider it his Valentine’s Day gift to me. He didn’t have to offer twice — I immediately went and purchased the much-coveted fenders. Then I borrowed some tools from the bike shop and spent about an hour putting them on and fine-tuning so they didn’t rub or anything. Very unique. Now all I need is a saddle and bar tape to match…

Pink Fenders

While purchasing the fenders, I talked with the guy who runs the bike shop about pumps. He recommended the Topeak Road Morph bicycle pump, which supposedly can inflate tires to 160 psi — quite a feat for a small on-bike pump. I’d settle for 120 psi, my usual pressure, or even 80 psi, just to limp home. I bought that, too, and put it on at the same time I put the fenders on. I feel much better having replaced the stupid failing CO2 cartridges with something I know will work. Oh, and I picked up another tube, since I used my emergency tube fixing the flat. Now I feel prepared again.

By the way, my tire remained inflated, which made me very happy. After that I only had to struggle with the irritating ongoing problem of my disc brakes. Every time I take one of the wheels off, when I put them back on, I have to totally readjust the disc brakes all over again. I can never seat the wheel exactly right so it works the first time. There are definite down sides to disc brakes, and one of them is their extreme finickiness. However, they paid off last winter in all the snow and ice when my brakes worked no matter what, and I expect them to pay off again when I start towing a trailer.

Yep, a trailer. I’m thinking of trying to ride home from the July AmeriCorps training in Trout Lake, and I will need to be 100% self-supported for that adventure. That means hauling a tent and sleeping bag, plus of course food, water, clothes, and repair kit stuff. I could invest in fenders, but I explored that option and it looks like it could become extremely expensive extremely fast.

Why would it be so expensive? Well, I’m glad you asked. If I wanted to put on a rear rack with any appreciable load, which my bike is already set up to accept, I’d also have to put on a front rack to balance out the weight and handling. But I have a fancy-dancy carbon fork right now that cannot take a rack or any significant weight. That means that in addition to buying a front and rear rack and panniers (for a total cost of at least $700), I would also have to buy a new front fork. Because my bike has custom specs, that means I have to buy a custom front fork. A quick phone call told me that a custom front fork costs about $450, give or take. So to actually set my bike up as a touring bike would cost me almost $1200 just for mods to the bicycle itself.

Compare that to purchasing a bicycle trailer on Craigslist. Those run anywhere between $25 (old and crappy) to $195 (practically new, fancy brand). I wouldn’t have to do anything else special to my bike to tow a trailer because the people at Seven built it with towing abilities.

This is a pretty easy choice, really. I would like to set my bike up for touring some day, but since I’ll need a trailer to tow kids at some point too, the decision really makes itself.

Racks and panniers it is! …Just kidding.

KF quality