Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hemorrhage in my wallet

I love training camps. They provide the clarity of a singular purpose; ride your bike. It also provides necessary relaxation (for the most part) and lots of coffee and internet browsing. I definitely run out of cycling sites to hit when on camp. Then again, I wasn't hooked on blogging at the last few camps.
Realistically, tho, it's not like you get to sit around for hours. There is always something to do - clean bikes, make breakfast, make dinner, clean bikes, etc so sleep rest is not a guaranteed 10 hours per night. I think only Todd Wells does that. In any event, I do enjoy all that is camp because I get to enjoy some simple pleasures I don't normally get to enjoy.
Take, for example, coffee. I've somehow associated sipping coffee from a true mug (ceramic, not paper/plastic tumbler) while sitting down as one of life's little joys. It's ever so much more enjoyable when an espresso is close by said mug. I've thus far been pretty limited in my espresso experience because I don't yet have an espresso maker, and there aren't any local coffee houses that serve their espressos in a ceramic mug. I can get the folks at Starbucks to serve me one in a small, er, tall mug, but it's not the same thing, and as BKW wrote, taking your espresso in a paper cup is just not the same thing. Besides, Starbucks espresso is not THAT good. It's merely good enough.
Anyway, back to camp. We're under two weeks out and I'm looking forward to it. Alot. As I look at the route plans, I note there's about 35 hours of riding on tap. Thirty five hours. Three-Five. That's alot. Like I said, I'm looking forward to it, but I know it is going to take a huge toll on my body. As such, I feel it necessary (mainly because I can) to indulge in a few niceties to help, mentally if nothing else.
A quick check on my stores and I note that I am out of embrocation, and low on recovery oil. Some may balk at using such products, but I know embrocations work and the self-massage on the ol' gams one gets from applying recovery oils is worth it alone, but it helps to have a bit of lubrication to make the mini-massage that much better. On both counts, this means I need to stock back up so there is cash outlay #1.
Touching back on espresso, I check the various retailers for espresso machines from time to time just to see what's out there. I know an $80 machine is not going to be that good, so I've held off. That and it seems like $400 is about the minimum to get a good European model. $400 is too damned much money for this tight wad.
Imagine my surprise when I was ordering Peet's coffee (Arabian Mocha Java, thank you)for the upcoming trip that I stumbled across the Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. At $25, I can test the waters and not feel bad if it doesn't work out. Since it's pretty much the same design from the 1920s, and is the most copied design out there it can't be that bad. Add in a set of espresso cups , and you have cash outlay #2. Ugh.
As I'm sure you've noticed and probably silently complained, I've been lacking on the pictures, especially on-ride pics. Feeling this pressure, I decided it was time to break down and get a good/ride friendly camera. Cash outlay #3. I guess I could argue that the camera will be used for alot more than just rides, so it's a worthy expense (as is the espresso maker, duh!).
You can sleep well at night knowing that I'm NOT going to be that guy that tries to get group shots at every stop, directing people to move here/there, smile, etc. That's bunk. However, from time to time, I catch myself saying "Hey, that would be a sweet picture."

And so it is.

-the ATM

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