As you likely read, I had been looking forward to the Challanged Athletes Foundation Paratriathlon Camp with great enthusiasm. Okay, a little nervousness too, but mostly enthusiasm. Leading up to the event I tried my best to cobble together everything needed, some things came together successful, others required a reach into my MacGyver skill set. Getting into triathlons involves a lot of sweat, time, and money, even more so for paratriathletes, in my opinion at least. Unable to go out and purchase everything needed at this time, a couple months ago I started trying to check-off the extremely bare essentials, along the way, new roadblocks kept threatening even that.
Have any of you sold or purchased a house lately? Yeah, we’re doing tht, or at least trying to, on both accounts. I purchased our current house back in 2007 at the peak of the market, and through the whole collapse with people walking away from their mortgages and such, I persisted. Well, the market is back, finally to the point where I think we can sell without taking a loss, and that is what we are embarking to do. As far as houses go, it’s been a great first house and we’ve taken pride in ownership, however, we are outgrowing it’s confines, and needing to prepare for the necessity of more full-time wheelchair use. We either need to dump a pile of money into renovating the single bathroom, or try to get into a more fitting long-term house and concentrate our accessibility efforts somewhere that will last a lot longer for all of our needs.
Let me just say, single level, accessible homes, are near impossible to find! Well, at least in our price range, and in the Portland and east of Portland area. While there is a house on our list that we haven’t eliminated from consideration, it’s a daylight ranch, which so far, is about as good as we can find, and this particular house would be a long shot budget wise for how much we’d need to put in for renovations. Yes, I’m going to complain really quick: Being alter-abled, handicapped, disabled, whatever you’d like to call it, incurs a chunk of otherwise unnecessary expenses and most agencies would rather you become completely dependent on society paying for your needs, than helping you with an expense here or there while you are still contributing to the everyday workforce.
So that was a rant. In summary, the whole house business is taking some precedence over completely outfitting my triathlon kit, and putting in the hours that I’d like to be sweating. Time to get back on track, I’ll dive into some of the other stuff in following posts.
Amidst trying to string everything together for our big trip, I had a little mishap unloading Lowly the trike from the back of my car after one of the PDX Summer Handcycling Series events, a few days before we were set to leave. The trike barely (with back seat down and front seats all the way forward) fits in the back of our wagon, and right at the precipice of loading/unloading, you have to balance holding the trike while pulling out/pushing in so the front chain ring and pedal does not scrape the ceiling of the car. Well, tired from sprinting 6 or 7 laps around PIR, I lost my balance at this exact point pulling the trike out. I scratched up the bumper with the chain ring on the way down, then leaned on my poor trike in just the wrong way to taco my rear wheel, all in incredibly epic slow motion. We need a pick-up to help eliminate this problem from happening again. I have a PT appointment lined up through Oregon Vocational rehab later this week to continue down the road of seeing if/how much they can help in funding hand controls for that pickup that we need to get.
With needing my trike for the Paratriathlon Camp we were leaving for in less than a week, I was in a panic for what to do. After numerous phone calls, I was reassured that RecumbentPDX had the same exact wheel in stock and could do a quick swap out for me, but then I started thinking I might be able to upgrade while I was at it for the same price. The Velocity wheel that comes standard on the Catrike 700 is already a pretty great wheel, but after another couple calls, then talking with Jonathan (who is an excellent wheel builder) at Rose City Recumbent Cycles, we were able to spec out a new custom, slightly stronger and more aerodynamic wheel for pretty close to the same price, and he had a loaner wheel that he was able to swap my cassette, tube, and tire onto, to get me through camp while waiting for the new wheel to be built.
And so the road trip began. We drove the first stretch with a stopover at Greta’s parents for a night of rest, then continued on to spend a couples days in Visalia with my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew, before continuing the remaining 5 hours to San Diego. We had a thoroughly good time hanging with the niece and nephew, making us wish we all lived closer together, as always. My brother is also a bit of a road bicyclist and having my trike there for the first time, took me on the famed ride in that area, up to The Oak Tree. The air was a bit smokey, but it was a beautiful ride with some solid hill climbing and very little traffic. I was having a bit of an issue with my rear derailleur and was temporarily back to the bike sandals so I didn’t feel like I was putting out any kind of good performance, but I made it. Todd, needing to get back to clean-up before work, raced back to car to come pick me up part way, on the return. This was a good idea in theory, but I made it down off the first climb pretty quick then overshot the turn off and ended up having to double-track back up the road a bit to meet up, naturally being the only time in history I’ve forgotten to take along my cell phone. In addition to some wonky rear derailleur shifting issues over the whole ride, my bar-end shifter came completely loose on the ride back, turning my cassette shifting into a two hand operation.
The previous week, I picked up a new derailleur hanger (turns out I had bent that also in the aforementioned tire taco incident) from RecumbentPDX and that evening, Todd and I were able to replace that, as well as figure out and re-affix the bar-end shifter. Unfortunately, it was 500 degrees in the garage and at that point, we were both wiped too much make any sense of adjusting the derailleur. On a good day, in normal temperatures, I’m all thumbs when it comes to that anyways. Todd referred me to the local bike shop, sent off a text message to Craig the owner and the next morning I got my trike into Sierra Bicycle Werks, where Craig, in a matter of a few short minutes, magically made my rear derailleur behave better than the day I brought the trike home. If you’re anywhere near Visalia, California, go visit Sierra Bicycle Werks!
By the time Greta dropped me off in San Diego for the Paratriathlon camp, I was able to switch back to my regular bike shoes and the trike has been shifting great ever since. I was really hoping to try and ride to The Oak Tree again on the way back through after camp with better shifting and footwear, but schedules just didn’t work out. I’ll get back there, some day, to give a better showing!
Oh, we did make it to camp, and it was AWESOME. I’ll get to that more, soon!