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Monday, June 20, 2011

Weighty Matters

It seems that serious bicycling is a weighting game. The more weight you carry, the more you have to work the pedals. This is true even on flat roads, but is most painfully obvious while climbing. On Saturday, I took off on what would turn out to be a 35 mile ride with climbs up Bliss Road and the considerably more challenging County YY. Now I am aware that I am not a great rider and less so a climber, but my trip up YY, while anything but yarely, left me feeling much worse than I felt it should.

Looking over the situation, I figured it was the extra weight I was carrying. A few weeks ago, I became the proud owner of a new Garmin Edge 800 GPS cycling computer. It is a great toy tool, telling me how fast I'm riding, how high I'm climbing and displaying a map showing me where I've been and where I'm going. And, when the ride is over, I can save all of the information in an online riding journal. Here is an example from my ride last week to Houston, Minnesota and back:

A Ride Map Courtesy of My Garmin Edge 800

But all of this information comes at a price. The device adds a whopping 98 grams to the weight I have to carry. That's every bit of 3.5 ounces. It's no wonder the climb up YY took so much out of me.

While we are on the subject of extra weight, I came back from Uganda packing a few things I did not leave home with. There was Ugandan coffee, a book on poverty in Uganda, some sundry gifts and a towel. Now, about the towel; I bought it from a man who was selling a variety of fabrics and such that he carried on his person. We were sitting outside in a bar, waiting for repairs to be completed on our rental car (there are SO many stories in this vein, but they will come later) when he approached us. He was weighted down with his wares and I felt he just looked like he needed someone lighten his load. So I did.

Fabric Store in Tororo, Uganda

And it became clear on Sunday that I had carried home just a little more than recounted above. The symptoms were pretty clear to me, as I've been here before: giardiasis. This probably had more to do with the fatigue after Saturday's ride than the 3.5 ounce GPS , I suppose. Anyway, I learned in 2006 that the lab test to confirm the diagnosis is fairly expensive while the treatment is cheap. Hence, a chance for a two-for-one. You take the medicine and if you are better at the end of the treatment, then the diagnosis is confirmed AND you are well again.

But there is a rub in the choice here. Taking the medicine will likely get rid of the pesky parasite that has hitched a ride, but, I cannot drink beer for the seven days I am taking the pills plus one day after I finish. On the other hand, if I do nothing, I can drink beer AND will lose weight at the same time.

So, if you will excuse me, I have a weighty decision to ponder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Weighty decision? Depends on whether the GPS is truly a tool . . . or toy. As for giardia, yes, a great way to lose weight, BUT, or BUTT, what is your butt worth?