Covid tag

About ten days ago, my wife arrived home after a 13-hour drive with her octogenarian mother. The next day my wife became sick and tested positive for Covid. My daughter was home from law school for spring break. We all masked up and kept our distance.

After some Paxlovid and four or five days of misery, my wife recovered and tested negative, as did the rest of us. How the heck my mother in law tested negative after being in a car that long with my wife is a mystery. (My negative test result came before I went to Friday Coffee Club, which was held outdoors so no worries for the caffeine crew.)

Crisis passed, right?

Tomorrow I was planning on driving my mother in law home to Indiana. Despite having nothing but allergy symptoms, I took a Covid test just to be sure.

I tested positive.

Get out of here! So I tested again using a different type of test kit.

I tested positive.

The only symptoms I have are allergy symptoms. The cedar tree outside my window is orange, covered in pollen. I have been sniffling and sneezing and had itchy eyes for a week or so. Otherwise I feel completely fine.

This is my second bout of Covid. The last one was at the end of July when I returned from my 2019 bike tour. I took Paxlovid and had a mild case. I was vaccinated for the fifth time last October.

Of all the people in our household this week I was the one that did the most distancing and mask-wearing. And I got the damned disease again. No wonder the medical profession has had such a hard time dealing with this virus. It makes no sense.

I will be a good boy and take it easy. I’ll wear a mask. I’ll avoid other people. I’ll eat some chicken soup.

Once in my college years my neighbor and I came down with the flu. After three days of feeling wretched we decided to through caution to the wind and drink some single malt Scotch. The next day we were both fully recovered.

I bought some Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day and never got around to drinking any. I wonder if it has anti-viral properties. In the interest of science I will investigate.

The Mule cracks me up

When I go on bike tours I try to think of everything that could go wrong and plan accordingly. I carry a kevlar spoke in case one of my spokes breaks. I bring along a folded tire in case I have a catastrophic tire failure. There are, however, some problems that you can’t do much about. Number one is a break in your frame or fork. Theorerially, if your frame and fork are made out of steel, you can find a welder to repair it.

Yeah right.

Basically, if your frame or fork breaks, your tour is over.

Another tour killer is a broken rim. On my 2005 tour, I felt something fishy going on with the rear wheel of my recumbent. I limped into the town of Frostburg, Maryland and got very lucky. I found a bike shop, one that had not yet even opened for business, that had a wheel builder. The manager found a rim in the basement (they didn’t even have their stock displays finished in the store) and built me a rim overnight.

That wheel eventually failed but it got me through the tour and several thousand miles more.

I replaced it with a Velocity Dyad rim which is still on the bike,

I haven’t looked closely at a rim in a long time. I can tell when the sidewalls of a rim are worn out when the start cupping. The concavity grabs brake pads. Because of this I knew that The Mule needed a new front wheel. When I dropped it off at Bikes at Vienna I told Beth the mechanic to replace it. She recently returned from bike mechanic school and was eager to test out her wheel building skills,

Whenever she gets a bike she looks it over closely. She knows that I’m going to ride thousands of miles on the bike so I appreciate her attention to detail. A day after I dropped it off she contacted me and said I needed a new rear wheel too.

Hmm. I hadn’t noticed any problems.

I told her to go ahead and build another one.

I picked up the bike yesterday. It has two shiny, new, Beth-built Velocity Dyad rims.

She kept the old rims for show and tell. Here’s what my rear rim looked like.

The rim on my #specializedsequoia touring bike. Kinda glad it held together during my tour last year
Let’s put 40 pounds of gear on that bad boy and ride to Maine. NOT.

This kind of damage doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it probably takes a good 10,000 miles of loaded touring. It doesn’t help that I’ve hit hundreds of potholes, tar patches, and root heaves during the time this rim was on my bike. I’m willing to guess these cracks were in place during the last part of my 2022 tour. Now imagine you’re riding along on this wheel with 40 pounds of gear and you hit a bump or a pothole. Eek. It’s safe to say that a catastrophic wheel failure while descending a mountain pass at 35 miles per hour would ruin your whole day.

Incidentally, as I mentioned, Beth is meticulous. After she built the wheel she had someone else check it over. My job is to put the bike through its paces to stress test the wheels in the next week or so. I already did a 7-mile test ride. So far. so good.

Meanwhile, Beth is giving the CrossCheck it’s winter physical. I already know t needs a new front wheel.