Monday, January 28, 2013

Be It Ever So Humble

The bane of my existence is a shower surround that just loves to leak.
I will race in 2013 but don’t ask me when.  Not yet.  I thought my plans were coming into focus, but suddenly they are less clear.

On Friday my employer told me to prepare for a business trip in May.  If that trip happens—right now it’s just an idea—then I will miss the WORS race at Rhinelander.  This could be a blessing in disguise.  I was already expecting to do fewer WORS events this year and if Rhinelander is off my schedule then Iola probably is too.  Delaying the start of my mountain biking season until June might allow me to conserve enough energy, enthusiasm and money to make it through the cyclocross season that follows.  I don’t want to hit the wall again like I did last fall.

On Saturday my 20-year-old washing machine died.  There goes $750 and any remaining thoughts of driving down to Louisville for this weekend’s UCI World Cyclocross Championships.  Fortunately the races will stream live on the Internet and I will enjoy them from the comfort of my home.

And home is comfortable, much more so today than it was just a couple of years ago.  But it’s still far from the home it could be, and there are more big expenses on the horizon.  The demise of the washing machine didn’t catch me off-guard; it was one of several items at/near the end of its service life.  How much longer before I have to replace the kitchen oven (1995), the furnace (1995), the water heater (1999), the refrigerator (2001), or something newer that gives out before its time?  Even if I get through 2013 without any trouble from those aging appliances, there are other things around the house that require attention.

My wife and I bought our house in 2001 from the couple who built it back in 1972.  For a long time we simply enjoyed the benefits that came from the good choices they made during construction and subsequent renovations.  Now their paint is peeling and their carpet is worn.  Now we know that an annual outlay of 1-3 percent of fair market value is a good rule of thumb when budgeting for home repairs and maintenance, but for many years we fixed only what could no longer be ignored.  If you think upkeep is expensive, wait until you see the bill for neglect!  I’ve learned my lesson.  I started working from home two years ago and constant exposure to the flaws made them intolerable.  There has been steady progress ever since, and it must continue.

I spent freely on cycling in 2012 and—despite the promise of a pay raise this spring—I may exercise more restraint this year.  The equipment is in good shape.  Upgrades that would be nice aren’t really necessary.  Last year I did 12 mountain bike races but I don’t think I would feel cheated if I pared this year’s schedule down to these eight:

6/02    Red Eye Rendezvous @ Wausau (WORS)
7/06    Stump Farm 12 @ Suamico (WEMS)
7/14    Subaru Cup @ Mt. Morris (WORS)
8/04    Sunburst Showdown @ Kewaskum (WORS)
8/18    Alterra Coffee Bean Classic @ Franklin (WORS)
8/25    Reforestation Ramble @ Suamico (WORS)
9/08    Treadfest @ Lake Geneva (WORS)
9/14    Northern Kettles Fall Epic @ New Fane (WEMS)

With six WORS races I would still be part of the series during a transition year in which I must adjust to a higher level of competition and not worry about my standing in the points.  If in 2013 my main competitive focus is cyclocross, then this mountain biking schedule would be a solid component of my preparations.  And it wouldn’t break the bank … which is more than I can say for the house.

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