Monday, October 11, 2010

Cap and Rotor

That is a cap and rotor.

I drove to work today for the first time in many months. I felt dirty and lazy making my way through the steady stream of other poor lost souls all trapped in our cars. In the past several years I have only driven to work on a handful of occasions. I am overcome by a sense of restlessness and regret every time I do it. My time of exertion before and after each day of work has become a source of solitude and meditation that I need in order to properly focus.

I chose to drive today for a couple of reasons. First, I am a little stiff from completing my biggest training week ever. It was my last week of big mileage before starting my taper and recovery for the birthday run. I completed 80 miles of running, 32 miles of riding and 10 miles walking. 30 of the miles were run yesterday on the trail at Busiek. I will spend the next 3 weeks cutting back on activity in order to begin my birthday run on fully rested and recovered legs.

Second, and the main reason I drove, was because I needed to visit the Conservation Department to reserve the camp site that we will use as my aid and refueling station during the run. You are supposed to have a permit to camp in the area or you could be fined. It doesn’t cost anything to get the permit but you do have to go to the Conservation Department office on the far north side of town to get one. I could have ridden the distance on the bike but it would have required taking extra time off work and I figured I had earned a day off and would just drive there during my lunch break.

The thing I hadn’t planned for was the Jeep breaking down on the side of the highway when I left on my lunch break! Just as I merged onto the highway there was a sputter and loss of power and then the engine completely died. I coasted onto the shoulder but was barely able to make it out of the traffic stream. I tried several times to restart the engine but it was quickly becoming apparent that it wasn’t going to happen. I knew I should have ridden the bike!

If there is one gaping hole in my resume of manly skills it is my total lack of knowledge when it comes to vehicle maintenance. Luckily, we have a good friend that is a mechanic. A couple of phone calls and he was on his way to my aid. As the semi trucks roared by a couple of feet away and shaking the Jeep, I hoped and prayed it wasn’t something expensive or difficult to fix. Within 30 minutes my friend was there and digging under the hood trying to find the culprit.

As it turns out, the cap and rotor needed replaced. For those of you like me, the cap and rotor have to do with the spark plugs and fortunately it is a cheap and easy fix. Or at least it appeared easy as I watched him do it. In no time at all he had replaced the part and the Jeep fired back to life. Even though I had gone well over my hour lunch break, since I was on the right side of town already, I decided to go ahead and get to the Conservation Department and get my site reserved so I wouldn’t have to go through this again.

You know how they say you learn something new everyday? Well today I learned two new things. First, I now know what a cap and rotor is and what it does. Second, the stupid Conservation Department is closed on Columbus Day which is today.

Week of October 4 – 80 Run, 32 Bike, 10 Walk

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