Jim’s Basement #4: Should have biked instead

April 28, 2020 |

Let’s get one thing clear right at the start;

Salright? Salright. So, what now that we’re all faced with finding things to do inside our homes to keep the people who do have to go out safe, what to do what to do what to do…

One might say that during a pandemic those with delusions of grandeur will perish. NEIN!

Friday night will forever be known as the night Jim thought it was a good idea to bring a concrete mixer into the house and attempt to mix (and dye black) concrete for custom countertops.

Huh, that's strange, I didn't see this in the Pintrest pictures.
Huh, that's strange, I didn't see this in the Pintrest pictures.

Steps to build a concrete launcher

The following sections outline how to fabricate your very own nightmare, and compare each step to things I could have done instead.

Make complicated spreadsheet to calculate exact mixture needed to fill the first mold

Spend 3–4 hours on this, then, when you hear the enemy gunfire of drying concrete and no way to mix it, throw your MacBook out the door, grab your drill and a 5-gallon bucket and just eyeball it in a panic.

OR, spend 2 minutes getting all the speakers in your house synced up and put them as close to your head as they will go, get on the StagesBike and play Queen: Live at Wembley Stadium at full volume and set a new power record.



Spend months researching making concrete countertops

Watch 20 hours of YouTube videos, take notes in Google Keep, do a test run with 2 different amounts of coloring in 2 small blocks of concrete, take different notes in a physical notebook because that day you felt “artistic”.

OR, accidentally get mixed up in a group ride, and wonder why everyone has the same shirt and where you get one. Hammer them.

This is the first time I've ever drafted, in my life.
This is the first time I've ever drafted, in my life.

Build molds

Yeah, make some molds, it’s easy, just buy some other wood, cut that wood into shapes of the molds, then buy the actual mold wood, and make the mold around the first mold…

OR, build a workout in your favorite workout builder in, uh, seconds? Then mold yourself into perfection;

Might not be a countertop, but countertops are dumb.
Might not be a countertop, but countertops are dumb.

Bring a concrete mixer into your home

Listen, some things are meant to be left outside, and until I got a StagesBike, I would have said that list was:

  • Concrete mixers
  • Bike rides
  • Model rockets
  • Trampolines

But now, with COVID and StagesBike, I am willing to amend that list slightly;

  • Concrete mixers

Instead of doing this, do literally anything else. Brag about Stages Dash GPS Cycling computers and StagesBike to your blog friends, set a rocket off in your kitchen, put a helmet on and bring that trampoline indoors like you’ve always dreamed, play hide-the-last-good-snack from your wife and actually make her find it no matter how tense it gets… all of these things rank higher than bringing a concrete mixer into your future bedroom.

Fill concrete mixer with 4 bags worth of liquid, black dye, 2 bags worth of concrete, press “on”

So you rented this cool mixer, looks big, probably no need to ask anyone how much concrete it can actually fit. Just put 4 gallons of water, 4 POUNDS OF BLACK PIGMENT POWDER, and let’s start small with 2 bags of concrete to get started. Ok! Where’s that on switch? Should I change out of my favorite shirt before I…


OR, start pedaling StagesBike with whatever shirt you have on, sweat washes out. Black pigment designed for lifetime usage on a countertop on the other hand…

Panic panic panic

What to do when 100lbs of concrete power comes down on top of 4 gallons of black water?

Old black water, keep on rollin’
Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?

Oh, it kept on rollin’ and the Colorado moon shined on while I stayed up till 1am in the backyard in the snow trying to make the what-once-was-orange rental concrete mixer no longer black.

I’m pretty sure that’s what the Doobie Brothers were talking about?

OR, stay calm, plan your training domination in Stages Link, follow that plan, keep your shirts.

What did I learn?

A friend of mine likes to say “What did you learn?” in a funny voice right after you do something stupid, like kick a basketball into a wall which bounces straight back into your face. I’ve heard him say this to me many times.

Nothing. I learned nothing.

Do you think this is the first time I got into a situation that required hellish commitment and sucked literally the whole time? No way! That’s all bike racing ever was, pain pain pain pain bad weather pain pain ahhhh that was the best.

Here I am thinking about how I wish my bike computer were at least color and bright so I could see the dang thing through my misery.
Here I am thinking about how I wish my bike computer were at least color and bright so I could see the dang thing through my misery.


What should you learn?

Hard stuff is awesome stuff. The harder, the awesome-er.

Take on that concrete project. GO FOR THAT JOG. Who cares how “good” it is, it’s your thing, it’s not for someone else. It’s for you. Especially now, waiting out a pandemic. Too often were guilty of this;

You don’t know that. There is no way to measure this stuff so stop trying. Don’t let shoulds or what you think other people did or could do get in your way of doing something hard or scary or new, just go do it for you and that’s all that matters. In the end, you might surprise yourself.

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