Last week, on August 10, my new AT&T U-verse television service went out. We've only had the service for a little over a month. The hope was that it would save money and have better service than our prior provider, Time Warner Cable, who were unresponsive to complaint, had service that would go out for days at a time without explanation, and continually increased rates as a reward. I called AT&T on August 11th and they apologized, had me go through all the usual restarting and unplugging devices and checking cables that I had already done. They then told me that that they would be out the next day between 12 and 4. My wife and I made arrangements for somebody to be home. They never showed up. When I called back they apologized and said they would be out the following day. We were there. They were not. After several more phone calls and hours of my life on hold they tell me it is a "line problem" and nobody needs to come to the house, the work will be completed outside. Last night they said there was somebody working on it as we spoke and it would be fixed by today. It wasn't. Today's line was that the line in my yard would have to be dug up but the company it was contracted out to couldn't get to it until August 29. That means that in the first 6 weeks of paying for AT&T U-verse television service it would be out of operation for 3 weeks. Nice.
Over the past week I had also had trouble connecting to my network hard drive. I thought it was an old drive and crapped out, the way they tend to do. I went out and bought a new one and this was not visible on the network either. Cutting to the chase, none of the ethernet ports on the U-verse gateway (that's AT&T speak for their combined modem/router) were working. I had four devices connected via standard ethernet cables and when I logged onto the gateway via wi-fi and pulled up the configuration page the gateway showed none of my ethernet devices but I could see that each of the million wi-fi devices in my house were assigned IP addresses by the DHCP server. Hmmm...if all of the U-verse television equipment connects to the gateway via ethernet it's no wonder the television service doesn't work. I called AT&T and suggested a new gateway. Even if it doesn't fix the television problem I still need my router ethernet ports to work. If replacing the gateway restores the television service then it saves my yard from being dug up and 2 more weeks without service. I called and finally was able to explain to somebody what was going on with the gateway and that it needed to be replaced. I also had to recap the saga of the past week. Again. He was patient, understanding, and helpful. He told me he could have a technician at my place between 5 and 8 PM. Guess what? We were home, AT&T never showed up.
As I type this I am on the phone with AT&T. I have been on the phone with them for over one hour, much of it on hold. I had to recount the whole series of unfortunate failures on their part to get to the point: The new gateway that was supposed to be delivered tonight, in person, was not delivered. Elizabeth from AT&T is doing her best to apologize and is trying to send a new gateway via UPS. Of course, it won't be here for 2 days. We'll see....
Back to things that matter....or not....
It's Monday, and that means it's a perfect time to recap the weekend rides. Saturday was the first day of my reprieve for the San Antonio Wheelmen. That's right, it's not a reprieve from them, it's a break from riding with me. We'll see if the pace slows significantly without me there. It might, but there are some other strong riders in the group. If turnout improves and the pace slows than those two factors may be related but we cannot discount the cooler temperatures that typically start rolling in during the next few weeks (think 90F not 100F). So Saturday I went out to meet what is likely the fastest organized ride in the city...the Lifetime Fitness/Bike World Saturday ride. It leaves at 0730 and getting the 13 miles over there was going to be a stretch so I opted to meet them at about mile 3 of their ride, 10 miles from my house. I left with enough time to spin casually over there and it was a good thing that I did because I had a flat tire at mile 6 that I had to change. This was on a Continental Gran Prix 4000 IIS tire that had only a couple hundred miles on it. The last tire lasted only about 1000 miles. Not much mileage out of these tires. At $60 per tire it may be time to switch to something a little more durable. Conti 4 Season, Schwalbe Ultremo DD...? I still made it to the appropriate locale to rendezvous. Not wanting to appear the leech by sucking wheels my first ride with the group I started on the front pulling alongside Mark Saroni, pro triathlete and regular on the Tuesday nighter. We pulled up Blanco road with a little tailwind at 20-22mph and only got a brief scolding to hold 18-19 until everbody had a chance to warm up. As luck would have it the Wheelmen route was intersecting ours today and we passed them winding our way from Blanco to Hwy 46 on some of the smaller roads west of Bulverde. When we hit turn on 46 there was a surge from the front and I had to scramble to bridge the gap. By the time we got to the top of the climb 2 miles up the road I came away with a KOM thanks to bridging the gap and then topping the climb first. We had a relaxing rest stop discussing the vagaries of saddle cut-outs and perineal numbness. We hammered a bit harder on the second half of the ride. Mark and I rode most of the way home together afterwards before having to split and go our separate ways. The "group" portion of the ride was 22mph for about 50 miles. Not too bad. Refreshingly, there were a lot of folks willing to pull and nobody complaining about the pace.
Saturday evening I got called in to work for a case that was supposed to start in the OR at 6 but, as is typical, didn't start until around 8PM. I didn't get home until 11:30 or so and it was not clear if I was going to have to be back in at 7:30 in the morning for a couple more cases. I had made plans to ride with Kelley, Tim, and Andy from Helotes as Kelley needed miles leading up to the Hotter 'n Hell Hundred in Witchita Falls and the ride from Garden Ridge to Gruene with the Wheelmen was neither far enough nor fast enough. I barely made it out of bed in time to load my stuff in the car and drive over to Helotes. There was no way I had enough time to ride over there. I showed up at the last minute and made a quick call to the GI fellow on service to ensure there were no cases I had to come in for. We rode 74 miles with Tim and I doing the majority of the pacemaking. There were 5 of us in total as Eddie opted to come along. We had a bit of a headwind down to Castroville but it was predominately a tailwind on the way home through Quihi to Rio Medina and back to Helotes. We averaged 20.4mph over 74 miles with just 5 of us and I wouldn't say that the pace was too hard. Normalized power for the ride was just 214W.