I got the flu about ten days ago, which meant that I got to both amass an arsenal of over-the-counter cough suppressants and other flu medication, and have the honor of being possibly the only person in America losing, rather than gaining, weight on Thanksgiving. And while both some weight and the fever have since been kept at bay, I’ve had a dry, hacking cough that’s lingered. The kind that will wake you up at night like an insatiable significant other, persistent and somewhat predictable, resulting in groggy workdays. The kind that results in somewhat sore abs and a tight back from those nighttime acrobatics. Except, you know, without satisfying happy endings that are implicit in anything involving insatiable significant others.
All of which led me to run to a walk-in clinic where a doctor listened to my heart every which way and then informed me that I just may have a heart murmur.
“Have you experienced any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing during exercise?” The doctor asked.
Images of attempting to climb River Road without “shortness of breath or difficulty breathing” came to mind. The inability to suck enough air into my lungs as I got pulled, dragged, then dropped up and down 9W presented itself.
“Uh, no, not really,” I answered.
Because images of a frame also emerged as I envisioned how I must look, riding up River Road. It was small and cute and welded together by a friend. I had visited the workshop to watch it being put together and even met the guy who was going to do my braze-ons [that sounds so dirty, I know]. And there was no fricking way some goddamn heart murmur was going to keep me off this almost-complete beauty.
Because, like I mentioned before, it’s an IF. The day before I got so pathetically sick that I was living off Tom Yum soup, I had ridden up to Somerville, MA to the IF workshop, with a quick stop by Clear Flour Bread to pick up some treats [their morning buns are pretty phenom]. Bundled up in every bike gear layer I own, it was a quick trip north to a warm workshop where my already-tacked frame sat, being TIG-welded into existence. I got to watch as Tyler worked his magic, explaining the process of using a giant electrical circuit to weld, and the use of air without oxygen in it.
Then I got the grand tour. I got to see the collection of tubes, the jig where tubes become frames, and the chain stay cutting machine [it was really cool]. There was the paint section where the newest green Ti Featherweight sat, waiting for its stripes of black matte paint, as well as an assorted collection of frames waiting for their respective powdercoats. I even got to see the big machine that provides extra pure air to the paint department, as well as IF’s sand and glass blasters.
Along the way, I saw and learned about how braze-ons are brazed on, leaving a glass-like residue, and how Corvids are assembled and the super power glue that holds them together. The IF carbon lugs for the Corvids are made specifically to measure, and not bent or stretched to fit like steel lugs. Even in its raw form, the carbon fiber frame was awesomely impressive. I think my heart murmured when I got to touch it; it didn’t hurt that it felt like air when I lifted it up, either.
There’s actually so much cool stuff and people at the IF workshop that it’s hard to actually delve in and describe everything in one visit [especially when your own custom frame is sitting in the welding department, nearing completion]. I left feeling more excited than when I arrived, and even in the midst of a feverish flu a few days later, I did a mental little dance when Tyler sent me even more pictures.
Yeah, that’s right. Pictures of my brazed and welded IF Crown Jewel. [Potential] Heart murmurs be damned. Ain’t nothin’ gonna keep me off that bike.