Friends, Copilots, And Conspirators…

Though I always ride alone, one constant when I ride is that I’m never really alone. I have friends, copilots, and conspirators who ride along with me, if only in my mind. They just pop in and out of my psyche while I ride, as my thoughts and mood weave ideas, new and old.

Depending on what I’m looking at and what I’m thinking about as I pedal, I have different conversations with different people. There is always some combination of friends, family members, associates, and even some whom I have never met, but have admired.

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Bomer The Kreeps…

During an average ride, I might converse with as many as a half-dozen different people. I confess that some folks show up more than others, but if I’ve been connected with someone for any length of time, either in person or via social media, there’s a good chance that person has appeared beside me on one or more of my rides and  been an unwitting participant  in these conversations in my head.

There are times when I ride with people I’ve never met. Roberto Clemente, Steve Earle, Colin Powell, Robert Wright, and James McMurtry have all ridden with me at one time or another — and many more like them. And yes, Donald Trump has even been on a ride or two with me, but his presence is always forced, and the result of his own permeating bad behavior.

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My copilots aren’t just in my head. They are always on bicycles, and right beside me traveling at the same speed, no faster or slower. My imagination paces us side-by-side so perfectly that it’s easy to converse. It’s as though we are always at identical fitness levels.

We chat. We laugh. I listen. They speak. I speak. They listen. We learn more about each other as we ride. Sometimes we talk of what we already know, while others times we talk of what should or could be — what we might want for the future.

We talk about art. We talk about how we can save the world. We always talk about how things can be improved. Occasionally, we tell jokes and might even sing.

Paul Weller and I sing quite well together.

The only time I take a leadership role during our rides is in explaining what’s ahead on the routes we are riding. You see, we may be riding side-by-side, but this is my turf, so I have to explain the how to prepare for every obstacle. It might go something like this…

– This is going to be a steep hill…
– Might get a little bit curvy up ahead…
– Going to need to do a little shifting just past that tree…
– Hit it just right, and we could reach 50-mph going down this slope…

Things like that.

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There may be gaps when we don’t speak to each other at all — when just enjoy the scenery, occasionally looking over to one another and silently acknowledging what beautiful surroundings these are or the thrill of breaking the 50 mph barrier.

We don’t talk about politics too much when we ride, but when we do we are sure to agree on things. That’s the beauty of my friends being with me on my imaginary terms; we’re pretty much in agreement on everything. Or should I say, they are in agreement with me…

We agree on music. We agree on sports. We agree on the beauty of the landscape around us. We agree that the world would be a better place if we all treated one another with more kindness. We agree that a successful outcome for man is supremely dependent on religious acceptance, as well as putting all animal life on an equal plane with human life.

Go ahead, ask me if I ever ride with God, I dare ya…

Like so many others, God pops in and out. He’ll spend a little time with me, maybe has something to say or gets me thinking about something in a new way, and on a good day, maybe he listens back just a little bit. Other times, he just sits on my shoulder  with the wind in his hair and enjoys the scenery as I do.

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I love riding with my friends. It’s actually a big part of why I ride — I can spend quality time with Todd Snider or Retief Goosen every day. Goosen is great on the hills. Snider…?  Not so much.

I ride alone, but I’m never alone when I ride. So thank you for riding along with me.

This is what I think about my ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Bomer The Kreeps
29 miles
1,200’ climbing
16.7 mph avg
2,000 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Ain’t That Peculiar, by Fanny

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Fanny. Enjoy…!

 

The Emotions Go To The Observer…

Got out early yesterday. By San Diego standards it was very cold — 38°F when I left the house. Double socks. Double gloves. Beanie under my helmet. Three long sleeve shirts. I still get a bit nervous about whether I’m dressed properly before I ride in winter here. I’m in proximity of several microclimates, and often have temperature fluctuations in winter of 10 to 20°. I’ve made good clothing choices so far this season.

A good rule of thumb: In winter, I dress for the downhills. Despite the cold temperatures, there’s a lot of heat and even sweat generated riding uphill. Reach a crest, go over the top, and with downhill speeds up 40 mph, 38°F, becomes roughly a 20° windchill.

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Don’t let the sunshine full ya. It was about 30° at the time I took this picture…

Was thinking about art and emotions on yesterday’s ride…

I often wonder why some songs makes me cry, that otherwise shouldn’t. Conversely, I wonder why songs that should make me cry, often don’t. I got to thinking about the balance of emotion between the artist and the observer. I say observer and not listener, because this also applies to paintings, movies, and literature. It’s just that music is my primary form of literature.

As I was peddling alongside citrus orchards and acres of vineyards, I contemplated how fragile the exchange of emotion is between artist and observer. That’s what makes art so beautiful.

There’s the external emotion — the essence of the artist, crafted and projected outward from his art, like a message in a bottle. And the internal emotion — the essence of the observer, yearning, needing, and stirring within. Those emotions meet and blend in the head, the heart, and in the soul of the observer.

I thought further about other influences in this dance.

The first time I heard the song Bad, by U2, I was driving down College Avenue in Tempe Arizona in my blue Renault Alliance. My white and gold Lhasa Apso, Scooter, was in the passenger seat. Maybe 3/4 of the way through the song, I  got a lump in my throat and began bawling. So overcome with emotion, I pulled off to the side of the road to finish listening, but more so to be less a danger in traffic. Scooter just stared quizzically.

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Since that day, I’ve listened to that song, maybe hundreds of times, and I always reflect back to the emotions I felt the first time I heard it. However, in all the times I’ve listened to it since, not once has it brought me to tears, though it still evokes an emotional response every time.

Now here’s the thing: I was scarcely listening to the lyrics the first time I heard that song. I didn’t know what the song was about. So where did those tears come from…?

Maybe it was the beauty of the day — sunny with my dog at my side and the windows rolled down. Maybe I had just gotten paid and felt a sense of relief that lightened my heart — no more ramen for a while. Certainly the way the song builds sonically was a factor in pulling me into it. Maybe it was that I was just so young and hyper-aware that I had so much of my life left ahead of me. I dunno.

Some combination of all of those things is probably what brought me to tears. And let me be clear, they were tears of joy. Now I’m certain Bono and The Edge had no idea who I was or that their song would bring tears to me that day. But along with my environment and internal emotions, the emotions they felt when they wrote and recorded that song were mitigating aspects of the dance in my soul that day.

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There are still some songs that bring tears to my eyes, but they are fewer and fewer these days. Perhaps that’s because I’m just so deep into life, and to scarred to feel as I once was able to feel.

Emotions are like clouds. They are the result of many influences, circumstances, and chemistry. And like clouds, emotions ebb and flow. They change shape, they change sizes, they change moods, and they sometimes disappear. Never though, do they stay in one place for very long.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Cortez The Killer
26 miles
1,300’ climbing
16.6mph avg
1,800 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Bad, by U2

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from U2. Enjoy…!

Calling In Sad…

An all-out glorious ride yesterday. The skies were as beautiful as I’ve ever seen them around here. I got off the highway and rode light gravel and dirt trails for about 8 miles of a 25-mile ride.

Nearly every day I ride past an underpass and a sign above it that reads…

Wildlife Crossing SR76

The underpass is expressly for wildlife to cross under State Highway 76 in Bonsall.

More freedom, less roadkill. Makes sense.

Although it’s intended primarily for coyotes, raccoons, possums, rabbits and the like, I’m certain mountain lions and bobcats have crossed under the highway on this trail from time to time.

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I’ve wanted to explore the trail for a while now, but on this route I’m usually on a road bike, not suited for trail riding. Today I was appropriately biked, so this was the day to veer off the path and get dirty for a while.

I left the highway, used the underpass, and followed the trail as far as it went toward the San Luis Rey river bed. I was surprised at how well worn the trail was, but when I looked up to see two men in the underpass seated on a weathered mattress and leaning against one another sharing a bottle of tequila, I knew bipedal varmints also use the underpass and the trail.

Once I cleared the underpass, I was wholly invigorated and inspired by the scenery and by the skies — and just in time too.

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At this point, I was about 8-miles out from my house and only a few hours removed from one of the heavier depressive episodes I’ve had recently. It was a Sunday morning and I only had one client session, but I was having a pretty bad start to my day.

I sat there, with roughly an hour to go before my only session and I just stared into the glow of the fireplace. As much as I appreciated the expected client, I didn’t really want to do the session. I was just too sad.

I just sat there, holding my dog and crying, and for reasons that were beyond my grasp. I wanted to call my client and tell her that wasn’t feeling well enough to train her, but that seemed unacceptable for many reasons.

I ran through all the clichés in my head…

-Buck up!
-Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!
-Crash through it!
-Get over it!
-And a few others…

I knew I’d get it together, put my game face on, take her through a rigorous workout, and that she would leave my studio better for her efforts. Nobody ever walks away from a workout and says ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’.

And maybe after her session, for the efforts and dynamics of me getting her through it, I’d feel better myself. History tells me that could be the case.

Still, the depression was stifling at that point. But we’re not allowed to call in sad.

If I had some tangible germ, virus, condition or disorder and cancelled the session, my client wouldn’t have questioned it. The words ‘I have strep throat’ are more acceptable to a consumer than ‘I want to sit on my closet floor with the lights off and the door closed’.

And that’s too bad.

I don’t think that will ever change either, not in my lifetime, despite all we now know about depression. Calling in sad will never be an option.

When we are carrying germs that can spread to others and cause them sickness too, we are told to put up hard and fast borders — do not let those germs out and don’t let anyone in. Notwithstanding that when we’re sick, we are often too weak to work and likely to be less productive so staying home is acceptable.

When it’s tears though, that were carrying, rather than germs, we’re expected to hold them in and do so in a way that we aren’t expected to do with germs. We trust that with the right amount of effort, our sadness won’t be contagious.

Maybe there will be a day when I can call in sad and it will be acceptable. A part of me hopes that day comes, but a larger part of me hopes it never does, because my income might be cut in half.

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I’m glad did the session and as I reckoned, I felt a little better for having done it. It was one of my favorite clients. She works hard, and that helped me out my sadness — some. I’m as glad though, that I took my bike out immediately after the session because by the time I was done riding, my sadness was long gone — if only for a while.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Tang
25.5 miles
1,100’ climbing
15.3 mph avg
1,700 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Womb, by Toni Childs

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Toni Childs. Enjoy…!

Hard Working People Sooth The Savage Breast…

After a week of bad weather, 4 flat tires, and one cracked frame, I ended the week with a great ride. Very cold this morning and a bit rainy still, but I felt good to be trouble-free again, if only for a day. More bad weather headed this way later in the week, and these rural roads aren’t bicycle friendly after heavy rains.

As is often the case, I was thinking about music while riding this morning. Not songs, not albums, not styles, genres or even technologies. I was thinking about the dynamics that lead to music — the circumstances that lead somebody to learn an instrument, to take up writing or to form a band. But beyond that, I was also thinking about all the music that never gets heard.

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It’s amazing what can happen when a little sunshine follows a little rain…

Early on in my life I worked for Felyine Concerts in Colorado. My job was primarily at the Rainbow Music Hall in Denver, where I was a Junior Assistant to the Junior Assistant in charge of backstage security. I was also the Managing Director of strolling the parking lot to ensure car stereos didn’t get stolen once the concerts began.

On rare occasions, I might find myself at the Feyline corporate offices though, to do an errand for somebody, pick up a paycheck or a drop off time cards. One of my jobs prior to working for Feyline was as a sandwich maker in a local deli. Barry Fey, the founder of Feyline, was a regular customer at the deli. In my time there, I waited on Fey often and made dozens of sandwiches for him, so he knew me a little bit.

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All hail the Pollenator…

While in the Feyline offices one day, Fey’s office door was open. I peaked my head in a little bit and just waved while he was on a telephone call. He didn’t wave back or even acknowledge me. Behind him though, was a wall that was essentially a giant cassette holder. There were literally dozens, if not hundreds of cassette tapes lined up on the wall behind Fey’s desk.

Several weeks later, Fey showed up backstage for a gig at the Rainbow — might have been the Greg Kihn Band, and I commented on the magnificent cassette collection I had seen behind his desk. He laughed and explained to me that that wasn’t his music collection. It was all the demo tapes he had received through the years from managers, bands, and producers looking for him to use a particular band as an opening act at the Rainbow, McNichol’s Sports Arena, and his other little concert outlet, the Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Not usually giving employees like me the time of day, he actually stopped and talked to me about it for minute in an ‘I have a lesson for you kid’ kind of way. He took a minute to let me know that those were all bands I’ve never heard of and probably never would. He then moved onto the next important thing, which was probably scoring drugs, ice cream or both.

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I think the brief lesson or impression Fey was trying to leave me with, was that most bands never make it. He continued on about his business that day, but left me to chew on that idea for about 40-years and I’ve never been able to let it go.

Most bands never make it.

It’s never forgotten by me, ever, that the bands that I hear on the radio, see on TV, whose concerts I attend, albums I purchase or that I look at on YouTube, probably started by sending their demos out to everyone they possibly could, including promoters like Fey.

I think about that every day of my life.

I know the means and the platforms of exchange have changed, but the idea is still the same — the starving artist with starry eyes and the enormous odds stacked against him, knocking on doors and hoping to simply be heard.

Long before they were produced, overproduced, glorified or dumbed down by the likes of Ric Ruben, most artists were passionate, shabbily dressed kids playing on meager instruments, and who practiced practiced practiced.

So last week, when Maroon 5 headlined the Super Bowl halftime show, in what may go down as the single biggest piece of crap musical performance I’ve ever seen, I still took the time to think about how they started and where they came from.

That at one time in his life, Adam Levine was a kid from LA with a guitar and a dream, and that he practiced practiced practiced. And whatever I may think of Levine or however I might interpret his band’s performance at the half-time show, he started young, remained committed to a goal, and with the benefit of some good luck and good timing, fulfilled a dream that he might never have actually dreamt to begin with. I wish I had.

I also remember though, that for every Adam Levine, there’s 10,000 more just like him that practiced just is hard or harder, but maybe didn’t have the good luck or the good timing to reap the larger rewards. And may God bless those bastards, because they are the ones who give music a good name.

This is what I think about it when I ride…. Jhciacb

Today’s Ride…

Bike: Tang
24 miles
1,100’ climbing
16.0 mph avg
1,600 calories
Today’s earworm: The Black Cowboy, by Larry Robinson

The Firecrackers And Landmines Of Caregiving…

Another flat tire yesterday, 9-miles out. It was the 4th flat in 72-hours. All the recent rain has washed a lot of debris into the roads. Most of my flat tires take place in late winter and early spring here.

After a roadside repair, I limped home due to uncertain tire pressure, exchange bikes and headed out again. Every ride is a new stoke, and most rides are the best ride I’ve ever had.

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The bike I began on, would not be the bike I finished on. 4th flat in 72-hours..

I was thinking a lot about caregiving today…

A firecracker, unexpectedly detonated in your proximity might startle you, make you pause, and even take you out of your rhythm for a moment, but would otherwise be harmless. After a firecracker explodes, life carries on within a few seconds, as if it never happened.

A landmine exploding unexpectedly, can kill you. If you’re lucky enough to trigger a landmine and actually walk away, the consequences of the concussion can still be profound and often life-changing.

In assuming the care of my aging mother, I spend most waking moments apprehensive of the firecrackers and landmines which surround us. More firecrackers than land mines at present, but I know as her dementia advances, they will come into equal portion and at some point, the number of landmines may exceed the firecrackers.

Since my mother lives with me, and I work from home, my mother is within 50-feet most of the time. The only exceptions to this are when I walk my dog, go to the store or am on my bike.

Though I attempt to keep distinct separation between my mother and my business life, a big part of why I have them both in my home is so I can toggle between them and assist Mom in-between my appointments and when I’m not working.

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My mother, a retired federal worker, is in her late-80s. She walks exclusively with a cane, is in the early stages of dementia, but is lucid most of the time, just not all the time, and rarely when it’s convenient.

Mom is capable of engaging in normal conversations which might include gossip, current affairs, and the events of the day for each of us. She’s also capable of some light housekeeping duties, enjoys TV and reading, but naps in equal portion to anything she does when she’s not napping.

There are some quirks and idiosyncrasies which come with old age that can be disruptive, but are relatively harmless. There are also some heavier eccentricities that can stop a peaceful moment in its tracks. Those quirks are like firecrackers. The eccentricities are the landmines.

Sometimes, for no reason I’ve been able to understand, my mother will separate Oreo cookies from their main package and individually wraps them in paper towels, places them in coffee mugs, and put the mugs back in the cupboard — without making any mention of this to me. Imagine my surprise when I reach for a coffee mug, fill it with water and put it in the microwave to heat up the water for tea. Only after the fact do I realize I’m steeping my tea in Oreo water. I’ve learned to inspect the coffee cups before I do this. Still, if I’m in the rhythm of my day, I might forget to look in the cup first.

That would be an example of a firecracker.

A landmine, on the other hand, might be when I’m coming in for just a moment between appointments and I am confronted by Mom with the following information…

“I’m certain I’ve just seen the neighbors throw a baby into the dumpster in their backyard…“

I don’t believe this actually happened, but I don’t stand in front of my window for hours at a time looking to see what the neighbors might be up to. I do though, need to take time to discuss this with my mother.

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If I have just a couple of minutes in-between appointments when she advises me about the baby murdering neighbors, negotiating that conversation might take a little more time than I actually have, and I might be late for my next appointment.

No Mom, I assure her, I don’t believe the neighbors did put a baby in the dumpster. Would you like me to call the police…?

It just doesn’t set up for a quick conversation. Again, that’s a landmine.

Seeing Mars in the western sky one evening, Mom told me she thought it was the space station and that they were looking down on Fallbrook spying, but not on her specifically, at least not yet.

There was nothing else going on in my life that evening, so that was more of a firecracker, but certainly had the potential to be a landmine. Still, she met me with absolute disbelief at the thought that it might be Mars and not the space station. She didn’t speak to me for the rest of the evening.

Occasionally she leaves bed in the middle of the night to unplug all the appliances — so they don’t start a fire overnight. Of course, she does this in the dark so not to wake me — what could possibly go wrong with that…? If she were to fall in a darkened room, which she hasn’t done yet, that would be a landmine. Waking to hear her knock over a lamp or two in the process, is still just a firecracker.

When I’m in a session with a client and I hear the smoke alarm go off in the kitchen, a semi-regular occurrence, and I have to interrupt my workday to open windows, fan smoke out the door, and clean up any messes that might be caused by splattered grease — that’s a landmine.

Those are just a few instances of how my mother sees and negotiates the world differently than I do. Instances like these, however ord, are a semi-regular occurrences. These can be a little funny, sometimes entertaining, occasionally a nuisance, often frustrating, and at times dangerous. All in a day’s care.

These firecrackers and landmines — these sudden pops and explosions I navigate between each day, can wear me down. Occasionally, I catch her still attempting to do things I’ve asked her not to do, like use the stove or the vacuum cleaner. When an adult child has to discipline his parent for what is in-essence, misbehaving, both are sure to have heavy hearts, at least for a while.

There is one more landmine though, that comes up every 4-weeks as though it scheduled. It’s the day we deposit her retirement check into the bank.

Some months ago, my mom received a check from an insurance rebate for roughly $4,000. I asked her if I could hold the check overnight so it didn’t get lost — my mother has a habit of allowing the important documents and checks to end up in the recycling bin. She agreed  to let me hold the check overnight. The next day we deposited the check and that’s where the story should have ended.

Every month since the day we deposited that check, on the day that we deposit her monthly retirement check, she asks me if I have the insurance rebate. When I tell her that we deposited it 6-months ago, she disbelieves me and asks over and over where that check is.

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The bike and tires I would finish on. God bless Gatorskins…

So once a month I have to convince my mother that I haven’t stolen $4,000 from her. She never fully believes this, and despite that we have this discussion every 4-weeks, we have it again 4-weeks later. That’s dementia, high-fiving me.

And the worst thing about these landmines is this…

As immediately as they explode and are cleared, they return again, in the exact same place.

I am frustrated with firecrackers, but I am haunted by landmines.

Confessing all of this might help you understand that if my only break from this is walking my dog, going to the store, or being on my bike, then these things are the methadone of my existence.

To be continued…

This is what I think about when I ride…

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Vasudeva
29.5 miles
1,500’ climbing
16.9 mph avg 😁
1,900 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: The End Is Not In Sight, by The Amazing Rhythm Aces

Life With Chip…

It was raining steadily, but not hard when I left for my ride yesterday. I stepped outside prior to getting on my bike and scanned the sky in 360° fashion. I easily made the decision to go out. At worst, I would come home wet and a little more tired than usual, but perhaps a little bit cleaner behind the ears.

There was little wind and the temperature was in the low 50s, so it wasn’t like anything bad was going to happen. I have all the appropriate rain gear for cycling so this would be just another ride.

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The rain stopped long enough for a picture and a pee…

Besides, it’s not like rain pierces the skin, attacks the central nervous system, ceases muscles from functioning or causes sudden blindness when it touches the eyes. It’s just rain. It hits the teeth some — that’s kind of a funny sensation at 25 mph, but it’s never caused me to crash. It causes me to blink a little bit more when it hits my eyes, but that’s okay. It might make my feet a bit heavier on the pedals, but it’s just rain.

I don’t know that this has ever been tested, and I’ve never discussed it with other cyclists, but when I ride in the rain, I always feel like my drivetrain — my gears and my chain run more smoothly for the moisture that flows through them.

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A flat in the rain and a warm place to repair the tire…

In truth, I enjoy riding in the rain. As long as there isn’t much wind and it isn’t too cold, it’s fun. Another aspect of why I enjoy it is because I know most people would never do it. People question me and caution me against it. Some openly question my intelligence when I ride in the rain.

Not to be judgmental, truly, but not riding in the rain or not riding at all is easy. Riding in the rain is a test of my fortitude, and that translates to many other things in life. I become mentally stronger from riding in the rain, better skilled at riding when it’s not raining, and more confident in my ability to stand up to discomfort.

Standing up to discomfort, by the way, is a character trait that I began developing when I was a teenager, have never quit trying to improve on, and has served me well. Too many people I know struggle with standing up to discomfort.

At some point I will ride from coast to coast, and regardless of what time of year I do that in, there will be days when I will ride in rain, wind, snow, and possibly worse conditions. So going out for 25 or 30 miles when it rains is honest work toward that goal.

And getting a flat tire on a rainy day ride…? Well, that’s also a test, and one I passed yesterday — with flying colors.  Another mile-marker on the road of hardening me against discomfort.

This is also why I ride at night at least one or two nights per week — in the dark, but on a very well lit bike. I like to do things that other cyclists — that other people would never do.

I guess I’ve just got a chip on my shoulder. A Chip, actually. His name is Chip.

I spent much of my early life, well into midlife, being doubted and written off by others, even by people close to me. As far back as I can remember, few people have believed in me, and many more have doubted me in most all of my ambitions. As a result, I’ve spent the latter part of my adult life giving people reasons to never doubt me. I dare you to tell me I can’t do it — I double-dog dare ya.

That’s why I intend to live in a camper someday — to retire in one actually, and a small one at that. I want to prove to people who live in 5,000 square-foot houses or even 1,500 square-foot houses that I can absolutely live in an 80 square-foot camper and be happy doing it — just as I can be happy riding my bike in a rainstorm while somebody else is inside binge watching Game of Thrones in front of a fire.

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Not that there’s anything wrong with Game of Thrones or a 5,000 square-foot house. That’s just never been my priority. Okay, Game of Thrones is stupid, but there’s nothing wrong with 5,000 square-foot houses. It’s just not my shtick.

I like living my life with Chip. He sits up there quietly on my shoulder. He’s always there. He doesn’t speak often, but when he does, I listen. Chip not only reminds me who I want to be, but daily he also reminds who I don’t want to be.

Chip oversees my independent streak. I will be the Captain, but he will draw the chart, sailing into destiny…

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Last Week By The Numbers…

Bikes ridden: 4
172 miles
9,600’ climbing
16.0 mph avg
12,000 calories

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Rush. Enjoy…!

 

The Mind Drifts…

Truth be told, if I ride for 1-1/2 to 2 hours each day, I’ll probably think about a lot of things — anything — most everything. I’m at the beck and call of free association.

If it’s a beautiful day, not too hot and not too cold, and if my surroundings are aesthetically pleasing, which they always are, my first thought will probably be about something beautiful that I’m looking at. That will lead into my next thought, which will take me to another thought still, and so-on.

Before I know it, I’m playing connect the dots, thought to thought, and piecing together my entire life — what it was or what it might still be.

Hardly a ride goes by that I don’t think about my childhood; friends I hung out with, the things we did together, and the places where we did them.

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Bike: Tang….

Daily while I am riding, and without exception, I think about my time spent in the US Coast Guard. Again, the friends, places and the things we did.

I think about the first time I did an inward 1-1/2 somersault from the 3-meter springboard at Skyline Acres Swim & Tennis Club in Denver when I was 14.

I think about arguments I witnessed between my mother and my father when I was small — of hiding under the bed when their voices got too loud.

I think about jobs I’ve had and jobs I’ve quit. Daily, I think about my first job as a sandwich maker in the deli when I was 15. That remains the best job I’ve ever had. To this date, I’ve had exactly one more job than the number of jobs I’ve ever quit.

I think about mistakes I’ve made and regrets I have. I think a lot about my mistakes and regrets. Someday a form of math will be developed that might actually be able to tabulate all my mistakes and regrets, but until then, I’ll just refer to them as many.

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The rainbow connection…

I think about music an awful lot when I ride, and I’m constantly reciting lyrics of songs as my feet push me forward — occasionally even biting my tongue or lip when I hit a dip or an object in the road.

I think about dying honestly, but I think about living more.

I think about Carlton Fisk.

I think about my dog and my cat — and I still think about all of my dogs from the past, but not cats from my past because Mischa is my first cat.

I think about my daughter of course. I think about how lucky she is to have the mother that she has. I think about that a lot also.

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Stroodle, age 15   This is what I think about it when I ride…

Sometimes, for no reason whatsoever, I might think about the Lindbergh baby. I really do. I don’t know why, it’s just a story I’ve always been fascinated with.

I think about Professor Pausch.

I think about movies. Today I thought about the movie, Once Were Warriors. As the kids say, highly recommend…

I think about the men flying the many helicopters I see flying overhead each. Living this close to Camp Pendleton, I see Marine aircraft all day long. Sometimes I think about what they might be thinking about while they’re flying. Hopefully, they’re thinking about flying, and little else.

Of course I think about politics, but probably in a different way than most people. More on that in another essay.

I think about systems a lot, and have a great reference and respect for them — that we are all passengers, beneficiaries, and casualties in the many systems that carry us in different directions all day long. I think most people don’t give much thought to these systems, and most don’t realize that systems, not politicians, are our true leaders, and the systems get elected by the many choices we make each day.

I might think about cartoons some days. The Flintstones was my favorite. I also like to Quickdraw McGraw an awful lot.

I really do think about all of these things each day when I ride, and many more than this.

I’m always thinking when I’m riding. Always thinking. That’s my disease, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but at the end of the day, thinking is what makes me me.

You see, riding a bike isn’t just about escaping, though that’s certainly one aspect of it. It’s about riding towards things, riding back to things, riding around things, and gliding.

Riding a bike is about gliding as much as it is about anything. The body glides, yes, but the mind glides also.

Above all things, for me, riding a bike is about being alive.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Yesterday’s Ride…

Bike: Tang
22.5 miles
1,300’ climbing
15.5 mph avg
1,600 calories
Yesterday’s earworm: Ship Of Fools, by Bob Seger

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Bob Seger. Enjoy…!

Soreing With Eagles…

 

My legs are sore today, quite sore. More on that later.

On a winter night in 1981, my friend Mike Wolf and I took a leg workout, after hours, at the Nautilus Fitness Center in Littleton Colorado. Mike and I, a couple of young bodybuilders at the time, were both trainers with Nautilus.

We were there for 3-hours that evening and did nothing but squats. Inspired by Arnold  Schwarzenegger and guided by youthful stupidity, we had decided we would each do a set of squats every 3-minutes for the entire 3-hours. This, we thought, would coax our legs into new growth.

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38 years later, still squatin’…

I don’t remember too much about the weights that we used at night other than we started heavy and by the end of the night we were using just the 45-lb. bar on our backs.

Barely able to walk, we stepped out of the gym into snowy single-digit temperatures, got in Mike’s Volkswagen and were on our way when Mike noticed the car was low on gas. It was probably some kind of guy thing but since it was his car, it would be my job to get out and pump the gas in the frigid air.

Though I had been sitting in the car for only a couple of minutes, my legs had gotten cold quickly after 3-hours of squats and were not responding to the signals my brain was sending them.

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Standing beside the fuel door, with the gas pumping away, I suddenly collapsed onto the sheet of ice below my feet. My legs weren’t cramping, they were just unable to move and I was unable to control them in any reasonable way.  For a moment, I honestly thought I had become paralyzed. Eventually the gas pump clicked off and I was still on my side next to the rear wheel of the Volkswagen, unable to stand.

Eventually Mike would step out of the car and begin looking for me. I can still recall the chuckle he gave when he saw me sitting on the ice trying to get up — kinda like Bambi on the frozen pond.  Mike would help me to my feet, get me into the car and deliver me home where I could sleep and eat dozens of eggs over the next couple days in hopes of growing larger quads.

For the next few days my legs felt a profound soreness that they haven’t known since — until yesterday.

Since I’ve been riding my bikes upwards of 150-175 miles week for the past year, I’ve cut back on my leg training some and have been okay with that. In particular, as somebody who has always squatted ass to the grass deep, for the last year or so I’ve been doing only parallel squats rather than deep squats.

By parallel, I mean squatting to the point where my femur is parallel to the ground, pausing for a 1-count and returning to the top. For most of my weight training life — 40+ years, I have squatted deeply but always safely.

Recently I noticed my quadriceps, just above the knees, look a little thin. Despite my cycling and that I still train legs with some intensity, I didn’t like what I saw.

Now this could be an age thing. Strength trainers and bodybuilders over the age of 50 and approaching 60, often lose leg development first. Very often this is due to  cutting back on or abandoning leg training after a certain age, but it is also part of the aging process. In my case, I attributed this to a lack of deep squats for the past year. The legs of older bodybuilders just don’t pop, and popping quads was my calling card for about 30-years.

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Nilla: Equal parts marshmallow cream, styrofoam, meringue…

Considering that squatting deep again might help fill out my quads over my knees, last week I began squatting deep for the first time in a year. For a day or two after that first session, my legs were more sore than usual and it felt good. It was even an indication that I might be on the right track.

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Three nights ago I did a second workout including more deep squats and much heavier this time. The next morning I felt a soreness in my thighs that took me back to that squat marathon with my friend Mike nearly 40-years ago. Today it felt like the entire Chinese Army walked by me and one by one, and kicked me hard on each thigh.

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Bike: Bomer The Kreeps…

Every step I have taken today has felt like electricity and sledgehammers were attacking my thighs simultaneously.  And then it was time to get on my bike…

I actually thought about skipping my ride. In truth, it was a great ride as it always is, and my legs loosened up quickly once I began to ride.

However, with the type of symmetry that can only be part of a divine and humorous universe, as soon as I got off my bike today, I collapsed and fell to the ground — exactly like I did at the gas station in 1981.

And that my friends, is a true story.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

Today’s Ride…

Bike: Bomer The Kreeps

24.5 miles

1,100’ climbing

16.5 mph avg

1,600 calories

Today’s earworm: Paper Late, by Genesis

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Genesis. Enjoy…!