A little something different this week. Since I write a daily version of this blog on Facebook, and many people who read this are not on Facebook, I’m going to share a recap of those original Monday through Friday thoughts here each Sunday.

If you’re interested in checking them out daily on Facebook, you can follow the the link here. If you’re not on Facebook but are interested in what goes through my head as I ride each day, you can read it here each Sunday.

Monday, March 2. Practicing Mistakes

One of the best parts about riding early on Sundays is the streets are nearly void of cars. As my ride winds down though and I return to town, I pass several churches along the way. Traffic backs up as the parking lots begin to fill for Sunday services.

I take it all in.

For much of my adult life I’ve drawn many comparisons, and cultivated much of my worldview by identifying similarities between religious culture and fitness culture. On the surface that may seem like a stretch. However, the similarities between religious culture and fitness culture are numerous, and in my opinion, very telling.

It all starts with expectations.

There are expectations in society that we take care of our souls. Houses of worship, we learn at an early age, are the best place to prepare our souls for all that will confront them. There are also expectations, albeit to a lesser degree, that we take care of our health and bodies. Gyms, yoga studios, and similar places of worship are as numerous as houses of the holy.

It continues with expectations.

For many, whether we’re talking about protecting our souls or our bodies, it’s those social expectations that create intent. Whether we have a deep calling or not, many attend religious services because they feel it’s expected of them. Similarly, many exercise regularly because they feel it’s expected of them.

Location and leadership.

Because nobody is born with inherent knowledge of religious doctrine, they seek locations of practice and leadership who can teach and cultivate progress toward an increasingly moral life. In the same way, someone seeking to improve their physicality must seek a location of practice and a leader to teach them how to improve.

Ritual Obedience.

Again, whether we’re talking about the soul or the physical being, ritual obedience is necessary to make progress. Obedience to the doctrine and leadership, and consistent ritual practice of what is taught.

You go, you light the candle, you say the words, and you eat the cookie, you leave.

You go, you program the treadmill, you take the steps, do you drink the smoothie, you leave.

Clearly I’m not a priest, a rabbi, or an imam. I have though, made my living teaching different aspects of fitness and exercise for much of my adult life. I’m fortunate inasmuch as I do no group training. My lessons are all one-on-one, which enables me to teach in a way that better secures the expected results.

If there’s one doctrine that I teach above all others, it’s to execute proper form in all the exercises. I regularly tell students that if they’re not using proper form when they exercise, they’re simply practicing mistakes over and over again.

Though I don’t have occasion to enter public gyms too often these days, when I do I’m always struck by how many people are exercising outside of proper form — entire communities reassuring one another that they’re doing a good job, when in fact they’re not.

I know people will take offense to this, but when I think about that — when I think about the entire population of a gym practicing mistakes over and over again, I have to believe that happens in houses of worship as well. It’s just human nature I suppose.

If there’s a message in this attempt to compare the need for spiritual growth with the need for physical development, it’s that if we’re going to practice something, it’s probably best to not practice mistakes over and over again. Eventually, those mistakes become part of who we are.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Tuesday, March 3. Signs…

As if the joy and exhilaration of riding yesterday wasn’t enough, the skies were an additional reward for my effort. Gray, charcoal, varying hues of blue, and white combined to reflect the ground below in spectacular fashion. I know I say it all the time, but ‘stupid job…!’ I had to go back my stupid job.

I ride, in part, to escape the news of the day. These last few weeks though, the news has snuck in to my escape. Actually, it’s full-on molested me. The last 6-miles of my ride each day are a climb back into Fallbrook, up South Mission Road. Because it’s a steady climb, it’s the most ordinary part of my ride. I’m mostly head-down, churning, tired because it’s near the end, and this is usually where my feet begin to hurt. These days though, my eyes hurt more.

Leading up to Super Tuesday, South Mission Road gets transformed into The Alley Of Wasteful Politicians. It’s an assault to my psyche even worse than scrolling through my morning feed. Dozens of signs with the names of politicians or the numbers or letters assigned to the propositions this community should be voting for. The names Darrell Issa and Carl DeMaio pollute the 6-mile stretch. Not to be excluded is the good guy liberal candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar and some lesser judges, assessors, and so-on.

By the way, I’m not taking a political stand here, other than the fact that I believe these signs should be relegated to the past by way of a mutual agreement from all parties and by all causes.

For the second time in a few months I’ll run with my favorite quote from the 1972 book, The Limits Of Growth.

“If you want to protect the environment, stay out of it…“

Also, quit using it.

The game has changed. Political marketing has gone digital and I think that’s a good thing. I know these signs along people‘s driveways and on the sides of the roads buy bits of our brains that their sponsors hope register precisely when the ballot is in front of the voter, but but these signs are profoundly wasteful.

Signs require energy and multiple resources to be manufactured, need to be transported multiple times, and need to be disposed of when the campaign is over — if they’re collected at all. The only bigger waist than the signs themselves, are the wasted words of the politicians they pronounce.

Campaign signs should end tomorrow. The end, no justification, no rationalization, they should simply go away.

Crap. That’s just one more thing I have right that all the politicians in the country are still getting wrong.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Wednesday, March 4. Wearing My Plants Wrong…

Fun ride yesterday. Sleeveless t-shirt. Middle of the day. Everything is green. I’m getting my tan back. A fun little lunch-break, indeed.

I’m taking my fitness a more seriously these days. I know that’s an odd statement coming from a guy who does fitness for a living. Despite my so-called fitness lifestyle, I’ve got a weak link in the chain these days that I need to repair.

I’m consistent on my bike. I’m consistent in the weight room. I’m consistent with my stretching and with my balance work.

So what’s missing…?

My eating has been for shit.

I don’t mean that I eat junk food, that I overeat, or that don’t take my eating seriously. It’s just that my eating has become an identical reflection of my lifestyle — loosely organized, haphazard, and anything goes just to make it to the next day. In the scope of my fitness life, I’m eating good enough to get by, but I expect better of myself.

Riding as much as I do, getting enough calories is the only priority I have in eating. Balancing my nutrients and micro-nutrients is an afterthought. Because of my busy lifestyle — working and taking care of my mother, I get my calories as efficiently and conveniently as possible. This means I’m over-depending on rice, pasta, peanut butter, tofu, and convenient fruits. If you noticed a big void there, yes, vegetables are woefully missing — they only find their way into my system by way of the Thai and Chinese takeout I eat for lunch or dinner most days. I eat almost not vegetables but for a small serving of mixed frozen vegetables every 3rd day or so. In my (mostly) plant-based diet, most of those plants are wheat, rice, nuts, bananas, and soy.

I’m attempting to change that.

The biggest thing I have working against me is time. Eating vegetables, especially the better ones, takes time. It’s easier and quicker to throw down a spoonful of peanut butter and a bowl of pre-cooked rice than it is to prepare and chew on enough broccoli, zucchini, Brussel sprouts, and asparagus to sustain a 1,700 calorie ride.

Really it comes down to organization and planning, and that’s where I hope to improve.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still tuck in my shirt and make it look okay, and the blood panel from my last physical was above average for an old guy. Still, I haven’t been completely dialed in with my eating since I left Colorado in 2015. It’s time to get back on it.

That’s it. My lack of veggies has been weighing on me, so to say. I’ll keep you posted.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Thursday, March 5…

A Long Way From SeaWorld…

Second ride on the vintage Fuji yesterday. Not as fast as the first ride, but I faced a lot of wind heading west. Still, this bike is smooth and fun to ride. I’ll need to be cautious not to ride it too much — maybe twice a month or so.

I received a couple of unrelated emails recently, from two friends who live in separate parts of the country — each questioned me, asking why I say I live in San Diego when the pictures I show look nothing like the images they have. Let me clarify…

Most people, it seems, associate San Diego with Seaworld, Mission Beach, and our beautiful downtown waterfront. San Diego’s moniker is America’s Finest City, and I couldn’t agree more. However, I actually live about 50-miles north of downtown San Diego and 15-miles inland from the nearest beach. My home is in the unincorporated community of Fallbrook.

Fallbrook is a rural community known for its agriculture including avocados, plant and flower nurseries, citrus groves, and more recently, vineyards. And horses, we have a lot of horses. We are a community of 40,000 persons living sparsely among roughly 44 square-miles. We have a concentrated downtown with shops and restaurants.

If David Lynch built his own Mayberry, this would be it. I’m not citing this as an official statistic so just take my word for it, but we have more eccentric personalities per capita than any place on earth. We have a cross-dressing feed store manager, a cowboy poet who wears spurs everywhere he goes though I don’t believe he ever rides horses, and we have dozens more personalities who dress, speak, and behave just differently enough so they get noticed. We even have one guy who rides around town on a different bicycle, every day of the week.

Due to the hilly landscape and the large agricultural presence, there are only a few housing tracts here. Most homes have at least a little bit of land around them and some have grand properties. I often tell people the best way to see Fallbrook is to fly over it at low altitude, because there are so many homes and incredible properties that can’t be seen from the streets.

Most everyone grows some family fruit — avocados, citrus, and stone fruit, to be passed around and traded in a quasi-barter economy. Between March and early summer, it’s not uncommon for people to leave bags of fruit at the edge of their properties for anyone to take. Walk into out library or community center on any spring day and there might just be a bag of lemons or grapefruit with a sign beside it saying “take a few“.

Because this is the best growing climate in the United States, everything grows here — flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables, name it. The best part of that though, is there is visible Color 365 days a year. If fallbrook has a secret weapon, it’s the Bougainvillea. These transplants from India can be seen growing along fences brightening up the landscape in any direction one looks.

To ride a bike through Fallbrook, I often feel liked I’m on a tropical island. It’s truly that beautiful. Because most people have never heard of Fallbrook, I’m quick to say I live in San Diego. That’s true since I am in San Diego County. San Diego may be America’s finest city, but Fallbrook California is America’s most beautiful community.

Each day, when I could be doing many other things, I choose to spend a couple of hours in a bike, taking it all in at a speed which is on a more human scale than a car. This vehicle of choice, this bicycle, allows me to better appreciate all that captivates me. I smell the society garlic, the eucalyptus, and the citrus blossoms. If I see a blue heron standing in water or a turkey vulture sitting on a fence, I can stop without hazard and just take it in for a minute, and then move on to the next gorgeous scene. Fallbrook is my home.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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Friday, March 6. If I Never Die…

It’s not always rainbows and unicorns in my head when I’m on the road. My mind goes to some peculiar places. Not necessarily dark or even bad, just strange. As I’ve said before, it’s hard to get on a bike every day for a couple of hours and not think about mortality.

I think about what might happen if I get hit by a car or if something falls off a truck and hits me in the head. As those thoughts churn, I think about my family, my friends, and any legacy I might leave behind. Sometimes though, I go the opposite direction.

I’ve survived a half-dozen legitimate near death experiences. I don’t seem to be any worse off for that wear. And that bodes the thought, every so often, what if I just keep on living…? I mean, my track record so far is 100%. By all accounts, I probably shouldn’t be here. Broken vertebrae — skydiving accident. Head injury(s) — skydiving, bike, river escapades. Notwithstanding, I once had an ER doc tell me my brain was swimming in alcohol and he wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

What happens if I keep on waking up, ongoing…?

That’s a question I think about often when I ride. Fifty-eight years old, 64 years old, 78, 93. When does that final day come…? What if it never comes…? 142 years old…? 210…?

I don’t mean that in a messianic way — that I’m not human, invincible, or that I’ll live forever. I just wonder, maybe too often, if I’ll be like Stroodle and just keep waking up each day and running like a deer, with only a little more gray on my face as time goes on.

And then there’s that deeper thought, the one that pops in and out of my head all day long and has haunted me for years…

Maybe this isn’t a life at all, just my purgatory. Perhaps I’m trapped in a waiting game that will only end as I allow it to end, by offsetting my previous wrongs by the actions of my daily rights. Purgatory plays out like Groundhog Day, right…

Wake up
Do more good than bad

Write
Do more right than wrong

Walk
Do more good than bad

Work
Do more right than wrong

Ride
Do more good than bad

Work more
Do more right than wrong

Take pretty pictures
Do more good than bad

Go to bed
Wake up, do it all again.

Each day a rebirth, but toward what end…?

Eventually, I do enough good while weeding the bad and I get to move on. Maybe that takes me 72 years. Maybe, 113 or 175 — I dunno, I just keep tryin’.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

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This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 7
202 miles
9,,500’ climbing
14.8 mph avg
11,500 calories
13 hours 36 minutes seat time

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’s this. After 12 years of waiting, a brand new album from Cornershop — and it’s excellent. Enjoy…

4 thoughts on “Thought Recap March 2 – March 7…

  1. Nice assemblage of thoughts. On the campaign signs front, several of us were aghast to see the Issa signs planted in front of the County Sheriff’s office. It sure looked like an official endorsement. I got a phone call from a nauseated pal who asked me if I had seen them, I had. I asked him to go back and take a picture and alas, they were now history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time, Robert. They had posted an Issa sign at the north entrance of the Los Jilgueros preserve that I thought was inappropriate, so I tore it down. The Issa/DeMaio campaign ads were pathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m thinking that running gives my mind more of a break that riding. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I guess I’m glad my blender slows done some of the time.

    Like

  3. Raised by an Ilokano Filipino Roman Catholic Dad and a Japanese Shintō Mom.in fact my aunt was Japan’s who’s who of Woman Shintō Priest. I have a deep respect for all cultures and most religions. With that early on in my destructive life I got saved from my sins accepting Christ. No I’m not an every Sunday church going Bible thumper, haven’t been to church for years. But I’m a forgiven believer.
    Thank you for your Words. I’m very full and satisfied. You provided an All I can eat Buffet.

    Like

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