The draft for this post was written on March 17th. I’ve resurrected it.
My wife, the mother of my children and the apple of my eye, Mrs. BgddyJim (Full name, Mrs. Babymama BgddyJim), is something of a fantastic mother to our daughters. Every six weeks or so, she’ll have a sleepover for the girls in which they get to invite all of their friends from school – twelve is the average turnout. Fortunately for me, during these sleepovers my wife usually asks me to go hang out with the boys so the girls can have some girl time. Read that again if you have to fellas, I’m not exaggerating – with fourteen girls in the house, between the ages of five and nine, my wife asks me to go out to dinner and catch a movie with my friends. Well, last Friday night was a little different. I didn’t make any plans so I wound up sticking around and helping out (albeit only in the background, I tried to make my presence “small”). After dinner all of the girls went outside to play and I staked out my spot on the couch, kicked the recliner back and checked out some new posts from blogs that I follow, on my phone. Before long I was looking at the back of my eyelids (probably around 8 o’clock)… I didn’t even hear the girls come in and slept through twelve females baking, frosting and eating cookies.
Sometimes your body just says, son, it’s time to shut down for a bit and there isn’t anything you can do about it. After almost 60 miles in two days, that was the case Friday night. I woke up on the couch at about 11:30 just as my wife finished setting up her new cell phone and as we made our way to the bedroom she even commented that she couldn’t believe I slept through the cookie making – I was back asleep within ten minutes, one of my favorite movies playing on my computer.
The origin of “Babymama” and “Big Daddy”
First of all, let’s get one thing straight right off the bat; Babymama, the way I use it, does not mean “my babies (baby’s) mother”, a term that has become synonymous with single mothers with multiple kids from different fathers or a sperm donor for a – hell, I don’t know what you call it, but it ain’t a father. I almost considered changing my wife’s pet name when the movie Baby Mama came out in ’08 because I just couldn’t refer to my wife like that…
The actual origin goes like this, there are two types of people in America. You’re either a Beatles person or you’re an Elvis person (Pulp Fiction 1994). My wife is the former, I am the latter. One day, somewhere between ’96 and ’99 or so, in my best Elvis voice, I started calling my wife Babymama. My wife loved it, so it stuck.
The origin of Big Daddy was a little more shaky. My wife is atrocious at picking names – if my first daughter were to be a boy, my dear wife’s first choice for a name was Mercury. God help me, I don’t know how we survived picking names for our girls. My wife’s first choices for my pet name were worse, like the Sweet-Tea-Pie McDonald’s commercial – a commercial so ugly and sexist (in the reverse) that I won’t even link to it on my blog – if you don’t know the one to which I am referring, it can be found youtube – I actually contemplated shooting the television the second time I saw that commercial (that isn’t hyperbole). The nicknames my wife liked weren’t quite as bad as “Snuggle wuggles” or “Chipmunk”, but they were along the same lines – cute, but derogatory and demeaning to masculinity. After a bit of consternation, and a long conversation in which I had to explain the concept of reverse sexism to my wife, she absolutely knocked one out of the park by throwing out “Big Daddy” and I accepted, because – well hey, what guy wouldn’t accept that?
So that’s us, babymama and big daddy.
So I’ve been Big Daddy ever since (my iPhone calls me Big Daddy too).
I’ve been meaning to write about a minor issue that has turned into a big problem for me all through September and right up to my sitting on the couch, typing this.
I went to the back cracker to get my neck adjusted but I’m still left with some incredibly sore shoulders. I don’t complain much about pain, and I surely won’t start here, because relatively speaking, I’ll live, and a couple of Aleve and a good night’s sleep with my bite splint provides complete relief, at least for 12-16 hours. It’s most certainly an overuse issue and I’m not about to stop overusing the shoulders until the snow flies.
My problem, specifically, started in March and it started out so small and insignificant that I couldn’t really realize how much trouble I would end up creating for myself:
When I’m pushing to ride as fast as I can, trying to ride that fine line between fast, over a good amount of distance, I grip my right hood with my middle and ring finger. Hard. I’m left side dominant and constantly trying to stay balanced on my right side so I end up pulling on the handlebars with my right arm to load up on my right leg a little more.
This habit was formed over dozens of short 16-25 mile rides throughout the season. On those shorter rides the attempt to balance my cadence made my right shoulder a little tight – over a century it created the most intense charley horse I’ve ever experienced that would take upwards of 15 minutes to release after I got off the bike. I knew this wasn’t right, but I didn’t want to slow down to figure it out either…
Originally, my hoods were slightly off level. My right hood was just a little higher (closer to my body) than the left, so I developed the habit of balancing between the pedals, saddle and bars, favoring my right arm because the hood was closer to me. I do not have my bars set to a comfortable angle – Matt had it set up that way, where the bar was tilted up so the drops were about 10-15 degrees off parallel with the ground. This allowed me to sit up a little straighter but was terrible for riding in the drops. I tilted them back down to just barely off parallel. That allowed me to get lower and scoop less air, but it required a little more tension on the shoulders. With the right drop higher, I was loading quite a bit onto my right shoulder…
Combine the two, squeezing with my right hand and pulling to load up my right side, and the off hood (only for the beginning of the season, once I realized it was off I fixed it) and I’ve got some kind of sore shoulder. I have written about this before, but when I did I was only aware of the poorly aligned hoods – the squeezing I only figured out a few weeks ago after I tapped out on a 108 mile ride at 95 miles.
To counter the squeezing I had to change my grips on the hoods. I used to ride with three fingers wrapping the hood plus my thumb and one finger on the brake/shift lever. I’ve since switched to two on the lever and two (plus the thumb) around the hood. I also concentrate intently on keeping my grip extremely loose – not so much that my hands can fall off if I hit a bump, but relaxed. This has helped out quite a bit. To put it in another way, they always say that you want to hold a golf club with the same grip strength you would if you were holding a bird – I go a little bit lighter than that and it’s seemed to help quite a bit.
I’m certain I won’t heal up completely until I can stop resting on them so much – but that won’t really happen until I’m spinning in my office this winter when I don’t have wind to worry about.
Yesterday was absolutely beautiful, sunny and in the low 60’s. a perfect day for a ride and I took every advantage. The family and I went for a slow two mile cruise and then I wound it up for another 16. I’m really digging this season being done deal. No pressure, real low on the expectations, just riding for the pure fun of it.
While I wasn’t planning on anything special, I did take advantage of a light tailwind, maybe 5-8 mph, and cranked it up good for the first four miles hitting speeds up to 27 mph. When I turned into a cross/headwind I still kept it at 21-22 for another mile, but when I turned south into the wind I had to wonder just what the hell I was doing and dialed it back a notch or two. From there I kept it around 18 or 19 and just took it easy. For the last four I was content just to spin it back – mostly because the wind really picked up, but also because I just didn’t have to push through it.
I’ve been preparing for some kind of ride, triathlon or run for darn near a year and a third straight. It’s been so long that I’m really enjoying the attempt to take it easy while riding, not worrying about a couple of days off here and there for the next two weeks or so. Even so, taking it easy for more than two days in a row really feels foreign. I’ve got this little voice in the back of my head that’s constantly flapping its gums, “go, go, go” it says… Over and over again. Every time I react, almost automatically. My cadence speeds up, I pedal in cleaner circles and breathing picks up just a little bit. Then I remind that little turkey that we’re taking a little rest for a couple of weeks and I slow it back down again.
The weather today is supposed to be even better. Sunny and 70… I may even play a little hooky this afternoon to stretch it out a bit. Even though it’s only been a week and a couple of days since my last century, I’m already starting to miss the longish rides. Even so, I’m going to stick with the plan and run on Saturday. Sunday? Who knows… I’m not too worried about it.
I did text my buddy English Pete and we might actually end up hitting the trails for a run this weekend and that would be absolutely spectacular.