If God had intended on humans being vegans…
Bacon would grow on trees.
Steaks would be grown in a garden.
Fish would be… Well, Jesus fed the masses with fish and bread so I guess fish could still be fish…
Hamburger trees would be everywhere…
And broccoli, brussels sprouts and tofu would taste um, not nasty.
I was perusing the interweb for more funny vegan photos and I came across this quote from Gandhi (I don’t know if it’s attributable or not and I won’t bother taking the time to find out): “There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for”.
Gandhi wouldn’t die for many causes – dying is kind of a one-off deal. You don’t get to re-die for another cause.
Finally, I always assumed some of the cooler martial arts moves seen in the movies were impossible in the real world…
I have been battling minor anger issues related to my father’s passing away last week. I’ve had to watch my tongue (or completely hold it on a couple of occasions) with my wife and kids. I’ve had to stop listening to some of the radio programs that I often disagreed with but certainly didn’t have a problem with. I’ve also had to be aware of my acceptance with the kids – I am an exceptionally laid back guy and my kids are very good so my having a problem with how they’re acting is exceedingly rare. When little things started bugging me last week, I really had to step back and try to figure out what the hell was wrong with me.
I was out with a bunch of recovering friends last night and one of the guys began talking about how angry he used to be, decades ago, and the root cause for that anger – fear.
I rolled that around in my head a little bit, the root cause of most anger can be traced back to fear. I know this to be true… A lightbulb appeared over my melon and lit up. All of a sudden many of my struggles over the last week with my father’s passing started to make sense. Other than the usual feeling a little more mortal, I connected a few dots to see a pattern beneath the obvious. There is an underlying irrational fear, with my dad gone, that a part of my support network is gone as well. Trying to wrap my head around this entirely is proving difficult so early on but there it is.
You see, the truth is my dad hasn’t been available to offer knowledgable assistance for almost two years now – I’ve already been on my own, and have made it just fine so far. This is the irrationality. For some unknown reason though, his being gone puts a finality to it that I’m struggling with. My dad was always there to bail me out. Even though I haven’t needed his assistance, other than offering suggestions on how to deal with stress and life, for more than two decades, it was always there if I did… And now it isn’t.
So the wife, kids and I arrived home shortly after figuring all of this out last night and feeling like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, I settled down in bed to watch a movie on my phone… I may have made it three minutes beyond the opening credits before I was out. I slept like a baby, better than I have in several days.
Now that I’ve identified the fear, the root cause of this irrational anger I’ve been feeling for the last few days, I’ve got something that I can work with – and on – so I can do something about it.
I have written a number of posts on the “how’s” of cycling, how to pick the right mountain bike, road bike, the right bike in general, even whether to upgrade an old bike or buy a new one, I’ve even touched on the tiny details of why in some of those but with spring approaching, I thought I’d give a go at the larger “why” of purchasing the proper bike because, depending on how big you go, we could be talking about a lot of money here.
Now, I am (to a small extent) a vanity cyclist. I match my jerseys and helmets to the color schemes of my bikes, dabbled with a red, white and blue theme on two of them, removed all reflectors from bikes that will never see a moment of dusk on an open road, removed the spoke protector behind the cassette that most noobs leave on their bike because not only do they not know any better, they don’t know how to keep their rear derailleur in adjustment so the protector becomes useless plastic. I ride with a reasonable drop from my saddle to the handlebar, a hard saddle because I know it’s more comfortable when the bike setup is right… I also, before I ever rode a mile with another cyclist, made sure I could handle my bike.
Let me start by saying there’s nothing wrong, in my opinion, with being a noob or in not doing any of the things above except the last item. In fact, there is a decent contingent of folks out there who are anti-vanity cyclists, who dress in ways that mock the system. To me, it’s all good – look as goofy as you want. I ride how I ride, on the bikes I ride, in the clothes and accessories I ride in to please one person: Me. What anyone else thinks of me, other than whether or not I know how to handle my bike in a crowd, is none of my business anyway. Let me tell you, there’s a lot of freedom in that last sentence.
That said, there are a few things to consider that can save a lot of time, consternation and cash in picking the right bike the first time (well, probably the second time to allow for a change in heart). First, it helps to know what you’ll be using your bike for ahead of time. You want to go fast? Road bike, carbon or aluminum/carbon mixed frame/fork, 23 mm tires, hard gender specific saddle, saddle a minimum of three inches above the top of the handlebar (flexibility notwithstanding). Want to go far comfortably with no concern over speed? Road bike, 25 mm tires, carbon, steel or aluminum frame (carbon fork), saddle 2 inches to level with the top of the bar, decent gender specific saddle with a bit more padding (2-5 mm thick). Commuting? See the last setup for the road bike but eliminate the carbon frame – or go with a straight handlebar hybrid (with or without a suspension system for the front). Versatility? Do you want to ride your bike on rougher roads, dirt roads and even a few trails while being able to head out on a club ride from time to time? Cyclocross bike without a doubt (a great cross between a road bike and a hybrid): Saddle 1-4″ above the bar top (depending on speed desires – if you want to switch, get a bike with several spacers below the stem – you can raise or lower the bars to your desire [this goes for all road bikes btw]), decent saddle, two sets of tires (two sets of wheels is helpful too though you have to be careful about the cassette wear and the tuning of the derailleur). Only interested in commuting and playing in the dirt? Get a mountain bike, front shock, decent mountain bike saddle – maybe a set of slicks for commuting. Aggressive single track mountain biking? Think about a rear shock too – helpful but not entirely necessary. Training for and racing in triathlons? Now this one is a bit trickier because Time Trial (TT) bikes don’t play well in groups. If you’ve got the cash and you want to race tri’s and go for the regular club rides you’ll get a road bike and a TT bike. If, however you live a middle-class existence (like me) and can’t afford both, go for a road bike that can accommodate a tri setup (Specialized Venge for the guys, Alias for the ladies). With the road/tri mixed bike you get the best of both worlds – and I can tell you from experience with the Venge, by swapping the spacers under/over the bar, I can set it up with the proper drop to the aerobars too, I lose nothing.
Once the usage is determined, all that’s left is sizing, color (don’t settle), pedal and shoe choice and the fitting (where your local shop sets the bike up specifically to the way you ride).
Now here’s why all of this is important: I’ve made every noob mistake that I can think of, pretty near. Wrong saddles, my first road bike was too small, wrong gear, helmet too big, cheap shorts… Any one of these things without diligent investigation could lead a person who is less of a cycling nut than I happen to be to hang their bike in the garage to collect dust. Riding on a saddle that’s too wide for your sit bones HURTS. Riding on one of those cushy granny saddles for more than 15 miles HURTS. So does trying to fit a 6′ tall person on a 54 cm compact frame (I invested in some components that made it bearable). Cheap shorts? Literally a pain in the butt (amongst other things).
More importantly than those above, picking the wrong bike for the way you want to ride leads to boredom. If you’re bored on your bike, it’ll turn into a rather expensive dust collector. A bike as a dust collector leads to a less fit, less healthy, less happy you. I like happy people – especially happy cyclists. The point is, when starting out, be true to yourself – and the local bike shop folks. They don’t want to put you on a bike you don’t want any more than you want them to.
I finally got down to fixing up my Cannondale, the last bike in the stable this last week…
I ordered a saddle from the Specialized Outlet the other day for my Cannondale and stopped by the bike shop for some new bar tape on Tuesday, ironically about 30 minutes before my dad died.
Last week I had the frame straightened, stretched and manipulated for new wheels so that bike, finally, is complete and looks good.
What started this was a ride on the Cannondale, the last ride of the season, with the Specialized Romin saddle from my 5200. The setup of the Cannondale just doesn’t work with that saddle. First, the Romin has almost no padding. With an all aluminum bike (not even a carbon fork), the lack of padding simply hurts too much over the long haul, even with $150 shorts. Second, the C’dale is a 54 cm frame, small for a 6′ tall guy so the seat post is raised quite a bit over the top tube to get the right saddle height. I’m also a bit particular about keeping the stem down so what I end up with borders on a pro setup, without the masseuse or flexibility. With a drop like that, I end up putting a lot of pressure on a few places that don’t take pressure too well. While I know better than to buy a granny seat, having an aggressive saddle with just a couple of more millimeters of padding made sense (at least so far)…and it just so happened that they had such a saddle on sale in the outlet for only twenty bucks.
The only two things left are trying to find a nail polish to match the Cannondale’s blue paint (no easy task) and to fix a couple of the decals. If it comes to it, I have a feeling I’ll be able to pick up some model paint in the right color and that will work just fine – actually in this case that might be the way to go as the finish should match better with model paint. I’ve got time for that though, that’ll be something for when I need something to do.
Often it can take years to understand the ‘why’ of something, for everything to take shape in such a way that one can see the full picture. If lucky… or perhaps more properly stated, if we are paying attention, we can look back and have that “ah-ha” moment. That moment of clarity when we understand that not only was the work necessary, it was worth it.
I’m going to break my anonymity a bit for this post, I hope you’ll survive, I know I will. I wrote yesterday about feeling a little bit sad about my first day back at the office. While it is advised to let it happen and roll with it, I don’t like being sad, about anything. I talked to my wife for a few minutes about how I was feeling and got on with my day. I was taught long ago to “feel it” until I’m ready to change that feeling, until I’m done with it and ready to take action.
Action I took. I felt sad until I was tired of it and then took to fixing it. I left the office a little bit early to drop some paperwork off to the proper people on my dad’s behalf and called my sponsor and talked things over with him on the way. The conversation maybe lasted ten minutes and we talked about the five stages of grief and how I could move forward, a few books I could peruse and so forth. I dropped off the paperwork and by the time I got home I was in a much better place.
Once in a great while though, you get to see the ‘why’ happen in a matter of hours. Sitting on the couch about 7 last evening and my brother called to say that he was feeling odd because he was going through an unexpected sad/melancholy stretch that he couldn’t quite put his finger on… Imagine that.
I gave him a chance to talk about what he was going through then explained what I’d gone through earlier – and more importantly, how I dealt with it and turned the situation into something positive. When the conversation wound down we both resolved to pick the phone up a little more often. Folks, I’m here to tell you, it just doesn’t get any better than that in my world.
Expectedly, I feel like a hundred bucks today.
Between bowling yesterday and heading into the office today I was hit with an empty feeling that I just can’t quite put my finger on. I certainly understand it, first day after the funeral, first day back to work… The funny thing is that I half-expected that I’d simply be okay – with all of the time that we had through my dad’s deterioration I assumed I’d be more prepared than I turned out to be…
Apparently this is going to take a little more work than I thought.
Fortunately, I know the formula: One day at a time, the next right thing at any given moment. Rinse and repeat. Say my prayers, eat my vitamins, and ride like I can make the wheels fall off.
Love this post! I agree with (and actually DO) all but a few of these. The active break every 90 minutes is a new one to me, and one I will adopt.
The most successful people in the world are the most motivated – correct?
It isn’t motivation that creates success, but habit and action. The most successful people in the world definitely have passion for what they do, but passion that isn’t accompanied by action is rendered useless.
It is your habits, more than anything, that will lead to your eventual success.
If your days are dominated by habits that help you on your journey to success, you’ll one day find yourself exactly where you want to be, doing what you want to be doing, earning what you want to be earning.
20 Habits That Will Make You A Success
1. Don’t define success with a dollar amount, but in relation to your happiness.
The habit of defining success with a dollar amount will lead you to constantly chasing a higher price point. It’s a chase that will never…
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I was checking out a buddy’s blog and he posted a documentary about a cycling city in the Netherlands. Now, if you’re viewing this in the US, please keep in mind, when the professor talks about the “Left Wing” positively and the “Right Wing” negatively, first this shouldn’t be a surprise as he’s a professor (and all too often it takes an intellectual to speak so eloquently and stupidly about the Left Wing) but secondly, they cannot be the same left wing and right wing as they are in the US. The only thing the Left Wing is capable of doing well in the US is making shit blow up – be it the execrable Weather Underground or Unabomber, or for your standard Democrat; the economy, freedom and happiness.
In any event, there’s plenty of awesomeness in a cycling city to go around for both wings… In fact, most of the guys I know (myself included) are neither wing, they’re much closer to the right wing (whether they know it or not, sometimes its so tough to break the media’s stereotype of the right, I know), or somewhere nearer the middle. Either way, check this city out (and notice how healthy the populous looks):<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/76207227″>Groningen: The World’s Cycling City</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/streetfilms”>Streetfilms</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Today will be our day off. I’ve got the guest book to drop off at my sister’s but it’s 4 am now so I’ll leave in an hour and be back before anyone ever wakes up – the joys of being an early riser.
The funeral service for my pop yesterday was perfect as could be hoped for. Not a large crowd, just a group of our closest friends and family. We sent him to God with respect worthy a King, even though he was simply our dad, or grandpops. When we picked the music on Wednesday (or maybe it was Thursday), the one song that was absolutely required to be in there was Amazing Grace. That song, loved or not, has a very special place in the hearts of most recovering alcoholics. I made it all the way to the ninth word in the song before losing it.
The rest of the service was absolutely beautiful, save the priest’s several nervous ticks (though for me they were oddly soothing, imagine that). After, my brother Chris, a Sergeant in the Army Reserves (previously Airborne in the Army) had arranged for representatives of the Air Force (my father was a weatherman) to send my dad off with full Military Honors. It was absolutely the perfect cap to the service. The five of us kids decided that my brother Chris would receive his Flag with the understanding between the five of us kids that if anyone should get it, it should be him – Military to Military. At first, I won’t lie, I was a little bummed out – there are good reasons for those emotions but in the end my feelings were mistaken, the right man got that flag. Even though he was not in uniform (regulations were checked) after the Flag was folded with precision and meticulous care, my brother took two steps forward as the second Honor Guardsman walked off and the first turned to Chris. He had the Flag out in front, carried in both hands, point of the all-too-familiar triangle pointing towards Heaven and my brother slowly raised his hand in a three-count to a perfect salute. The Airman raised his, matching my brother… And the most perfect rendition of Taps I’ve ever heard began. That scene said it all and will live with me till the day I die (thank God my awesome wife caught the whole thing on video just so I can be sure). It covered everything that my dad was to me. I know, if he was watching from Heaven, he was up there with a tear of joy in his eye, leaning into Jesus whispering, “Those are my kids”. He was so proud of us, to be able to reciprocate that simply couldn’t be beat. After his battle with Alzheimer’s, that took so much from him, to me it was our way to bring him back to whole, to say, “Screw you Alzheimer’s, that’s my papa and you can drag him through the mud but he washes up just fine”. The Airman and my brother lowered there arms… I couldn’t catch everything but I got the important part… “On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, I present this Flag”. That was it. ‘Nough said.
At the lunch following the service, presented by three precious ladies from the church (one knew us from when we went there as kids 36 years ago), one of the girls from the nursing home that he stayed at shared some thoughts and experiences she’d had with my dad including the fact that when my dad spoke to my brother Chris the morning that he passed, before he hung up he kissed the phone. We never could have known. Chris held it together like a professional through the Flag ceremony, but hearing that was just too much for him.
Next, my Isabella shared a few thoughts about how she’ll miss her grandpops that would have made him proud. Then a lady who played his wife in the Nutcracker Ballet… She said, with tears rolling down her cheeks, that she’d married my dad ten times and every one was special. Too cool. Then my dad’s favorite guy from the home and we were done. We packed up and left. Last night, the five us sat around the dinner table and opened and read his Will. We already knew what was in it, but we figured everything out and did the math anyway. Finally, we went out to dinner one last time together this go around as my brother flies back to Florida this morning (where it is currently 53 degrees warmer and with wind chill, will be 70 degrees warmer later on – S#!T).
So, today will be a day of rest and reflection, followed by a much-needed night at the bowling alley.
Thanks again to everyone for being so awesome through this.