Yes, it’s that time of year again! Another 17 days and I get to start celebrating my 22nd year sober… This year is kind of special too – I’ll have spent exactly one half of my life sober.
Now, many will wonder what could possibly possess a guy to sober up at the ripe age off 22… Well first, “ripe” probably isn’t the best term to use. “Pickled” suits reality a little better and sadly, once you’re a pickle you never get to go back to a being a cucumber.
Look, I didn’t want to sober up just a year after I could drink legally. On the other hand, I didn’t want to die or end up in prison more than I didn’t want to sober up and those were pretty much the only two options left on the table. I’d simply hit the end of the line.
It’s tough when you’ve got three options and they all, as far as you know at the time, suck. The sad fact is though, as I wrote earlier, once you’re a pickle…
So I sobered up, put the plug in the jug, and commenced to fixing the wreckage of what little past I had. That done, after about a year or so, a nagging thought began to fester… “This isn’t enough”.
The first year is a gift…
I was told half-way into my first year that the first is a “gift”. I could have punched the bastard. It sure as hell didn’t feel like a gift at the time and if the second was going to require me working harder, why did I sign up for this crap in the first place!
See, my big problem was that tended to look at statements like “the first year is a gift” with my current cognitive processing level. In other words, quite shallowly… Getting sober sucked. It was just enough mental anguish that 22 years later and I can’t imagine having to do it again – it scares the hell out of me in fact. So when “they” said the first year was a gift, I (in all of my ignorance) took that to mean the second would suck worse.
As it turned out, it didn’t. My second year was infinitely better though I did have to work double hard… What I failed to understand, what I failed to grasp, was that I’d want to get better, that I’d want to work harder at it. That festering thought was just a sign that I was growing up. I was learning to not accept “good enough” because “good enough” rarely is.
I had an old-timer tell me the day I collected my 9-month coin, that one day things would be so good that I’d get to a point where I’d think it couldn’t possibly get any better. Then six months later I would realize it had, all on its own.
I’ve been there dozens of times and it’s still getting better.
One day at a time. Rinse, repeat, grow…8,000 times.
Incidentally, that’s 191,991 hours.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s part two, where I’ll get into why physical fitness is so important to a recovering person’s mental well-being.
The other day I wrote a post about my experience with tire pressure. As a summation, I’ve always maxed out the pressure figuring I was getting the best of rolling resistance though at the cost of decreased comfort. One of the mechanics at the local shop suggest that because I’m not heavy, opting for 120 psi (or even 115) would be better on my wheels when it came to bumps. I heeded that suggestion and found that speed wasn’t sacrificed and that the ride was vastly more comfortable.
In the comments from that post a friend who authors PedalWORKS suggested another option and presented this link. Following it takes you to a calculator that takes your weight, the bike’s weight and the distribution of weight over the tires, mashes them together and kicks out a rear and front tire pressure based on the idea that the front pressure doesn’t need to be as great because weight is distributed unevenly between the front and rear of the bike (60/40 in my case with a race bike on 23 mm tires)… It suggested I inflate the rear to 116 psi and the front to 76 psi.
Now, let’s see, how to put this kindly… Yeah, there’s no way – even rounding up to 80. I’m not riding a squishy bike, I’m certainly not riding on squishy tires. You could pull out a superstar mathematician (LOL, yes I did, only in the movies folks) to show me the math that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt I wouldn’t lose any speed and I still wouldn’t buy it. On the other hand, just for giggles I inflated my rear to the normal 120 and the front to 110 and you know what? It’s more comfortable, by a lot and even if there were a bit more resistance, I know I can muscle through a mere ten pound difference in one tire.
More importantly, if you follow this link, you’ll see that a tire must ride flatter to conform to this method of filling one’s tires… If you’re rolling on 23 mm tires (as most road cyclists do), imagine what a nice, sharp pebble would do to a tire rolling that flat. When you’re pushing 110-120 psi the pebble gets shot to one side of the tire. Rolling over that pebble at 80 psi, the increased chance of a puncture should be obvious. If that weren’t enough of a reason to modify the 15% drop method of inflating tires, one must also consider pinch flats when rolling over train tracks. In other words, I won’t be trying 80 psi in my road bikes any time soon.
That said, with the minor change in pressure and the addition of my new carbon handle bar, the ride on my Venge is exceptionally more comfortable to ride than it was just two weeks ago – which is really saying something because it was a decent riding bike to ride in the first place.
So if you’re looking for a little more comfort, try dropping the pressure in your front tire ten pounds or so. Chances are, you’ll like it.