Autumn is giving way to winter, and not subtly.
I have to rely on the trainer two or three days a week for some of my miles but here we are at the end of November and I’m still managing to crank out 125+ mile weeks.
Having our gravel bikes has been a season extender, no doubt about it. We’re getting miles in that would have either been gotten on the trainer or not at all. Sunday, we rolled out at 8:30 am, the temperature just barely above freezing. As is typical for Michigan this time of year, we left under cloud cover with no hope of sunshine. It had rained all day Saturday so we were riding paved roads – while it was close to freezing, it needed just a shade more cold to tighten up the dirt roads. We weren’t rolling out for a mud-fest.
18 miles in, I had one of those “what the hell are we doing out here… and how fast can we get home” moments. For some, those moments are fairly common; not for me. I’m almost always happy to be out riding. In this case, the temps were actually starting to drop and it was snowing. Not hard, really, but it was snowing nonetheless and it was beginning to get to me. As we entered a park, Chuck stopped to adjust his handlebar. We rode on to do a one mile loop around the park to stay warm and when we came back around Chuck and James were gone. Matt, Mrs. Bgddy and I headed for home after trying one more loop to find them.
We ended up with 32 miles on the day by the time we rolled into the driveway. While I was fairly comfortable for the whole ride, the trip went a long way to helping me remember that cycling in badass weather makes one a badass…. and it was still better than the trainer. That said, I do like that 125+ mile a week stretch for this time of year.
I have been a great fan of Bike War, darn-near since its inception. I happened upon a recent heat-to-head pitting a Merida against a Giant. The Merida is great, the Giant is beautiful. ALMOST perfect.
The white lettering should be black. Better, the white is too prominent, it sticks out and slaps you in the face, so if Giant had done black lettering with a white leading edge to help frame it and make the “Giant” pop…. now that would be special! The “Propel” on the fork, because its prominence, would get the same treatment. The top tube “Propel”, because of its smaller size, could go either way…
A few years ago, we were subjected to a movement, and I chose the word “movement” carefully, of obnoxious paint schemes on bikes. Specialized, my personal favorite bicycle company, was one of the most offensive. Specialized has since corrected their course, as most others have, and for that we should all be grateful.
In the case of the Giant Propel above, they’re pretty close to perfect.
I’ve wanted to be worthy of receiving one of those special coins. Not one of the normal “year” coins they give out on anniversaries, one of the painted, urethane coated coins. I’ve never said a word to anyone about the desire. I figured it was selfish and an ugly part of my ego, to be ignored.
After picking up the coin on the left at my meeting early yesterday morning, we went out to a dinner my wife put together for some of my closest friends – even three of my best cycling buds were there with their wives. It was, in a word, awesome. We had a lot of laughs and some great food, and my wife, teared up, presented me with my first ever shiny coin. Another friend gave me a 25 year keychain with the number of days in 25 years engraved on it – a special “thing” between us as he kept track of how many days he had sober at every meeting he went to for something like six years.
I’m not going to try putting the emotions I felt into this post – it was too good, and I don’t want to mess it up.
It was some kind of alright, I’ll say that. One day at a time. Best day in a long time.
I’m going to pick up my 25 year coin – actually, as this publishes, I’ll have had it in my pocket for about 20 minutes, my sponsor having presented it to me at my third meeting in as many days.
As he announced the occasion, in front of a bunch of friends, he’ll no doubt work in that the 25 “is a good start”. He’s been saying that for the last fifteen years or so, every time an anniversary of mine rolls around.
I would be willing to bet there are a few people out there who were surprised to read that a guy with 25 years would be going to three meetings in three days. Well, many of us get a little squirrely leading up to anniversaries. It didn’t happen to me this year but it has in the past, so I figure “better to be safe than sorry”. I up my meetings every year around my anniversary so I can be prepared should my disease try to sneak its way out of the corner I have it boxed into.
That said, twenty-five years is a good start. It’s truly been a 25-year winning streak – and that’s why I keep coming back. I don’t want anything to do with the misery that came with drinking.
Thanks for sticking around, my friends.
This video has a lot of excellent cleat fitting pointers – especially for getting the cleat properly under the ball of the foot.
I’m going to use a couple of the pointers myself, especially the “ball of the foot” tip.
Twenty-five years without a drink or a drug.
On November 18th, 1992 I finally stopped digging my own grave. It’s funny, living life knowing that you’ve been through what will likely be the toughest period of my life before I hit 23 years-old. The more I think about it, the better it feels. This isn’t to say all in life will be rosy but once you’ve had to address and recover from being an addict, and gained all of the skills associated with that success, let’s just say it’s like legal cheating when you apply that knowledge to everyday life.
We often joke that it would be amazing if the rest of the world could have a program like ours – all of the good that would come of it.
Anyway, not much more to say about it today. I’m just going to bask goodness of it all. Meeting yesterday, meeting today, dinner with a bunch of sober friends tomorrow. Good times and noodle salad indeed.
For the last five years I’ve taken my trainer to the office and ridden there, during lunch, in the off-season.
This year things haven’t quite worked out as they had in the past. Sadly, I just can’t easily fix what’s keeping me from my normal trainer time… so I improvised.
No more noon rides, I put in my 45 minutes on the trainer after I get home, around 5.
That’s my commitment to fitness.
I can whine and lick my nuts on the couch, or I can get busy making use of what I’ve got – and let’s be clear, I’d need a whole lot of yoga to… well, let’s stay on track here.
I thought it would be interesting to break that down fully. There are 168 hours in a week. I only need seven of them to stay fit through the off-season. Only twelve in-season.
Digging further, I need 50-ish for work and 42-46 for sleep. Call that 101 on the high side. That means I’ve got 67 hours left to fit in my seven hours for fitness (and sanity).
I can make that work. For me, it’s fit and happy or…. not.
The Weather yesterday was outrageously beautiful. Not exactly warm, but it wasn’t anywhere close to freezing either, and that’s something to be grateful for this time of year. I sent out the text in the morning:
Dirt road night ride tonight at 5:30 – my house.
I ended up changing the time to 6 for my wife and Matt, both of whom needed the extra half-hour, but ten till six people started showing up. I love it when my driveway fills up before a ride, getting a good bunch of us together always means a good laugh is only a mile or two away.
We are the crazy kids – when everyone else is sitting home, warm in their homes, we’re out cruisin’ the dirt roads in the dark:
It rained Sunday but with the glorious weather during the day, I was certain the back roads would have dried out. I was very wrong. We dealt with a lot of mush, especially if you were unlucky enough to get out of the tire tracks. I found my lane and stayed in it so I didn’t get all that muddy – a couple of friends of mine weren’t so fortunate.
Even though it was a squirrely ride at times, I had that “I’m fourteen years old, riding my bike with my friends” grin on my face the whole time. No matter how stressful life is, give me a ride with my buddies and all of that crap fades to the back for an hour or two.
I love that about cycling.
A friend told me he read that Focus bikes believes they will, eventually, migrate to making only eBikes.
I know the City of New York doesn’t like the idea. Bill de Blasio and the fun-hating commies in the New York bureaucracy have already banned them… They’re actually confiscating them.
On the other hand, apparently there are actually idiots who ride them on sidewalks. From that perspective, how do you fix that much stupid?
I am not personally impressed with eBikes either. I have no desire to own one – and I enjoy owning a fairly diverse bunch of bikes.
That said, I am not lost on the fact that there are plenty of people who could benefit from the electronic assist. Sadly. I can imagine that many who would need the help would be, how do we say this, technologically challenged. One could imagine an old-timer cruising down the sidewalk and being afflicted with a case of whiskey throttle.
Beyond that, the reason for my dislike of the bike is the concept itself. While nobody could be against someone who needs an eBike riding one responsibly… My God, I’ve been watching that whiskey throttle .gif over and over again – just makes me laugh out loud… Anyway, what I don’t like is the idea of the lazy using them as a means of weight loss. How long will it be before we hear of complaints that cycling is a lousy way to lose weight because some dolt is tracking calories based on real cycling but is riding an eBike?
Next will be class-action lawsuits against bike manufacturers, fast food joints, and calorie tracking apps. “Did you gain 50 pounds whilst riding an eBike to lose weight? Call Dewey, Cheatum & Howe because you may be entitled to a cash settlement based on the fact that you’re stupid and couldn’t figure out that an eBike that does half of the pedaling for you doesn’t count the same as riding a bike that doesn’t.”
Insanity, I tell you!
Next you’ll have STRAVA KOMs being taken with an eBike…. Monkeys will start riding them – hell, at that point you’re only a matter of years away from Planet of the Apes!
On the other hand, those who can’t keep up with the fast groups anymore, all of a sudden would again. Imagine drafting a dude on an eBike rolling down the road at 25 mph. That would be awesome!
Hey, on second thought….
We rolled out Sunday morning at 8:30, the temperature a balmy 35 degrees… Fahrenheit. That’d be 1.6C, so using the word “balmy” is a bit tongue in cheek. Thankfully, I’ve managed to accumulate quite the set of winter cycling clothing and everything works really well. I can ride down to 19F/-7C before I get cranky – and compared against Friday’s breezy 24 degree (-4C) start, what we had felt reasonable.
We had a small group, just my wife, Matt and Mike, but it was definitely enough for a few laughs.
We started out heading south into the easy 3 mph breeze. Normally, we turn west after a mile, but this time we just kept heading south – best to get all of the headwind out of the way first, yeah? I think we had twelve (or more) miles in before we were passed by our first car. While I won’t be riding much dirt in-season, I’m absolutely digging the lack of traffic in the off-season.
The weather took a turn about 19 miles in. What had been an “on again, off again” light “sleet”, intensified. It was bad enough that rather than continue on, we headed for home on a road we knew would be a straight shot. We were only eight miles from home.
We made it home just as it was starting to get messy – 27 miles on the dirt, in the sleet. Not bad for a November ride.
As you can see, I picked up a new saddle bag the other day… Ahem. I won’t be forgetting that one any time soon (also note how well it matches my bike…. yeah, a fella’s gotta be stylish).
Oh, and I got my miles in… 8,533 miles for 2017 (and counting).