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Monthly Archives: May 2021

Well, Imagine THAT! Mild COVID-19 induces lasting antibody protection

Months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, people still have immune cells in their body pumping out antibodies against the virus that …

Mild COVID-19 induces lasting antibody protection

We visited a fully free state over the weekend and there was some hand wringing from vaccinated people about all of the people milling about without masks… comments about how scary it was.

I, on the other hand, had read the science and not the newspapers, so I was perfectly content.

Imagine my lack of surprise when Tony wrote the post above… based on science and all we’ve known about disease over the last five or ten decades.

Gotta love the hype. I feel sorry for those who continue to buy into it.

The Cycling Club and the “Intersection” of Cycling and Politics. Alternately, Where Fun Goes to Die.

I am, or at least try to be, a foil in our cycling club. We have a few board members who, while well intentioned, have a penchant for coming up with rules for others to follow that, if enacted, would suck the fun right out of the groups they were intended to help.

It is my job in the club to block all of that $#!+ intended for the fast groups.

For example, the B Group has a 5 to 60 second regroup about 20-miles into our Club sanctioned Tuesday night ride. We take an accounting of the riders dropped in the last three hills and wait for them to catch back on to the group. I’ve been the beneficiary of this regroup a time or two. Once we’ve collected those who fell off, we roll out. Simple enough.

Well, one of the board members in the E Group got wind that we didn’t wait a full minute and proposed a rule that, from then on, we wait a full minute (God only knows who was supposed to carry the stopwatch) for anyone to catch up. I swooped down on that like a bald eagle to a trout. First, being a member of the club and of the board, I would be responsible for enforcing an unenforceable rule. There are dozens of instances where stopping at all, let alone for a full minute, makes no sense.

In hindsight, I could have been a little nicer about it but I wanted to leave an impression. I made the point that nobody outside of our A and B Groups would be making rules for those groups and, in the off chance the club actually passed something, it would not be followed. In fact, I said, likely the opposite would be done. In terms of that one-minute regroup, we’d simply stop regrouping – if you got dropped in the hills, have a nice solo 10-mile time trial back to the parking lot. I said I would not sit back and allow others to dictate what we did with our group, simply because they “thought” something that would have preposterous unintended consequences “seemed like a good idea”. I put it another way. I said if the board tried to continue down this path, I was going to pass rules for their groups. Minimum paces that would be difficult to attain, rules that required they train their riders to jump into faster groups… in other words, I’d find a way to suck the fun out of their rides as well.

Folks, politics in the wrong hands is where freedom goes to die. Here’s the trick; they’re always in the wrong hands, no matter how well-intentioned.

If you pay attention to politics and politicians, and look at the rules they pass and laws they make in the context above, it should be quite obvious why those rules and laws have such disastrous results in terms of freedom. You’ve got ignoramuses making rules for people they wouldn’t stop to piss on their gums if their teeth were on fire. The context of the instance above explains all politics. It also explains why politicians work so hard to keep people fighting; people tend to be stupid when they’re angry. It takes a rare person to rise above the anger to see the angles and the shape of the politics. I am not one of those rare people. I get sucked into it, too.

And so I’ve taken the role of foil in our group with the hope it helps me to remember that which is most important in life; f*** politics, be good to people and fight against those who would steal our freedom to make stupid rules for the rest of us “because they care”. Politicians have forgotten that their main job and goal in life should be to protect our freedom. Everything else is secondary.

One final note from Steve Hayward at Power Line (and one of the best concepts I’ve read in a while): If you get a bright idea that you think everyone else should follow, repeat that bright idea using a German accent and see how it sounds then. It should open your eyes, if nothing else.

Here’s the Punchline: Sometimes You Just Need a New Stinkin’ Derailleur

The shifting on my rain bike has been something of a mess for quite a while. It wasn’t horrible, it just wasn’t perfect. It was… really, really close, but really, really close is only good in horse shoes and hand grenades.

If, and I do mean “if”, I got it dialed in so the bike shifted up and down the cassette crisply, one gear would catch and skip… usually in the small cogs. Again, it wasn’t terrible, it just… lacked. Now, this gets fun. I found if I mixed the seven smallest cogs of a Shimano cassette with the three big cogs from a SRAM PG-1070, 98% of perfection was achievable. I know. I’m a bit of a geek that way. The problem with that flawless shifting was that the chain would make the faintest skipping noise even though the shifting was right on. This drove me a little nuts (and likely those who drafted behind me, though my wife said she never really noticed).

This was in stark contrast to my Venge, which is perfect. And that perfection magnified the lacking of the Trek to a point it diminished from my wanting to ride it (thus, I took my Venge on our northerly road trip a couple of weeks ago).

So, whilst perusing the interwebz the other day, I happened upon a glorious find… a brand new Shimano 105 5701 GS rear derailleur. It was magnificent and only $45. I ordered that and a set of pulley wheels for my wife’s bike.

Well, Thursday night after I got home from the office, I changed that sucker out and took her for a ride. And… 98% became 99%.

Halfway through my ride, I knew exactly what the problem was… the chain was barely slipping on the 4th biggest cog… the first on the transition from the SRAM to the Shimano cogs.

When I got home, I dug out an old SRAM PG-1070 that I used on the Venge for less than a season. It’s a very nice, $86 cassette, but I didn’t like it on the Venge. An Ultegra was better for… well, I just wanted to keep the Ultegra line on the Venge. I slapped that almost new cassette on the Trek, shifted a few times… and zero skipping and no annoying noises.

It is beautiful. And with that out of the way, I’d been toiling away, trying to find the drag in the system that was messing up my shifting for way too long. I’d replace a cable housing here and an end-cap there. I thought it could have been a housing length issue, maybe… I was just about to take it to the shop when I found that derailleur on Jenson. Sometimes you just need a new stinkin’ derailleur.

Of course, choosing between bikes will be that much more difficult, now. But that’s a good kind of difficult.

PS. By the way, I set the thing up myself, from Hi and Lo limit screws to the B screw… and got it exactly right within ten minutes. That I didn’t screw it up had me pretty ecstatic.

Michigan’s Governor Gets Burned Breaking Her Own Rule on Indoor Dining… Then Misses the Mark With Lame Apology

This post will be political in nature. Blah, blah, blah. You’ve been trigger (heh) warned.

While our Governor Whitmer is a left-wing hack, this post isn’t reserved specifically for left-wing hacks. I despise hacks of any stripe who try to pull “rules for thee but not for me” on the people they represent. More, I despise politicians who make stuff up, arming their followers with ignorance and divisiveness, then letting them loose on the general population to virtue signal from on high based on that ignorance. If you think I’m only talking about Trump supporters (or haters, for that matter), you have a date with a mirror.

Enter the Governor’s recently relaxed order that only six people can be seated at a table in a restaurant and that parties with more than six people have to be split up, and the parties may not “intermingle”.

From Craines Detroit:

The May 15 public health order from MDHHS says “consumption of food or beverages is permitted only where patrons are seated, groups of patrons are separated by at least 6 feet, no more than 6 patrons are seated at a table, and groups of patrons do not intermingle.”

Folks, if the Governor doesn’t believe in her own administration’s rules enough to follow them, why should anyone else? Of course, she came out with the lame excuse that everyone at the table was vaccinated, but her administration’s order limiting seating in a restaurant doesn’t account for vaccination status, it just sets a number limit as laid out above and she chose not to follow it, like most freedom-loving Americans would do.

Unfortunately, this sordid story doesn’t end with that photo. The Governor’s extremist bureaucratic wing of the government (see how that labeling shit works on the other foot?), MiOSHA fined dozens of employers for everything from failing to keep employees six feet apart to failure to wear mask, to not having a preparedness plan. I think Gretchen Whitmer needs to be fined, as those other businesses were, and in an amount commensurate with the infraction. As she’s the boss lady, I think a fine of $2,000 per person works – and as she’s a trust-fund baby, she should pick up the tab for all 13 people so it stings a little bit. And only because she broke the rule she made. Additionally, other fines taken by MiOSHA from businesses should also be sent back to the fined company as an apology – especially if the governor isn’t fined by MiOSHA for breaking her own rule.

That’s my two pennies.

Retiring a Champ; My 2014 Equinox Goes to a New Home

I’ve written about my 2014 in posts before. It was, without question, the best car I’ve ever owned and featured prominently in many photos of my bikes.

Alas, it was finally time to retire her with 236,000 miles and only three major repairs in all of those miles; a catalytic converter (two, actually, one was defective), a water pump, and shocks and struts (about 45,000 miles ago). The rest was regular maintenance, brakes, tires, a tune-up. Like I said, the best car I’ve ever owned… and I got to drive it paid off for almost two years.

If you’re not aware, this is quite a crazy time for car purchases. You can’t get a new car and used cars are going for a premium so I was given an incredible deal on a brand new car I wouldn’t pass up. And so that was that, as of yesterday. It shouldn’t even be a surprise what the new vehicle is:

2021 Equinox LT AWD

The new Equinox is vastly superior to my old one. Such is the power of good, clean living. It used to be I couldn’t own a car that was less than five-years-old. Today I’m getting the best interest rates and it’s a matter of picking a color and signing on the line. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. [The promises] will always materialize if we work for them.

TNIL: Uh, Houston, We Have a Problem

I showed up at 5 yesterday for the warm-up just like I always do. Got my Venge out of the car, got my shoes and helmet on, donned the sunglasses… and we rolled out for the warm-up. I knew I was in trouble the second we turned into the brisk 15-mph headwind. My legs were heavy and sore.

The warm-up was slow but I felt like the legs loosened up a bit toward the end, so maybe the main event wouldn’t be so bad. I wasn’t so pessimistic, at least.

We rolled out from the parking lot a couple minutes past 6 and Mike asked me three times if we should wait or roll. I stupidly said, roll with them. We went out of the gate easy for the first quarter-mile but it got ugly in a hurry. I cycled through my side of the paceline and by the time we were eight miles in I was red-lined. It’d start once I hit third bike back, my heart rate would climb. Then, once I was second, I’d hit red line, so as soon as the guy in front of me flicked off, I was already hurting. After my fourth pull, I simply slipped off the back rather than latch back on. I ran out of “want to”… or maybe burned it up.

Doug went off the back with me and I watched my 23.8-mph average bleed away as we fought the crossing headwind. Just about the time Doug turned for home, Jonathan popped over the horizon, heading our way. He’d fallen off as well. Jonathan and I headed south a few more miles before turning left to take some tailwind help. My legs were protesting the whole way but we managed to keep it fairly respectable as we worked our way back. The home stretch was the one part of that ride that I was pleased with. With a little more than a half-mile to go and Jonathan drafting me for the last mile or so, I wanted to make a run for the City Limits sign but I had to be careful not to run too red, too soon. We’d been cruising around 22 to 23-mph and I decided to start early and build up the pace, hoping I could get fast enough Jonathan wouldn’t bother trying to come around. 25…26… 28… 30… That was starting to burn and I hadn’t hit the usual starting point of the sprint yet. 32… 33… I was seated, but giving it everything I had. I held that for a few seconds rather than trying to accelerate and burn up before the finish. Then I put the hammer down and gained another 8 tenths as I crossed the line, gassed. I took a glance back. Jonathan was 50 yards back.

I crossed the line with a 20.9-mph average.

As he caught up while I was coasting, Jonathan chuckled and commented on how the pace increase snuck up on him. He said all of a sudden his legs started hurting and it took him to notice the speed increase on his Wahoo to figure out why.

Jonathan and I have been finishing TNRs the last three weeks together after falling off the back and it’s been quite nice, actually. He’s one of those guys who makes people better simply by being around them… he’s just really good people and I’m lucky to be his friend. On the other hand, I’m about tired of this falling off the back crap, too. Rather than swing by for my regular burger, fries and a Coke after the ride, I drove straight home and cooked some salmon and had a salad with it. While part of the problem is over-training, the larger problem is my fat fricking ass.

The over-training part is easy. I’ll take a few days off. The weight will take a little more effort and time, but I finally hit “f*** it”. It’s time to do something about what (and more important, how much) I eat. My normal dinner after a TNIL is around 1,200 calories. Last night’s was 400 – and quite a bit tastier, I have to admit. That salmon is some good stuff now that I know how to cook it! More on that another time. Proof positive, though; you can’t outride a bad diet. I’ve tried.

This Wonderful Life is Brought to You By Recovery

This post isn’t about my wonderful life, though my life is quite wonderful. This post is about the wonderful life that comes hand-in-hand with a recovery properly worked. As promised by millions who have followed the path as laid out before, if it will work for me, it will work for you.

It’s a difficult path to find and stay on as a youngster or a person early in recovery because there’s always that pull that says, “If I’ve managed to stay sober for this long, I bet I’ve got it whipped.” Eventually you learn that’s just the disease making small talk. Once I learned to treat it as that, it became easier to keep from getting caught up in the mental masturbation of contemplating a thought that deserves nothing of the sort.

In fact, I can see today’s instant gratification, social media way of life might make recovery a little more difficult. You can always find a group of people to believe your barstool lies and tales of woe. But let’s not let that silliness distract us from “wonderful”, shall we?

Let’s look at perspective a moment. The way I see it, addiction was a hell I created. Recovery, once I accepted that I was, and always would be, a pickle, became my emergence from hell. Compared to actual hell a happy, content existence, free of the bondage of addiction is indescribably sweet. Even a life others would call dull and simplistic (usually those who Pooh-Pooh people like me in polite, aristocratic conversation) is phenomenal.

In fact, almost to a man, the pompous existence seems mundane and dull contrasted against mine. I’ve tasted freedom after a self-imposed prison sentence and have no room for pomposity. They’re scoffing at me from their concrete bench.

Material things, while nice, aren’t the be-all of a recovered person’s life. Sure, we acquire some things as we mature and grow, but what we learn is how to truly enjoy what trinkets and toys we have.

Golf clubs, bicycles, running, softball, tennis, camping (I do all but golf with my wife and/or daughters). My toys aren’t great (well some are), but what we do with what we have is what’s impressive. I don’t just hit golf balls. Each shot (at least the good one’s) is a small miracle that I’m even on the right side of the grass to enjoy the shape of it. Each road trip with my wife and friends is a treat I never should have been fortunate enough to experience.

The escape from physical addiction is only the first part of the journey. The hard part.

The good stuff comes after. Once one escapes hell, perspective is achieved. The cedar swamp smells sweeter (if you’ve never smelled a true cedar swamp, it’s absolutely glorious). It’s not that it really smells better, it smells the same as it always did. I simply learned to appreciate that, but for the grace of God, I’m on the right side of the grass and have the ability to feel the joy of smelling cedar so sweet, it makes me glad to be alive. My marriage is like that. My relationship with my kids is like that. My recovery is like that.

A properly worked-for recovery from addiction is like walking around half your life needing glasses, then you realize you have enough money that you can finally afford a pair so you go to the doctor and get set up. A couple of weeks later your glasses show up and you put them on… and for the first time in decades you can see everything in high-definition. Having lived that, being able to see, even just clearer, was enough to move me to tears.

A recovery well-worked for is a hundred times better than that.

Each day is another day in paradise when I’m working at my recovery. It’s not to be missed.

Keep coming back and you won’t. This is promised to everyone who works for it. Everyone.

A Glorious Weekend… On the Bike and Off

Saturday morning’s ride started damp, was dry for a bit, then we missed the rain but only by a few minutes. It had rained hard and the roads were soaked. It was a gnarly mess but fun. 56 miles

Saturday afternoon’s ride was a little windier, but a lot sunnier and warmer. My buddy Chuck had to work and it was so nice out. 22 miles.

Sunday Funday was a little faster than a normal Sunday Funday. We had three tandems and it got crazy. My wife and I took the group out at a reasonable pace (18-19-mph) into a mild breeze, but Jeff and Diane are strong with the Force on a tandem and they crept up to and beyond 20 into that breeze. I sensed they were still on the way up so I hollered up that I couldn’t hold 20 for long. My attempt at keeping a lid on the pace worked for exactly one mile. Our tandem is massive fun, but a rocket ship it ain’t. We struggled quite a bit keeping pace with everyone, especially on the home stretch – I had to pull out of the group when my wife ran out of gas and decreased her push enough that I couldn’t make it up. Once she had a second to recover, though, we were right back after it – and the group had slowed up a little bit to allow us to catch back up. Once back on with the group and with my wife hammering away, we cruised the rest of the home stretch without much difficulty. We pulled into the driveway with a little more than 40 miles at a 19.5-mph pace. 40 miles.

We showered quickly and I prepped our bikes for a club picnic that we had to show up for. My wife was leading the 10-mile ride and I was either going to take another short ride or ride with her group. I was absolutely tuckered. My legs actually took to calling me names in sign language.

Once at the church, groups split off to a 30-mile, a 20-ish mile and our 10-mile ride. The other two had a leader, so I rode with my wife and two new people to the club who were on mountain bikes. Oh, fantastic wonderfulness, the pace was so slow. I had my Trek in the baby ring for the entire ride and we just rode along with the husband and wife couple while talking about all things fitness, cycling and the club. Entertaining is the perfect word for that ride and my legs were infinitely thankful as we pulled into the driveway of the church after 54 minutes and another 11 miles.

Normally, I’d expect to grow a little antsy with such a slow pace but slow, really crazy slow, was exactly what I needed.

We cleaned up after the club meeting and new member lunch and headed home. I was asleep for a nap before I even bothered cleaning out the cars. The rest of the afternoon was spent with my wife and daughter sharing laughs and dealing with life on its terms. We had a fantastic smoked pulled pork dinner (more on that later) and fell asleep on the couch watching a movie. It was a perfect weekend. On the bike, and off.

A Damp, Dry, Fast, Wet, Unbelievably Muddy 57 Miles… Followed By a Sunny 22 with Chucker for a Two-a-Day.

The rain started around 3 am. Just sprinkling, really. Nothing to get excited about, but it was steady. When it was light enough to see, about 6 am because of the clouds, I went out to take a look. Wheels were set to roll at 7:30 in the unlikely event it wasn’t actively raining. It was still lightly sprinkling but the roads weren’t all that wet, either. I texted Mike to get his thoughts. He straight-up bailed. Nope, he said. I’m tired and I’m taking the day off.

I figured nobody else would show so I was going to do the whole 57-mile route solo… at 8.

Then Jay showed up. Then McMike… and I was still in my pajamas. I laughed and asked them to hold tight, that I’d be ready in a few minutes. Within ten the bike was ready, I was packed up and out the door and we were rolling on damp roads. We had a slight, barely there cross-wind from the southwest that we were going to eat for the entire first half of the ride. You could barely notice it, though. Sure, we had damp roads to contend with but this was really our first 3-mph wind day of the year and that aspect was glorious. I started out easy for the first mile but quickly built the pace up to 20-21. Jay took over next with a decent couple of miles himself, then Mike, then me again. Our average pace climbed to 20.6-mph by the time we hit our first stop.

We used the facilities and I downed part of a Cliff bar and some water. It was going to be one of those mornings.

We rolled out again with about half of the headwind done. Our pace stayed the same, though we did take it easy on the hills, which was quite unexpected and very welcome. McMike is light and incredibly powerful for an old-timer so normally, he can have a fatty like me gasping to keep up. He wasn’t hammering us on the hills, though. It wasn’t quite a “tandem break” up the hills, but I certainly wasn’t about to kick that pace out of bed for eating crackers (that’s a joke if you missed it). It was on the flats and downhills that we really made time.

We hit our first tailwind 28-1/2 miles into the ride and it didn’t feel much different from the headwind. The pace did increase slightly, though. I was having one of those rides where you’re proud to be fit – where you should have your tongue dangling precariously close to your spokes, but the spring miles paid dividends and you’re just cruising with two of your buds.

Then we hit wet pavement… wet enough we were eating spray if we weren’t careful of our line. The Weather Channel showed a 6% chance for that hour when we rolled out. I think they meant 6 mm of rain. Our pace didn’t change at all. We pounded out the miles in perfect rotation and took it to the barn. Until the wheels fell off for Jay around 45-miles. He said he was going to have to hide at the back or else he wasn’t going to make it – his legs were fried. I took the pace down to an easy 17-19-mph for a few miles to give him a rest and recharge. Our average dropped from 20.6 to 25. Just before I though it’d drop another tenth I announced, “Alright, Jay, rest time is up.” and I picked up the pace again to 21 to 22. We weren’t going to make 21 with Jay in that condition and hiding, but I wanted 20.5. Mike and I took two-mile pulls and rotated well at the front, but we both started running out of gas as we approached the home stretch. Two-mile pulls turned to one. I fired down a gel about ten miles out, knowing I was going to run out of gas without it. I was digging deep to keep the pace up but held up nicely. I was beaming with satisfaction at being able to dig deep enough to keep pace with McMike and equal his pulls at the end. We pulled into the driveway with a massive 20.55-mph average over 56.2 miles with just Mike and I taking rotations the last 16-ish miles.

Sadly, the bike took one for the team:

It took an hour and a half to clean her up. I took a trip to the shop to pick up a couple of tires for the Venge that had come in (there’s going to be a tire shortage, best stock up for the rest of this season and next) and swung by a McDonald’s on the way for a tasty McLunch. I made my way home and took a nap.

Then Chuck called to see if I’d ridden in that morning. I replied I had, but I’d go out again… I texted my wife that I was rolling for another hour and change (she’d taken the girls to get their hair done, an all-day event) and she sent back a thumb’s up and a heart. I hearted her back (gotta love it).

The sun had come out and the wind had picked up considerably, but it was warm and wonderful. I wanted to work on my suntan.

And I knew within a quarter-mile that this was not a good idea. I took the Venge for all the help I could get, but I was on the darker side of crispy… think burnt toast. That was me. Thankfully, Chuck took most of the headwind pulls and kept the pace easy. I tried to help as much as I could but I was hurtin’ for certain.

My legs eventually came around but I had a bad case of baboon @$$. I shifted in the saddle often. And I made it to the driveway, though a little long in the face. My second shower of the day was a cold one and it did a lot to revive me for dinner and grocery shopping with my wife. My heinie calmed down eventually and the rest of the evening was quite wonderful. I’d earned my dinner.

No rest for the weary today. We’ve got a 40-miler on the tandem planned, then I volunteered to lead an easy ride at the club picnic later in the morning. It’s going to be a long day.

We Tried to Catch the Rain.


56 miles. 2:44:11 843’ of up. 20.5-mph average. Just McMike, Jay & me.

I did bring the right bike, at least.

This is going to take some work…

Sheree, this is for you: