Fit Recovery

Home » 2022 » May

Monthly Archives: May 2022

A Perfect Holiday Weekend… Capped By Maverick.

Back home from our most-awesome road trip for the Horsey Hundred, my wife and I chose the tandem for our Monday morning ride. We had the Deer Loop on tap with a little add-on heading north up to Durand with a nice SSW pushing us.

The first six miles were a little challenging with the cross-headwind but once that was out of the way, the headwind section was actually quite nice. My wife and I have been working excellently well together on the tandem and, believe it or not, I’ve actually come to prefer that over single bikes. Perhaps this isn’t all that surprising considering we’ve put so many miles on the bike. The thing is dialed in perfectly.

We rolled around the route, sometimes struggling, sometimes flying, till we got the the tailwind section of the ride. Durand Road heading north on a tandem. This is the best stretch of road I know of on a tandem. It’s downhill for four miles with a sprint finish at the Durand City Limits sign and we rock it out every time.

We knocked out a nice 25-mph average on that section before I noticed a wobble in the back wheel. We ended up stopping to take a look because it was a little disconcerting… and I found we’d worn the tire to the Kevlar in a patch about six inches long. We ended up deciding on riding it home gingerly, hoping for the best.

We pulled into the driveway just fine, happy about the time we spent on the bike. We ended up with 36-1/2 miles at an 18.1-mph pace.

The rest of the day was a blur of activity, once we cleaned up and took our older daughter to lunch. Once home, we took a quick nap and I headed out to cut the grass… which needed it desperately. I knocked out the front and back, leaving the back 40 for my daughter. I knocked out the trimming next, got the AC unit ready for the summer.

Then, for the evening capper, my wife and I took our kids to see “Top Gun Maverick”. It’s a rarity that a sequel can measure up to an original, especially after 36 years, so I was expecting “close enough for government work”. I won’t spoil anything except to say this is one of the rarest cases where the sequel exceeds the original. There were cheers when the movie ended. My daughter was in tears, my wife misty, and the two of us clutching our hands so tight we were a couple of psi from cutting off circulation. If you even liked the original, you’ll love the sequel.

Once home, we called it a night… after counting alphabetical animals to fall asleep. What a fantastic weekend.

A Perfect Wrap to the 2022 Horsey Hundred Road Trip

I’m not even going to try to avoid getting too sappy on this post. The best I can promise is that I’ll try to limit the damage.

With my newfound romance with my wife, something so special I’ve struggled putting it into words, we set out for Sunday morning’s day two of the Horsey Hundred knowing the group was going to do the 52 mile route but we were keeping it to the 37.

My wife, fearing the old me would resurface, asked delicately the night before, “I may not feel up to the full 52 miles, would you mind it if we decided to cut it to the 37-mile route if I’m not feeling it?”

I responded, “I loaded the 37-mile route on your Garmin yesterday. Whatever we ride, as long as we’re together, I’ll be happy.” My wife wiped a tear from her eye…

We rolled out at 7:45 to head over to the start line downtown and stopped for our group start line photo:

We rolled out with the main group at a decent pace. I took position behind my wife – she doesn’t like being last bike, she likes being second to last so she feels impelled to keep up with the group so the rider behind doesn’t get dropped. After the hundred the day before, I was more than happy to take that role! We stayed with the group for about ten miles before my wife started falling off the back on the hills. Shortly thereafter we were talking about splitting from the group and Chuck decided to go with us on the shorter route.

Before long, it was the three of us cruising down the road. Chuck would pull ahead, then wait for us to catch up. My wife and I just cruised along with smiles on our faces, enjoying the sunny, warm Kentucky morning and each other’s company. This was a complete departure from the normal Jim.

When my wife struggled up a hill, I’d pull up next to her and rest my hand on the small of her back, kicking up my watts to give her a small boost – we call this “Jenkinsoning someone”… in other words, “to be Jenkinsoned”, coined after our friend Greg, who helped my buddy Mike up the tough hills when he returned from an illness.

We did our 37-miles and had an absolute blast. After we finished, in the parking lot, my wife said that was the ride she’d always prayed for with me on a Horsey Hundred Sunday. Now it was my turn to wipe a tear from my eye. Friends, it’s as good as it gets.

Now that’s a happy wife… and a happy husband.

We showered up, packed the car and headed over for lunch before hitting the road home. Choosing the 37-mile option worked out great. We were heading for the car when the 52-mile group showed up for lunch.

We worked on our marriage renewal vows on the way home and sent out a text to our family that we were going to have a ceremony in our backyard in a couple of weeks. It was the best ride home of any Horsey weekend.

Good times and noodle salad. It’s as good as it gets.

A Most Enlightening and Wonderful Horsey Hundred…

Typically, you know if you’re ready for a 100-mile bike ride. They’re old hat for my friends and me. We’ve done dozens upon dozens together over the years. Conversely, you also know when you’re not ready – an unsettling feeling going into the hardest century of the year… and it also being the first and longest ride so far this year. By double.

The evening before, I’d offered to ride with my wife for the hundred km option. I knew it was going to be hard for her and I was nervous about the full distance anyway having only completed a fifty-miler on the tandem so far this year. That, and now that my wife and I are kicking on all cylinders again, the thought of her struggling alone out on the course… well, it wasn’t easy to accept. My wife, however, tenderly placed a hand on either side of my face and said, “Sunday. We’ll ride Sunday together. Tomorrow, I want you to ride with your friends.” I agreed.

We rolled out to cool temps and cloudy skies but there was barely a breeze. It was perfect for a start to a hundred-mile bike ride. The pace to start was marvelous. A little on the fast side, but not too much to handle. My wife stayed on for ten miles before sliding off the back… it was not easy to let her go. She fell off on my turn up front and when I dropped to the back, I could barely make her out in the distance. I rolled on with the group, though.

We stopped at the first rest stop and topped off water bottles and used the facilities. It was to be a quick stop. Just as I came out of the porta-john, I looked up and my heart skipped a beat. My wife walked up and kissed me and said, “I busted my butt to catch up so I could see you”. I knew she wasn’t going to hang on long when we started off again so I offered one more time, implored, really, to ride with her. I was really unsure of whether I’d make the full hundred anyway. She stuck to her guns and said we’d ride together tomorrow, that I should go with friends.

We rolled out. My wife played cat and mouse with the group for a few miles but before long was off the back again. The group was punishing up hills. Downhill and on the flats, my wife is mega-strong, but she has trouble with hills. And there’s lots of them on this ride. I came to the back after a turn and could see her off in the distance. It took everything I had to stay with our group.

And that’s exactly when I started praying about what in God’s name was going on in my head. I’d never had a problem letting my wife do her thing in past Horsey Hundreds! I literally asked God, pedaling away, holding the wheel in front of me, “What is going on!”

And the answer came in a flood of emotion; “You love her so much it’s hard to ride away and leave her out there on her own”. We’ve made such great strides in our marriage lately, staying with her on a bike ride had triggered a biological/emotional response to stay with her rather than my friends.

It all made so much sense. This is exactly how a husband should feel in a situation like that – a feeling I’d suppressed for decades because of resentment and marital angst between us. Resentment and angst that was all but gone.

I stuck to what my wife said, though. I fought through the desire to ride with her and I rocked that hundred out. At the lunch stop, I texted my wife our location and ate my lunch. She called after I’d finished to say she was struggling and needed a pep-talk. I’d planned on telling her what I’d learned later that evening but figured that was my prompting. I walked away from earshot of my friends and explained it to the last detail. I told her she was awesome and she’d walk all over that 100k and I’d see her soon. Her mood buoyed, we said our “I love you’s” and hung up.

I’d almost cut out for the 75-mile route with a couple of others a few miles earlier but had decided to stay on to the end. I wanted my 2022 pin to add to my collection.

And so it was. And we ended up with an average more than a mile-an-hour faster than last year.

My wife was waiting outside at the hotel as Mike and I rode up. My heart skipped a beat again.

Thank God for Bicycles!

I’ve got my Specialized Venge all tuned up. The shift and brake cables are all brand new. The bearings are all new. The chainrings, chain, cassette and rear derailleur… all new.

The water bottles are filled and ready for action. Garmin Varia and 510 are charged and ready to go. Rare for the Venge, a small saddle bag is affixed under the saddle – the smallest I could get that can fit what I need… expertly packed and tight to the bike so it won’t move, thereby scratching the paint, when I’m out of the saddle to climb.

I’m T-minus three hours to launch on my first 100-mile ride of the season.

I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. Three hours to go and it’ll be time to drop some weight.

I’m sipping on my first cup of coffee of the morning, watching my wife sleep. She’s not the early riser I am. God, she’s beautiful. I’m thinking about what a lucky guy I am. We’ve been through a lot together and it looks like the next 25 years of our marriage are going to be vastly better than the first. And for that, I am thankful.

Well, it’s time to shave and shower. Once we get breakfast going, launch time is going to be on us in a hurry.

You know, I’ve been to the gym a hundred times. I can’t ever recall feeling like this before pushing weight.

As fitness goes, only a bike can get me so fired up. Look at that beautiful carbon fiber and alloy steed… what a bike!

More later.

While You’re Dealing with the Narcissist You’re Married To, You Might Want To…

One of the more shocking discoveries in my recovery occurred when I began listening to Richard Grannon talk about covert narcissists and how to tell if you’re living with one…

And I found out, the hard way, I was a covert narcissist.

If you’re looking at your spouse as a possible narcissist, do yourself a favor and look in the mirror first. Or don’t, and watch your spouse point it out when you lay it down for them.

If you have a shred of decency and honesty, you’ll need a spatula to get your jaw off the floor. I did.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. That Guy In the Ferrari Could Be Thinking About Wrapping His Car Around the Next Viaduct Stanchion He Sees…

Some of the better advice I’ve ever given newer folks to recovery is “Don’t compare yourself to others. You don’t know what they have to give up to have what they do.”

I heard a second part to that, though, from Jordan Peterson that I really liked: “Instead, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.”

Another of his favorite tips for creating a better future for yourself is to try to improve just 1% from yesterday to today. It’s such a small, trivial amount that almost anyone should be able to do that, right?

Well, do that for 100 days in a row and see where you’re at then! I can tell you, I’ve implemented that and it works. What a difference just a month or two of sticking to that makes!

Enjoy your Thursday. It’s the only one we get.

Sunday Funday on a TNIL… on the TANDEM?!

I’m going to put it as simply as I can; my wife and I found each other again, after several years. It’s better than that, really. We’ve learned how to talk to each other to find peace with one another, rather than to beat the other. We’ve learned how to listen and to work things out so we can be happy together. I’m so grateful, I find it difficult to put into words. After 3,000,000 words on this blog, I’ve never been so happy and stuck for words to describe it. It is love and joy and relief, and it is good.

My wife and I spoke yesterday morning after I’d been at the office a while. We both expressed what a wonderful evening we had the night before. It was a perfect evening together that ended in us watching our favorite show, holding hands and falling asleep on the couch. My wife asked how we could possibly keep this going at this pace without burning out (now, there’s a good context and a bad context to that question – her context was delivered in the good way – as in, “Please, Dear God in Heaven, how can we keep this going because it’s awesome?”). Thankfully, I’d already had the same thought and fear and meditated on it thoroughly. I had answers. I know what we have today is doable, and I am freaking stoked about it.

[As a rule, I refuse to use the work “sustainable” outside of my conversations with my wife who “gets me”, because it’s generally a fair bet a person who uses that word in a sentence has no idea what they’re talking about.]

Anyway, the evening before, I’d asked my wife if she’d ride the tandem with me on Tuesday night. She was working from home and attending one of my daughter’s rare early tennis matches so I had a feeling she’d ride Tuesday night, but I wanted to really ride with her. Not just on singles. My wife said she’d like to tandem during a phone call early Tuesday afternoon, and so it was.

The main A/A-Elite mixed group went off first, then we followed a minute later. We flew going with the headwind and did well north and south, but struggled in the headwind, relying on Big Joe and Dave to handle some of the up front duty. On the second mile, something occurred to me and I decided to share it with my wife rather than risk forgetting it – one more reason we’re going to make what we have last. To keep it simple, we’ve never had anything resembling what we’ve built over the last few months. Best of all, we’ve made it safe for each other to express that love however we feel it. The passion is real and it is fantastic… but that can also be terrifically horrifying in that, the general thinking is; if it burns hot, it burns fast… then burns out. And so, my thought that hadn’t occurred earlier was this; we’ve learned to talk to each other (and listen, my wife interjected) in a way we never have before. The way we talk and listen is set up to help us keep this alive and well. It was a significant point.

Anyway, we had a fantastic ride, the four of us and Jess and I headed home afterward to a wonderful dinner of chicken and gnocchi soup – leftovers from dinner the night before when my daughter made the soup from scratch. It was another wonderful evening together. It’s actually been a stretch of great days and evenings. We’ve needed this for a long time.

And a note to my riding buddies who read this page: I’ve been a little too selfish when it comes to what I want to do and how that relates to my marriage. I have to even things out a little bit with her before I find my new normal. I’ll be the same rider, just a little less self-centered. Thanks in advance for your patience while we get this sorted.

Why An Expensive Road Bike is Worth the Outlandish Money… Even If “Expensive” Isn’t a Prerequisite for Being Fast

After riding the tandem with my wife for the last few weeks, I finally threw a leg over my Specialized Venge Wednesday night. The weather is, at long last, changing for the better and we’ve had more than enough rain to clean the roads… it struck me just how much fun it is to ride my Specialized Venge.

I’ve got a little more than $6,000 into that bike, by the time you figure the $3,100 price tag plus the upgrades – handlebar ($350), saddle ($250), wheels ($750), crankset ($550), brakes ($157), Ultegra drivetrain ($200 pre-owned but spectacular), stem ($167), seatpost ($110 after shipping), new rear derailleur ($75), chainrings ($105)… so, new, the bike out of the box weighed in at 18-1/2 pounds. As it sits today, it’s down to 16 pounds – or perfect… for a bowling ball or an aero-bike.

I rolled out with my buddy, Chuck for our normal loop and the first thing I noticed as I got my butt used to the saddle again is how twitchy and responsive the Venge is after riding the tandem so much – and how easy it is to make the Venge accelerate. You simply push on the pedals and it goes. Anyone who’s ridden a top-end race bike knows this fantastic feeling. Even above that is the fact that the bike, after eight years, is still as tight as it was the day I brought it home. Everything still works as it should, in other words. No creaks or weird clicks, no loose parts (though the original seat post did fracture during a seated attempt at a City Limits sign…).

One doesn’t need a great bike to ride a bike very fast. One needs strong legs, massive lungs, a good diet and a decent bike (preferably with some aero wheels as those do make a difference) to be fast. Oh, I almost forgot; and a whole lot of “want to”. Most who have had the great fortune of riding a fantastic top-end bike, though, will tell you they’re worth it.

Not exactly necessary, but wonderful indeed.

Recovery; Your Life Will Become So Good You’ll Think It Simply Can’t Get Any Better… Then You’ll Realize It Did, All By Itself.

My wife and I had a weekend I only could have dreamt of a few years ago. It was truly a miracle. We set about making some changes a couple of months ago, now and we’re finally getting comfortable with knowing that we’re safe in our marriage and that the changes are real.

For me, the changes are foundational, right down to my baby toes.

After an amazing, wonderful weekend spent with my wife and kids, I woke up this morning, had a couple of cups of coffee and worked on a post. It was much more in depth than this one but I didn’t have the time to finish it. When it was time, I put my computer away and went in to shave and get ready for work. After, I went into our bedroom and dressed for the office. I pulled out something special to show my wife I wanted to look good for her.

Then, I climbed into bed and gave my wife a hug and kissed her forehead and told her I loved her deeply. She said, “Jim, thank you for a much better marriage”. I couldn’t hold back the tears of happiness.

We’ve worked so hard to get here. We’ve talked at length about a lot of really tough things. We’ve negotiated hard for things that matter to us. And we’ve both let go of intense fear and hurt so we could begin to heal.

As recovery from alcoholism and addiction goes, and this particularly pertains to marriage as well, I must remember that I am the problem. If I don’t know that I’m the problem, I need to pray that my Higher Power will show me where I’m the problem.

As long as I remember that, I have a chance. Today, I’m so grateful I’m actually grateful for being grateful. None of this was possible until I was willing to ask God to help me to be a better me. I don’t know if I was ready for how much I had to improve, but it all worked out in the wash.

My wife and I are on the right path and we know it. You may wonder how it is we know that. It’s simple; we don’t have to work to stay on the path. We want to stay on it because neither one of us want to go back to what we had before.

It’s as good as it gets – and I have faith it’ll get better. I’ve been here too many times to believe otherwise.

Thank God.

A Wonderful Day Off the Bikes…

It’s a rare Saturday after May 1st that we’re off the bikes but yesterday’s weather was intermittent junk. On again, off again rain, clouds, a little peak at sunshine here or there. It was just a mess.

Anyway, there was no riding in the early morning. Too much rain.

My wife and I tended to chores around the house that had been neglected now that she’s working regularly. Jess and our eldest daughter then turned their attention to getting their nails done while I dropped off a few tools to Ukulele Dave who’d loaned them to me as I attempted to sort out an odd click in our tandem. Then we spent some time at the bike shop, working on a few items for the club’s main ride in August, amongst other items that aren’t quite ready for the light of day.

After, we came home to what appeared to be a clearing in the weather. I hopped on my tractor and dealt with the backyard grass – and got about 20 minutes into it before it started raining lightly again. I came in and sat down to a game of Skyjo with my wife and daughter.

Then came date night. My wife and I have instituted date night once a week again. We both need that time together. We’ve got a fairly rocky past with a lot of good and some very bad… I like to think of the coast in La Jolla, California – stunningly beautiful, exciting and fun, but exceptionally rocky in places. We’re now full into working on making our marriage the best it can be… call it excavating some of those rocks from the beach.

We walked around a couple of shops my wife likes, then went to dinner and finished the night playing pool for an hour and some change. Even though walking around shops gives me the vapors because I can’t help but feel like I’m wasting time, I put that f***er in the melon committee in the cage for my wife. If I’ve found anything over the last couple of months, I’ve come to see how self-centered I really am. It was a shockingly eye-opening realization. I’m doing much better, as is my wife, through the process.

Finally, we headed home to watch some of our favorite binge-watching TV show (Castle). I made it one episode before falling asleep on the couch, my wife in my arms. She made it one episode and two minutes. A couple of episodes later we woke up and headed to bed.

It was, unquestionably, as good as it gets.