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A $17,000 eBike?! Where Can I Sign Up?! All of a Sudden My 38-Mile Commute to Work Can Be Done on a Bicycle?! HOLY $#!+

Specialized just came out with a road eBike.  The S-Works version runs $13,500, but get this; it’s pedal assist up to 28.5-mph.  And it comes in under 30 pounds.  It’s three settings are controlled by an app you run on your smartphone.  Disc brakes, carbon everything, and it looks an awful lot like a Tarmac… except at the down tube (where the battery is stored) and the bottom bracket shell (where the gears are stored).  There’s a more reasonable version that’s a little heavier, but still delivers the same power that runs for $9,000.

The bells and whistles version, limited to a 250 model run, goes for a whopping $17,000.

Still, the system is good for 80 miles (120 with the extender battery).

Let that sink in.

In my case, if I can average 25-mph, my 38 mile commute can be done in less than two-hours (1h:35m to be exact)… and I get a fantastic morning and afternoon workout in without having to mess around after work.  In other words, I would actually gain about 50 minutes in the afternoon by riding my bike home.  Think of the gas money one could save whilst maintaining fantastic health.

Oh, it’s an exciting time to be alive, my friends.

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Ah, Almost Back to Normal Again

Since I’ve gotten back from the west side of the State, things have slowly gone back to a more “normal” state of affairs. I’m into the office early, which means I’m leaving early as well, and it seems like I’m pulling into the driveway before I know it – I’m home well before 5 pm. My drive is less than 45 minutes (I haven’t had less than a 38 minute drive to work in more than 23 years). Better, I’m able to stay up a little later and sleep in (if you can call it that, and most normal people don’t – I still have my alarm set for 4 am).

I rode what we call the “Deer Loop” with some friends yesterday morning, under utterly perfect conditions. 3-mph wind, not a cloud in the sky, and mercifully cool (low 60’s – perfect starting temp [16.7 C]). When I included “Deer Loop” in my Strava ride title, one of my friends asked in the comments, “Did you bring the deer magnet with you”. I laughed out loud – my buddy, Mike (aka the Deer Magnet) has a funny way of attracting animals so he hits them. He got a deer two years ago and a dog and a squirrel so far this year. I don’t know how many near misses there were, but I was there for a few with deer crossing just in front of us… and I’ve heard of many more than I saw…

Which leads me to the big plus: My mileage is heading in the right direction. Two weeks ago, with the long Fourth of July weekend, I managed to clock in more than 300 miles for the week. Last week, with a normal work schedule I was over 210 miles. I also popped over 4,000 miles for the year last week, so it seems I’ll still be able to have a decent year after the job and our crappy start to the Spring.

In other cycling news, the Trek is in for a paint touch-up. I put a gnarly gouge in the top tube when I had a wrench slip off the headset lock nut. It was bad – and just two days after I put an awesome new Punisher sticker on it, too…

Anyway, that’s where I’m at. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re really good and looking up. Now if I could just drop about five more pounds! Dammit, they’re a lot harder to take off than put on!

My Key to a Relentless Positive Attitude: Part 145

This is not going to be an easy post to take – especially if you’re a negative person who likes to blame your problems on others…  Good luck!

Positivism doesn’t happen on it’s own.  I didn’t wake up this morning and realize my life was spectacular enough that I can now go about being a happy positive guy.  Shit just doesn’t work like that.  For anyone.

There are constant forces at work to drag us down, right?  People who wrong us and make us angry?  People, places or things that make us this, or make us feel that?

Well yes there are, but they only count for anything if I want to be dragged down.  And stay down.  That isn’t me.

The trick to relentless positivism

I have to completely divorce myself from the outside world when it comes to concentrating my energy on my attitude.  The second “you” enter my train of thought, I’m pooched.  People, places and things are entirely out of my control.  It’s not about how the outside world is, but how I perceive it and how I then, in turn, react to it.

My positivism is not an accident….

If you’ve been following along for any length of time, you know I was working on a difficult project a couple of hours’ commute from my house.  Each way.  We were given a target date when the owner was going to start moving furniture in.  My boss, just back in April, confided in me that he thought it was an impossible goal, that it wasn’t going to happen – there was no way the owners would be moving in on time.

My team beat the date by three weeks.  It’s been an ugly process getting there, but we’re there. We blew the budget, of course, because you can have something built fast, built well, and built inexpensively… you only get to pick two.  The owner picked fast and built well and we delivered.  It cost an arm and a leg.

I gave that job everything I had, every day.  I didn’t miss a minute of work, not even to have a crown fixed that I’d accidentally loosened on a Jujyfruit the day before I was to start – I put that crown back on and ate on the other side of my mouth until I had an open vacation day four months later that I used to go to the dentist.  There were several days I’d have to stop at a rest area on the way home to take a nap because I was getting too tired to drive safely.  I had only had three waking hours a day for my family.  My wife and kids got to a point they told me they missed me… but I still took that job by the horns and I made it my bitch.  One day at a time.

On my last day, several of the foremen from the other subcontractors told me how much they were going to miss my positive attitude on the job, that I was a light on that site.

Folks, that four months (and some change) out of my life was hard.  My car broke down twice, I had that tooth issue, my glasses broke, my phone was stolen, the owner’s management team rode us like red-headed rented mules… there were a dozen other little things that could have brought me down but I didn’t budge.  I just kept motoring ahead, one day at a time, with my eye on the prize.

My friends, not letting that outside stuff get to me was, plain and simple, a choice.  At each opportunity to fail or fold, I thought to myself, “Is this the thing that you let bring you down?”  Each time I answered “F*** NO.”  I became so relentlessly positive that I got strength from making the choice to stay positive, to keep winning.  Just the act of acknowledging the difficulty and that I wasn’t going to let it break me made me stronger, more resolute.  More positive.

It wasn’t always easy.  I wasn’t perfect.  There were times the drive really got to me.  The look on my wife’s face when she said she and the girls missed me… driving down to work without my glasses was scary as hell (my eyes are not bad enough I couldn’t pass the State’s eye test – my driver’s license did not require corrective lenses, I’d just gotten so used to seeing perfectly…).  One particular time, when my team and I were on the hot seat to get some critical work done and we were struggling to produce, that one almost got me.  I quieted up for two days… but then I realized what I was doing to myself and I asked that most important question.  “Will this be the thing I let bring me down?”

I bounced back the next day.

I have a choice of whether or not I will let an event or another person bring me down.  Every single day.  I don’t know what God’s plan for me is, but if my past is any indicator, He’s got some big plans and I’m going to have a lot of fun fulfilling them.  Either I can get on with it, or I can curl up in a ball on the floor and stick my thumb in my mouth.  It’s my choice.

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20190709_071432That stack of drywall you see under the bridge is all we’ve got left on a job that needed more than 2,000,000 sf.  That’s it.  There’s so little remaining to do, I’ve worked myself right out of the job – there’s nothing to gain by having full-time project manager-level supervision on site anymore so I was sent back to the office to save money.

I don’t have to be perfect, or mistake-free.  I don’t have to be the best, or the strongest.  I just have to give it my best and care about what I do.  I have to choose to remain positive.  The key to being positive is choosing to be positive, and refusing to let my negative thoughts get in my way.

I can choose to quit and ball up in the fetal position tomorrow.  As long as I remember that tomorrow never gets here.

And Finally, Some Decent Miles to Go with Summertime (and How Sobriety Factors into the Fun)

On one hand, this summer, if you could call it that until two weeks ago, should have been a YUGE letdown. My miles are down, my weight is slightly up, and the weather has just plain sucked. I haven’t even topped 4,000 miles for the year yet, and I’m liking food way more than I should.

On the other hand, I’m on the job of my career and I’m freaking digging it and the pay has been quite nice.

I don’t know what the rest of this year will hold, but beyond the sacrifices, I’m having fun and I’m happy. And that’s what really matters.

Then, out of nowhere, the best cycling weekend yet this year. It was supposed to rain every day, but the worst we got was a popcorn storm for ten minutes, and never while we were on the bikes.  I could have put in so many more miles, though… 75 on Thursday, 40 Friday, another 56 for Saturday, and we’ve got a 100k on tap for today.  If memory serves, I’d have sprinkled in an 80-100 miler in there and at least one of the 40 or 56 mile rides would have been a 100k.  I’m not that guy this year, though.  For the longest time, I feared I would like cycling less if I let off the gas, if I didn’t try to cram absolutely every last mile in.  I was so wrong; I like it more.

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Because I’m not always trying to push max miles out of every ride, my enjoyment of the sport increased and I enjoy each mile much more.  In the end, there’s still no place I’d rather be than on my bike, and the search still continues for the sucker who’ll pay me to ride it.  I’ll let you know when my luck changes.

In the meantime, it’s just another day in paradise on two wheels.

There once was a time when all I could do was think about how I could escape being miserable.  Every day I’d try to figure out how to game the system so I could have just one more day drunk before the house of cards crumbled under the weight of my poor choices.  Today, 26 years without a drink or a drug, and I’m working on making content and happy, happier.  Talk about a difference that’ll put a smile on your face!

My friends, once I embraced that the hardest thing I would ever do in my life occurred 26 years ago, in quitting drinking (and eventually, smoking), once I realized I’d already been through hell and as long as I keep on the right path, I don’t ever have to go back, life became less about survival and more about enjoyment.

Just for today.  Keep quit, no matter what.  Even if your ass falls off… and in the event it does, put it in a paper bag and take it to a meeting.  They’ll show you how they put theirs back on.  There’s only misery at the bottom of that bottle.  It won’t get better this time.  There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Shit, there’s no rainbow.  Because there’s no sunshine.  Just keep quitting.

Best Vacation Evah! And the Diet Started Yesterday.

It’s been quiet over here in Fit Recovery land for a reason… I was away with my wife and kids, and my wife’s family on a cruise to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, Belize (you better Belize it), and Cozumel (Cancun for us).

I didn’t write a thing for a week. I also did no work. For one full week, plus a day, I spent a grand total of 1 minute 13 seconds on the phone. I’ve never been so fortunate on vacation… not that I can remember, anyway.

Sadly, I brought a little more home than some fantastic photos… the food on the cruise was so good I brought home a couple more than a few extra pounds. I’ve got some work to do.

Thankfully, I had a break in the daily rain and got a nice little 18 miler in last evening. I’d skipped breakfast and had a sensible lunch so all that was left was a non-ridiculous dinner. Mrs. Bgddy made her most excellent chili. A bowl and I was off to bed.

It’s good to be back and getting into the swing of things again, but that was one heck of a vacation.

Only a few more weeks on the out-of-town job, so I’m hoping to get back to a more regular schedule soon.

All photos taken by me, with my Galaxy S9 in a Lifeproof case, underwater. I’ve never experienced a leak, though I did wreck the face on a rock on the last excursion of the trip, swimming in a cave… and Lifeproof replaced the face as a part of the warranty. Folks, the quality stands up to the name.

Tuesday Night Club Ride; I Feel Lucky Every Time I Get to Throw My Leg Over the Top Tube Edition

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Last night was a particularly awesome Tuesday Night Club Ride. It wasn’t faster than other editions, it was just…. right. Everyone worked together, even Time Trial guy behaved properly – and it was a little on the windy side, to boot.

Coming out of the egregiously long headwind section we still had a 20-1/2-mph average. We were all working together and everything was smooth. That’s how a club ride should be, by the way, smooth and predictable.

We paid for the second half tailwind with the first half of the ride, and it was, simply stated, a blast. In many cases we surged past 29-mph and I took the first sprint, after sucking an enormous amount of tandem wheel, at more than 34-mph. The tandem I’d ridden in lost steam way too early and I could feel the sprinters behind me getting restless so I did something entirely inadvisable; I shot off the front something like a half-mile out. I took it from 29-mph to 35 within a few pedal strokes and kept the power on as long as I could. Coming up to the City Limits sign I was out of gas about 100 yards out. I hazarded a look back – I was free and clear by something like four or five bike lengths so I tried my best to maintain my speed – I think I crossed the line at 32.

We regrouped in town and prepared for the home stretch, eight more miles of tailwind and cross-tailwind.

We’d lost a few but still had a solid group and the pace for the last few miles grew steadily till it peaked just shy of “hectic” at 28-mph. We rolled hard for the City Limits sign, but tandems were dropping off. I was on the wheel of one tandem, then another, then one last and we were still a quarter-mile from the finish. As that last tandem petered out, I jumped, just like I’d done 8 miles earlier. Way too soon, but I was either going to double up the sprints or go down in a blaze trying. I went from 28 to just shy of 35-mph (56 kph) in four rotations of the pedals. I had my head down and ass high, grinding on the pedals for all I was worth. I left it all on the road and when I looked back after running out of gas I had enough of a gap I could sit down and pedal easy across the line. We finished with a 21.9-mph average.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I enjoy riding my Venge. I feel lucky every time I throw a leg over the top tube. It’s that nice a ride… super fast, responsive, yet compliant in the right places for a smooth ride. Every day on my bike is a good day.

How I Stay Sober When There’s No Time For Anything…

Without my recovery, there’s nothing.  No wife, no kids, no house, no job, no cars, no cycling, no freedom, no happiness, no joy…  I will freely give all of those away to stay drunk.  I have no control once alcohol enters my system.  And the notion that I might successfully use some other drug in lieu of alcohol because alcohol is my “drug of choice” is simply preposterous.  Laughable to the extent that anyone who believes such nonsense doesn’t have what I have.  Living in the solution, a life without mood or mind-altering substances, is the only way that works for an addict like me.  That’s just how I roll.

With that in mind, and considering I’m woefully short on time lately, due to work, how can I stay up on my recovery with only three waking hours after work?

Technology offers so many options to maintain recovery, it’s hard to imagine how they did it back in the 1930’s.

My sponsor and I split duties when it comes to opening up our favorite meeting.  Normally we open it together after we have dinner together, but when one of us goes on vacation, the other takes the solo responsibility.  The other day it was my turn.  As is often the case in the early spring on a nice evening, attendance is sporadic.  I was the only one to show.

I opened my Joe and Charlie tapes app and listened to “How It Works”.  Then, for a laugh, on the way home I listened to “about sex” because there’s nothing funnier than a couple of old-timers offering a lesson on coitus.  To say I pulled in the driveway with a smile on my face was an understatement.  I was refreshed.  Happy.  Content.  Comfortable in the knowledge that everything was as it should be.  Revived is a good word.  Rejuvenated might be even better.  Other days I’ve read from the Daily Reflections, or from the Big Book itself.  I can call my sponsor, work on a resentment, work with a newcomer, or write a blog post…  Whatever it takes put the focus back on what matters most; another day clean and sober is my only hope for a happy existence.

The most important thing to remember as a recovering addict and alcoholic is without recovery, there’s nothing else.

And I can have my misery of living in addiction back any time I want it.  All I have to do is take a drink.