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It’s Time to Stop the Madness: Politics Is Not the Root Of Your Anger, OR Worth Your Happiness

Folks, I just heard about a story about some left-wing zealot who, because his father put a Trump sign up in his yard, decided he should stop visiting and go one step further in not allowing his father and mother to see their grandchildren.

Friends, enough. This is politics. Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi don’t believe in the arguments they use to grapple for power any more than Cocaine Mitch or Ted Cruz do.

Republicans passed on Merrick Garland because they hoped they could get a better candidate through if Trump won (I didn’t like the gamble at the time, personally, because I thought Hillary was going to win). Democrats didn’t mind this either, as everyone was sure Hillary Clinton would win. Oh, sure, they put up a fight against the Biden Rule. Now, ironically, those who fought using the Biden Rule are now espousing its virtue, and conversely, those once pointing out it’s origin are now, humorously enough, saying that they can see the error in what they did, so let’s get Trump’s new candidate through, using Democratic rules changed by Harry Reid.

The point is, politicians simply try to put forward the argument that suits their situation. They have no morals other than to get their agenda through (Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Joe Manchin and maybe one other Democrat excepted in the Senate). Republicans control the Senate and the Presidency. The Biden Rule gets shelved. If Democrats controlled the Senate, I guarantee you they’d invoke the rule. But they don’t. And the reason they’re incensed is because Harry Reid changed the Senate rules to try to stack the court so that only a majority vote is needed to advance and confirm an appointment. Now, you can hate the game, but hating people because of politicians is plain old wrong.

We must remember that the oldest profession in history is the prostitute. The second is politician, and the second isn’t much better than the first – they both operate similarly.

Love one another, no matter what.

My wife and I are living proof a Republican can love a Democrat and vice-versa. We simply don’t talk about politics. Ever.

F*** the politicians. Let them deal with the bed they’ve made. We’ll have to deal with the one we have, and that’s enough.

Just a thought. I reserve the right to be right. Or wrong.

Making It Through The Rough Patches In Recovery; It Ain’t Always Easy, But It’s Always Better Than The Alternative.

I’m busier than a one-legged pirate in an ass kicking contest at work, lately.  It seems I go from one thing to the next before crashing at night and waking to do it all over again.  My wife and I have also been dealing with teenage daughter issues as well, and those are never easy.  Thankfully, I’ve usually got a late afternoon, early evening bike ride in there to help keep me level, too.  But, I’m also “keeping my side of the street clean” in the process.  And that’s the most important part.

Of course, compared to facing prison time, let’s just say today’s problems are a lot more manageable when contrasted against my drinking days.  I haven’t got anything going right now that a drink or drug won’t make worse.  The literary use of the double-negative, my friends.  BAM.

One of the things I got right from the beginning was associating relapse – and we’re talking any mood or mind-altering substance – with increased pain and difficulty in life.  That wasn’t too far a stretch, of course, no matter what I tried, that’s always what I ended with.  As difficult as early recovery is, adding drugs and/or (usually “and”) alcohol to a difficult situation will only make it worse.  Escaping from troubles or difficulties never solved them, it only put them off for a time and made them more difficult to grapple with when I finally had to get around to it.

With alcohol and drugs out of the way and not having an escape from my problems, that leaves two choices:  1) Deal with it and work through my problems.  2) Curl up in a ball on the floor.

Well, two isn’t very attractive, so I choose door number one.

Now for the clichés… I do the best I can with what I’ve got and ask my HP for help and guidance through inspiration.  God is either everything or nothing.  Which is it going to be?  This too shall pass, was ever thus.

As long as I remember that nothing in life is permanent, including troubled times, I know I’ll get through this to my next good stretch… and that’s why and how I remain a happily clean and sober guy.  I live my recovery by one rule above all others:  Just don’t f***in’ drink.

Cycling, Cold Fronts, Pizza and Faygo Rock & Rye

We’ve used summer up. We’re just a few days from fall and we had glorious weather on our hands yesterday – and it’s not going to be this nice again for the near future (though we can never rule out an early fall warm stretch for a few days). I needed to make the most of one of our last shorts and short-sleeve days.

Chuck was going to be ready at a quarter past five, I was on the road at 4:32, soaking up the sunshine, enjoying a nice, slow spin. Mrs. Bgddy had meetings and the girls had swim practice, so I was on my own for the evening – no time constraints, no awaiting responsibilities (except a meeting a few miles down the road at 8). I simply wandered, enjoying the feel of the Trek under me. I still had 15 minutes before Chuck would be ready so I headed up to loop around a local fire station parking lot before heading south into a cross-headwind, then over to Chuck’s. I did a loop around his subdivision, then turned around and looped the other way. I was lolling into a nice one-way righthand corner when a pickup truck with a trailer cut the corner making a left, forcing me all the way to the inside of the corner. I turned and shot him a “WTF” look and he came to a stop. I looped around and approached his window and asked, “Was that on purpose, or was that an oops?” He apologized profusely, saying I was right in his blind spot (the support arm for his windshield) and thinking back, that made sense – I could barely see his face. I told him all was well, no harm, no foul and went on my way and he on his.

Chuck pulled out of his driveway just before I got there and we were on our merry way. Chuck hit 15-mph as I caught him and he said, “This is about my pace for the night, right here.” And so it was. We got most of the headwind out of the way early and vented about current events and the comical way many issues are framed. The whole ride was chilled out, relaxed and enjoyable… until we noticed clouds coagulating to the north of us. A cold front was moving in and we managed to ride right up to the edge of it.

I pulled into the driveway with a little more than 31 miles and a 16-mph average – which is perfect because tonight will be a fast Lake Shannon Loop.  With cool temps and a gentle breeze out of the south, I have no doubt it’s going to be… energetic.  

So, what do we do when we’ve got a big ride planned for the next day?  We carb load.  This calls for pizza (right or wrong, I don’t care – I just like pizza and I’m more than okay with justifying eating it as “carb loading”).  And I didn’t mess around last night.  I got the good stuff from a local Italian restaurant.  My pizza aficionado-ness is well earned – I’ve done everything from delivery to running a gourmet pizza shop when I was a younger lad.  I know my pie.  So I picked mine up, along with some good, old-fashioned Faygo Rock & Rye to wash it down on the way to my meeting.  Only recently have I gone back to Rock & Rye, a favorite of my childhood.  There’s something sweet about enjoying memories through the taste of an old soda.

The meeting, as is almost always the case with in-person meetings, was fantastic.  I only hope I did someone some good with what I had to say.  By the time I arrived home, I was good and cooked.  I was asleep eight seconds after my head hit the pillow… and that’s exactly as it should be when you’re living the good life.

UPDATE:  Funny how plans change… Can’t ride tonight.  My daughters are going for a relay record this evening at swimming and I want to be there for it.  

The Gift Cycling Keeps on Giving: A Tuesday Night In Lennon to Remember

The night started off, humorously enough, with a discussion of politics – but this was a good discussion, like one of those discussions we’re supposed to have. It was the beginning of a discussion that could fix the country if the political class were adults and spoke like we did. When it was time to ride, though, my friend moved to the A group and I stayed on the A- side.

There’s been a lot on my angst lately. Difficult times with our daughter that are going to take some time and a lot of love to fix and a job I’m running that makes that problem look like child’s play, and I’m a little stressed lately. I needed a good hammer on the Venge.

We rolled out about 40 seconds after the A Group into a fairly stiff southerly crosswind 12 to 14-mph.  We had a couple of new guys rolling with us – one looked like he belonged with the A guys, another looked like he belonged on a weight rack rather than a BMC disc race bike, and another who looks like he belongs with the D Group but is starting to come around (though he wore headphones last evening, which I explained after the ride wouldn’t work in our group because it’s too dangerous at our speeds).  

The next three miles north were unbelievably fast – we were topping 30-mph at times.  A mile west, and another fast one north and it was time to pay the piper.  The new guy who looked like he could ride had a tendency of shooting off the front as if he were a horse in the Kentucky Derby and after the second time, one of my friends asked me to talk to him.  He did it once more, blowing up the group in the process and I had the conversation with him about how we roll.  It was smooth after that – until we got to the hills.

Half the group charged up the second set of hills too fast for the tandem, so another group of us, myself included, took to trying to bring the tandem back to the group.  We got close a couple of times but never quite made it – we let them go on the last hill and made our way to the regroup point at 20 miles in.  

The rest was a blast.  We headed north for the intermediate sprint, Mike I. and I up front.  Mike looked over and asked if I wanted to try to take the group all the way to the sprint lead-out but I shook my head.  I knew I was going to give it everything I had to get the group to 30+ mph and there was no way I was lasting the mile and change at those speeds.  Mike read me perfectly and we threw down the gauntlet, taking it to 32-mph with the group in tow.  When I was out of gas I signaled to Mike and flicked off, barely latching on at the back.  With a quarter-mile to the City Limits sign, I didn’t have a sprint in me.  Four others prepped and went.  I stayed with the tandem and brought everyone back together.  Then, the A’s passed.

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Several of the A- guys shot up to latch on to the A Group and we, a group of five, let them go.  We only had a couple of miles before a straight crosswind and I wanted a smaller group so we could echelon without taking up the entire road.  The strategy worked perfectly.  The five mile home stretch was flawless in a heavy crosswind.

I was going to wind it up for the final sprint.  We started ramping it up with 0.8 of a mile left, working the pace from 21-1/2 to 27.  I waited, as nobody was really going for it, until the last second and dropped the hammer from 27 to 32 and some change, passing the rest of our group.  I had some aggression to get out so I stayed on the gas until the sign, letting up and coasting just at the line.

I got a fairly cool photo heading back as the smoke from the Oregon forest mismanagement fires has made its way all the way across the country.  It’s way too thin to block the sun, but it’s enough for a spectacular scene.  We got back to the parking lot and it was hi-fives and laughs all around.  We had a few “herding cats” moments at the beginning of the ride but all’s well that ends well, and that ride did… and I rode my angst right out.

I thanked God more than once on the way home.  I needed that.

Well Smack My Keister and Call Me Sunshine, I WAS Running My Tire Pressure Too High!

I prepped the 5200 for duty last evening. It was going to be a slow night and it needed some time in the sun after the Venge took all of the big weekend miles.

After watching that exceptionally geeky video I wrote about the other day that broke tire pressure down into a fairly* easily understandable science, I decided to lower my pressure in both road bikes. Not by much, mind you, I went from 95 pounds down to 90.

On the Trek, left, I’m currently running Ican 23-mm wide x 38-mm deep wheels shod with Michelin Pro 4 Service Course 700C x 25-mm tires.  I’m running 175-ish pounds.  So, 90 pounds and I ran with it.

The road we live on is fairly smooth with a few wear cracks here and there at the edges, but the road I turn on to get to Chuck’s is gnarly in places and the bike was much more enjoyable over the chatter – in fact, I ran over some of the nastier edges of the road I normally avoid, just to see the difference… it was impressive – vastly smoother.  On chip-seal surfaces, cracks, anything I would throw at it over the course of the 28-mile ride, the bike was much more enjoyable… and I didn’t bounce when out of the saddle to climb or sprint (what little climbing there is on that route – not much).

So, the real question is, “was it faster“?

Well, if you get far enough into the video, the science geek guy refers to road noise as a loss of efficiency – and road noise from the tire definitely increased, noticeably.  On the other hand, there’s no question the ride, being smoother, was less taxing and slightly less work.  That’s really the balance we’re looking for.  Smooth, but not so smooth it’s squishy.  I think I should go another five pounds, though, just for $#!+$ and giggles, to see if I go squishy or keep 85 psi…  There’s no question, even at 90 there will be more smiles per mile.

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*”Fairly” should probably be barely.  

Then I’ll have to dial in the Venge using the same process – though I’ll absolutely be going with 90 psi for tonight’s Tuesday Night in Lennon… I’m running 26-mm Specialized Turbo Pro tires on a 25-mm wide rim – shouldn’t be any question 90 will be better than 95.

Geeky Road Bike Stuff… From A Fairly Scientific Aero / Traditional Bike Comparison to Tire Pressure.

First, my personal favorite: My Tasmanian brother from another cycling mother did a fairly scientific comparison of his Canyon Aeroad and his new Trek Postal Edition 5200. As you might imagine, with my own 5200, I’ve written about the difference between my Venge and 5200 extensively. I’ve experienced similar results but the Tempocyclist takes it on leap further. For your reading enjoyment:

https://wp.me/p5bA4U-1eW

If that wasn’t enough, my buddy, Dave sent out a link to one of the geekiest tire pressure videos I’ve ever had the enjoyment of watching. I can summarize the core of the 30-minute video in 30 seconds: You’re riding with too much air in your tires. Stop it. Let some air out of your tires till your ride becomes smooth. If/when you start bouncing during a sprint, you’ve gone too far. Add 2% till you stop bouncing.  The other 29 minutes and change is mashed potatoes and gravy next to the roast beef.

The full video is here:

A Few Simple Truths In Recovery: Fear Is the Only Thing That Stands In the Way Of Freedom. And I Know How To Fix It…

Trigger (heh) warning:  Warning!!!  Reading this post may be uncomfortable, but doing so could lead to your ultimate happiness and freedom from whatever is binding you.  This would mean you’re no longer bound by the chains of fear, hate and anger… which would mean you could actually be happy.  Jesus, we wouldn’t want that, now would we?  Read on at your risk.  You have been trigger (heh) warned.

One of my best friend’s stepdaughter passed away in her sleep the other day.  She was several years younger than I am and the literal definition of “crack whore”.  She led a life that would utterly disgust normal folk.

I wasn’t much better when I was using, but that was a LONG time ago.

Now, here’s where this becomes a important:  If you’re having a hard time “getting” recovery (as she did, she had EVERY opportunity but chose “crack whore”), the reason tends to be quite simple. Oh, we can confuse things for ourselves if we wish, but in the end, the hurdles boil down to fear. The real fear is in the unknown – and I’m not necessarily referring to the unknown of what will happen next if we keep using/drinking.  We pretty much know that’ll suck.  I don’t mean to belittle this fear, just to define it so one might let it go because holding onto this fear is the ultimate roadblock to one’s freedom from the disease.

What we fear in recovery often boils down to a lack of understanding.  I struggled with a couple of “steps” because I had no idea what the other side of doing them would look like.  I allowed my fear of working through the difficult nature of those steps get in the way of my progress to a point I had a choice:  drink again, or do the steps.  I didn’t drink.  I did the work and on completing it, the feeling of freedom and relief was unbelievable.  After all of that struggling, I was finally free of the chains of my addiction.  If I’d known I’d feel that good, I never would have hesitated to work through those steps – I’d have jumped at the opportunity.  Fear of the unknown held me back from freedom.

That set off a string of victories in recovery that I’m still enjoying 26 years later.

What work is standing in the way of your recovery and/or happiness?  This doesn’t just pertain to recovery – normal everyday folk can benefit just the same, just drop the problems associated with drinking more than the normal dozen people put together…

As you might imagine, that one experience changed my outlook on life, considerably – and should you have a similar experience, you should expect something similar – what do you think happens when I bump into something that I know will be good for me to do, but I’m fearful of doing it?

That’s right, I jump at the opportunity because freedom and happiness wait on the other side.  And now you know why that string of victories has been going on for 26 years.

It’s simple as that.  Damn, it’s hard, though.

Garmin Incident Detection: A Fantastic Idea, Horribly Executed… I Finally Had to Shut Mine Off To Avoid It CAUSING a Crash

In theory, Garmin’s incident detection is a fabulous idea. A sudden stop and a klaxon alarm blares from your phone and emails go out to chosen contacts. Brilliant!

Ish.  Well, not really.

In reality, it’s more likely to cause a crash than help someone who’s actually, you know, crashed, because it goes off if you stop your bike in an abnormal place (driveway, intersection, etc.). Now, for a certain group of naysayers I should clarify, by “stop your bike” I do not mean “grab a handful of brakes and skid that sucker to a tail-sliding stop, kicking up a cloud of dust”. No, I mean “stop your bike”. My tires cost $50+ a pop! No chance I’m stopping like that!

Garmin simply made the system too sensitive… say, by a factor of… guessing here… 20? Ish.

So, with cars behind me waiting to clear an intersection that I properly stopped for, the freaking alarm starts sounding. I had to clear the intersection to allow traffic behind me to get on with their lives after patiently waiting on me while trying to steer the bike through a turn, in traffic, with one hand and cancel the alarm within 35 seconds with the other, or the emails go out that I’m “rubber up” in a freaking ditch… and all because I stopped my bike a stop sign intersection.

Presumably, if I’d have rolled it, I wouldn’t have such a fantastic tale to pass along.

Last Saturday, in the middle of a century, my regular riding buddy, Mike, was on the toasty side and wanted to stop by the side of the road.  I coasted to an easy stop at the end of a paved driveway, unclipped, put my foot down, looked back at Mike… and the klaxon.  That was the last straw.  After riding 103 miles and my ride was uploaded, I sat down and turned off the incident detection.

So, Garmin, a note to you on the incident detection system in your devices (Edge 520 Plus in my case), I’d rather turn it off and risk actually needing it than live with my phone bleating at me that I’ve stopped when I don’t roll through a stop sign at an intersection.  Do us a favor, would ya?  Turn that sensitivity down just a bit so we can, you know, use the incident detection system that actually detects incidents… not incidents and that you’ve stopped your bicycle.

Thanks!

Jim.

God Help Us, The Block Editor is Here. And It’s Going to Be Okay… The Classic Block Will Save We Writers…

Okay, now we’ve hated the block editor for a long time, we WordPress writers.  The coding kids love the block editor but for those of us who just write, it was a nightmare. After a mountain of complaints, WordPress allowed for the option to continue use of the standard editor we were used to, and relief.  All was right with the world. Then, panic.  I, for one of thousands, just about freaked when I received notice that WordPress was going to end the classic editor for good and switch to the block editor.

I wrote a very angry post about it.  It was one of my better received posts.  Many of my writer friends were in the same predicament.

Well, that day has come, but I’m not all doom and gloom here at Fit Recovery. The designers at WordPress didn’t throw us to the wolves. They’ve given us the classic block and it works almost exactly like the old classic editor.

At the top of the screen on the left, the first time you use the block editor, click the “+” sign. Then search for the “classic” block and add it. Then, whenever you write a post, after you type in the title, or if you start writing and come up with the title later, simply hit the “+” in the body and choose “classic”.

You’ll be able to write your post just like you always did. You won’t have to worry about blocks or justification or anything else. Just write. “Shift+Enter” for single space, “Enter” for double space, and all of the old shortcuts and the editing tools will pop up after you’ve stopped typing and you move your cursor.

I was mortified that my classic editor was gone. Now I’m quite okay. They didn’t roll the bus over us.

Sometimes a break is needed.

I’ve been posting prolifically for several months. Every day for as long as I can remember… some posts were really good, others not so much. I got to a point where a few we just written to write something and that’s just not good enough.

I need to let go of that need to write every day and take a few to get my head back on square.

I’ll just say that this is a very good thing. I am currently enjoying life (even my work) more than politicians would prefer be legal. After all, if we’re not angry and fighting, we aren’t as pliable.

Just a thought.