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Cycling and the High Capacity Water Bottles; Not Quite as Useless as Nipples on a Bull, but Close. A Funny Junior Science Experiment.

I will first cop to using the high capacity 26 oz. water bottles for years, thinking I needed them because I’m an endurance cyclist.

I am. I like the long distances and light, racy bikes. Here’s a photo of my Specialized Venge the day I brought it home in late 2013:

Big, Extra oz. H2O bottles

I swore I needed the extra capacity to keep me hydrated. One day I noticed the shorter regular water bottles were used predominantly by the faster crowd. I thought they were dupes.

Then, I bought carbon fiber bottle cages for the Venge. The hi-cap bottles rattled when I hit a bump and it drove me nuts. Eventually, I happened on a small, regular capacity water bottle that worked with the bottle cages. I still carried the big bottles around for the long rides and lived with the rattle, though.

I needed the extra hydration, right?

Look real close at that photo… that’s from last year, on the Northwest Tour with my friends, a 72 mile day.

Well, one day I’d decided to use a regular bottle after filling up a junior. I dumped the contents of the small bottle into the regular and my jaw dropped.

Folks, there was a sip’s difference. A sip.

Don’t take my word for it… try the experiment yourself.

Better, there’s only a sip’s difference between the regular and the high capacity bottle. A sip.

I never used one of those big bottles again, and I’ve never regretted it or prematurely run out of something to drink on a ride.

It’s not that they’re entirely useless, those big bottles. They rattle around in carbon fiber cages. And we can’t have that. If, after completing the experiment for yourself, you still feel you need a big ole water bottle, by all means; have at it. I’d bet you see the light I did, though.

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Why Am I So Lucky?! Just a Typical Recovery Story

Why am I so lucky?  I take the time to contemplate this now and again.

I’ve been active all but five years of my life.  Not “I broke five bones and had seven operations” active – in fact, I’ve never broken a bone (knock wood).  My level of activity is best described simply as, “I get my ass off the couch and move” active.  I don’t live paycheck to paycheck, but I’m not that far off, either.  I have decent genes, but I’ve got heart disease on mom’s side and Alzheimer’s on dad’s – they’re not great, either.

My brother-in-law once said that it was spooky how much I looked like my dad.  He’s right, too.  I am a chip off the old block.  My mom happened to be there, we were helping my sister and brother-in-law move to a new house, heard him say that and chimed in, “You do, but you’re a much healthier version of your dad.  You look much better than he did at your age… because of all of the alcohol, I think”.

I am, without question, a much healthier version of my father in terms of pickling and fitness….

I don’t live in any physical pain anymore.  Cycling fixed almost everything that ailed me on that front, including an unrelenting bad back.  I don’t have knee problems, feet problems, or disease problems (now that I’ve been in recovery).

On one hand, I often think I might be some kind of freak because I haven’t aged like a lot of other people.  On the other, I don’t put much stock in the whole “freak” angle because, in truth, I lead a simple, clean, healthy (relatively), happy life.  More important, I have a happy outlook on the life that I’ve got – I excel at staying positive.  Combine that with no smoking, no alcohol, zero drugs, an actual program of recovery (not just white-knuckling it), a relatively diet, and a veritable $#!+ ton of daily physical activity… Well, looking at it that way I don’t think there’s much luck to it at all.

Nor is my story special….  In fact, I’d say I’m run-of-the-mill in terms of recovering folks.  Maybe slightly above average, but not by much.  Everything good in my life started with recovery, and that’s why I keep coming back.

Modern treatment and what is now deceptively termed “evidence based” recovery is often based on something other than recovery.  It’s based on managing a decline, or slowing the spiral to the drain.  It’s based on the kooky notion that a person like me has a hope of drinking successfully at some point.  That’s all good enough for government work, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve touched the burner on the stove enough to know the f***er’s hot and I don’t have to grab it anymore.

That relapse-based decline management system may work for some, but not this guy.  I’ll take happy and healthy over a managed swirly.  Any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Just another day in my semi-perfect life…

I leave work a little after 3 pm and it’s a two-hour commute home from my current job. This is not a complaint, I’m on what is probably the best job I’ve ever had the pleasure of building – I’m in the middle of my most enjoyable work experience in my career, and that’s no exaggeration.  The job is seriously getting in the way of my cycling habit, though.  It’s not rare for me to rather the trainer than riding outside, simply because the set-up is quicker.

I pulled into the driveway at 4:55 last evening, got the bike ready, and rolled it out the door just before 5:30.  My normal weekday riding bud, Chuck, has been inundated with work lately so he couldn’t make it – I had to roll solo.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but it was just barely out of the 30’s (5 C)… and the north wind was cold… and I was headed directly into it.  One north, then a break for two heading west, followed by another north and one west and another north, by the time I hit my first tailwind, I was good and ready.  I was a little chilly and had thought about turning the train around more than once – too much work related noise distracting the melon committee – until I hit that tailwind.  All of a sudden everything cleared out and was okay as I was cruised along at 20+ (32-36 km/h).  I’d opted for the Venge because it was perfectly sunny out and I marveled at how perfectly quiet and responsive the bike is.  It’s truly a wonder of engineering, that bike.

As I hit a little decline with the tailwind I pressed on the pedals a little harder and the bike responded.  24, 25, 26-mph… then a sharp left and I was back on the gas.  I passed a few people standing on the side of the road at 23, not even the whirring of the chain.  Just a whoosh as I went by.

A mile north, in through a subdivision, then out onto the main road and a bike lane.  On the way down a small hill a girl leaned out the window of an older maroon Pontiac Grand Prix and catcalled me.  I think, considering today’s politics, I should have been offended but I’m old enough to still think of that as a compliment.  A couple of more miles east and it was pay-off time for the ride.  The home stretch with a tailwind for three of four miles.

Heading up a shallow incline with the wind at my back I didn’t bother pushing the pace.  Monday is always a fun day in preparation for Tuesday’s hammer.  I just let the wind do its thing and push me home.  I rolled into the driveway just under 58 minutes for the 17-1/2 mile route.  A little faster than I should have wanted but I was just happy to have gotten out, and stuck with it until the ride got fun.  By 6:40 I was showered.  I’d eaten by 7:00 and I was out like a light before 8 pm.  The sun had just gone down as I drifted off.

What a life.  It’s as good as it gets.

All Hail Venge Day! Dilly Dilly!

My friends, I shouldn’t have ridden the Venge yesterday but this winter just sucks and I needed a win.

All day long the weather looked beautiful. Beautiful. Visions of me on my Venge, rocketing down the road kept the melon committee excited all day. I couldn’t wait.

On the way home that beautiful weather took a turn for the worse. The temp dropped six degrees inside a few miles. And it started to snow. SNOW!  Not hard, mind you, but snow!

I texted my buddy, Chuck, dejected, to let him know I was riding inside.

I prepped the Trek, changed rear wheels, got dressed and climbed on. The sun came out. F@€k.

Then a knock on the window. What to my wondering eye should appear, but a Lycra clad Chuck and his steed of Specialized cheer! He said through the glass, “C’mon, man! Let’s go! Throw a leg over that top tube and remember to steer!”

I opened the door to let him in. He talked me into riding with him in less than thirty seconds. With the Trek on the trainer, there was no doubt I was taking the Venge. I pumped the tires, went in to change, and was ready five minutes later.

The first pedal stroke (and every one thereafter) was glorious. Smooth and powerful… responsive. Dear God in Heaven, and sweet Baby Jesus in a manger, it was beautiful.

I didn’t stop smiling till after I took the photo above.

All is right in my world today, for tomorrow night (tonight) shall be deemed Venge Day part Deux! Oh yes it shall.

Dilly dilly!

P.S. If you don’t feel this way about something in life (preferably that something is legal, decent and noble), consider that you may be doing something wrong. Just sayin’.

P.S.S. A special thanks to you, Chuck.  I never would have been outside without you, brother.

‘Learn to Code’; It’s Okay for Me, not for Thee. The Origin of the Meme and What Whiners won’t Tell You Through the Crocodile Tears…

Trigger (heh) warning:  This post is political in nature and, unlike certain subjects in the news, is actually based on real facts.  It also has some opinion in it, but mostly facts.  Anyway, if you don’t want to read a political post based in fact and reality, move along.  You have been trigger (heh) warned.

I published a post a while back about little boys who don’t know how to can’t change a flat tire as illustrated in an insurance commercial. I was criticized as being equally lame because I couldn’t, oh I can’t even remember at this point, something about building a webpage. I still get a chuckle out of my reply, “Seems like someone doesn’t know how to change a flat.”

Back several years ago, when then President Obama decided it would be a good idea to kill the coal industry, snarky journalists left-wing cheerleaders twattered and wrote that the soon-to-be laid-off coal miners should “learn to code”. That meme came from another earlier meme in which some silicon valley kid suggested the homeless should “learn to code” so they would no longer have to be homeless.

Well, folks, the meme is back! This time it’s being rightly hurled back at the same media types left-wing extremist hacks who flung it at the coal miners as they were recently “laid off” from Buzzfeed – that would be the same Buzzfeed who just got kicked in the nuts by Robert Mueller for peddling in fake news – and Huffington Post.

Wait, you didn’t know the Michael Cohen “if true” story was fake? Well, you do now.

Anyway, now that “learn to code” is being thrown at the hacks who once used it on hard working, blue collar coal miners, the vast left-wing conspiracy theorists who are left, including some higher-ups at Facef*** are treating it like some kind of hate crime.  Free speech for me, but not for thee – another variant.

LTC

Try this, media hacks – and this goes for FOX, too – try a little less opinion and stick to the facts. And remember, “if true” should never be use again. Second sign of fake news, right there, only slightly behind “unnamed (or anonymous) sources close to the [insert target of fake news hit-piece here]…”

Perhaps it’s not fair, though, to place all left-wing hack reporters under the same umbrella.  Maybe that’s going to far, no?  I mean, after all, it’s not like they were all called deplorable… or how about racist because of who they voted for… or something like that.  The guy is orange for God’s sake.  Come to think of it, there’s a great anti-racism joke in there somewhere.

Anyway, enough politics for another few months.  Learn to code boys and girls, because reporters created their own lay-off.  Keep it up.

The Three Most Important Rules of a Career in Construction and the Trades…. Maybe Four.

Show up. If you simply show up on time, you beat 50% of everyone in your field.

Work hard. If you’re willing to work hard, not “the hardest of anyone who has wielded a hammer, just plain old hard, you’ll beat another 40%.

From there it’s just a fight at the top, You’ll always be needed.

Finally, remember this little nugget. Everyone who works hourly thinks management and ownership is easy and the brass is making money hand over fist on the lowly hourly guy’s back. This is because you’re ignorant.

Management is twice as tough as hourly, and ownership is another twice over that. I should know, I’ve done it all. And I stepped back a notch. On purpose.

Don’t believe me?

Strike out on your own and find out for yourself. There’s a general contractor out there willing to finance you… right up till bankruptcy. Then you’ll be on your own. Good luck, and remember how easy it was to make all that money when you’re heading into court. 90% fail. Most spectacularly.

Has Anyone Ever Been Dropped Because They Have Sora Components in Lieu of Dura Ace?

I happened upon a Durianrider video the other day – now, nine-and-a-half times in ten I’m going to close that video down before he hits his first “carb the f*** up” but, for some reason, not this day.

In his four minute and change video he claimed that no one has ever been dropped because they were riding Sora components in lieu of Dura Ace, that Chris Froome could win the Tour de France on a Sora-equipped bike, and that if someone does get dropped riding Sora, it is due to their glycogen levels being low, or not properly carbing the f*** up, and that he could flog 99.9,% of all riders on his Sora-equipped steel LeMond… and my mind kinda shut him out after that.

I did pat myself on the back for making it to the end of the video – the guy tends to grate on me a bit. What if you’re not the great carbing the f*** up Durianrider, though?

First, I can tell you that I agree with him that Shimano Sora R3000 9sp is legit. I’ve got it on my gravel bike and it’s just as good as my 10sp 105 and close to the Ultegra line. There’s a weight penalty, but it’s not all that big a deal.

But question was, has anyone ever been dropped because they’re riding a Sora-equipped bike?

I’d argue yes, but not because Sora components are heavy or because they don’t operate excellently. In fact, for the extra Thousand Dollars for Dura Ace, my 23 pound Diverge would only drop down to 21.3 pounds, give or take. What is important is the extra two gears you gain going from 9 to 11 sp. Those two gears mean you’re jumping one or two teeth on the cassette instead of three or even four. Each tooth means about 5 rpm in cadence. Jumping five or ten rpm is reasonable. Fifteen or twenty, well now you’re likely to be in the wrong gear and struggling to spin too fast to keep up or push too hard on too heavy a gear. Pick your poison.

Take my Venge and put Sora R3000 on it, the bike is still only 17 pounds. Certainly no fatass, and definitely not enough weight to slow me down. That missing gear, though, dropping from 10 to 9sp… that would be a bit more problematic. Probably not insurmountable, but simply more work.

And therein lies the rub to Durianrider’s claims; how much more work can you handle before carbing the f*** up just won’t make up the difference?

Take my 15-3/4 pound carbon fiber everything, Ultegra equipped Venge with 38mm carbon fiber wheels, 25mm tires, and pit it against that 23 pound Sora equipped, alloy wheels, 28mm tires gravel bike and the detractors, the holes in the gearing, the extra weight, heavier wheels, and the aluminum frame become too much to overcome. No joke, the same ride on the Venge and the Diverge, you’re looking at another 50 watts to make the Diverge do the same thing as the Venge. Folks, it doesn’t matter how much “carb(ing) the f*** up” you do, you’re not making that up trying to hang with the 23-mph average gang.

I don’t know how big a percentage of riders I can whoop on my Venge, but I’ll guarantee you, it’s a much bigger chunk that I would on the Diverge.

Pass the bacon.