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I own a large, commercial construction company. Before I was an owner I was a manager of a similar company as far back as my late 20’s. I was on the board of my church. Now I’m the president of our cycling club.
Being on the board of my church sucked. We got a new pastor and things went downhill fast. It went from a legit spiritual sanctuary to a ridiculous far left extremist parody. My wife and I quit the whole thing, or rather, we were run out. Lesson one.
Owning a construction company is a lot tougher than managing one. Lesson number two.
The cycling club is a labor of love. I was asked to be the president and I accepted. Everything was great for two years. Then the bureaucrats rolled in… Lesson number three.
Somehow I always manage to find my way to the top of whatever I do (my wife is so afflicted as well). This doesn’t have anything to do with an egotistical, “because we’re so awesome”, either. No, it’s more because we’re willing to take the job – because anyone who knows anything about being a leader of people, it’s not all that glamorous. You have to be willing to be the chief floor sweeper and the lead paperwork completer… as a bonus, everyone gets to point their finger at you when things get tough – and you, being at the top, have to figure that $#!+ out. Better, everyone above you is looking to pay you less and most below you are looking for ways to get the most money for the least amount of work (and then come up with excuses for why that’s your fault when they get caught). In other words, being at the top usually isn’t as “at the top” as you think, and it’s a lot less glamorous than you think.
I have been a fan of hotdogs for more than 42 years. I have ADD (or ADHD, take your pick), so when I was just five years-old, to get me to slow down long enough to eat lunch, my mom would cut up a hotdog and set the plate on the living room coffee table. I would do laps around the table, picking up a piece of glorious hotdog every two laps… and that’s how I ate lunch. Decades ago, people tried to turn me off to hotdogs because of “how they’re made”. Later it was the “processed food” crowd. I still love ’em. Grilled or nuked with my wife’s chili on them… I love those little tubes of goodness.
Running things is a lot like a hotdog. It only looks fun from the outside. Once you realize how those dogs are made, it takes a little of the tastiness away. And that’s a crying shame.
What’s the lesson, though?
I don’t give a f*** how hotdogs are made. Those bastards taste great.
If you like my blog, you’ll LOVE this post. Read it, in all it’s freaking brilliance.
The Finer Point of Pace Line Cycling; The One Thing Every Cyclist Needs to Know to Ride Well with Others
There exists one main point to pace line cycling that encompasses all other points. There is one “thing”, if done correctly, will endear you to those you ride with. Done incorrectly, and you’ll merely be tolerated at best, shunned at worst.
I’ve been the subject of scorn in the past because there was a time or two I’d simply stop pedaling at the front of the group if a turn was missed or if we needed to slow for one reason or another. The first time I didn’t know how bad this was. The second time it happened, I just froze when there was hollering at the back to hold up. Both times I almost caused a wreck. I was told, rather sternly, what I did wrong and I learned.
A friend of mine is a strong rider but he’s horrible in a group. He leaves gaps and sometimes he expects others to fill them. Usually, though, he becomes offended if you pass him up when he makes a gap. You simply never know when he’s going to get you dropped or when he’s going to make up the gap he created. One thing is for certain, riding behind him is twice the work as riding in front of him.
Another close friend likes to play “dodge the draft”, though not in the military sense. He likes to push too hard a gear so he’s constantly reefing down on the handlebar for leverage. This causes him to push and pull to one side of the lane and the other. To add to the mess, he likes to check traffic in his helmet mounted mirror so, without warning, he’ll dart to the yellow line to check what’s going out behind him. If you ever overlap his wheel, there’s a fair chance he’ll take you out.
Over the weekend, we met a new kid who had a $10,000 Orbea with Zipp wheels, clip on aerobars and an Ironman 140.6 tattoo on the back of his right calf. You could tell he rode a lot. Just not with other people. My buddy, Chuck, was up front and after a decent turn, waived the new kid up… The new kid stayed on Chuck’s wheel, then when I told him that Chuck was done, that it was his turn to pull, he launched around Chuck at a sprint, about ten miles an hour faster than the pace we’d been going. I asked where he thought he was going, whether he was late for a dentist’s appointment. Then he slowed to 18-mph, five below the pace we’d been riding at. We all went around him at pace and left him. I later learned that we’d made him mad because we had too many rules and he didn’t like us telling him what to do… Of course, we didn’t like the way he rode his bike, so I guess we were even.
We had another kid join our group who liked to coast downhill at the front. Dear God, that’s a no-no if ever there were one. The guy up front pedals his ass off. Everyone behind him coasts. There’s no coasting at the front unless you’re over 40-mph. At that point, you’re close enough to escape velocity that you can coast.
Also this weekend, we had another triathlete join us, this time on a Cervelo time trial rig. He rode to the right of the group (in the USA… in other words, on the wrong side of the group) and was so squirrely, the group was more nervous than a longtail cat in a room full of knitting grandmas in rocking chairs. Time trial guys; at the front in the aerobars, off the back in the aerobars, in the group on the horns (by the brakes, which means you’ll be in the wrong gear unless you have electronic shifting and can shift from the aerobars or horns). You don’t EVER get to ride in the group in the aerobars. You’re not good enough. Even if you’re sure you are. You’re wrong. And arrogant. Cut it out.
So, there’s one rule in pace line riding that encompasses everything: Ride predictably, well.
Or don’t and suffer the wrath of the group. Just stay away from our group if your little BS feelings are easily hurt… We’re not afraid to let you know you’re messing up. Better, if you don’t want to learn to ride well in a group, stick to solo cycling. That works, too. Riding with others, you’ve gotta know that it’s not about the individual. It’s about the group.
The Speed Trap; Understanding how Cycling, Weight Loss and Speed Work – Is Slower Better for Dropping Weight?
I know a physician’s assistant. She is exceptional at her job and teaches on the side as well. The common refrain is, “those who can’t do, teach”, but magine how intelligent and dedicated you’d have to be to do both… She, like me and several of my friends, is also an avid enthusiast when it comes to cycling. She’s counts her years of cycling in decades. She’s toured the United States on a bike, including crossing it.
So we’re out on a ride the other day, a particularly easy ride because we were coming up on the A-100, and she mentions that we should ride slower on a regular basis because “it’s better for fat burning”. She also added that if you ride too fast, you burn muscle instead of fat”.
Both of those statements have some truth, but they’re not entirely accurate, either. Speed is relative, burning fat off of those stubborn places isn’t.
See, I am an above average cyclist. I spent three years (my lightest three years, by the way) pushing myself so I could be in the fast, above average group. There were countless times I almost covered my top tube in the morning’s breakfast. A number of times I choked up some bile… Folks, I rode hard and I lost a fair amount of weight back then. I went from 171 down to 150 – I’m currently 175 but like to think that extra few pounds are due to my massive legs. Back then, my wife complained I was too skinny, and she was correct. Looking back at photos, I was. I like me between 170 and 175, it’s a good balance. Unfortunately, pulled pork sammiches have a tendency of getting in the way. Let’s not go too far down that rabbit hole, though, because I’m not about to eat like a bunny, either.
The whole “ride slower because it burns more fat” notion is derived from the idea that at a certain heart rate “zone”, a person typically burns more fat… That would be “zone two”. The other side of that coin, as my PA friend stated, is zone 5 or the anaerobic zone – and that zone does burn muscle (and possibly the upper end of zone 4, too). I have to be going faster than 25 miles an hour (with no tailwind to help) to hit it, though. She’s closer to 22 or 23 – and that’s where the “speed” in her hypothesis gets dicey.
My zone two is somewhere around a 17-1/2 mph average. It’s enough to get the blood pumping, but hardly fast enough to call it a workout – and that’s a solo average, just to be clear. Her zone two is probably 15 or 16 mph. My average is a bit higher because I trained my body to ride faster with less energy output…
Now, here’s why I’m a little skeptical about the whole “riding fast burns muscle” idea:
Folks, I didn’t get those guns taking it easy in zone two. Those are all zones three, four and five – with a smattering of zone two in between the hard days as recovery rides so I could still ride every day.
In the end, the heartrate zone training theory is likely sound and based on decent science but all too often the science of the day is twisted to manipulate a desired effort level. A walk, it could be said, is better for losing weight than a jog. There are definitely benefits to walking over jogging (less impact, etc.), but walking to lose weight is vastly worse for getting to the goal, which is weight loss, because it takes one longer to get to that goal.
The reality is, riding slow may be better for thee, but not for me – because I don’t want to ride slow, and it only works if you’ll do it.
Ride hard, my friends. Don’t buy into the hype.
The Battlebot commercial begins. A skinny fella says, “We’ve got one more shot. We’ve got nothing left to lose”.
My jaw doesn’t literally hit the floor – because that would be damn-near impossible unless I was actually lying on the floor, belly down… and why would I do that when I’ve got a leather recliner?! I literally wouldn’t, because that would literally be stupid.
The two statements were opposites, of course. If you only have one more shot, you’ve got everything to lose.
“My heart is literally pounding out of my chest” is another favorite of mine. No, sweetie, it literally is beating entirely in your chest. If what you said were true, you’d literally be quite dead.
It’s as if people simply repeat a clichè without thinking about what the clichè actually means.
Ah well, it makes good TV I suppose.
Before you head to the comments section, the overuse of the word “literally” was purposeful to set up the “literally pounding out of my chest”. If you missed it and were about to comment angrily about the overuse of the word, well, you literally missed the gag. It was on you. Sorry. The overuse of the word “literally” is right up there in the pantheon of overused phrases. Erm. Literally.
I read an interesting post the other day, that I felt rose to a level of import for me to comment on here. Typically I like to keep politics off of my blog because it’s a dirty, ugly thing, politics. Typically I’m going to piss off a lot of people. I can leave sides out of this one, though.
I have a distrust for politicians equal to my love of all things cycling. If you’ve read more than a couple of posts on this blog, you know already, I am a cycling enthusiast of epic enthusiasm.
Politicians, are, for some reason or another, a necessary evil. I can accept this (or would that be except that? I digress). The second oldest profession is necessary, to the extent the first is said to be. I prefer the arrogant shits be kept on a very short leash, though.
It once was that Democrats were supposed to be the guardians of freedom. Those days are long gone, as is demonstrated by the gaffe uttered by one Jesse Dominguez as an explanation for why he voted to ban plastic straws in Santa Barbara, California. Someone had the temerity to ask, “What’s next?!”
“Unfortunately, common sense is just not common. We have to regulate every aspect of people’s lives.”
Now, when I use the word “gaffe”, I’m I’m not talking about the dictionary definition of gaffe: “an unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder.” No, that’s too good for that knucklehead. The definition of his “gaffe” is “unintentionally telling the truth without hiding said truth in a bunch of bs jargon.”
Better, here’s his explanation/walk back:
“A few weeks ago I made a string of words in a rhetorical fashion about regulation and they were not taken as rhetorical and that’s my fault so I want to apologize.”
That’s a pretty impressive string of words alright. Here’s the best part; I’d be willing to bet he believes his constituents are dumb enough to buy that horseshit excuse.
Short leash, ladies and gentlemen. That f*cker forgot who’s boss. Time to vote his ass back to his fast food assistant manager’s job and remind him.
In a funny twist of irony, Mr. Dominguez has proven his own point, that common sense is indeed not common enough, even for cocky politicians. Common sense dictates that this is the United States, a free country. Mr. Dominguez has obviously missed that memo. As I wrote earlier, it’s time to send him back to fast food. Where they’ll use plastic straws. To remind him daily that this is America, and he is obviously an idiot.
Notice, please, I did not get into sides here. This post is about freedom from politicians, of any stripe. That should have made the five freedoms in the First Amendment, six.
I heard on the radio that San Francisco raised its minimum wage to $15 and that raise was crowed about ad absurdum… as if the great liberal yahoos had done something special.
Most people are gullible enough to think something impressive happened as well. For those, let’s throw some math at this situation.
The median cost of a home in San Francisco is $1,364,000 and some change. That works out to about $8,500 a month for a mortgage… if you put the ten percent down, or $136,400. Figure a couple, both working minimum wage jobs own that median home. That’s 71 hours a week, just for the mortgage, each. No food, no electricity, no car, nothing but the mortgage. 71 hours a week for two working people. Now here’s the fun part: No minimum wage employer will pay the overtime for an employee to work 71 hours a week to cover that mortgage… That couple will have to work two minimum wage jobs. Each.
Now let’s look at my hometown. The minimum wage is $9.25 and the median home costs $134,000. Throw the same math at that… 12 hours a week for both in the couple, working minimum wage jobs.
For San Francisco to be as fair as it is in my hometown, the minimum wage would have to be about $100 an hour.
Now, my math is very rudimentary. I don’t factor in taxes (triple in San Francisco what I pay in my hometown). In other words, the situation is even worse than my simplistic look at it.
Just sayin’, folks. Don’t fall for the narrative. Challenge it.