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A Simple, If Humorous, Note on “Listening to Your Body”

Trigger (heh) warning:  If you happen to be a sissy, the following might trigger you into sucking your thumb and curling up into the fetal position for anywhere from five minutes to several days.  Do not read this post if this is something you’re capable of.  I haven’t sucked my thumb since I was knee-high to a grasshopper (I think I was 3) and the last time I was in the fetal position, I was actually in the womb, a person like me would be reasonably safe to read what I’m about to write.  You have been trigger (heh) warned.

My daughter, for my 50th birthday, baked me the most delectable carrot cake (with cream cheese icing, of course) to ever have passed my lips.  It was one of those cake eating experiences that, because it’s so utterly fantastic, makes you close your eyes in ecstasy the first several bites.

So there I am last night, sitting on the couch after a big, fast Thursday night ride (36 total miles) and, because I’m so attuned to what my body is telling me, my body says, “Hey, yo!  Down here!  Hey, I need some carrot cake down here!”

Well, now that’s a reason to rejoice right there!  My body says it needs carrot cake!  Well, you know what happens next:  I’m ass-deep in cream cheese icing when I realized I’d made a mistake in interpretation…

My body only asked for carrots.  My melon filled in the “cake” part.

Oops.

Happy Freedom Day, America. Though Her Citizens Have Their Flaws, Freedom For All Was Always the Point

The best of America is the freedom of her citizens. The beauty of its constitution and bill of rights is what makes it all work – and it’s what politicians fight tooth an nail to ignore and misrepresent, for one simple reason: they want us angry and divided so we’ll vote.

I won’t be commenting anymore on that. I will on what is great about America.

In the United States, we are one of the only countries in the World whose rights aren’t handed down from the government. We, unlike anywhere else on earth, are born with our rights or they are a natural part of taking the oath of Citizenship. It obviously took politicians a while to figure that simple truth out, but it did happen.

Other countries hand down citizens’ rights from on high and what is given, can be taken away. Not so in the United States of America and this presents a problem for politicians.

In this country, our rights come from God. We are born free and it’s the government’s job to protect that freedom. The angst in Washington DC is that political elites think of themselves as better than that.

If your politicians are not doing their job protecting your freedom, throw the bums out. More important, if your politician likes to interject themselves between you and your freedom, claiming without them you can’t truly be free, don’t let them run a lemonade stand. If you’re American, you were born with your rights. If you’re an immigrant, you granted yourself your own rights the minute you took the oath of Citizenship. They weren’t handed down to you, they’re yours. Don’t ever let a politician come between you and your freedom. Once you let that happen, they can take it away.

Just sayin’.

Happy Freedom Day America… and the same to all her citizens. All of them.

A Reasoned Look at Why Cycling Clubs Shouldn’t Rely On the Fast Members to Show Slower New Riders the Ropes.

I have to be a little careful how I broach this subject, but it’s an important one that just popped up in the real world so I just thought I’d write about my experience so that I might help others avoid a pitfall or two.

A few Tuesday nights ago we had about twelve B riders and a tandem and maybe eight A riders show up for a group ride (actually, I think they’re calling us the A & A- Groups now) for what used to be a club ride.  The club has decided not to sanction rides for the time being, so people are simply showing up to ride.  We had one, lone D rider show up that night and as I wrote in my post about it, I gave up my ride with the A- Group and showed him around the course.  He struggled mightily to stay in my draft while I was sitting up pedaling easy, my hands on the bar tops into a 15-mph headwind.  He dropped several times and I’d look back to see him 200 yards off my wheel so I’d have to wait till he caught up…

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Another club member, after I put out a group-wide ABP for C, D, & E riders, sarcastically (and quite ignorantly and shittily, I might add) pointed out that we A & B riders should happily drop our ride to show these slower riders around until more of the C, D, & E group riders decide to show up.

Ah, that Kumbaya world where cats and rats play together in harmony.  It’d be great, wouldn’t it?  Except that shit never actually works.

Here’s what really happens when that is tried.

A guy like me sacrifices his fastest, favorite ride of the week to show the newcomer the ropes.  Said newcomer struggles to keep up with what is an easy, even boring pace for the seasoned A/B rider.  The new rider becomes disheartened when they struggle while they’re watching said A/B rider glide along without a care in the world on the bar tops and into the wind whilst newcomer is down in the drops, pushing with all their might, with their tongue dangling precariously close to their spokes.

Said newcomer will rarely come back because they can’t relate to anyone.  Worse, they won’t be able to see a clear path to get from where they’re at to where the faster rider is at so they can ride with actual people.   Who wants to feel like their best effort isn’t close to good enough every time they show up?  Who wants to ride regularly with a group vastly faster than their best effort can hope to keep up with?

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Only your true cycling nuts will put up with that for any length of time.  That’d be me, and I’m telling you now, I’m few and far between.

Where this goes haywire is when slower riders mistakenly believe faster riders, in order to shepherd along slower riders, have a dial that they can simply turn to slow that pace down.  That’s not quite how it works.

In order to get my wife into cycling and into good enough shape to ride with my friends, I’d go out for a 40 to 65-mile ride with my friends.  When I got home, my wife would suit up and we’d ride together for another 20-30 more miles.  I was already smoked so I couldn’t have torn off all over God’s green earth if I wanted to.  My wife was able to build her fitness up to a point where now she can keep up with my friends and I.  The key was getting me to a point I was too tired to get antsy about the slow pace… and I am married to the woman I did that for.

The whole point is this:  Slow people mistakenly think fast people should be able to ride with slower folk but the reality is, we can’t.  Or I should say, we can’t anymore than those same slower folk can lead out the A Group.  I’d buy tickets to see the attempt.  Sure, every now and again we can throw out a nice recovery ride pace.  My easiest active recovery ride, or should I say my slowest, this year is 16.5-mph.  That’s faster than many cyclists’ best effort.

Over time, slower cyclists can gain considerable speed with some effort and a lot of want to… but in a day you can’t make a Thoroughbred stallion trot anymore than you can make a Tennessee Walking Horse a racer.

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UPDATE:  You might view my points in this post as “arrogant”.  If you scroll down to the comments section, you’ll see a friend of mine suggested exactly that – and you would have a point.  On the other hand, consider that it’s far more arrogant to expect others to give up their evening ride to cover for you… just sayin’ – that arrogant charge is commonly used one way, but I won’t accept the premise of that argument.

Without Recovery: Fear, Pain, Misery. With Recovery: Happiness, Freedom, Joy, Peace. Rocket Science It Ain’t.

It’s been a while since I broke from cycling for a good, old-fashioned, relentlessly positive recovery post…

We in recovery want for every alcoholic in anguish and misery to experience the peace, serenity and happiness that comes with continuous recovery. That we’ve found in recovery.

We want it so bad, if we could take all of the knowledge we have in our melon and cram it into someone else’s so they could instantly understand down to their baby toes how good recovery is, we’d do it without hesitation. Even if doing so would cost us some of our happiness because we usually have some to spare.

I do…

And just so you can know the joy I feel of what it’s like to be free.

Jesus, does it feel good. Give it a try. What have you got to lose? A little fear, pain and misery? Why would anyone want to hold onto that?

We don’t want to get you to conform to our way of life because of some dogmatic, sycophantic desire to have a follower. We try to pass on to others what worked for us because it actually worked.

There’s a lot of negativity in this world. We can use all the positive we can get.

We in Alcoholics Anonymous, as hamhanded as we can be at times, are simply trying to spread some happiness to a group of people who badly need it.

So maybe next time you run into one of us who is a bit awkward at trying to pass on what worked for them you’ll remember why they’re doing it and not worry so much about how. And maybe you can cut them a little slack. What they’re attempting is good. They’re just not very good at it yet.

My name is Jim and I used to be an alcoholic, but I’ve recovered, just for today, and my only desire here is to freely give what was so freely gave to me… because it’s really, really good. A lot of people could use some good… and I have some to spare.

Now, about cycling…

The Selle Italia SLR Tekno Flow Carbon Saddle; $450 Thing of Beauty, Or Lightweight Torture Device?

Almost a year and a half ago, at a local endurance sport swap meet, a friend of mine gave me a Selle Italia SLR Tekno Flow Carbon Saddle. He was trying to get rid of some of his extensive inventory, something his significant other was pushing for, and he wasn’t going to go back to using the saddle on any of his bikes. Back then they were going for $410 – $460 online (you can find them as low as $320 today, though the MSRP is $436). My saddle at the time was a little on the heavy side, a Specialized Romin weighing in at 274 grams (0.60 of a pound) with a cost of around $100. The Selle Italia weighed in at a nice 110 grams, a savings of a third of a pound at no cost. In the history of cycling, dropping a third of a pound on a bike free is rare and fabulous.

I first put the saddle on my Trek 5200 last summer, and I must have hit the location just right because the saddle felt like butter on that bike. Some time later, I found a Bontrager Montrose Carbon team saddle on Bontrager’s website for the astonishing price of just $120. I jumped on it and the Montrose went on my Trek. I wanted the SLR for the Venge so I could drop some weight on my good bike. I fitted it up and rode it for all of two or three weeks before switching back to the heavier Romin. On my Specialized, the saddle just didn’t live up to the experience I had with it on the Trek. I attributed this to the Venge’s stiffer frame. The $400 saddle went into a box in my bike shed.

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A few weeks ago, whilst on COVIDcation and bored out of my mind, I decided to dig that Selle out of the box and give it another try. Why not? I thought.

I learned something dialing in the Bontrager Montrose in for the Trek. First, I set the saddle where it should be (36-3/8″ +or- OR 92.4 cm). Then I dialed in the level of the saddle, first with a level at -2°, then by feel, so the nose supported my position in the drops and on the hoods, but didn’t dig into me. At the same time, the down angle wasn’t pushing me to the front of the saddle. It’s a delicate process. Once that was done, I went and raised the saddle by a millimeter to get the max height. I learned that if I was a little too high on the saddle, it would cause a lot of pain. So I went down that millimeter… and then another half for good measure after a week of riding, and that’s where I found heaven. It was perfect.

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I simply applied that same setup technique to the Selle Italia on the Venge. However, and this is actually quite interesting, for the saddle on the Venge, I mistakenly started out too low by something like two millimeters… and that caused quite a bit of pain from the saddle digging into the side of my hip, just forward of the sit bone. I didn’t expect that… After one ride, I checked the height with my handy, dandy tape measure and ended up raising it to exactly 36-3/8″. My next ride on the saddle and I could tell a big difference – especially towards the end of the ride. Now, I don’t know how to put this delicately, but I’m going to give it my best. My nether regions have never felt so good after a ride. The inside of my hip was still healing up, but everything, erm, else… was fantastic.

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The ride after that, a 100 k (may as well go big or go home), after the initial pain areas had time to heal up, the Selle Italia SLR actually felt like a $400+ saddle. I’ve got close to a half-dozen rides on the saddle, and I enjoy it thoroughly.

In other words, the reason I didn’t like the saddle on my Venge the first go ’round was because I didn’t quite have the setup right. The problem was installer error, but that’s an over-simplification. It appears to me now, that the teeny, tiny saddle has to be very carefully dialed in. There isn’t much room for error or you feel it in the heinie. This hypothesis would make my experience make sense, at least.

Oh, and this is a road saddle. I wouldn’t use that on gravel or single-track. No chance.

Incidentally, I’ve got a little more than a 4-1/4″ drop from the saddle to the handlebar and I’ve got the nose down at 1°.

UPDATE: Did 104 miles on it yesterday… I was feeling a little rough after, but it was my longest ride if the year… by 41 miles. It was actually awesome.

Covid-19 and How You Know Government Should Be Kept on a VERY Short Leash…

Michigan’s Governor (and a whole slew of other politicians with D’s and R’s after their name) suggested recently that we should replace handshakes with fist and elbow bumps.

Where do those same people suggest you sneeze (or in this case, cough)?

Your elbow.

Just remember, folks, politician is the second oldest profession.  Right after prostitute.  Anyone who puts their faith or hope in politicians will be profoundly disappointed… or happy and profoundly ignorant.

Only Drug Addicts Have a Stigma Equal That of Vegans… And The BBC Entirely Misses the Simple Gist of Why That Is.

An article written for the BBC claims:

People love to moan that vegans are annoying: research has shown that only drug addicts inspire the same degree of loathing. Now psychologists are starting to understand why – and it’s becoming clear that the reasons aren’t entirely rational.

And that’s just the headline! The best part is, and you won’t find this in their article, that loathing is entirely rational, as I’m about to demonstrate.

So why do normal, rational people have a disdain for vegans equal to that of people who cheat, steal, and lie to remain the dregs of society? Well, don’t bother clicking on the link to the BBC article to learn something useful, you won’t. Truthfully, I’m surprised vegans don’t inspire more loathing than addicts and alcoholics do… that would be entirely rational, too.  At least in an addict, being a scourge is a part of a disease…

To understand this, because I happen to be one who holds a special disdain for pretentious vegans whilst not losing my $#!+ about it, I’ll be able to let you in on the secret the BBC wasn’t able to discover.  Now, as a disclaimer, I know there are quite a few upstanding vegans/vegetarians who read my blog regularly – you are not of the pretentious variety and should not take this post to be directed at you – it most certainly is not.  For the aforementioned secret, we need only look at a typical vegan’s actions from the perspective of looking at the actions of a newly recovering addict or alcoholic.

Imagine an addict who found, miraculously, recovery. They found the answer to their unique dilemma and completely changed their ways.  By unique, to use alcoholics as an example, only 10% of the drinking population end up an alcoholic. 90% of drinkers have no problem whatsoever…  They then, in their exuberance, decide to push others to work their recovery program, not just to help other addicts, but normal people as well.  Not to present an environment in which those others can understand what it’s like for we addicts and alcoholics to recover from our addiction(s), but to actually push normal folks to accept and work a recovery program in their lives because the addict/alcoholic thinks it would be good for others to live the way they do because, in the estimation of that addict/alcoholic, normal people just aren’t living up to the addict’s standards – they’re not living right.

Then, and this is the fun part, for those who resisted (as any normal person should), the nutters break into their homes, steal and/or break their stuff, disrupt their family lives and way of life with the hope the normal folk would cave and follow their way of life… This is what vegans do and why normal, polite society has a disdain for them.  As for the normal vegetarians, they get the short end of the stick due to a bit of guilt by association.  The nutter vegans are so loud and horrible, as soon as you hear “I’m a vegetarian”, it triggers instant daymares of the “allow me to tell you why you’re living wrong, you animal murdering bastard” conversation to follow.  We, as they say, simply turn and run for the hills.

That’s the level of pretentiousness exuded by vegans. That’s why vegans are despised. It’s not just that they are just pretentious, obnoxious, hateful people. It’s that they demand others share their idiosyncrasies and wildly misplaced and supercharged guilt. They’re typically ignorant as hell, while maintaining that pretentiousness, and won’t rest until others follow their chosen way of life no matter how wrong it is – and that’s maddening to normal folk who want to have peace and eat their bacon, too.

Take, for instance, a recent example in which two vegans broke into a farm in Italy to “save” some rabbits. They liberated 16 bunnies but failed to understand that those bunnies were mothers. Liberating the mother bunnies caused the death of more than 90 little, innocent, baby bunny rabbits and reports say they killed another five trying to liberate the 16.  Point is, that woman and her team should be charged with breaking and entering, theft, then as a terrorist (same with eco-terrorists).

As for the ignorance, we only need know that vegan diets are typically woefully deficient in many nutrients that cause various illnesses unless synthetic, man-made, hyper-super-duper-processed supplements are taken to maintain some semblance of health.  Here’s a news flash – eating a balanced diet is actually quite simple, until you try to eat vegan.  At that point, you have to micromanage your diet to get the nutrition right.  It’s not supposed to be that way, folks.  Even then, science is beginning to show that people who rely on those supplements are at greater risk of developing certain cancers and illnesses.  Sure, vegans claim to feel healthy for a time, but eventually malnutrition catches up and they run into health problems.  Hair thins over time and starts to fall out, and eventually they become sickly.  Generally speaking, that’s a lack of iron, iodine and Vitamin D, and a few others, dears, and guess where you get iron, iodine and Vitamin D.

The BBC claims loathing vegans isn’t entirely rational? Bullshit. It’s perfectly rational. I’d go as far as logical, and trying to ignore the reasons behind this reasonable loathing, blaming it on something else, only helps to keep the perpetrators ignorant as hell.

If I described you, if you’re a vegan who would break into someone’s home, farm or place of business to stop someone else from eating a healthy diet you happen to disagree with, stop it.  You’re a terrorist and an idiot.  If I didn’t describe you, this wasn’t about you in the first place, and I’m glad you’re a normal functioning part of society along with the vast majority of everyone else.  If you got a chuckle, well, for that I am grateful.  I’ve done my job.

Halftime Show for the Ages… It Was Fun Explaining Why Grown Women Wear What They Do to My Daughters

I want to thank JLo personally, for giving me the opportunity to explain to my teenage daughters why a 50 year-old woman would wear ass-less chaps as a halftime show costume. It was even better explaining the stripper pole. That was a classy touch. Yeah.

Shakira was Shakira and I was awfully grateful for the crotch shots from both, though it was a little uncomfortable seeing that with my daughters in the room. Still, you gotta love the inspiring message that could be gleaned from the performance – two older women performing together, before tens of thousands in the stadium and millions on TV! The message? “Shaking ass sells records, so we shall shake ass.”

Fantastic.

Damage control tonight. Thanks, ladies.

If you want to have a chuckle about the whole kerfuffle, check out this article… it’s a good one.

The Politics of Recovery… And Why I Despise the Use of “Stigma” as a Red Herring in Recovery

Getting rid of the “stigma” in recovery is one of the buzzphrases of the last half-decade in recovery circles.

Even in hardcore drug addiction. We’re talking about people who will steal everything their retired parents have, just so they can stay high. We’re talking about drunks who are so self-absorbed, they plan time with the kids around watering holes so they can get a little loaded up while they’re driving the kids around. Personally, while there may have been a good kid buried way down deep inside, I was a complete and entire loser until I started fixing who I was by beginning a program of recovery. I didn’t care who I used up when I was drinking, as long as I could keep the game going one more day.

My problem with the way “stigma” is it is treated as what others are doing to the addict, somehow society is casting this so-called stigma on the addicted community. The addicted are being portrayed as victims when its the addict that victimizes everyone they come into contact with to stay high. Where this becomes a problem is when we take to finally stop digging our own grave and attempt recovery.

Everyone with a pony in the recovery show should know that in order for recovery to work, no matter which form of recovery one chooses to follow, the focus has to be, and forever remain, on self. It has to be this way because the rest of the world won’t quit drinking and doing drugs just because we do. The second recovery ceases being about self and begins being about what others do, we trudge the path to relapse.

I can only focus on myself in my recovery; it’s not how the world treats me, but how I view how the world treats me that matters. My reaction to how the world treats me is the only thing I can control. And this is exactly why “society’s stigma” against the addicts has no bearing on me personally.

  1. It is absolutely none of my business what anyone else thinks of me.
  2. It is entirely my business what I think of me.
  3. If what I think of me is bad, then I best get to work on changing how I’m living so I can flip that “bad” to “good”.

Trying to change everyone in “society”, especially trying to convince society that we’re victims after we victimize “society” with our behavior, is like trying to stop a freight train with a squirt gun. Conversely, understanding what we think society thinks of us might be useless and concentrating on our own recovery takes a decision and a little bit of practice.

The choice is yours, Don Quixote.

Oh, and one last thing about that squirt gun vs. the freight train – that’s exactly why people take on “society’s stigma” as having anything to do with one’s recovery in the first place. It’s ego-driven drivel. It’s only so they can, at some point in the future, say they were on the bandwagon that changed how society looks at addicts. They were on the cutting edge of societal evolution, after all!

That and a Buck will get you a cup of coffee.

At a 7-11.

Vegans Over the Edge… Yet Again: Class Action Lawsuit Against Burger King for Using Same Grill as Normal Burgers. Paging Captain Obvious, Please Call the Office

Trigger (heh) warning:  This post will be somewhat of a hit piece on a specific, small, yet exceedingly loud portion of the vegan/vegetarian population.  Not quite what would come out of the New York Times if it pertained to President Trump, because at least this will be truthful, but I’m going to be pretty blunt, as my disclaimer to the left explains.  I’m not, in any way, shape, form, or manner, trying to say all vegans and/or vegetarians are bad, mean-spirited, ignoramuses… just that a very specific cult of that small group is.  You have been trigger (heh) warned.

My wife has a vegetarian friend who once complained that my grill had meat cooked on it at one time, so she’d prefer it if I didn’t grill her veggie burger on that same grill…  I did figure a way around that for her, though.  I steam cleaned that side of the grill to her liking, applied some oil to keep her burger from sticking, and grilled her veggie burger.  I did this because I love my wife, and her friend is pretty cool about the whole thing, anyway.  Now, if she were like some people…

When Burger King came out with their Impossible Whopper, however, I had a feeling a complaint wasn’t too far off because there’s no way Burger King was going to appease the vegan nutter base.  What’s it been?  Three months and some change.  One way or another, someone was going to go all apoplectic.  I should have published something to show what a genius I am… and what a loser the vegan who would eventually sue Burger King is:

The lawsuit alleges that if he had known the burger would be cooked in such a manner, he would have not purchased it.
The Burger King that Williams visited did not have signage at the drive-thru indicating that the plant-based burger would be cooked on the same grill as meat, the suit says.

Paging Captain Obvious, please call the office.

What did this knucklehead think, Burger King would install another grill to grill their Impossible Whopper?  The guy, if he thought that, is impossibly stupid.  He obviously has never looked beyond the cash counter to see how little room there is in the back of a Burger King – there’s certainly no room for another broiler!

Where this, and so many sordid stories like it, runs afoul of decency is when nutters try to impose their idiosyncrasies on the rest of civilization.  It’s not Burger King’s job to anticipate and prepare for every nut who walks into a Burger King.  If Phillip Williams has a problem with his veggie burger being cooked on the same grill as a normal burger, perhaps he should be wearing signage stating that his beliefs run counter to popular norms and he prefers his burgers to be prepared a special way… this way the employees can simply nuke his Impossible Whopper (I’d bet that’s BK’s “non-broiler method of preparation”) and be done with it:

“For guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request,” the site notes.

This can be put in simple terms, folks; if you require your food to be prepared in a special way, not in the norm, and obviously Phillip Williams knows he does, then it’s his responsibility to make sure his needs are met, not someone else’s.

Better, in a sane world the court would make the complainant prove his/her/their Impossible Whopper actually did get beef on it from being cooked on the same grill.  What most people don’t know about Burger King broilers (that I happen to), is that the grill is a based on a conveyor belt system, about 2-1/2 feet wide by, maybe five feet long (if memory serves), so the grill actually goes through the fire a second time which gives any meat that might be stuck to the links time to cook off.  Thinking back on teenage days at BK, more than three decades ago, I can’t remember ever seeing any buildup on the conveyor, certainly not like one would see on their home grill, and certainly not in amounts that would lead to meat clinging to the conveyor so it could then be transferred to someone’s Impossible Whopper – the claim this could happen seems shady to me.

Anyway, insufferable people are insufferable.  Paging Captain Obvious.  Again.