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When Life Turns too Full For Blog Posts…

We’ve got an intense day today, a nice two-hour morning bike ride on the tandem, taking my daughter to her friend’s house so she can go with her on vacation, hitting the hardware store so I can do some repairing on the camper for an upcoming road trip… and the weather’s fantastic.

My wife and I are riding alone on the tandem, out of an abundance of Covid-caution for the rest of the weekend and having a wonderful time with our newly found affection for each other… and the romance.

My friends, sometime it just gets too good (and full) for a blog post.

Feeling A Bit More Like Myself Post Covid… A Little Pep In My Step

My wife had to work a little late so I prepped the Trek and rolled out for a solo Jimmer Loop, planning on keeping the pace around that butter “15-mph” range so my lungs didn’t get cranky. I rolled out of the driveway and the bike felt fantastic under me. The Venge is all speed and flash while the Trek (a fabulous race bike in its day) is more like a modern day luxury sport sedan… thinking along the lines of a nice, sporty Cadillac CT-4 or something. It’s no purebred sportscar, but it’s no slouch, either.

Anyway, not unlike the days of old, or younger as the case was, “easy” lasted all of three turns of the crank. After a full day of work, I was feeling surprisingly fantastic. I mean really good… so I decided to push it a bit… until I turned left and remembered we had an 18-mph headwind out of the west. That put a little damper on the plans. Still, I managed between 15 & 18-mph into it. Not too shabby for a “last days of Covid” patient.

As one would expect, the ride north, south and east was fantastic. And I had all of the west out of the equation before long anyway.

I stopped at the middle school parking lot to take some photos of the parking lot where it’s failing after less than a year… I’m about to raise some hell about it. Then, I headed for home feeling surprisingly well. Heading south, I was between 19 & 21-mph and west, 24 was feeling quite easy. My lungs were acting as they should and I barely had a runny nose.

I felt like Jim again and pulled into the driveway with almost 19 miles and a 17-1/2-mph average. I’ll take it easy for another week, but I’m pretty stoked about were I am.

Life on two wheels is a blessing.

Finding the Groove on the Tandem Post Covid…

My wife and I headed out for a late lunch ride yesterday afternoon to a mixed bag of a decent temperature but a bit of mixed clouds with a little sprinkle here and there. We did the Jimmer Loop, increasing our mileage from the day before by about 35%. The average suffered a little bit, but this close after Covid, we weren’t about to push our luck.

The cool part, as is often the case with easy miles, was the conversation that comes along with riding the tandem with my wife. I’m going through another emotional growth spurt and we ended up talking about some very important keys that needed discussing and having a glorious time in the process.

Best, my lungs felt quite normal yesterday. Well, maybe I should say they didn’t hurt, at least. The important point is that other than the fact it was slow, it was very much a normal ride on the tandem with my wife. We’ll be riding again this evening and tomorrow morning, but we don’t plan on riding with anyone else until some time next week (Tuesday night should do, I think).

We’re going to have to miss a good ride this weekend, but with my friends, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A Second, More Successful, VASTLY More Enjoyable Return to Cycling with Covid

I know, I know, I said I was going to take a little more time off in yesterday’s post…

My low-grade fever broke (99.4, I usually run about 97.8) early yesterday morning. As the day wore on and I felt better, taking the tandem out for a spin with my wife looked pretty fantastic. She’s two days ahead of me, as our bouts with Covid went, so she feels a couple of days better than I do. She also wanted a nice, slow, short return to riding so the tandem was the perfect choice.

We only did eleven miles at 15-ish-mph, but that was perfect. My lungs didn’t bother me a bit and we had a lovely conversation along the way.

I also brought Gatorade with me in lieu of my normal plain water. That agreed with my throat a little more than anticipated.

And so it was, my wife and I out on the tandem for a short little spin to shake the cobwebs out. There’s no place I’d rather have been. It was beautiful.

Life on two wheels is a blessing.

Attempting to Return to Cycling from Covid Just a Little Too Soon

My wife had to work late into the evening last night so I decided I’d take my Covid laden butt outside for a much needed session on the Venge.

The first mile was awesome. Slow, but awesome. After that first mile, though, my throat started aching with the minimal effort – and I mean minimal. I knew I was done before I crossed the 5k mark. After a while, I realized it wasn’t my throat, it was the upper quarter of my lungs that were hurting. I’d felt that before… but it’s worse this time. Not much, but noticeably.

So I did the second smart thing; I took my toy and went home. I pulled into the driveway with just shy of nine miles and a healthy desire to not be on my bike anymore.

Now, strangely, once I got into the shower I felt markedly better. My lungs stopped hurting and I regained my strength and desire to stand up in said shower. I knew long before I got into that shower that riding was not my brightest idea. I had to give it a try, though.

Today will be another glorious day, so I’ll try again (hopefully on the tandem with my wife).

UPDATE: On further introspection, perhaps I’ll wait till my fever breaks for real…

I’m Back! However, Sadly, with an Uninvited Guest

I’m back to writing today, after what very well could be my longest break from writing since I started – I took a full ten days off.

Sadly, we brought an uninvited guest back with us in the form of Covid. Technically, I don’t know I have it, but I’ve been playing kissy-face with my wife the entire time and she showed a positive test result eleven seconds after the drops hit the “S” reservoir on the test.

I’ve got the tiniest of headaches and a little bit of a scratchy throat. Other than that, if my wife hadn’t taken a test that showed positive, I’d likely put this to allergies or something less sinister (and this is definitely my second time around with Covid after having it in the early weeks of the pandemic, just before everything was shut down, possibly third just this past February). My wife, however, has it worse than I. She’s vaccinated and boosted, like me, but she’s got the full slate of symptoms (sore throat, sinus issues, headache, achy body, tired, etc., etc.), though she seems to have turned the corner enough that she’ll wait out the symptoms.

So, I’ll be write back at it in the morning with a new batch of cycling posts interspersed with some recovery topics I picked up on from my time away…

It’s time for an unscheduled break from writing…

I took yesterday off and I actually worked on a post this morning after sleeping in with my wife till almost 9 am – the latest I’d slept in since we’ve been married (unless I was sick).

It was amazing, but I don’t want to get used to it.

Anyway, I was working on a post and I got to thinking… I haven’t taken time off writing in a while, so now is the time.

I’ll be back Monday July 25th.

Awesome adventures till then!

Tuesday Night in Lennon: Popped Edition

We had a small group in Lennon last night and it was windy, out of the northwest. This is not a good recipe – especially as my wife and tandem partner had to work late (as it turned out, very late). Only Chucker and I showed for the warm-up, so it was low key and I felt quite good with the easy pace on the Venge. It was good to be on the Venge, but I felt off at the same time. It was reinforced that I’d prefer my wife on the tandem any day of the week and twice on Sunday…

We rolled out into the headwind for the first third of the ride. I chose the left lane of the double pace-line so I’d get peppered with headwind to start but be protected down the long stretch down Shipman road. I’ve quietly and successfully employed this strategy for years – and it always works… as long as I stick to it.

Getting hammered by the northwest wind wasn’t great, but I was able to hide behind Greg’s wheel and I spent a lot of time in the drops or low on the hoods to stay out of the wind. My mood lightened as I caught up with folks I hadn’t ridden with in months but riding without Jess just isn’t as fun. It’ll do, ya know?

I was doing quite well when we hit Shipman road, but riders started getting dropped off the right side, meaning I was no longer protected once I got to the back after a short stint up front. I believe I made it three or four miles, but once the tandem dropped off to my left, I took the right lane to even the pace-lines out and I only lasted three turns up front and popped about three from the front. And by popped, I mean popped. Done. As soon as I hit the unprotected side, my heart rate jumped from the 150s to the 170s and I was done.

Thankfully, I was right by a massive shortcut so I took my toy and went home.

I only lasted 8-1/2 miles, but I definitely wasn’t the first off the back, so I’ll take solace in that. And on the positive side, it was really nice to feel a little out of place on my Venge. It was good to feel a little bummed that I had to ride a single over the tandem. My wife is awesome.

UPDATE: I received a text this morning from Chucker… The A guys ended up with a 24-mph average for the night… and everyone we normally ride with popped.

I’ve Had About Enough of What the Pandemic is Doing to Cycling…

My wife asked me the other day, because I write a wonderfully popular blog that revolves around cycling and recovery from addiction (strange bedfellows, indeed), what bike colors are like this year.

My wife and I have an annual discussion about bike colors and how horrendous the current slate is… but I didn’t have an answer for her this year. In fact, I didn’t have a clue. And I didn’t have a clue because I haven’t bothered to look. And I haven’t bothered to look because, no matter how gaudy or cool the bikes are this year, you can’t get one till 2023 or beyond, so why bother? Even our beloved boutique brand, Co-Motion for our tandem is eight months out on new orders.

Well, I guess it’s not all horrible! If I’m 4’10” tall or 6’3″ I can get a Tarmac in 49 or 61 cm! Sadly, my wife needs a 54 cm, so she’s out till God only knows when. And the sad thing? Colors are awesome this year from the big two. Better than I’ve ever seen. This is some kind of cruel joke.

Better, and this one really made me laugh, we’ve got the rollout for the new Specialized Evade Helmet. I actually thought about pulling the trigger on two for my wife and I to the tune of $600 for the pair, till I saw this:

Seriously. Specialized rolled out a helmet you can’t actually buy. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so damned sad.

I’ve had about enough of the pandemic and what’s been done with it and in its name. On one hand, you have to expect interruptions in the face of a disaster like this (I wonder, do we call this a “human caused disaster”?). On the other, really?

I long for the days of real normalcy. Not just the “new normal”. I’ve seen the “new normal” and it sucks.

Struggling In Recovery? Don’t Give Up Five Minutes Before the Miracle Happens…

Recovery isn’t always a bed of roses, especially in the first five years. My favorite line in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, after the first three words on page 112, is “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”.

When we’re having a tough time, no matter how long one has in the program, it’s always best to fall back on that line. I need to always be mindful to follow the path.

Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle happens.