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Miles with Friends, 33 to be Precise, and there’s no Place like Home – and How to Play!

I didn’t take any photos, the ride looked like so many others… like, maybe this one:

Or this one:

Or even this one:

What made the day great was riding with our friends again after a week’s vacation.  The ride didn’t come close to two hours, but holy cats, was it fun.

Our game is like the phone game app, but the words are spoken, you’re actually together, and there is no sitting still while playing, Miles with Friends is what the fit crowd does.  It doesn’t matter how you play, either.  It just matters that you play.  

Some people like to play on leisure bikes on paved trails, others like the mountain bikes on… well, anything.  Then you have the road crowd, with our need for speed.  You even have those who like to play without a bike at all!

Effort matters, of course.  Miles with Friends works just like anything else in life.  The greater the effort, the greater the rewards, but there’s one thing that matters more than anything when playing:

I’ve yet to see a gloomy face when playing Miles with Friends.  The reason for all of those smiles is simple:  The game is the human equivalent of a pressure release valve.

So, here’s how to play:  Call your handy, dandy local bike shop and tell them how you would like to play the game and let them tell you who to contact at the local bike club.  Make friends.  Set a time.  Put in miles.  Liberally.

Play the game to the best of your ability and you won’t be sorry.  

Read that last sentence however you like… take the clichè or go another route.

Some things are more important… And fun.

Back soon.  Please keep the lights on for me.

What a Normal, Sane Recovering Alcoholic does After getting the “All Clear” from the Cardiologist….

That’s right!  All clear, baby!!!

The cardiologist said he’s going to do an echocardiogram just to be 100% but he said there isn’t so much as a murmur to be detected.  I’m fit as a fiddle.  I was fortunate enough to get a two-for-one with a second cardiologist…. She suggested I come back and see them in 45 years if I start to slow down.

My socks in the photo above, not ironically, say “Ride Clean” ’cause that’s what I am.

Technically, only the last mile of my ride last evening was done with any sort of decent stress.  I turned the corner at 56:05 and I wanted to try to beat 59 flat into a gnarly cross headwind.  Unfortunately turning into and the length of my driveway got me.  Still, not bad for an active recovery ride in a 15-20 mph wind and temp at 93 big ones (34 C)…

I’ve been scared this last two weeks leading up to the appointment.  I kept it under wraps and made my peace with it, but I slowed down quite a bit, just in case.  As if “It’s okay if you take that engine up to 5,000 RPM, but don’t get ‘er near 8,000.”  The idea of my heart blowing up kinda sucked some of the life out of me.

Starting out, I could really feel last week’s miles weighing on my legs (Heh).  The only answer is an easy spin.  To take a day off before the club ride is to suffer through what should be a fun, fast ride.

Not that last mile, though.  Not today.  Today I put the hammer down and it felt good.  After all, if it’s all clear, it’s all clear, right?


Favorite question of the appointment:

Doctor:  “What medications do you take?

Me:  “None.”

Doctor:  “None, as in nothing?”

Me:  “None.  Well, I take an Aleve once or twice a month if I’m a little sore after a long ride.”

Doctor:  “Wow, okay” …

I got a fever, and the only prescription, is more cowbell.  Explore the space, baby.  Explore it.

The basic gist is this; I have a very pronounced spike for each heartbeat.  This is normal for a very healthy, strong heart.  It’s also a sign of a problem in an unhealthy heart, thus the consternation.  Then there’s another smaller peak in the T wave.  That’s the spooky part…  Unless you’re a slim, fit cyclist with a trim chest cavity (I actually have real pecs, not man boobs).  In that case, my case, the pronounced initial spike actually pulls up the T wave as a part of normal function because I don’t have much in the way of the reading… ‘Er somethin’.

Point is, according to my cardiologist, I’m right as rain, and that’s the important part.

UPDATE:  The Unironedman left a comment in which he stated I would ask to ride to the hospital if I were having a heart attack – and humorously, he’s probably right, with one small caveat:  I’d at least ask to draft the ambulance on the way there.

Recovery from Addiction and Fitness;  You don’t need the Latter to have the Former, but…. It certainly doesn’t Hurt!

Unfortunately I can only speak from experience here, so this post will be lacking.  Kinda.

I sobered up in ’92 and I spent the first nine months focusing only on my recovery.  No girls, no games, nothing but Steps, meetings and fixing what was wrong with me.

Summer of ’93 I was sober, twenty-three, and working at a machine shop and living in an apartment a few miles away – and directly across the street from one of the best parks in Southeastern Michigan.  One of the guys I worked with, a normal world non-drinker, got me into rollerblading.  I still have those skates.  I skated three or four days a week and I was hooked (though I didn’t know why at the time).  A weekday skate was 8 to 16 miles and a weekender was 16 to 32 miles.

Then came a period of fitness stagnation.  Along with it, a period of program stagnation.  The important factor here is I’m able to look at this with hindsight.  Sadly, when we recovering drunks are sitting in self-pity, lethargy, ignorance, you name it, whatever we happen to be sitting in, it’s hard to see how messed up we are until the stench becomes so blindingly obvious, we can’t help but smell the stink on us.  It took more than a few years to figure out what was going on…

Then came running, and with it, salvation and understanding.  I’d been to the doctor with chest pains (keep in mind, I was only 32 years old at this point) and he suggested that the problem was an overly stressful job and no exercise – excess adrenaline.  At the same time I’d gotten on a scale and realized over a period of a few years I’d gone from 150 pounds to 195 (!).  I had no clue that I’d gotten so big…

Running fixed some of the trouble.  Running with sober friends fixed the rest.  I’ve been involved in a sober running club or riding with sober friends for fifteen years now and it’s made all the difference in the world.  

One doesn’t need a fitness program to maintain and enjoy sobriety.  A fitness program simply enhances the recovery process for any of a dozen of the well documented reasons;  Companionship, mental stability, emotional stability, happiness, a sense of accomplishment, weight loss (or maintenance), stress reduction….

Look, given enough time I could pull out a lot of silly cliches.  The point is, I managed to find two sports that I loved (rollerblading and cycling) and one I could “like”, at least till the weight came off (running).  In the process I learned an invaluable lesson:  When everything else is messed up and confounding, having something to relieve the pressure for an hour or two can A) be just enough to put things back in perspective, B) be a positive reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to, and C) that even as messed up as things may appear, this too shall pass.

On yer left.

The Train Kept a Rollin’….

‘Cause that’s what we do….

60.15 miles, 3:01:50, 19.8 mph average.  60 degrees when we rolled (I ended up with 65 – I rode with Phill a while to keep him company on his way home).  80+ when we were done.  Light breeze and sunshine.  About as good as it gets.

Mrs. Bgddy and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last evening with about 30 of our closest friends and family…  We played some kick ball, ate a bunch of food and spent some time with some old friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen in a long while.

We even made a new friend:

It was noodle salad.

Twenty Years of Wedded Bliss

I met the woman who would be my wife in 1995.  I was three years into my sobriety back then.  We started dating in August.  We were engaged Cristmas Day…  And the rest is history, as they say.

We went through some very difficult times, my wife and I.  We both had faults and before things got too dicey, decided to fix our own faults rather than concentrate on the other’s and it’s been golden since.  It’s not without pitfalls and work, but now that we have something genuinely worth preserving, we are more likely to look at how to concentrate on our own flaws and fixing them rather than fixing blame on the other.

My wife is the one person for me.  She is my best friend.  The sun rises and sets on her, in my world, and I’m not afraid to tell her this regularly.

Today we get to celebrate more than just 20 years together (and looking forward to 20 more).  Maybe you noticed I’ve been rocking pink water bottles lately:

My wife got the “all clear” just yesterday afternoon.

In closing, I’d like to share the two things I took to heart when offered by friends/mentors that have helped me love my wife more than anything else:

  1.  Sometimes you want to throw ’em like a dart, but you just gotta love ’em.  Shortened, “You just gotta love ’em.
  2. If not for my wife’s faults, she would have picked a better guy.

A 1,000 Mile May… and Body Perceptions. 

1003 miles in 31 days.  Better than 30 miles a day, on average.  I needed every one of those 31 to hit that thousand mile mark though.

It wasn’t easy, of course.  We had a mountain bike day or two because it was too windy, but in the end, just Wednesday evening, I crossed over the mark.


With all of those miles, you’d think I’d be feeling like the handsome devil I often write about being.  After all, I burned seventeen pounds worth of calories last month.  The unfortunate trick (Michael Mann, please call your office) is that I think I ate an extra sixteen pounds of food.

My wife says I look fantastic but I feel a little chubby.  The scale and BMI (both old and new) say I’m healthy but I don’t see it when I look in the mirror.  So there’s a particular jersey I own, a pro-fit jersey that I make look good when I’m fit:

The jersey sat in my cycling kit drawer all spring long because I knew it would be too tight.  Well, I pulled it out and put it on for my Thousand Mile May ride… and it fit better than when the photo above was taken.

Shows you how much I know about what I’m supposed to look like in the mirror.

Isn’t that funny, really?  Scale says I’m good.  The internet says my BMI is good.  The doctor says I’m ridiculously healthy (weight wise, my ticker is a different story, maybe)…. but I look in the mirror and see fat.

All over covfefe.

Go figurfufu.

Ah well, if we didn’t have something to work on, wouldn’t life be bland?