New Year, New Dude, New US?

Since it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I’ll also remind folks of an older post with a photo of The Rev. Dr. King on a bicycle. Thanks to the pandemic, there was no rally with speakers and then march. I’ve attended them on an off over the years here in Austin and was at a huge gathering and march after the police killings of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and other Black people. I was fortunate to be able to participate in some Black Lives Matter protests last summer and a pair of Black History Bicycle Rides.

Even though this blog is mostly about biking and my other fitness pursuits, I feel strongly about the evils of racism and have written about them before. It must really piss off the white supremacists that it’s a federal holiday. King was assassinated by one of their ilk on April 4, 1968. As they say, SAY HIS NAME! and, Presente! It boggles the mind that almost 53 years later the US (if not the world) is having a resurgence of racial hatred. Education is key and perhaps with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, we will have better role models than the outgoing asterisk president. Adios, Tinyhands Orangehead, ya big loser!

With no rally and march, I continued my daily activities. Biking less has allowed me more time for other things. It’s as good a time as any to do a quick check-in about what I’m up to both on and off the bike.

Recent images from my activity feed on Strava. Copyright Strava

Bicycling

After 10 days doing 10 miles to try to recover from last year, my legs were feeling better and we had some warmer weather. I had an accidental hundo week, meaning I rode 100 miles in seven days without really intending to. Believe it or not, I have lots of other interests, and biking every single day totalling 6,666.66 miles in 2020 was a bit much. OK, way too much, if I’m being honest. The challenge now is to limit myself to an hour a day. I’m still not taking any rest days so far in 2021, either. Maybe at some point I will be forced to let go of my daily riding streak, which is fast approaching 500 days. Until then, I aim to just keep pedaling. Just not as much, as hard, or as fast.

Calorie Counting

I’ve been tracking everything I eat with MyFitness Pal. It’s a hassle but does get easier once you get the hang of it. Plus, we tend to eat many of the same foods so they’re easy to find in the database. While counting calories alone won’t lead to weight loss, it creates more awareness of what and how much is going into your body. The danger I’ve noticed is “eating back the exercise calories.” If I burn 1,000 calories exercising doesn’t mean I should try to eat more. I don’t know how long I’ll keep it up or if it will really change my eating habits, but one can hope. I’m entering the fourth year of continuing to eschew chewing flour products, although it has done nothing for my boyish figure. Not fair!

Playing Flute

It’s been a minute, more like many years, since I played with a pianist friend. I just do it for fun two or three times a week. I feel like a beginner again because my tone is poor (partly that’s due to the horn being old and not great quality; I also have trouble with certain scales. But in some ways I’m doing alright. Many of the practice etudes (studies) are still in my muscle memory and are familiar to the ear. Just playing alone is a bit boring, but I’m not at a stage where I’d feel good about practicing with someone else. The thirty minutes seems to just fly by, so I’m generally enjoying it, even if I suck. I’m not putting any pressure on myself but we’ll see if it goes anywhere. Maybe someday I’d join a community band, or find people to jam with. Music is certainly a balm for the soul in normal times and definitely now.

Reading

I’ve been steadfast about doing 30 minutes of reading a book every day. I actually spend a lot more time than I realized reading news, health articles, emails, and other stuff on the internet. But I’d gotten away from actual books. I finished one book for fun by Stephen King, a collection of four stories called Full Dark, No Stars. More akin to his book Different Seasons that included The Body (which was turned into the excellent movie Stand By Me). While not his typical horror, it goes into the horrible things people do under extraordinary circumstances. The other book I plan to review in this space soon. Now I’m onto one about yoga. I have to thank Idle Cyclist who has reviewed a number of books for indirectly helping to inspire me to try to become more of a reader again.

Strength Building

A few times a week I spend about 15 minutes with resistance bands doing either legs or upper body workouts. I find videos on YouTube and follow along. MyFitnessPal counts the calories I burn by linking with my Garmin watch, but it doesn’t track leg workouts very well. I have to move my watch arm along with it. I’m seeing a little improvement, like the day after a leg workout my biking felt a good bit easier. Also, certain arm yoga poses are easier. I think I probably need to do it every day, alternating upper and lower. I need to also get better with using the bands. Eventually maybe I’ll switch to some light weights, or when it’s safe to go to the gym I’ve been avoiding upper body workouts for years because I don’t enjoy it and one side (or maybe both) has an old injury. But since I’m biking less and need to try new things, I’m giving it a shot.

Walking

After three years of daily walking (I might have missed one or two days, which I more than made up for), I decided there was no good reason to stop. I decided to tweak it a little. Instead of 1.5 miles which is about 3,600 steps and takes about 36-40 minutes, I just do 30 minutes. That’s because the benefits I read in a study were about that much. Over a week if I can save 40-70 minutes, great. Although sometimes I go over. Walking faster would be good, once I get new shoes. My main walking partner is farther away now and being extra safe with the pandemic, so finding a buddy might be good. Although coordinating where and when is always a hassle, so maybe not. Regardless, I enjoy getting out to get some fresh air, sunlight, see people and their dogs, and be in nature.

Writing

Obviously I’m continuing to blog three times a week, but I often think about reducing that. It takes significantly more time than just the 30 minutes a day I journal on alternate days. I enjoy it too much, even though there’s no money in it and although I’m approaching 600 followers. (Not that many actually read the posts.) Not promoting myself on the socials doesn’t help. But I’m still here for now and really appreciate those who do read, like and comment. You know who you are and I truly am grateful for your support, large or small. If I could spend all day reading your blogs, I would!

More importantly, a while ago, I finished writing my two-year memoir of the first two years of this blog chronicling my journey. On alternate days from the blog, I then spent another good long while editing it. So now I’m just back to journaling four days a week. That’s ok, since this blog is sort of an extension of that sometimes. I am still stuck on finding people to be beta readers to read and comment on the whole manuscript. My goal was to write it. and I’ve done that. Maybe self-publishing or trying to get it published it isn’t worth the trouble. But if I can find the right people to be beta readers, and they think it has some merit, maybe that will give me the encouragement I need to try to get it in print, if anyone will have it, or at least self-published as an e-book.

If you are a regular here, think you might be interested in donating your time and comments to help a dude out, and also would be good at it, please let me know by gmail to the same name as this blog.

Yoga

I’m on Day 17 of Yoga With Adriene’s 30-day program called BREATH. Day 1 was an intro so I did my own stuff. It’s been refreshing to have a guide and not have to think about what poses I’m doing. My practice was getting a little stale, and she teaches some poses that are more standing and use arm strength. I find myself doing it earlier in the day, too, which helps have the energy. Some of her wording doesn’t really make sense or resonate with me, but it doesn’t matter or bother me that much. I also notice sometimes she messes up a direction. Overall they’re great classes, accessible to almost anyone. And that’s her thing, being genuine and real, so more power (and followers) to her. I’m beginning to think about doing last year’s program HOME, which I began but didn’t stick with, in February, actually. I don’t need to start anymore streaks, though. Maybe in time yoga classes will be safe to attend in person.


Well, that’s about it for now. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. To quote the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, “Keep on doing that voodoo that you do so well!”


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