12/12/2022: Slow, but Still I Go — Biking, Walking, Etc.

Another month has gone by since my last post, and just a few weeks are left in the year. As the weather cools and holidays and a new year approach, thoughts turn inward, toward retrospection, and to the future. There’ll be time for a review of the year come January, though. For now, what has gone on since 11/11? Work, for one. It has involved a lot of walking, which has been surprisingly exhausting. Seven or eight miles when you’re used to the equivalent steps of three miles, and standing for long hours in between, is a change. Other things like rain, health stuff, and perhaps some existential ennui have slowed me down, too. In the past month, I’ve alternated between 80-110 miles per week riding my bicycle. Not great, but not horrible.

Another change to my biking has been the use of my home trainer. I got it cheap and used but seldom employ it since the weather is generally agreeable (or at least tolerable when prepared) for outdoor cycling in Central Texas. After my Garmin speed meter was stolen along with dearly departed Sophie the Fairdale, I finally got around to getting another one which I attached to the rear hub of Sonnie the GT Arette. The advantage is that I can hop on the bike — cold or wet weather be damned — and still count the miles. This saves time because I can pedal in the comfort of home with no traffic lights or cars to dodge, and no hills.

In a way it feels like cheating, although it’s not — there’s resistance, so I still sweat plenty. The disadvantage is that it’s deadly boring, so I fire up some tunes or a tv show, which helps. Still, I only manage 30 minutes at a time. And I can’t do it late in the evening because my downstairs neighbor doesn’t appreciate the noisy hum caused by the trainer. But it’s there when the weather outside is frightful, and I’ve been using it. After work, walking extra miles, I still do it. Often I require a disco nap first. But I’m happy to be able to even get in 10 miles, while also disappointed I’m probably not going to meet my larger annual mileage goal.

Mileage is not just about the number, it’s a way to maintain some semblance of control over my health and weight. As a fathlete, I’m more interested in being fit than making my body look like something fatphobic marketers say it should and that it hasn’t in decades. Aging, genetics, diet, sleep, stress, and other things all factor in to our health (or lack thereof). I try to make good choices but often fail, and some things are decided for me by forces outside my control. None of us is getting any younger. As my brother says about life, “Nobody gets out alive.”

I don’t like to dwell on the challenging things, but I do. First World problems are still problems, so I try to have some perspective. My little struggles are insignificant in light of many bad things in the world millions of people must endure. The Russian war on Ukraine (and let’s not forget other wars not involving white people like Yemen, Syria, Myanmar, etc.). Mass shootings, floods, poverty, human trafficking, refugees, white supremacists, climate change, forest fires. The flustercuck of US electoral politics and the GOP attempts to undermine voting and demcratic notms at every step. Cancelling a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion (even after rape or incest or both in 15 states). Then there’s the horrible travesty of Discovery ruining HBO by cancelling great shows like Made For Love and Running With Wolves…. The list goes on.

We’re told we have to be grateful, though and to buy and shop and consume, because, Christmas, even though theres a recession. Gratitude is a noble idea — when you have things available for which to be grateful. What are some of those things? The title of an old Police song comes to mind: “When the World is Running Down, You Take the Best of What’s Still Around.” For me, hot steel cut oatmeal on a cold morning. Against the Grain tapioca flour frozen pizzas were on sale all last month: yum! Petting neighborhood cats that sometimes literally run up to me. A porta-potty right when you need it. Rain beginning at the end of your bike ride. Being able to vote freely (for the most part, usually, sorta kinda, moreso if you’re skin is white).

Other stuff for which I’m grateful: There are my favorite tv shows of the moment: White Lotus, Doom Patrol, Andor, and Dead to Me. Classical music — always — and often jazz, blues, New Age, rock, and other sounds, too. Lately I’ve been on a real tear of Lee Child’s addictive book series about the brutal ex-Army MP with a “conscience”; I can even read electronic books while cycling. But I can’t justify the price if have Amazon Prime, so I can’t watch the Reacher series. There’s my morning chocolate (the dark master). Chatting with neighbors, getting to visit my mom and helping her out, seeing a former colleague in the library, and having a dear old friend come to town briefly.

I know, I know, I wrote negatively about gratitude journaling. After doing it daily for a full a year and it not making any noticeable difference, I quit. However, I also did a positive post on the topic. It has its time and place, with a reality check. To wit, Ukrainians aren’t very grateful for thise Russian bombs, nor should they be. By the way, the US, European, and other nations are using billions of our tax dollars to fight a proxy war. I don’t have all the answers — Putin is an insane, megalomaniacal despot– but it is clear to me that more war doesn’t solve war, and Russian v. American nukes are a real potential. In 2022. The Cold War ended on December 26, 1991. Peace on Earth, Goodwill To Men and Women, my ass.

Such world issues are above my pay grade and security clearance, so I stay in my lane. Somehow, I manage to continue all my daily practices to try to fight off the various and increasing challenges and stressors we all (who are not rich) seem to be facing. To not do these activities would only make things worse, methinks. So, I do my yoga (coming up on nine years Christmas Day), gently. I work on my book revision and journal. And sadly, only this blog monthly at the moment. (Sorry to be a poor blog buddy, y’all.) I do my flute practice, pretty poorly if I’m honest, and with no piano accompaniment, but it’s for my enjoyment. I still eat a whole grain diet and salad daily, albeit with far too many carbs and sugar and salt. I do the daily biking and walking, naturally. Now that this work gig is over I’ll go back to half an hour a day walks.

While I’ve been called a cynic, skeptic, or pessimist — I call it being a realist — don’t get me wrong. I’m appreciative I can still do these things, even if some days are a real struggle due to my partucular and various challenges, mistly health related. I don’t like to complain about them, but the main one is fatigue that continues to be a cause of suffering. It especially chafes when I have to go slowly and for less miles on the bike than I know I’m capable of physically. Sure, that seems like a small matter, and at most levels it is. But for whatever reason it’s a big deal to me, because biking has become a barometer of health and how I’m feeling. If I don’t get in a good bike ride, it means something is off (more than usual).

So, I just try to appreciate the good moments, the small things, the bit of luck. They do add up. Because plenty of time living in a human body is not great. Stuff doesn’t work as well the older you get, things become rusty, parts break down, places hurt. We have to adapt somehow, maybe get help. Acupuncture, herbs, or in the worst cases, medical intervention. Everybody’s got something, and those that say they don’t are lying or will eventually. Entropy is the natural order of things. Fighting it may delay, or it may not do much or any good. But I’ve always liked this from Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I’ll have to figure it out, some way. Sometimes, things get figured out for you. Life goes on. I hope yours is going well and you enjoy whatever holidays (haulidaze?) or traditions you celebrate. Seinfeld’s Festivus for the rest of us for me. And that’s most of the news from Lake A Dude Abikes. Thanks for reading. Y’all come back soon, ya’ hear? Happy Winter to all, and to all a good night!

What are some of the best of what’s still around for you? What are your accomplishments for the year? How about your goals for the future?


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5 thoughts on “12/12/2022: Slow, but Still I Go — Biking, Walking, Etc.

    1. Wow, thanks, Ami! I was blogging a lot more often but am working on revising my memoir, which grew out of this blog.

      I have to ask though, why? We’ve not met and you’re a very strong riders whereas I’m… not. Just curious.

      Like

    2. Wow, thanks, Ami! I was blogging a lot more often but am working on revising my memoir, which grew out of this blog.

      I have to ask though, why follow me on Strava? We’ve not met and you’re a very strong riders whereas I’m… not. Just curious. But thanks and happy holidays 2 U 2.

      Like

    1. Thanks for reading! I might consider the training program that shows you actual videos of real roads but the video game aspect Zwift does not appeal at all. Plus I’m not going to be racing anybody. But glad it works for them. You can get the old style trainer probably cheap used online.

      Liked by 1 person

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