Charity Cycling and Coronavirus: The Mamma Jamma Challenge 9/12-9/19/20

With the global pandemic of the coronavirus showing no signs of ending anytime soon, those with other illnesses like HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis still need support perhaps more than ever. One way this is achieved is through fundraising bike rides. A Dude was privileged to ride in half a dozen charity rides, raising $12,000 total over the six events. But nowadays getting people together to breathe hard, even outside, is problematic — especially for the immuno-compromised. Most charity rides have had to go virtual. This week, September 12-19, the good folks at the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride are having people ride bikes and do other activities and record them on Strava, the fitness app, while still raising funds for the one in eight women who get diagnosed with breast cancer.

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600 Miles Biked in August and 4,325 So Far in 2020

Another month, another 600 miles. I eked out the last 20 or so late on the last night of the month, after being forced to slow down due to the heat — 29 days of 100 degrees F or more! — and the accumulated tiredness. But I got ‘er done, somehow. And that’s the thing, when it comes to goals, you either meet them or you don’t. Or put another way by famed peacemaker and Nobel Prize winner and President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I either win, or I learn.” winner Of course, they’re arbitrary and frivolous, we can all agree on that during the global pandemic. But biking is still legal here in Central Texas, and it helps A Dude to keep moving. If exercise is like a drug, then cycling is my medicine of choice. So herewith, posthaste, and without further ado are my August and 2020 statistics on the bicycle.

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How Are Your Pool Workouts Going, Dude? Splendid, Sublime, and Swimmingly!

Thick white fog hung over the East Texas lake early that sultry, steamy summer morning. The ground clouds mirrored the layer of gauze of sleep over my still slumbering eyes. We’d been awakened at the butt crack of dawn a bit too gleefully by the Scoutmaster or one of his slightly sadistic and sycophantic Scout leaders. It was the Big Day. The one we’d been dreading, anticipating, and otherwise talking about all week. It was time for mission impossible: the Mile Swim.

Slowly our shivering selves made our way to the shore, shedding shirts, shoes, and sleepy heads. Safety spelled out in a speech, suddenly it was sink or swim and shut the hell up time. The rest is mostly a blur, but somehow I and most of my Scout siblings, suffering silently in solidarity, finished the damn thing. One thing is crystal clear though: there were some alligators in that water. I swear I shit you not… seriously!

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Mode of the Beast: 666.6 Miles Bicycled in 31 Days

Not that beast. I mean beast mode. I’m not a believer in magical numbers (unless my lottery tickets finally pay off). It was my second longest month ever, after the 731 I did in April 2017 including 202 Miles in 2 Days for the MS 150. Given my lack of a day job at the moment, I made it my bidness (as some people actually pronounce “business” in Texas) to bike my butt off (it’s still there, though). And bidness is goooood! That’s because I averaged 150 miles per week. Well, I guess it’s volunteering if I’m not getting paid.

It’s surprising that I accomplished this since it takes me longer than it used to. I could blame Sophie, the 28-pound steel bike with nine gears I’m riding, or the prematurely colder, windy and wet weather, but I’m just not moving very fast these days. Some people I know rode Das Hugel, an unsanctioned sufferfest that’s over a century and 10,000 feet elevation (I wrote about it last year.) A Dude doth not Das Hugel. However, compared to everyone who’s home sitting on the couch, I’m friggin’ Speed Racer. So perhaps my efforts are inspirational to somebody out there reading this. You don’t have to believe me, let’s look at the Strava stats.

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How I Biked 167 Miles in One Week and You Can, Too

Does 167 miles seem like a long distance to ride your bicycle in a week? If not, and you can easily rattle off that distance in a single day, then this post (and blog) will probably bore you. Good on you! Thanks for stopping by and not being all judgy. (Like Rootchopper, currently doing 300+ miles per week on his big ass No Name Tour.) Does 167 miles in a week seem impossible? Well, if so, this may also not be for you. Of course you’re welcome to come along for the virtual ride.

But what if you’re in between those extremes and have ridden 100 miles in a week before? Maybe you’re thinking, “Hmm, if this middle-aged fathlete (who isn’t the typical skinny cyclist stereotype) can put up some pretty big numbers, then I wonder if I can, too?” Well, this is for you.

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Sookie’s Last Ride (Ever!) & Sophie’s Last Ride of 2018 on New Year’s Eve in Austin

Today was my last chance to add to my mileage and extend my goal of bike-riding x number of miles for 2018.  So I took the opportunity of a decently mild Central Texas winter day and did just that.  First, I took Sookie to Performance Bikes, since they’re a Fuji dealer, to see if they could do anything about her cracked frame.  However, they couldn’t, because their parent company is going out of business.  But at least I got yet another confirmation (the fifth?) that she is no longer rideable.  While not unexpected, it reminded me of how much I’ll miss this bike.  After that… Continue reading

3,000 Miles Biked in 3 Quarters of 2018: Pain & Rain, But I Did Not Train in Vain

October is the time when my birthday arrives, and I got myself an early present:  I met my (original) bicycling mileage goal for the year!  Actually, it was 2,600, for 50 miles per week, so I could cut my riding time in half and devote those hours to writing this blog and the book that is in progress.  As for the rather long and unwieldy title, it got longer when the Clash song came to mind (Annie Lennox version).  Alliteration appeals, apparently.  Despite a decent bit of discomfort and alot of precipitation, the work paid off.  I did the Mamma Jamma breast cancer ride, which was rewarding, and that might not have been possible without doing putting in more time.  So it’s been a good month, and year so far.  I delve a little into the statistics for those into such things. That’s you!

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Hey WordPress & Internet, Do You Want Me to Ride the Mamma Jamma for Breast Cancer Charities This Saturday?

As I alluded to Monday, I have the opportunity to participate in my third Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer this Saturday, September 22. Previously I have ridden 57 miles in 2015 and 65 miles in 2017, raising over $2,500. But this time I have waited to the last minute to decide, so I need your help. What do you think? The important thing is that if you are interested in pledging your support to let me know that, and how much, ASAP, today, because I can’t do the ride without raising a minimum of $300 by Friday. Leave a comment [which provides your email], or send me an email, which is on the About page. Thanks for your interest. More information is included below, so I hope you’ll read on.

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Top 5 Reasons I Love Watching Le Tour de France and You Should Too

The Tour is over for this year, but you can still watch it by subscribing to NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass.  (Go to this link to subscribe; it lasts for the whole year so you can watch La Vuelta a Espana and other races, but only in the US.)  I’m a little late to the party since I’m still watching it on a Roku donated to me by dear mum.  (So don’t spoil it by commenting on the winner or anything past Stage 11, please!  I however may spoil it if you are are on Stage 1.)  I am way behind because of life getting in the way but still enjoying it.  Like many Americans, I got into the Tour a few years after a certain famous Austin cyclist won it seven times in a row.  After that was, um, cancelled, I stopped watching for a few years (also like many Americans).  But I couldn’t stay away, so I’ve been watching it every year for a while now, and still think it’s worth it.  Here’s why I think you should watch it, too.

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This Is My 100th Blog Post — The Year in Review So Far

Well, I’ve done it!  I’ve made it to the mythical 100th blog post.  It’s my 69th of 2018, and I’ve totalled over 102,000 words since I began blogging on January 1, 2016.  It’s been an interesting, fun, exhausting experiment telling my story as a bicyclist as well as exploring other topics like health, politics, culture and more.  In this post I’ll review my progress thus far this year and look at what I still need to work on.  I stayed in today and unpacked more, organized alot, and cooked, and so I’m itching to go on at least a metaphorical ride.  Got your helmet on?  Good, let’s go! Continue reading