Thomas Merton was a Catholic monk born in France who moved to Kentucky. He wrote over 60 books, encouraged inter-religious dialog with the likes of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and others and advocated for pacifism and social justice. He died in 1968 in his early 50’s when he accidentally was electrocuted stepping out of his shower where a running fan had fallen over. (Some say he was assassinated by the CIA.) While I’ve not read his work, I’ve seen this quote below before. And it seems more relevant than ever in 2019.Continue reading
Today was a day that I could have biked, but I didn’t. I could use the sleet and tiny hail that fell on Austin streets today and the cold weather for excuses. But the precipitation didn’t stick to the roads, and it’s not like I’m in Fargo, North Dakota or somewhere actually very cold. With enough layers it can be done. There was my headache, probably due to a lack of sleep. For the latter, I can blame the excellent film Sicario: Day of the Soldado which I stayed up to watch on DVD. Or there was being busy: two friends were over to help start packing for my move, and they gave me a ride to the second half of a how to start your own business class. I walked almost two miles and then just wasn’t feeling like going back out. So I didn’t. It was nice to, um, just chill out.
It’s blog deadline time again. Usually I have no problem coming up with a topic. Tonight I kind of did. I notice my posts tend to fall in several categories: a status report on my biking / walking / yoga / dieting / blogging / book-writing; something educational, entertaining or informative about bicycling; something off-topic but tangentially related to riding a bike; and then the totally random rave, rant or other piece like a movie review. This one is kind of a mix of the first and last. I’m as curious to see where it goes as hopefully you are, and I hope you like the smell of potpourri! Continue reading
Ten days off the bike is the longest break I’ve had since I can remember. It’s possibly the longest stretch sans bici since I began doing long distances back in January of 2015, pre-Strava. It has been hard, sad, relaxing, and other things — just a weird time. And I’m not out of the woods in terms of the medical situation that put me there. Of course, I’m not the only person who’s had to stop activity for a health challenge, of course, and it could be far worse. Some people have crashes (Tour de France, on parle de toi!), surgery, or life-altering issues. I hope I’m not one of them. Physically, there are changes, and there are also psychological ones. That’s what this post is about, so click on through and check it out, already! Continue reading
It’s been eight days since I’ve ridden a bicycle. Why? Heat. Illness. Lastimas. Life. (Lastimas is wounds or injuries in Spanish. So that spells H.I.L.L, doesn’t it? I meant to.) When thought of in this way, it’s another set of obstacles, another rise in the road to climb, something that tests you but also makes you stronger. Part of me is relieved, and lucky to have use of a car. Another part of me is pissed off that I’m losing whatever fitness and form I had. Another is panicking that I may not get it back, or get back to it, or even be able bike at all without more injury or at least pain. Breathing in deeply, I notice I am not riding my bicycle. Breathing out, I notice that I am writing a blog post about not riding my bicycle. Continue reading
What? Hi, who’s talking?
It is I, your Fairdale Weekender Archer bicycle sitting next to you, leaning on this pile of boxes.
Oh, really? I had no idea you – or any bicycle – could speak!
Well, I can’t. It’s really all just in your head.
Am I going crazy?
No, not at all.
Then what’s happening? What’s this about?
Well, I’ve been sitting here for a while, very patiently I might add, and I just evolved into having consciousness and telepathic ability. And I guess I’m just wondering something.
Yeah, what’s that?
The other day I was gifted the use of a car by a super nice friend during their extended summer vacation. It’s promising to be a hotter-than-usual summer here in Central Texas, USA (oh wait, it’s still only spring), so this is a real nice luxury for A Dude. Compared to me on my bike, cars are efficient, fast and comfortable. I can arrive places without being sweaty, tired and gross. Or transport stuff. Take Sunday drives. Drive getaway in exciting capers. (Just kidding!)
The down sides are, as most people know, that cars pollute, lots of other people have them and get in the way, and they cost a lot of money. A problem specific to less gifted bicyclists who gut out the miles anyway (like moi) is that getting out of an air-conditioned vehicle that takes little energy to operate and then onto a bike which takes alot of energy is quite difficult, psychologically speaking. Especially when you’re tired, which I seem to be most of the time these days. A First World dilemma for sure, but it’s real to me who put in seven 100+ mile weeks in a row. So what’s A Dude to do?
I think the title sums it up pretty well. It rained. Alot. I had to go to a job search class and didn’t have the time or patience for the bus. It was only a mile and a half so I rode, but the rains picked up. The skies were thundering and lightning, and I almost had to stop. It is Star Wars Day — May the Fourth Be With You — but gale force winds gusting over 25 mph were against me. It was a blah day, and I was tired as usual, but I pressed on, as I tend to do, for worse or for better. Continue reading
Alternate Your Training to Recover and Avoid Burnout
After 2016’s average 100 miles per week of cycling (see 5,306 Miles in 2016: A Dude Abikes’ Year of Bicycling Vigorously), I received some very good advice from bad-ass bicyclist buddy Bryce who rode over 6,000 miles last year, helped A Dude out on part of an 80-mile ride New Year’s Eve of 2016 — while he was sick! — as well has contributed to a number of my charity rides, is activity with Please Be Kind to Cyclists, and organizes their annual Ride of Silence honoring cyclists killed by cars. I don’t remember the exact words, but they were something like:
“Take some time off the bike. If you don’t really miss it, maybe do some other things. If you do, then get back on.”
Sage words indeed. I did that last year, but not this one. Thanks to my depleted iron stores, I’ve been forced to slow down now. Exercise-induced anemia is a real thing, as this scientific extract from the British Journal of General Practice shows. Apparently my “Epic Velocimania” (4,714 miles in 2017) wore me out more than I knew. The week of severe restriction to fruit, nuts and seeds did not help A Dude’s energy. Continue reading