Sunday, August 27, 2017

When nothing is going right, go left. (Anonymous)

We couldn't ride our bikes all week. It rained. When it wasn't raining, we had workmen at our place. Yeah, we had the gym, yoga, and stuff like that. But, darn it, we need our bike rides to keep grumpiness and insanity at bay.

I'm working on something new. Al is helping me with pacing. While I have tenacity, I lack focus when I'm riding. I should just wear a jersey that says Easily Distracted

Using my power meter info, I simply have to stay in my target power zone. Which is easy for those who don't daydream, or get interested in a conversation, or see a charming garden, or, well, you get the idea. As I said, easily distracted. But Al is patient and I have tenacity, so we are making progress.

Learning to be good with pacing is a very useful skill. When it is just Al, pacing is the skill that will get me to the end of the ride regardless of the length of the ride, the terrain, or the weather conditions. (It becomes even more useful when, in a few weeks, we start doing more long day-after-day rides again.) When the ride is with friends, pacing lets me adjust my pace to make certain everyone on the ride stays together. Stronger riders do this for me all the time. I need to learn the skill so I can pay back the courtesy when the opportunity arises. 

Today the rain chances were low. Time for a bike ride. I might even show a little is focus.

(Don't snicker. It could happen.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Believe you can and you're halfway there. (Theodore Roosevelt)

Today (August 8) is, on average, the hottest day of the summer in Miami. Doing anything physical outside in the heat and humidity saps your energy and leaves you seeking a quiet spot for a nap.

Some people hide in air conditioning. Some jump in their swimming pool. We're like most of our bikey friends. We just go out and ride our bikes. But Al and I have some hot weather adaptations that make riding in heat and humidity more enjoyable for us.

  1. We don't hesitate to slow down a bit. Instead of using speed as a guide, we use effort. Use your power meter if you have one. It makes it easy to be consistent on rides regardless of conditions.
  2. Our Miami riding friends taught us a wonderful hot weather treat: buying a bag of ice part-way through a long ride. While ice won't last long in the heat, filling water bottles with ice mid-ride is truly wonderful. I have no idea if it actually cools down the core of your body, but, trust me, it sure feels like it does. Talk about cheap thrills.
  3. We take breaks in the shade. Someone once told me that being in full sun feels 15 degrees hotter than standing in the shade. I believe it. Breaks in the shade can be the difference between a successful hot weather ride and the ugly experience of bonking from the heat.
  4. We monitor the amount of fluids we are drinking. We don't skimp. Our "summer mix" for our water bottles starts with powdered Gatorade, adds water, a dash of salt, and coffee. The coffee is mainly for flavor, but the caffeine is always nice, too. Also, we carry electrolyte tablets so we can fill up bottles with plain water when Gatorade isn't available.
  5. Last, but not least, we laugh a lot. About anything and everything. Trust me, it helps. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

In times like these it is good to remember that there have always been times like these. (Paul Harvey)

I figured out at an early age that excitement and thrills, like ice cream and cake, are fun in small doses. Large doses were unpleasant.

I spend a lot of time online. It keeps me in touch with family and friends in far away places. Usually I enjoy it. However, this summer I've discovered myself suffering from an overload of drama caused by the constant and unending churning of news and politics. It's everywhere. Even a "safe" group that normally does nothing more dramatic than share their favorite dessert recipes and adorable pictures of the family children and pets, can, out of the blue, start a thread about the political soap opera of the day. There is simply no safe haven.

Al and I are trying to make some changes to our little home. Nothing exciting, but changes which involve shopping, workmen, noise, and messes. We are trying to make these changes while continuing our regular and very pleasant little life. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. We've done this before. Many times before. In many homes, in other places. We understand the ebb and flow of the disruption to our lives that it causes.

So four times a week we roll our bicycles to the elevator, wave to the lobby staff as we leave our building, and pedal off for a long bike ride. It's good to have one constant in life that satisfies and leaves you feeling happy and content.