I had a week with a lot of prep and grunt work and not as much riding as I would have liked. We’ve done test runs for live streaming and concluded that we can’t do anything about the poor cell coverage in many areas, but we’d still like to offer it to supporters. There will be big gaps, and some of the quality will be low, but it will be extra footage and it will help keep supporters who like live streaming up to date. Real time updates are cool. We won’t be conversational on this streaming. Talking may be cool while streaming, but it would be on the videos too, and it does not matter how good it sounded when you said it, most people get tired of the talk when they play something repeatedly, especially if they like the nature and other ambient sounds.
We don’t have a good mounting system yet, for the streaming.The phone vibrated enough in the Otterbox frame to shut the camera off. Then the GoPro Jaws clamp was what I was using when the phone bounced of the bike and under my rear tire. The jaws mount itself did a decent job, but the multipack of accessories we bought didn’t have enough of the right attachments to connect to the phone to the Jaws.
We’ll start going through some of the other offerings online. The mounts that look promising are $80-$300. It seems like a lot of money, but at the same time cheap insurance if we get something that actually works well and won’t let go. I’m just hoping that I can find a good solution in the front end of choices. Having to test several could be a lot more expensive than the just most expensive choice alone. So, I’d just start with that if I thought “You get what you pay for” was a complete theory on quality and utility. But I don’t. Sometimes the low end product works perfectly well, some times better than the one with confident pricing. Spending just enough money to reduce the chances that spending less will cost us more with repairs, replacements and failures is the story of my budget for this project. In some ways it’s the story of any project, but especially so for this one.
Temps are cooler more often. I’ve added exothermic hand warmers to my kit. We’ll see if the riding vibration sets them off. Some people would find the weight/utility trade off a fail, especially when we’re well above freezing for rides. But I have Raynaud’s, Syndrome and if the gloves ever fail to be warm enough, those hand warmers will be worth all the carries when I didn’t use them. It looks like I have just a mild primary case, but after that one time in South Dakota when I left my hands get way too cold… Well, I do learn.
I’m still wondering how much time to invest in “the busy season that wasn’t” for our Etsy store. I tend to think of the season as pretty much done by December 15th due to shipping realities for small home based businesses, and with all the DeJoy based delay expectation, really, I’m thinking that prepared customers will be done with online shopping from sites like Etsy by the end of November. Yesterday the Etsy platform was down for a while, and now shop items have been turned off for people who have ad blocker. There is no pop up window to deny access to the site or tell visitors why they don’t see items in anyone’s shop though. They just don’t show, and since the rest of the site does, it is doubly confusing. With no outside onsite ads, it’s a curious thing to do and the “busy season” is a curious time to do it. I’m sure that at least some aspect of that will change fairly quickly. I expect that this is a way of doing things that will affect their bottom line as well as sellers’. I was hanging on to hope that I’d be heading in to this video cycling project on the heels of having been wildly busy with the shop. But so far, I’ve had to cancel half of my few orders due to shipping costs. It wasn’t so big or so heavy, but just enough to be over a square foot and headed to Reno. Shipping was $76 for a $28 item. At one time I was slightly worried that when I ran this project with my Etsy link, people would check out the site to confirm that I was a person who worked for happy customers and, since they weren’t likely interested in vintage items, my conversion rate would tank. I’m shifting toward wondering if I should just let all my listings expire. I know a young person who’s about to buy a house, and he loves vintage. I’ve already put aside the things he would love to list later if he doesn’t take them. He might just get a windfall level wedding gift.
I’ll leave you with a quickie cell phone photo. It’s down here at the bottom because it was a gorgeous day when I took this, but it’s not a great photo. I usually think that I have a good eye but there were only these two trees to frame this with and there was an orange plastic construction/silt fence I was avoiding. I wasn’t supposed to step over it, and I didn’t want it in the picture either. I cropped this about 5 different ways and none of them made me any happier. It’s not the photo I’d like to have taken. I’m sure I could have found a good angle of some sort if I’d put time into it, but I was in a rush, and this does show what a truly beautiful fall day it was out at Coot’s Lake on the Silver Comet.
Did you know that there’s a natural lull in the average conversation at twenty minutes? I think it’s related to the average attention span being about that. I had a little bit of a lull recently. It was time, partly because I got this respiratory infection…not that respiratory infection. I’m slow to get well from those, really, really slow. Part of it is because I needed a break. I had a dip in my cycling mileage that was significant enough to miss the cardio endorphins and get a little depressed. It’s strange to me when I get depressed and there’s no emotional cause, feeling it in my body and being aware in my mind, but not having a situational cause out in the real world for the desire to cry. My depression was just a reduction in the normal flow of endorphins produced by exercise.
I’m a little back on track this week, but still not fully recovered. The trail is beautiful with the fall colors and the crackle of leaves has me running sound recording options around in my head while I try to plan the best option for recording fall sounds without ground noise. I may have to put calling the crews and finding out when they will clean the trails into my weekly mix of factors that determine ride days.
The temps have dropped lately. They’re in that range where it would feel warm if it were spring, but since I’ve spent months trying to adjust to the heat, it feels cold instead.
I’ve been using a Buff and other brands of neck gaiters in headband style to cushion the deep red marks left on my skin from my now properly fitted helmet. It’s working well enough that I don’t think I’ll seek a different option for several months. Well, when it gets really cold I’ll want fleece on my ears. Right now, I’m pulling the gaiters down over my ears at temps where I wouldn’t normally bother to cover them and it feels cozy and comfortable. I like it. When the temps rise again, I’ll want something breezier. I’m expecting my warm weather solution to be a sewing project.
We’ll get high resolution focus back on our goals soon, likely this weekend.
The helmet I’ve had my eye on for a while is a Giro Vanquish. Skip down to the features if what you’re interested in is how those features are working for me. And here is one of the reviews I used when considering the purchase. FYI, Amazon didn’t have the price quoted/linked in that review at anytime during the months I was looking, (with the exception of a small size in and undesirable color, which isn’t what the link directs to).
Delays in buying the Vanquish sooner were… well, cost slowed me by about 6 months. I’m price sensitive. Moving to the point of purchase is an easier decision in the lower end price range, but there were other things that slowed the decision too. 1. Stores. 2. The search for other options with a visor/goggles. Was there a helmet with eye protection and additional features? 3. Reluctance to be seen as a poser. And, 4. Venting slits over the eyes.
No stores had the Vanquish when it first caught my eye, so I couldn’t check fit, and once they did, none of them were marketing to me. The sales rep at one store said “I don’t remember the name, but the only thing we have with goggles is for racers”. The name is actually on the box, which was just a few steps away. Another store told me the Vanquish and a commuter helmet with goggles that they also offered were both primarily for velodrome riding (wrong on both counts according to their respective manufacturers).
I’ve benefited from some articles that say “X product is for X rider”, especially in trying to make sense of group set levels as a less knowledgeable rider in the market for a bike that suits the demands of a high mileage project well, and at the same time isn’t more expensive than necessary. It seems to me though, that there’s little reason to keep the marketing or the perceived market for the Vanquish as narrow as it appears to be. People do have to make tough price quality trade-offs, but I think that a lot of people who are not racers and not terribly price sensitive would also find the appeal in this helmet, especially in a market that sells to Silver Comet riders.
The rider I first saw wearing a bike helmet with goggles was wearing a teardrop helmet (which put the idea of not wanting to look like a poser in my mind). Nothing would look more like a poser than to have a less aerodynamic body while sporting the most conspicuously aerodynamic helmet available, the one that few people have seen outside Olympic level training and competition.
I did find other options with visor/goggles. The commuter version had a much lower level of cooling airflow. The MTB version had friction fit goggles and I like the magnetic option better. It seems more durable. I didn’t look at any of the teardrop “coneheads”.
As far as other features in addition to the goggles go, I didn’t find helmets with any. Features I have seen in other helmets that would also be desirable are fall detection and imbedded earbuds. If I ever start to ride on roads, the turn signals and lighting that Lumos developed would be nice too. The Vanquish is very light though, and those things would add some weight, so it’s not a surprise they don’t add it.
It’s super lightweight, and I will likely notice just how light weight it is if I ever go back to something heavier.
It’s cool and breezy. It is supposed to be comparable to a teardrop helmet for reducing drag. Giro is pretty proud of it. I understand why. Some reviews do say that there are other helmets with more airflow. With my tendency toward overheating and the importance of temperature regulation through the head, I may look at some of the others if it seems like I need to when the Georgia heat season meets my century rides. This one is better than the last one though, so I’m expecting the goggles to still be the deciding feature.
The Goggles: The reason I bought it.
They’re everything I expected and I am happy. They do not rest on any part of my face and the lack of ear pieces feels pretty free, just like what I hoped for. The Zeiss logo is in my peripheral vision, just like reviews say. It would be nice not to see that, but I don’t always notice. The goggles do pop off fairly easily, but not so much in actual use, more as it is sitting it the car (unless I forget and try to scratch my nose).
It would be nice if the helmet came with a helmet bag, mostly mesh for evaporation and airflow, but a padded pocket for the goggles (or at least a goggles bag). It’s not something I usually care about, but after my second ride with it, I placed the helmet carefully in the back seat of the car. Later, a back seat passenger later put it in the floor where it got jammed into the seat adjustment rails. My new helmet that I finally bought had gouged lenses in the first week. Replacement lenses are $80. I could take it in between rides, but rides are quite frequent, and the more things that go inside, the more opportunities I have to forget to bring it back out.
I’d like to see the helmet come with more lenses. The darker ones are a bit too dark for the speckled lighting on a treed trail, especially near sunset or sunrise. They have made a lense that is mostly clear, and those new gouges would be less noticable if the clear one had been an option rather than an additional purchase. Polarized options would be nice too.
The eye protection of the visor/goggles is good enough that I open my eyes wider and relax my face much more than with sunglasses. The wider area coverage of the UV protection is a bonus too.
Air Flow Slits
The slits at the top of the goggles could prove to be an issue for me. The slits are there to wash your face in air. I’ve seen some reviews where the reviewer didn’t think the flow was enough. So far, I’ve just been using mine as the temperatures cool moving toward fall, but they do work pretty well for me. In fact, I have dry eye, so my concern is that they might work too well. My problem could be age related, or it could be the amount of riding that I’m doing. It may be manageable, but it’s something to pay attention to. The first time I built up to a century ride, we started in cold months. It caused some seriously dry lips and peeling skin that seemed way too serious to be caused by the riding. But, the dermatologist simply told me to use Aquaphor on my lips and skin. It took a while. I was doubting her, but it worked finally. I still use it.
Now I have drops from the ophthalmologist that I use before and after my rides along with some other treatments. Time will tell how well the drops work and whether or not the slits cause any more drying than I had with sunglasses. As a general rule, in the past, my vision has been better when I ride (with or without glasses). That’s probably the cardio benefit I’m experiencing. And, logically, it seems that if I’m relaxing my face and opening my eyes more, the air circulation isn’t causing a bigger problem than riding without the upper half my face covered. I looked for aerodynamic articles or video to see what the actual air flow of different configurations was, but everything I found was about reducing helmet drag for a competitive advantage and didn’t seem like information that illuminated my questions specific to air flow around the eyes. I do suspect that three slightly smaller slits, one over the nose and two over the temples might be better for me, maybe better for other people too.
The attached goggles, slits and all, provide another benefit that is, maybe, unique to me. I don’t personally like anything on my forehead, probably due in part to the sensitive skin. Since I was old enough to decide for myself, I haven’t even had bangs on my forehead. So, I tend to wear my helmet incorrectly. I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m just uncomfortable and I keep inching it up, then it seems to fit there in that wrong place. People give me grief about it, from strangers, yes, strangers, to my grandson. When they do, I fix it, a little, temporarily. Now that I’m wearing a helmet with attached goggles in a fixed location, it’s easy for me to know how far down on my forehead the helmet should actually go. My eyes go in the middle between the slits above and the bottom of the lens. If I wear it wrong, it doesn’t cover my eyes and now that feels as stupid as it looks. So, this highly advanced helmet does have an unexpected advantage for this challenged rider with user errors.
Why would I be willing to share this embarrassing fact with people I hope will support my project? Well, partly because I hope you’re laughing with me, partly because someone might benefit or learn from my mistakes, and partly because I’m just a 60 year old grandma who’s not trying to be anything except who she is. I started riding a bike before riders were expected to wear helmets (and survived the resulting concussion) and now I’m a little better at meeting safety norma than I was before I got this new helmet. I don’t so much think there are many people out there making the same exact mistake as me, but I do hope that someone looking at me doing this will say “You know, if she can do that, I can do this thing that I want to do.” and that’s more likely if I don’t pretend to be something I’m not.
Now that I’m wearing the helmet properly and lower on my forehead, I’ll need to revisit the headbands I’ve been using. I had a variety for experimentation with my other helmet to relieve the pressure and related acne I was getting along the hairline. I don’t really want to wait to see if that also happens lower down where everyone can see it.
My goal is to choose a single best option to use always, so that the only times I will need to change the helmet fit adjustments will be in the winter when I need heavier fleece cold ear protection. I bought a huge supply of Buffs and Smartwool neck gaiters for riding masked early in the pandemic (before they were found to be the least effective mask to wear, and before masks outdoors were deemed unnecessary). Worn as headbands they are helping to reduce that after ride red spot on my forehead, and they are very easy to move forward of where a normal headband would go. Yesterday, the weather was cool and breezy. It was easy to move the buff down over my ears because I don’t have earpieces anymore. I wouldn’t normally have been looking for ear protection at this temperature, but I was more comfortable having it. The neck gaiters are so versatile, but I expect I’ll be hoping to find something breezier when the summer heat rolls back around.
I was still going to write up last week a day late, but this week came along and blew it right out of me. Russ and I had a commitment to each other to complete the project video this weekend. Then my tech guy came along and suggested that I live stream for engagement. I think I like the word “engagement” in my life now about as much as I liked the words “on task” (as in “needs to be”) when my kids were in school. I said “But my budget is complete. What will it cost?”
I didn’t feel great in the first place. There was a week of rain expected, so we decided to get our second shingles shots while the weather was wet in case it was as bad as the first. The first was draining and caused the biggest reaction I’ve ever had to a vaccine. I hoped the second would be better. DENIED!
So, with bad weather, a miserable body and the holiday shopping season on the way, I was going to work on the Etsy store hard and strong. It’s the small side hustle that I dreamed would become a business one day. My conversion rate is usually good when I’m active in the store and I have a five star review average, but that alone isn’t an indicator of profit. My number of listings vary, depending on whether or not sales are coming in fast enough cover listing fees. If you carry 500 listings, it takes $100 net per quarter to cover the listing fees alone. Usually listing a bunch of items will trigger a sale or two, but during the low seasons it may not be a net gain after fees and expenses. Not being a fan of net losses, I let many listings expire in the off season and build back up for the holiday shopping frenzy. The problem is that the sales aren’t coming this time. I’m a “star seller” with 100 percent scores across all the metrics they use to decide the designation. But, there is a minimum dollar amount and number of sales needed to get/keep the designation and I currently have no sales for October. It is the first time I’ve built the shop up for the holiday season and not triggered sales while building. I’m at a loss, to understanding how I can make a future with Etsy. I’ve had to raise prices because shipping and other costs keep going up. I’ve been on the edge of closing for at least 4 years. I need to keep the store open while I promote this video project so that anyone can see that I’m able and willing to please customers, but I’m less certain than I’ve ever been that can justify being on Etsy next year at this time. Like too many other people, I’m there because I love the idea of what Etsy was and the dream of what it might mean for me if I could make it profitable.
It was while I was contemplating the potential death of my Etsy store that my tech guy brought up streaming. Some time back I was riding alone a lot and I wanted to stream my rides to a single person who’d show the video to the police if anything ever happened to me. It wasn’t feasible then, so it wasn’t on my mind for this, and I felt like it was a little late to be changing things. In truth this project will change constantly, even after it’s funded, but this was a change that interfered with my plan to get the project officially out there very quickly. He is probably right though. Engagement. If we can stream, it should help.
I was physically miserable from the “jab” and still not excited about the disruption in our existing plan when I went west to test stream through areas with low and no signal strength. The weather was questionable and I hadn’t really looked at my tech. I’m a Luddite, until I’m motivated not to be. Once I wanted to be part of a team attempting a world record length balloon flight. I got my HAM license and learned to send packet location data so that I could (we got the record BTW). I’d have to learn it all over again to do it now. I use my phone to call, text and photograph. It doesn’t have games, and until this week, didn’t have social media.
I felt pressure to get on with it though. I was grumbling about putting Facebook on my phone and asking if there wasn’t another way to live stream. I didn’t have good prep or mounting hardware for anything. It started raining at my first choice location just before I pulled up at the Tara Drummond trailhead and the scrape of my worn windshield wipers was grating.
I didn’t want to get the phone soaked and I’d driven too far to give up, so I drove out further where the rain was lighter. At Coot’s Lake the weather was misting and the trail was littered with slippery wet leaves. I had that brain fog that comes with trying to rise to the occasion when you just want to curl up in bed and sleep it off, but I didn’t drive for an hour just to emit greenhouse gases and fight falling asleep on the way home. I needed to accomplish something, so I took the bike off the rack.
I forgot my brand new shiny helmet with the goggles. I forgot to change shoes. I realized that near the car. I was wary of slipping on the wet leaves, but if I went back for them I wasn’t sure I’d actually ride. I left my cheap drug store readers trailside to pick them back up on returning. My bike bags were full. I was taking video of the inside of one bike bags so the phone would stay clean and dry. The plan was to compare any streaming gaps to the network signal strength tester I thought I was running in the background
I went to and through Brushy Mountain Tunnel describing where there were high rocks or open spaces on either side along the way, then just barely into the edge of the Paulding Forest. I stopped to turn around and check to see if I was still streaming. I was. I was streaming black screen with terrible audio to my personal profile instead of the private group we set up for the test. I was trying to fix it all without the glasses I left back near the car. This is when and where I decided it’s time for multifocal contacts. I need to just get over it and learn to stick my fingers in my eyes. I turned everything off and started back to the car. I resolved to pick up my glasses, take a deep breath and start again.
I was still riding very carefully because of the slippery leaves and lack of helmet. I passed a group of people with a Doberman. The person who was supposed to be holding the leash wasn’t. I sped up as much as I was comfortable in the wet leaves while the dog’s leash bounced on the pavement. I don’t know whether I was more afraid of the dog or a fall, but I was aware that it could be a double header. The dog got tired of chasing me while I was still upright and I learned first hand that adrenaline will completely wipe out the feeling of side effects from a vaccine.
I picked up my glasses as I neared the car. I rethought my second attempt. I didn’t want to go back toward the Doberman for a second try any more. After the Doberman, I didn’t want to go in the other direction where the St. Bernard that chased me that one time lives. I loaded up told my peeps I was in the car safe. I thought about going on out to Cedartown and riding even further west, but that’s a long way for someone to drive to rescue me if the day kept on getting worse. The adrenaline had charged me up, but my brain was spent. I just needed to get a handle on dealing with a delay that’s worthwhile. As I drove home, wide awake, the clouds cleared and the blue sky was glorious. I told myself to just enjoy the view and remember that the leaves on the trail still weren’t dry.
I haven’t been happy with the sensitivity level of the glass screen protector my tech guy recommended. Pushing on the glass sometimes makes enough movement to ruin photos. I’ve been really tempted to try a flexible one instead.
Russ and I went back out on Sunday together. We drove to Cedartown and rode west because it’s an iffy signal section of trail that’s really too far out for me to be riding alone. We confirmed that the signal is low in most places and the video quality is poor, but at least we were streaming to the private group this time. While we were out there I ran over a big green walnut with my front tire. The bounce caused my expensive new Galaxy 21 Ultra to dismount and I ran over it with my back tire. I may not like the sensitivity of that hard glass screen protector, but the phone still appears to be fine. I came home and ordered another one.
A lot happened this week. My leg is healing well and only occasionally reminding me that I parted company with my bike while riding. I got in some decent rides and the injury was not my limiting factor for any of them, in fact I find myself going further than I expect. I start off thinking it will be a short ride because I don’t feel that good, and before I know it I’m wondering why I didn’t turn around sooner. I tend not to take breaks when I ride without Russ. That will change, not just because Russ will be with me, but also because we will need to check and maintain camera equipment often.
I ordered the helmet I’ve been considering for a while. I’m pretty happy and going to discuss that in a separate post, just so it’s easy to search. While writing something different this week, I wasn’t able to find out if I had talked about it before. I’ve been having technical difficulties with the page. It seems like I was previously able to search on text, but for now, I’ll make doubly certain it’s searchable.
I did some research on the new Hero Black 10. I’m so glad this camera will be available for the project. I’ll take it as a sign that things are happening in the best way possible. A lot of the reviews seemed a little underwhelmed and looked at them from the perspective of “most users”. I can’t really speak for most users, but for myself, the new differences should matter to me quite a lot. I had hoped this model would allow access for auxiliary power with the battery door closed. It won’t. Hopefully it’s the same size door and I won’t have to wait for after market sources to make a door that allows this and fits the new model. The reason they don’t do that is that more people are interested in the waterproof quality than are interested in access to that port while in use. I do plan to ride in wet conditions if I can and still take good video, but getting the whole ride is the primary goal, and an auxiliary battery will make more sense than carrying enough batteries to change every hour, give or take.
I’m looking forward to a beautiful fall and October has come of the best riding of the year.
Until today, I haven’t been on the bike since Saturday morning (when I went straight and the bike slid off to the right). A four day break will become more common as my rides stretch out to hundred milers. The training plan I linked to recently recommended a week off every month, but then called it more like 5 days off with a lighter ride after 4 days off the bike will become somewhere between a break, and the status quo later. But, Saturday my body was expecting a workout and the fall happened at the start of the ride, so the feeling of losing the training is bigger.
The Roswell section of the Big Creek Greenway has boardwalks, and the boardwalks are “slippery when wet”. I had just gone through some mud on concrete and was feeling good enough about recovering control quickly that I forgot to be extra on guard as I entered the boardwalks and rode through the same spot where I’ve fallen 2 other times. The other two times, riders in front of me caused my falls, but this time I was all alone. I was thinking shortly afterward that all three of my falls in the last 20 or so years had been right there in that spot, but I forgot falling in Louisville, so, it was 3 of 4 falls that have been in that spot.
It was as painless as possible. I wasn’t riding fast because the boardwalks are slippery. One knee hit first, but the landing was almost on all fours, so impact was fairly evenly distributed. I caught myself with my arms on all three of my other falls and pulled my rotator cuff a bit with each one. I was really thankful for the way it happened with minimal pain and injury.
I walked the bike out. I walked a little more in the parking lot. It was a good thing that we took the time. We were planning to ride the trail at this particular time because my grandson had practice for his mountain biking team. Before we knew it, one of his coaches brought him back. He also slid down on the boardwalks, even with his low pressure knobby grippy MTB tires. I walked a short distance a few times on Saturday to help keep me from getting stiff, and a longer distance on Sunday in the rain. At least recuperating from the injury and not being able to ride because of the rain overlapped for both of us. If I had unlimited resources I’d re-build the boardwalks, raising them above flood water level and changing the material. They recently replaced part of the boardwalks. I was sad to see that they didn’t take the opportunity to raise them any at all, or to rework some of the sharp bends that cause problems.
My ride this morning was on the Silver Comet. There are some slippery boardwalks on the Comet too, but none on the section I used. The trails were really wet with puddles and a lot of tree debris, wet leaves, pine cones and dead wood sticks of varying diameter. I walked out without my helmet and it was the first post injury ride, so I was wary. I personally enjoy being helmet free, but I recognize that if I fall, I could regret not having one. I was beginning to feel better, but I cut the ride short. Pushing my body, trail conditions and my luck didn’t seem like the thing to do.
We took our grandson to a Saturday practice for his mountain bike team on Yonah Mountain. Rather than wait, we went over to the hiking trail and did as much as we could in the seriously limited amount of time we had before returning to pick him up. The walk reminded me that one reason building up my cycling mileage was easier the first time is that I was hiking regularly at the time. I had been thinking about the negative reasons more, like aging, but that’s not the whole story.
Sometimes my lightbulbs are a little slow to switch on, but while hiking up Yonah mountain the lack of shoulder issues and the attitude of my saddle free hips brought this decision clearly into focus. The recovery cardio needs to be a true recovery in several senses of the word, and the focus needs to be physically and mentally restorative, not the opportunity for additional video footage I was thinking of at one time. One or two centuries a week will really provide quite enough video, and we need to vary more than just our body positions on the bike. We’ll get significant benefits that keep us riding if we vary the activity as well. Recovery should be the primary purpose of recovery cardio, and with the amount of time we’ll have in the saddle, cross-training is the way to do it best.
There is a pleasant no drive option, so making the switch is not just ideal physically, it’s easily doable.There is a park with a trail near my house. Walking there and doing the loop inside then walking back is just under 5 miles. We may venture out to other places for some variety if there is available time. We live in the Georgia Piedmont Region with reasonable access to Lookout Mountain and Valley, the southern terminus of the AT and the the Blue Ridge. Some of those trails might be doable before or after a photography day which would open up some location options for the still photography.
That was the easiest decision I’ve made for the project.
I’ll be breaking out the Smartwool soon. It is so nice for in between temperatures.
I’ve been heavily editing some of the future posts that will be the framework for our business plan and our rough schedule. It became obvious in the details that one of my plans was going to leave us with no time, not just no time for ourselves, no time to succeed.
The level we dropped was where we tried to do a smaller number of the long rides, but Russ continued to work full time. In trying to find enough training time for Russ over the past year plus, it became clear that the apparent “best compromise” level was really the “doomed to failure” level. I’m sad about that in some ways. I liked having the level in case our real dream didn’t fund. We could still shoot some full videos and do the project on a level that would suit the needs of many users. But, I’m also relieved. I can handle the small ways I might disappoint myself, but something big like a Kickstarter, it would really hurt to fail at that because I put in a level that wasn’t workable. So, in the end, I’m in “It was for the best” mode, and I’ll be looking with increasing scrutiny at other things I need to rework or remove.
We’ve had some hard rains. The Greenway flooded again and was closed to get downed trees off the trail. That cost us a ride. Last year there was a lot of flooding. It left some large stretches with piles of dirt removed from the trails, downed tree debris and scraped understory in a lot of areas. The path was not nearly as pretty as it has been in other years. I was just beginning to see it as largely improved and ready for photos, but with this last flooding, it is beginning to look less camera ready again.
I think that’s about what I have for this week. See you next week.
It’s been an up and down week. Georgia schools started in mid August, so we’ve had plenty of time for the fall sniffles and crud to mix and redistribute (along with Covid). We have a new student in the house, and little fingers go everywhere. So, I’m fighting off the crud, but thankfully, it’s not Covid, yet. I’m really self conscious about the cough though. I want to spontaneously volunteer to strangers through my masked face that I’m thankfully both vaccinated and Covid free.
Georgia is solidly in 4th place for total numbers of cases, and for deaths, due to Covid-19. That’s for overall numbers as well as 28-day numbers, not a place you want to be consistently outpacing 46 other US states. The trails and everything else remain open regardless. My commute out to the closer spot on the trail is taking about as long as it did to go 2 counties out for open trails early in the first year of the pandemic because traffic is heavy again. It’s a strange situation and how people are dealing with it (or not) is even stranger. People are ready for “back to normal” no matter what their stance is on any of it. I hope the vaccine will remain protective for me, and I’ll do what I can to prevent passing anything I can’t detect to anyone else. Based on policies I see now, I don’t anticipate any closed trails over Covid in the foreseeable future.
Weather has been a challenge too, but riding has been nice. Today’s ride was slow to warm up my muscles, then I had a faster finish. I was a lot hotter when I stopped than I realized while riding. That surprised me with the overcast sky and cooler temperatures. It makes me wonder how fast my finish was compared to my average. We will record all the metrics we expect to be relevant to this and future projects once videos begin, but I don’t usually bother to start up any devices to measure ride stats for personal knowledge. Today I would have actually looked at them if Russ had been with me because he does.
We stuck to the gradual 10% (or less) per week build when we first started our pandemic rides. We were in such reduced fitness at the time that it was hard to understand how we got there. This week I found a plan for working up to a century in 12 weeks. I think it’s interesting. We never could have done that last year and the 10% recommendation for gradual pacing is important. It’s basic to maintaining long term stamina. But, we laid firm groundwork over the last year and I think we can adopt a little bit from this second plan too. Our current rides exceed the front end of this 12 week plan, but we’re not doing full centuries yet. Russ works more than 40 hours a week and, being in landscape, his busy seasons are the best riding seasons and his hours ease up when the days shorten and it’s still difficult for him to get in rides on weekdays. I forgot that when I expected the training prep to be more workable for longer than it actually is.
One thing I found nice about this 12 week plan is how doable it feels and there also seems to be some good solid general advice on the page. That reinforced my sense that we did enough training over the last year to be able to swing into century mode on cue. One difference though is that this is a training plan to do a single century at the end of 12 weeks, not a plan to do weekly or twice weekly centuries at the end of 12 weeks. I’m still pretty comfortable though. Our plan we be more like stretching the back third of this plan over the same amount of time and working it to the higher goal. It will fit nicely into our set up needs at the beginning as we prepare everything and get set on both ends of the trails. It’s feeling pretty good to be looking at a big daunting project like this with a healthy, but shrinking level of fear.
August has been full of doing things rather than writing things that are ready to post. The riding has been going well. One day I went out and was hit by three stinging meanies, on my shoulder, on my chest, and the last one was in almost the exact same spot on my lip as the sting I wrote about in my last post, but I did not get stung by any of them. I held my breath a bit each time until I realized I wasn’t hurt, but never had to pull out the benadryl that’s now part of my everyday kit.
It’s been humid southern riding. Moving or removing my bike shorts has been worse than a wet swimsuit on some days. I haven’t suffered much with overheating, and that feels good. A guy came up to me in the parking lot one day as I was loading the bike. I had passed him earlier. He said “You didn’t have to make that hill look so easy!” I thought “What hill?”, but what a I said was that he was on a mountain bike and I was on a road bike (which is easier) and I talked about how much it meant to me to be riding and regaining strength over the pandemic. On the way home, I decided I must have passed him on a long slow hill that I walked up when I first started riding the Silver Comet. back then there was an intersection and you had to stop at the bottom. Now there is a trail bridge and momentum takes half the load. It was a small thing, but it felt good to be in a different place than I was a year and a half ago. I’m probably passing 80% of the riders I see going in my own direction now. That doesn’t mean I’m fast. Fast riders get on, get done and get off. I never even see those riders if they started in front of me. I still can’t call myself a good rider, but I am much stronger than I was, and I’m good enough to complete the project I want to do. It’s a level of accomplishment that feels good, feels on target.
I’ve also been adjusting to changing commitments and getting some personal things done. I have more time available and I’m trying to get my mind and my house ready to shift into full time mode. Part of that is that we just made some major renovations to the house. Another part is working on the Etsy store and getting it ready for the busy season. I’ve been struggling with it, as have a lot of vintage sellers. I’m in a funk. I have a lot of stock, and I’m ready to just give it all away, clear out the basement and Marie Kondo the side gig. I can’t really afford that though. And when I say that I can’t afford that, I’m still fully aware the increasing overhead by way of fees and shipping costs is killing me. I still have a 5-star average review, I’m just working harder than I should be to accomplish it, and… Then every once in a while there’s that one customer, and I just made such a difference for them. That thing that I found and rescued was that thing that reminds them of someone they love and they’ve been looking for for so long.
I’m making a push toward paying a lot more attention to the photography because however much I personally want to do the project on muscle power, it will always be completable on electric power, but there will be few fixes for photography fails. I’ve watched a lot of photo editing videos as well and will watch many more. I’m sure the level of editing I’m willing to do will evolve, and at the same time be different for different projects. To some extent the point is moot. I don’t have editing software yet. In fact the only reason I’m looking at editing instruction instead of photography instruction right now is that I need to choose the editing software. I may end up with the obvious Adobe products, but if I do, I want that to be an educated choice.