Logistics and Overnighting

As we ramp up, hopefully to our full plan, flexibility is going to be the key to making all the logistics work. I have several plans for each level covering all of the situations that have occurred to me and feel like we can adapt to the ones that haven’t. The goal that we are hoping for is, of course, to do the full trail in both directions every week for 60 weeks. But, we’ll be happy just to know the idea has any support. So, let’s start with Baby Steps.

Goal

Logistics isn’t complicated at the lowest level. We buy the additional photography equipment needed and use cycling equipment we already own. We check Maps and weather for current conditions and look at our checklists so we bring everything we need. We plan repair and maintenance and additional work to interfere as little as possible with spreading our 60 rides as evenly across 60 or more weeks as possible. We upload and work on rewards.

Stretch Goal

Stretch level remains fairly uncomplicated. We do the same, except for producing and uploading twice as much video. So, we record for twice as long, or make it out twice a week. These two plans just add a photography commitment and increased attention to timing to what we would hope to be doing regardless. I say “just”, but I’m not implying that getting good video will be simple or easy. At this level, we might even vary locations if we get the chance.

Super Stretch Goal

Super Stretch Goal is a big jump up from Stretch in budgeting, planning and commitment. That’s because it moves to hundred plus mile videos, overnight stays, storage and planning, and we’ll need to shift into new recumbent bikes for at least half of our ride time. At this level we’ll be recording the entire length of the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails once a month. We’ll be working with one of the two the weekends that we have available per month, so there’s no loss of work/income required to complete the project at this level.

The primary scenario would for one of us to drive support for the other in one direction, and switch places the next day on the way back. We will spread the rides as evenly across the 12 months as weather and hiccups allow. The drawback is that this is higher impact (carbon emissions) than we want. The positive is that it will definitely get 12 long videos for upload (possibly more) and they will span changing seasons. It’s a fraction of what we want, and the opportunity to catch extraordinary wildlife is much smaller, but it’s a decent accomplishment.

If we can put some of these rides on 3-day weekends, then we could do two overnights. The day of down time would allow both of us to ride both ways on those weekends, and if we have two sets of photography equipment, for those 3-day weekends, we would be briefly operating at our peak goal. We won’t have any control over which weekends are free ones though. Every other weekend is tied up with firm child care commitments. Sometimes that falls on 3-day weekends.

Multipass

This is it, the dream, the mixed blessing of getting what you want. We go there and back, riding both ways every week for 60 weeks. The commitment is 3 full days of time away from home plus somewhere between an additional 10 and 20 other hours per week working on the rewards, the website and posts, along with various other tasks and maintenance. We will pretty much have all of our waking hours committed and our lives will be busy from now while the country is still ravaged by Covid-19 through the decline of the outbreak and past when the hordes come out to enjoy all that they’ve been missing. Through all of that, we’ll still be out there riding. At least I hope the pandemic will end well before the project. I may sound like I’m emphasizing the negatives, but I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t know what a challenge this project will be. For some true athletes, it may seem a small thing, but for me, I’m not an athlete. I’ll come out on the other side a different person in a different place, and hopefully the project will allow other to have a piece of that.

We’ll start on the end of the trail closest to us, the east end, ride out one day, and spend a day in Anniston recovering. This rest day will often be a still photography day for the reward projects, and then ride back on the third day. We will ride our road bikes in one direction, store them and ride the recumbents in the other, or if necessary, convert to the recumbents full time. We’ll need safe parking and storage on the east end, and storage and lodging on the west end. If the hotels closer to the trail are filled, we’ll need transportation on the other end. I’ll be checking the cost of a hotel plus storage against the cost of an efficiency apartment or a house sitting arrangement. A dedicated place would reduce risk of sickness, give a place to store food and a few things that would be good to have on recovery day, and save time with reservation changes when the weather changes. The easier we can make the million small things, the better the project will go.

The level of production for “multipass” could be as high as 4 videos (2 directions X 2 riders with cameras) every week for 60 weeks, or 420 videos, , possibly more if we do 360 degree cameras too. And, that’s what we will plan for, but, we’re committing to 1 video per week to be uploaded as our definition of success. There will be weeks when the weather is bad. There may be injuries or emergencies. Some weeks we may need to revert to one of the simpler scenarios. We’ll be doing 60 weeks. That is in part to get some overlap to make sure we get a year’s worth of video, but we could pick any number above 52 and adjust according to actual conditions. When this project is “complete” we’re not going to be able to quit distance rides cold turkey. We picked 60 because today is my 60th birthday, so it seemed appropriate.

The nice thing about budgeting all of this is that for many of the scenarios, the cost is similar no matter how we do it. That makes the uncertainty very manageable.

Fantasy Island

For this section, Fantasy Island is that someone has a Spartan Carousel on Cheha Mountain. It has a little detached garage or storage building and a truck. They are looking for someone to house sit a day or three a week for a year and a half or so and they don’t mind it we leave some things there while we’re not house sitting. They also know where we can park the truck in a safe spot near the Anniston trailhead so it will be ready to take us there.

Training Tuesday January 19

When I’m riding regularly and I take a break from it, two things happen stamina wise. The first is that I have a few days of high energy. I’m using energy on a much lower level than usual and I have loads of energy to spare. The second is that my cardio fitness level immediately starts to decline, and it feels like I get booted back to my pre-training starting point. I didn’t notice much of the high energy boost that normally comes from time off this time. Things were hectic, stressful and I got sick (We were isolating for Covid Exposure, but I never had a temperature, so that’s not likely what I got).

On the whole, there were some benefits to the break that isolation forced, but my body has always seemed to lose fitness faster than most people in a similar age and fitness range and regain it slower. The third ride marked when things caught up to me. The first two were short and I had some residual energy. The third ride was when the residual energy took a nosedive and the reduced fitness reared its ugly head. I was working hard. I was really stiff, and tired the day after. I had an opportunity to ride that next day and I didn’t take it. I only felt a little bit bad about that.

The third ride also showed some excitement. A rafter of, probably 30, turkeys crossing the trail in front of me. I remember the first time I ever saw a 7 turkeys. I was so excited. Then Russ said “That’s nothing. Wait till I take you to Tennessee.” In Tennessee there were groups of 12 or 20 fairly often in the fields beside the roads. My grandson said “Well, if you think there were 30, then there were probably only 15” when I was telling about it. All I have to say about that is, he should have been there. This was over the top, and they were strolling leisurely when I first saw them. My phone wasn’t in my pocket. As soon as I hit the brakes to get it out of my bike bag they took off like a shot. I don’t know if it was my change in movement, or if the brakes made some noise I couldn’t hear, but they were scattered before I even had my hands on the camera and my gloves that are supposed to work with electronics don’t. I shot footage anyway, just in case I could catch any little bit of what I had just seen. No photo, it didn’t happen, right. Man, I wish I was filming already.

I first thought of the idea of filming rides to capture sights like this and other nature through seasonal changes for people who can’t enjoy them in person on the Big Creek Greenway. The Greenway has a lot more urban encroachment than the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails do in most areas. It is built in a streambed. That’s good urban planning, to put recreational space in a flood zone. It protects the stream and habitat fairly well, and provides some flood water management in a place with no building potential. Because there is so much urban encroachment right up to the greenway, the animal population is more crowded and less skittish around humans. That sometimes makes for more individual sightings. The Silver Comet doesn’t have as much human pressure, but the animals are not as used to people constantly crowding into their space, so you may not actually notice the animals so much out there, even though the urban pressure is much lower. It’s also possible out there to get lost in the ride and miss the wildlife with the wide open stretches. In on the Greenway, the traffic of all kinds really prevents a responsible trail user from checking out mentally, even during non-pandemic crowd levels. I still think sometime that recovery rides on the Greenway would add a nice variety to the mix. Each trail has its benefits. On the Silver Comet you won’t get reliable nearly daily deer sightings. On the Greenway you’re not going to see a giant rafter of turkeys. That was a really awesome first.

Part of what makes this project perfect for Kickstarter is that the Kickstarter process will be in a sense a “market test” of sorts and that test will provide me some invaluable guidance, I will ride as much as I can regardless. As long as I am physically and financially able, I’m going to go out here and ride. How much that happens and whether or not I film it will depend on the Kickstarter. I believe in the video project, but people have to know it exists to make use of it. If the project gets support, then people will know and I will film and press for the max, if it doesn’t, i’ll know that the idea didn’t catch and people wouldn’t have seen it anyway. I have a constant flow of ideas. I have committed to this one, in part to make it through Covid-19 and beyond. In part to help others do the same.

Rewarding Rides

We plan for the rewards for this ride project to be many, both tangible and intangible, personal and shared, from Biophilia to entertainment, we hope to create rewards that just keep on giving, and you don’t even have to support us to get some of them. We also want to go low impact on as many different levels as we can, from all of the choices we make while doing the project, to helping people get some of the benefits of traveling for their ride without having to go anywhere.

We are doing this a bit atypical in that we want to give away what we produce at the goal level. But that’s really the point, to give people something to make their lives better regardless of the level of technology they have. We plan to make that easy by uploading goal level video to Youtube. There is some video already available to people on Youtube, but much of it has music audio instead of natural sounds, so it loses much of the effect and I haven’t found anything that is long like what we want to do, not in duration of the ride nor in the changing of seasons.

We will give three choices in rewards for supporters with an fourth that will become available as stretch goals are made. The rewards are: A digital photo calendar, an iNaturalist listing, or a small personalized bit of our writing talent.

The 2022 Calendar

We will use photographs taken before, after, and possibly during the rides to make several digital calendars to be used as a desktop wallpaper or phone screensavers. Using these calendars will, I hope extend the enjoyment of the trail and the project a bit beyond its primary goal. Every calendar will have 2 choices per month so that you can choose the one you prefer. They will be available for download in December of 2021. Most of the photography in this website was taken with one of our phone cameras. Photography for the calendars will be primarily taken by me with my Nikon D810. I think I could get lost enough in this reward to make it a project on its own. Well, it is, kind of.

The Calendar options will be:

Landscapes: Mostly viewed from the trail, but there are some pretty nice landscapes in the surrounding areas

Wildlife: The best of what we get

Signs: Odd street signs, graffiti, local culture

Sets and Scenery: Places that you may recognize from recent movies and other productions.

The Trail: Landmarks and special spots on the trail, like Brushy Mountain Tunnel and Pumpkinvine Creek Trestle.

Architectural Interest: Buildings or features on buildings that are particularly interesting, unique or beautiful.

iNaturalist Listings

The second choice for rewards is iNaturalist listings. Really, all of my rewards are additional side projects to some degree. I’m offering this one because I think the kind of person my project would appeal to would like this. Also because I know that once I promise it to someone other than myself, I will make the time and do it. It is worth doing. Last year I signed up when it was promoted in relationship to E. O Wilson and his Half Earth Project. Making it an offering in my project is a way of showing appreciation to supporters while committing myself to do the work. This will be limited to 365 listings. I’m calling that a limit of “one per day”. While the project itself will last well longer than that, I think trying to do more would be a mistake. I will do those as I can. I tried to think of a way to let people choose a species, but it seemed too complicated. I’ll be trying to limit the time I spend on any single species to 2 hours and, I don’t know how things will work on my side of this, but there should be a way for me to let you know which species was uploaded for you.

A Poem by Karen or Russ

Did you ever want to have a poetry written just for you? I’m not claiming to be any great talent, but maybe it will be fun. Give us a subject and we’ll try for at least a smile. The first poem I remember writing was:

I am so tired

I would have admired it

If I could have hired

Someone to be tired

For me

I think I was around 2nd grade. My parents were really tired. This popped into my head and out of my mouth. It made them laugh, agree, and tell me I was creative, so I was really proud of myself. I believe is is probably my most appreciated literary work (though I have actually had small works published here and there). Hopefully this will be some silly or sweet fun.

Training Tuesday January 12

We are ecstatic that our isolation has ended, and even happier that no one ever became symptomatic.

We’ve been on one short ride since we gained our freedom. I spent a lot of time over the last two weeks deleting video clips that I think are awful, and naming video clips I might potentially use in part, and setting up other parts of our plan.

We’ve spent too much time absorbing the national news. I feel like riding my bike the way that Forest Gump started running, or finding a deserted island somewhere. I’m afraid to look and afraid to look away.

I’m optimistic about having something good to say in this spot next week. See you Then.

Cameras and Tech

The Cameras

Up to now, I thought, that at the first or lowest goal level, this project would be accomplished with the GpPro Hero Black I already own. But, I went to see if it was a 4 or a 5 while researching some options and discovered that my Gopro camera bag is full of accessories, but no camera. Until now, I hadn’t looked much at new cameras because I didn’t plan to buy one unless we got stretch level funding. As I looked to see what the lost camera would mean to us in terms of dollars, I saw that the newer cameras offered newer options and better features, and there’s a “special” now, putting the price well below what I paid for the older one I lost. As a percentage of total expenses the cameras just aren’t that expensive. If I’m going to put in the kind of time I’m planning on putting in (at any goal level) I should produce the best quality video I can.

We’ll still make upgrades and additional purchases in stages, but one or more cameras is now a given in the lowest level of the project. If we make it past one level, but not to the next, I expect surplus to be spent on recording and other equipment and upgrades. The first priority would be to get cameras on both of us. It would be nice to have a back up for failures, and the extra footage under regular conditions. And of course it will be important to have those cameras be the best possible cameras within whatever price range we end up working. The last thing we’ll do with our camera budget will be to add 360 degree cameras. If we can do that, it will keep the door open for doing a virtual project later.

The Video Challenges

Our three biggest video challenges will be battery life, eliminating sound noise, and finding stabilization solutions, that is, controlling shake or vibration. All three problems seem to have good attainable adaptations, which will be a little different now that we’ll be working with different camera models than the ones I researched. But I expect the solutions to transfer.

There is a way to rig a power supply and it looks like it will work with the Hero 9 too, but I need to look at things anew to be sure. Long lasting battery life will be a big improvement over a stack of batteries. It will allow us to make stops in natural locations instead of when the juice is gone, and it will prevent us from having gaps if we don’t notice the battery running out. Battery usage can be monitored, but that mode uses a lot of energy. Opening up the camera to change the battery also risks introducing trash into the body of the camera, so fewer openings lead to longer camera life. The biggest importance though is in streamlining. This is a big project with a lot of details. We will be exhausted, and I’m sure to regret having the idea in the first place. The more I can streamline the project on the front end to create smooth easy processes, the easier it will be to manage the rough spots when they arise.

Recumbents

The recumbent trikes will be better for carrying extras like the power supply. They will also be lower to the ground, Since we plan to switch back and forth between road bikes and the recumbent trikes for physical reasons. We’ll be experimenting with different set ups before we decide how different the image height will be between the them. I do not anticipate finding a good way to raise the image taken from the recumbent to the same height as the image taken from the road bike. I think if we try to use something like a vertical selfie stick, the unwanted movement will be too much. Here is where I’d really like to have readers who like to film their ride chime in and tell us what we’re doing all wrong, and what we’re planning well. I like the activity of planning, but I’m very happy to learn from others.

Other Tech

I expect that we will stay close to each other as we ride, but maybe not right on top of each other, especially if we both have cameras. We’re looking to make the trail the subject of our film, not either of us. If we’re not side by side, communication will be an important safety need. Russ or I might be only 20 feet apart, but if something happens to the back and the front rider doesn’t notice, that’s like riding alone. I’d like to use something like a Fly 6 or a smart watch that detects a fall and communicates distress immediately. There is also a new Kickstarter communication device called Milo. Sure, we’ll have phones, but the Milo truly is a hands free device. We don’t plan to be chatty in these videos, but being able to convey an emergency or a hazard immediately with hands free is a significant advantage.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island for the cameras and other tech is just being able to assemble or disassemble the gear in 5 minutes or less. It would also be super cool if we found a way to upload remotely in real time as we shoot. The impediments to that are battery power, signal and carrying more devices.

Training Tuesday January 12

We are ecstatic that our isolation has ended, and even happier that no one ever became symptomatic. We’ve been on one short ride since we gained our freedom. I spent a lot of time over the last two weeks deleting video clips that I think are awful, and naming video clips I might potentially use and setting up other parts of our plan.

We’ve spent too much time absorbing the national news. I feel like riding my bike the way that Forest Gump started running, or finding a deserted island somewhere. I’m afraid to look and afraid to look away.

I’m looking forward to having something good to say in this spot next week.

Training Tuesday January 5

Sign on the Equipment Room Door between the Men’s and Women’s Restrooms at Tara Drummond Trailhead

These signs are all over Georgia, on all the doors on all the buildings of businesses and public spaces glaring at you like the warning on a pack of cigarettes.

Isolation came into our lives. We have 2 adults in the household in “essential” work. The exposure that caused our isolation was not caused by their jobs, nor was it caused by any choice that a person in our household made, and while I feel like pouring my heart out (visualize Disney’s Thumper) “If you can’t say sumthin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

It looked like we were going to get through our isolation with no symptoms, but I woke up in the wee hours this morning with a migraine level headache. I wouldn’t take NSAIDs because they can complicate Covid-19, but I wanted to so badly. Migraine Formula Excedrin is as likely as not to knock a migraine out for me. Soon I was running to toss my cookies, maybe it was the headache, but headache and vomiting are also symptoms of Covid-19 that some doctors think are underreported. I didn’t feel like it was Covid, but Russ and I immediately separated anyway. Later this morning I was glazing over while thinking about the details of my will, unable to concentrate on anything well, not able to go back to sleep either. I turned on NPR to get my mind off of dying. I mean really, I didn’t specifically mention my car in the will. I wasn’t planning to still have this car by then, but it would have been stressful for everyone if I had started texting people about the disposition of my property.

By mid afternoon I was able to hold down two tablespoons of fluid and by late afternoon I was eating the banana and crackers I had requested for later tonight and asking for a bowl of rice on top. I can’t wait for toast in the morning. When I get out of bed, I don’t have that awful flu feeling, the one where you feel fine laying there, but when you get up you wonder why you thought it was a good idea to move, even a finger. I actually feel like I could do more. Covid-19 is sometimes misleading, so who knows? It kind of feels like whiplash at the moment. Actually, the month, no, the whole year has felt a bit like whiplash, incredulity and roller coasters. During that brief two or so hours when I was beginning to think it could be Covid, there was a little piece of calm in the center of the storm, and a little of it stayed as I started to feel better. Hopefully, I’m about to sleep now and I’ll wake up better this time.

So, training this week was shot. Next week will be too. By Georgia rules, I can get out of Covid Purgatory if I take a test in a few days, but honestly, this has been so strange. I never even had a fever. I’m going to let them stick that swab up someone else’s nose and give it the no test time period.

Here’s a link from Cycling Weekly on healthy cycling. Stay healthy guys! And, make sure you have a will too.

Footwear

The trails were wet. By the time we left, our shoes had more water in them than I realized they could hold.

Never underestimate the importance of footwear. If your feet work, they are your foundation. They are the metaphoric and literal means by which you take a step forward, and the point that transfers every foot-pound of torque your body can make into the pedals that power your trip to new places.

Shoes

Russ has large feet to support his tall body. They are pretty typical in proportion, so it’s not terribly difficult to find a good fit for him. He likes to clip in, most riders of road bikes do. So while he’s at the top end of sizes, Russ can usually find a decent pair of cycling shoes in one of the many shops around on the same day that he decides he needs a pair. The challenge there is to remember that supply lines aren’t normal, and there’s no telling what the situation will be next time he is ready.

My feet are wide. I have high arches and some issues like pinched nerves and plantar fasciitis. I have to be careful to keep those in check because they could end my riding if I don’t. And, because pain- not good. I don’t want to clip in. I’m awkward and have mediocre balance. I may give it a shot for the efficiency, but I’m a wary reluctant bride who doesn’t want to invest in a fall. Shoes that work well for me don’t seem to stay in production for very long. Sometimes, I choose men’s shoes for the width. I’m not even sure if the Shimano shoes I have now ( pictured above covered in trail gunk) are men’s or women’s. I walked into REI with the last ones and said “Do you still carry these?” The sales rep climbed a ladder and came down with my size. It was the first time buying shoes was easy, and may be the first time I got to wear the same shoes twice in a row. What I like about them first is that they are wide enough. Second, that they have an open honeycomb top sole and even though they look hot, they ride as cool as my sandals did. And lastly, the sole and inner sole are stiff but comfortable. I forgot my socks once and was surprised to find that I could comfortably ride in these without socks. I didn’t feel any of the hardware I don’t use on the bottom, and I didn’t have any blisters.

This photo is about 11 years old. We took it when Keen was doing a “Show us Your Keens” promotion.

The love of my life, as far as cycling shoes goes, was a pair of Keen Cycling Sandals with a footprint like the ones on the left in this review. The big roomy closed toe box was great for protection and my foot shape. It even managed to keep my toes warm enough in cool (but not cold) temperatures. Back then I didn’t notice the softer sole mentioned in the review, but it might have caused me problems as I was using them to train for a century. (To be really clear here, I was training to complete the century, not to win it. My great success was coming in last, just before they closed the kitchen and rolled up the sidewalks, and I’m not even embarrassed by that. We worked hard to accomplish it). I must have bought those Keens at the end of their product cycle. I started looking for a back-up pair long before I finally replaced them. I couldn’t even find the ones on the right anywhere but in places that were selling New Old Stock at triple retail. I eventually found a pair at retail prices. I sized up. They were still too narrow. I have them in my car under the seat as back up for times when I forget to bring my shoes. I used them once since the initial ride. They changed a canceled ride into a short ride.

Socks

I love all the high tech socks woven specially for cycling (or other sports). They feel so good when they’re new, soft and strong. While building mileage like I am now, though, I need simple toe-socks. The first time I worked through the pinched nerves, the podiatrist suggested that I put some separation between my toes. I did all the searches and tried all the toe separator suggestions. Most came with sticky adhesives and none stayed in place. Not even the home grown solutions worked. Then I remembered the toe-socks I bought in Japan. To find a selection in internet searches “Five Fingers Toe Socks” gives the best result. And toe socks were a dream solution, plenty of separation and they stay in place without any sticky adhesives. I like merino wool as well as some others that Injinji makes. They are thick and last well. The ones above are cute and soft. they are a little less thick than all of my injinji socks. I got them to make my granddaughter giggle and can use them as long as my problems are under control. If they get worse though, I’ll be replacing these blue ones below. Sometimes these socks pull at my heel a bit. If you’re looking for some and on the edge for sizes, I’d size up, especially the wool socks that seem to shrink a little over time.

Fantasy Island Footwear

I’d love it if digital printing and maker stations made it to the bicycle shoe store at a price that’s competitive with mass produced economies of scale. People like me with atypical shoe needs could get a great shoe with a great fit at the same price everyone else pays. Perhaps customization of decoration could help to make “normals” want to buy them too. I do actually realize that there is sewing involved and this dream is not nearly so easy as it sounds.

Training Tuesday December 29

This week I was able to ride several days in a row. It was a little cool, but felt really good. Russ wasn’t able to ride much, that didn’t feel good. Then there was a holiday and weather gap. So, it was a lot of riding then a pause.

On the last day before the pause, the Tara Drummond Trailhead provided a first time experience. Llamas! And I wouldn’t have seen them if my day hadn’t become a disaster and rearranged itself.

Tracy Monroe

It was such perfect timing too. Last week while looking for fall photos to publish I noticed how many more I had that looked like summer. I needed to take more pictures. And what to my wondering eyes should appear this week? Well, this week gave me llamas. I’ve been using this trail for 20 years and seen a lot of unusual things out here, really, a lot, but never llamas.

Tracy from Wit’s End Llamas was very nice and knowledgeable. She talked and shared and posed for me. She was out raising awareness for a virtual trek. It will end soon, but if you’re impressed by what you see on these pages, charitable organizations are just as happy to receive your donations when they aren’t actively promoting as they are any other time.

Under the category of “Things I didn’t know”, I saw this while looking at the links on the card she gave me. Did you know that nanobodies exist? That’s pretty cool.

Later in the week we did some work on the project video and liked some of what we did, but still need to shoot a bunch more, a bunch. That’s frustrating, but I’m trying to stay patient and upbeat about it.

See you next week.

Training Tuesday Dec 22

It’s cooling off. The Christmas crush has come, and for me, mostly gone. A few days ago I edited the final dates for expecting Dec 25 delivery from my Etsy shop to now say that everything is backed up at the USPS. Don’t expect new orders by Christmas and don’t expect tracking to be operational either. I have this week off, and while I’m still mega-busy catching up on everything, only weather (and a backlog of chores and overdue home repair) should keep me from riding every day for the next week and editing my video. That’s a good feeling. I look forward to some accomplishment and exercise related endorphins.

The dandelion bloom above was left on the saddle by my grandaughter during the summer to cheer me up. It worked perfectly. This week I switched from that Brooks saddle back to the split seat gel saddle to see what effect that would have. My last three rides were with the split saddle. At first I thought that really helped with the tingling and cramping toes, but the first two rides were short, and now with the most recent, it didn’t seem so much like it helped. Time will tell, and nothing will help as much as getting off a saddle and on to a seat in a recumbent for half my ride time.

I had some right shoulder pain these last few rides. It might be old cycling rotator cuff injuries. I guess I’ve averaged a cycling fall every 2 decades. During 2 of those falls, I caught myself with my right arm, not a dislocations by any means, but each time it was several weeks before I felt semi-normal.

Strength training was always part of the plan. I need the lower back machine just to get through life, and I wanted the strength training to help me with knee strength (and everything else if I fall). I kept my membership at the Y current, but it’s likely been a year since I’ve been in. Once they opened back up, indoor gyms were still listed as higher risk activities. Hopefully the vaccine will provide sustained immunity and be widely used. It’s possible I could be back in the gym by summer.

Fantasy Island

For Fantasy Island training, I would magically acquire multi-millions so I could have home on acres and area without an HOA and with little in the way of zoning requirements so that I could have basement gym of my own for Covid-safe workouts. It would be filled with cybex machines, a water rower, and a lateral elliptical among other things.

Yesterday was the solstice. For the next half a year, the sunshine and my potential time for a ride will increase a little bit every day. I’m looking forward to the new year and hoping that it will be one like no other… in a good way.