Tuesday Trippin’ February 28

The Training

Training is going well, but, living so far from the trail and riding more often is time consuming. There are so many things we feel pressured to complete. After our last three rides Russ has winced when he noticed the time. I don’t like that he feels that pressure, but It feels a little bit confirming for all the times I’ve ridden alone and been shocked that the day got away from me. By the time we load bikes, drinks and gear, dress, drive, ride and reverse the process, then shower, clean bikes gear and kit, it’s a 6-8 hour bite from our day and it isn’t always conveniently placed to better meet other obligations efficiently. Some days it feels like that is all we can accomplish in a day.

The reward for all the time it takes is that Russ is getting happier and happier with his riding. There’s a lot of tough work ahead for both of us, but we’re on target for the project.

Other than really feeling the time it takes on a big level, the most remarkable thing I can think of about this week’s training is the weather.

We’ve been hearing frogs since mid January and last week we saw a snake on the path at Big Creek. Apparently the first snake bite of the year is often reported in January in Georgia, So, they do move around a bit when it’s cold. But, we live in the north end of the state and actually seeing one out on the paved trail in February was a first for me. (This one was non-venomous.) Spring just feels like it came on in a rush.

Two weeks ago I was in severe physical distress when I failed to protect my hands well enough from low temperatures on an early morning ride, and this week I’m so happy about digging out the fingerless gloves, or riding without any, so I can take photos without having to take off the gloves.

You can’t really prioritize riding at the same time that you prioritize getting pics for the website, but some things are worth stopping for. If the electronic sensitive gloves don’t work (and they never do), the time it takes to whip out the phone and take off the gloves usually costs you the shot.

The Project

We’ve been busy, but aren’t ready to share results. You know that day when consistent work comes together in what seems like, but isn’t, a sudden moment? Yeah, we’re not there, but it may be just around the corner. I know we’re accomplishing things and doing good work, but that big rush of satisfaction in getting someplace isn’t here yet.

Our primary non-training foci have been to get 1. The t-shirt researched (which brand to offer, which company to use for screen printing, how to promote it) and out there. 2. Prep for our big stock reduction sale. 3. Do the million little things that that finish off websites, campaigns and projects. It’s those things that show planning, preparation and readiness for the success that we’re working on.

Until next week, have a Glorious Day, and we’ll see you on the trail!

Endurance Bikes 2023

Many project decisions have been clear and easy, but bicycles are the difficult exception. Until the project I never paid attention to bicycle features unless I had to buy one. Then I just went to a local bike shop and let them tell me what I wanted for my purpose and price range. That price range has never been top dollar. I like my current Giant Avail. In a trusted shop, asking the experts is not a bad way to go. For our purpose, I’ve confirmed with more exploration that our bikes are the best option in the price range. But, they are 9 years old, and everything is pretty worn, again. While it makes sense to keep it in operating condition for a back up, it doesn’t have the features that will make the project better. A new bike seems the way to go, but in a crowdfunded project, it’s not just the right decision that matters, it’s also how apparent it it that you’ve made a considered and appropriate choice and you can get that across. Pricing is a big part of that…and, there’s such a spectrum, in users, use, and price sensitivity.

Searching “How much does the average bike cost” returns this article suggesting an entry level quality used bike at $1,000-2500. But then, our use will be far from average. For instance: while trying to find out if my cables should need replacing now, I worded the search badly and got the answer that they should last 20 years, but that article also mentioned that the average bike was ridden 200 miles in the first 5 years and 200 more in the next 15. There was a time when I looked like that average, but my tires aren’t dry rotting in the garage anymore. I’m wearing them out. And, I’m adjusting to a new perspective. While it seemed like this set of cables was prematurely needed, I do have the 2-3000 miles on them that they are supposed to last. Mileage is the metric more relevant to the project and my current use. I’ll likely never reach that place where the cost of my bike eclipses the cost of my car, but over the next year or two, I may ride as many miles as many of the people who do.

Used Bikes

The pandemic, wreaked havoc with bike availability, so I’ve been watching things shift and considering every option. Now that wave of unavailability could produce a wave of used bikes from people who didn’t keep riding, or those who moved up into more expensive bikes. Reviews like this one have helped with information as simple as what size is available in a certain make and model. I liked the fit of my large women’s bike when I got the Avail, but not many bikes come in a women’s large. Part of my trouble in even finding a used bike was not realizing that my search criteria didn’t exist.

For size, going used probably puts me in a mens or unisex bike (which I might end up doing in a new bike as well). Another part of my lack of confidence in getting a used men’s (or women’s) bike is related, fit. Not having the knowledgeable advice of a local bike shop for fit is suboptimal, especially when we plan to spend so much time on the trail. That advice could probably be hired, but it would be a matter of taking someone with you and seeing if that one bike we went to look at fit well enough. There would be no “actually this other bike fits you better” in that scenario. Over the kind of miles we’re doing, the better fit is important to keep us riding. Small departures from the optimal fit wear on a body over the miles.

While in concept, I have no problem with used bikes. (My childhood bikes were second hand. I saved up in high school to get the first new one, a bike with “speeds” I got from Kmart.) The only second hand bike I ever bought myself was a Fuji to leave at Russ’s parents house to ride while visiting. I took it in for a check up and the bike shop recommended more in work than an entry level bike would cost. I didn’t intend to have that much in a stashed bike and ended up riding it only a few times just as it was. It was less trouble than carrying my own and less money than a rental or two, but I’m not sure the bike really needed that much. I know more now, but the experience made me leery of a repeat and project needs are quite different from “Getting a ride in while you’re away”. All these things together mean it likely that I’ll end up on a new bike.

New Bikes

I haven’t spent much time considering a belt drive. It’s not a competitive race so the 5% loss in efficiency does not bother me and the extra quietness is appealing, but there isn’t really any discussion on them in the groups and I just haven’t taken the extra time to explore the makers and the models.

The tubes or tubeless tire decision may be initially made by what ever comes on the bike we end up with and changed after those wear out if we feel the need. Five other criteria have really simplified the optimal endurance bike decision. 1. Full carbon frame for the smoother ride so that the cameras vibrate less. That’s easier on the riders too. 2. A fork that accepts wider tires in case we decide to smooth the ride further. 3. Disc brakes because the longer duration of our rides increase the chances of all weather rides. 4. Electronic shifting for smoother faster shifting and less noise on the video. 5. It has to be available in the right size. It’s obvious from a distance that Russ’s 6’6″ height makes fitting a bike a challenge, but it’s less so with me. I don’t feel so very tall. I spend plenty of time around men and women taller than 6 ft, but the average woman in the US. is 5′ 3.7″ inches. I’m almost 5 inches taller than that.

Those criteria pretty much narrow things to two bikes for me. The Cannondale Synapse, or the Trek Domane. The Synapse has some uniquely handy features, but also some I don’t want. I’m leaning toward the Domane right now. That little storage compartment on the Domane feels hyped and gimmicky, but I think it is actually pretty useful. Having my carry along bike pump tucked away (downsized and stowed in an anti rattle sleeve) out of the weather and trail grit makes it last longer. Even if I decide I still need the bigger pump, the compartment is pretty handy for tools and small electronics too. It’s not enough space for everything we’ll need to carry but it will help. They’re both good bikes. Small differences will make the decision.

Russ’ height limits him considerably in choices. I can move into a men’s or unisex bike and still have a lot of options, but he’s on the high end of humans.

All the bikes get a lot more expensive fast as features are added and my comfort zone is in not having the bike that thieves most want to steal and It looks like either bike with my chosen features will really push what I’ve allowed for a bike, as well as the extra I’ve allowed for the unexpected.

When looking at my trade offs, electronic shifting hits the cutting block first. Some people think it’s the future, and I hear that manufacturers plan to stop making the more expensive group sets (replacement wear parts) for bikes that don’t have it. I may adapt, but my feeling is that once the project is over, I’m not going to want a bike with electronic shifting anymore. The idea of having to charge a bike that doesn’t have pedal assist ahead of time in order to be able to ride seems impractical to me (and if it were the Synapse, the “always on” headlight and the integrated Garmin Varia will require even more energy). I know. There was a time when I thought seat warmers in the car were ridiculous too, but I sure have enjoyed them this winter, especially when my back aches or after a cold ride.

What ever bike I choose may be the best friend I can’t part with before this is over. Even if that happens, I see myself keeping a trusty simple mechanical bike that doesn’t require anything but pedal power ready to ride at any time. We’ll see how it all works out. Hopefully the search for comfort zone endurance bikes will fit our budget, bodies and needs.

Tuesday Trippin’ January 17

The hits keep coming. The car died. I’ll get to find out sometime tomorrow if it is worse than a dead battery, and Ill get a second opinion on that 5K of work that the dealer recommended too.

If you ask me now how things were going to work out, I wouldn’t know how to answer, or even what to base my guess on.

We got more riding together this week than we have had in some time. That felt good, and helps to deal with stress but that wasn’t as much for me as I was getting a month ago.

We went out to the area between Coots Lake Trailhead and Paulding Forest to test signal strength. Ting was better than AT&T, but both were limited. I’ll probably put the images of the readings up next week.

I have no idea if our submission task list will be complete in a useful time frame. This week has been mostly more of the same as last week, but with continued intense frustration over wanting to be upbeat and positive, but not having bigger progress to report here.

Until next week, have a glorious day, and we’ll see you on the trail.

What to Leave In, What to Take Out

This project is for collecting a lot of video and uploading some of it to Youtube for other people to enjoy. It’s not a video processing project. That doesn’t mean we might not take something out of a video we choose to upload, but there’s no ignoring makes things the best we can from the start with the belief it will all be taken care of in post.

Here’s a list of how we plan to handle what to leave in and what to take out. This is, of course, for things we notice. There is going to be so much video. We won’t be able to look at it all, and we may not notice everything that gets captured off in the distance (or close by) while we are riding.

Of the things I’ve listed under “Take Out” the only one I’ve personally seen in over 20 years of riding out there, is the accident. I have seen a rider taken away in an ambulance from an accident that involved no foul play. And, I’ve also seen a rider that probably shouldn’t have gotten back on his bike.

I edit everything constantly. It’s one reason I take so long to write anything. This is likely to be edited often for a while, but any edits after video starts will have a date and probably a reason as well..

What we will leave in

Creepy crawlies, including snakes

Hazards along the trail

The sewerage treatment plant, trash mountain, roads and construction

People who appear to be homeless

What We’ll Take Out

Serious illegal or criminal activities that get caught on video


Accidents that result in significant injury

Any intensely personal moments we notice that a person wouldn’t want to share with the world (like if we ever notice someone doing more than kissing and taking selfies up on that giant boulder where couples climb to kiss and take selfies.)

Any intentionally sensational or attention seeking behaviors (we could decide to put that elsewhere, but the videos have a different purpose)

Intentionally offensive acts

Maybe, Maybe Not

If we have to walk up Trash Mountain (steep hill beside the landfill) we may remove it because it’s not very interesting and messes up the mental pace for someone using the video for a work out.

Politically motivated signs or activities (Because people will be using this for escape, not getting triggered).

I haven’t decided what to do about intersections. They are important to observe properly in real life. I leave the proper stop in, but they may could represent a mental slow down at an inconvenient time for a home work out. They will be at roughly the same position in every video, only shifting due to variations in riding speed. It wouldn’t be that difficult to delete them and a little bit of video leading up to them, but that would have a skip in it. I could put it up for a user vote, or do some of each. I’ll probably leave it in.

Tuesday Trippin’ January 26

I’ve changed the name. I tend to write about more than just training, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Russ has been lucky to ride a little more than usual this week. That’s great for training over all, because he’s my riding video partner and if he can’t make the long rides when it’s time for them to start, then he’ll be doing support in the car. That won’t be low a impact start, and it won’t allow two camera set ups. So, it makes me pretty happy.

His big toe is still multicolor from the cycling accident he had in early November, but he says it’s pain free.

I’ve been pretty happy since the isolation break. Often the kind of foot problems that I have get worse with sporadic exercise. I was expecting to hurt, but everything’s fine, even on the longest ride I’ve had. That makes me feel good about my overall progress and increasing readiness, and I’ll be trying to remember my stretches to keep it that way.

The training ride at the Greenway was pretty crowded, and someone needed an ambulance. It was the first time we had to yield for an ambulance driving ON the trail there. I’ve seen a much larger than normal number of ambulances all over this week.

There wasn’t a lot of other excitement this week, other than that we got to ride plenty. The general goal over the winter has been to keep mileage around a hundred miles a week and to reduce the number of rides it takes to get there. I’ve been fairly on target with that with the exception of our two week isolation period. Today is my birthday, I’m 60 and this is the year of this 60 week project. I’m reaffirming my goal. From here until the official video begins I’ll do at least 100 miles a week, and by the end of February, I’ll be doing that in 2 rides or less. I’ll do that for the next year, riding a minimum of 5200 miles, even if the project doesn’t make.

So, I’ve changed the name, and written this week only about training. That’s ok. I had to make trips to train.

Rewarding Rides

Our project is atypical in (at least) two ways. The first, this project will appeal to a wide variety of people for very different reasons. That makes it difficult to focus the campaign. And, second, we want to give away the project video. Making it an easily accessible resource and giving people something to make their lives better at most levels of personal technology really is what it’s about. But we need supporter rewards, so, they are side projects.

That’s right. All of our supporter rewards are additional side projects. Not all supporters are looking for intangible rewards. We need a lot of supporters so it’s important to give them something no one else can get, so we came up with great rewards to appeal to a wide range of supporters. There should be something for anyone. The choices are: Streamed Rides, Monthly sets of Meditation loops, One of several digital photo groups for desktop or phone wallpaper, a wee bit of poetry or prose, and last, for a little bit of giving back, we can do a trail species upload on iNaturalist.

Category 1: Streaming the Rides

Our tech guy recommended streaming, so we’re offering streaming. There are are cell towers visible all along the way. The trail follows loosely along a significant highway, but there are still some low signal areas over the course we will be covering, it won’t be perfect, or even have complete coverage. There will be gaps. And it will be just an hour or two per week if funding stays in the lower levels.

We decided the positives outweigh the negatives and will offer it anyway. Streaming is popular and the up side is that supporters who opt for streaming will get video earlier, from a different camera, and they’ll get two directions every week, where people who don’t choose streaming will just get one video and it will be later.

How we offer it will depend on how many people sign up and some other parameters. It will probably be offered to a closed FB group, but we will do something better if it becomes practical. YouTube could be a potential if we get enough followers there, and there are other options. The video will stream from its own camera. At this time, we don’t foresee an upper limit to the number of people who can sign up for this, but it requires 750 supporters to “make”.

Cost: $100, which is 96 cents per stream if we finish in 104 rides over 52 weeks. There will be weather and other unpredictable events. The actual number of streams could be more or less.

Category 2: Monthly Meditation or Stress Relief Video Loops

We will make available for download 3 video loops per month for 12 months (or 18 months if 3000 or more supporters choose this reward).

You can sit in front of the video in a lotus (or any other) pose. You can project them on the ceiling and listen as you fall asleep, you can play it in the background while you work. You can play them on any screen in the house while you are home, or to set the mood while you are your house for sale, whenever and wherever you want, play it for mood improvement, entertainment or a little escape.

The videos will be taken in, or near project locations. This will include the trail itself, trails where we take recovery walks, or nearby areas of interest in Georgia and Alabama. Area trails in Alabama include the highest peak in Alabama and trails that may become a part of the Appalachian Trail extension.

The location and a bit about it will be included with each loop so that you can have a sense of place if you want to add that to your experience, and if I get to go to the beach anytime during the project, I’ll throw in a shore loop for extra because shore sounds are wonderful. At least 1 loop per month will include water sounds of some type.

Cost: $60 which is $1.67 per video loop if under 3000 people sign up and $1.11 per loop if more than 3000 people sign up.

Category 3: Photography, Digital 2022/2023 Wallpaper

Photographs of the trail or local areas to be used as a desktop, tablet or phone wallpaper or to add to a collection of scrolling screensaver photos. Using photographs I’ve taken over the course of the project can remind backers that they helped someone pursue a dream, remember their own joy from being on this or other trails. As a wallpaper for a screen, these photographs might b a great conversation starter or just give supporters a collection of pleasant things to look at.

Most of the still photographs on this site to date were taken with one of our phone cameras, and If that is what I have when I capture the shot I want to, that’s what it will be, but I expect most still shots to be primarily taken with my Nikon D810. I will be acquiring photo editing software. I don’t know how much I’ll use it. I’ll shoot RAW with the Nikon. There will be some editing. but I don’t like the idea of producing surreal images that are passed for natural. I even see excessive amounts dodging and burning as skewing a viewers sense of the real. I may offer a section of artsy stuff, but for the most part, this project is about making a what’s real outside enjoyable inside. The exception to using the phone camera and the D 810 will be “Best of” screen shots taken from our video. Those will come straight from the GoPro.

I think I could get lost enough in this reward to make it a project on its own. Well, it is already, kind of.

We’ll send a link at the end of every quarter for 5 quarters beginning when funding finalizes. There will be, available for download, at least three of our favorite shots and they’ll come with a creative commons license. More categories will unlock as we progress through the levels. Our reward prices are low and our budget is a stretch, so we’re offering an incentive.

If we get 2500 backers for each photo reward category below, we’ll make our top funding goal from this reward alone. That’s out happy place, so for each photo reward, we’ll add another 2 quarterly downloads for a total of 7 quarters.

Options will be:

“Animals and Best of Video Stills” I saw a squirrel running up a stump beside me as a rode the other day. It was so cute, but not the kind of thing you can capture with a still camera. It might have made a good still captured from a video if I had cameras running. That’s the kind of thing we’ll do here, take the stuff that we wouldn’t have gotten any other way. The photos in all categories will likely get better as funding levels increase because the top level puts us on the trail for the most hours, and the more time we spend out there, the more likely we are to capture the spectacular.

Landscapes and Covered Bridges:  This category is inspired by two covered bridges near the trail and countless beautiful landscapes seen from the trail, or on the way to the trail. Many of our photos will be as viewed from the trail, but there are some pretty nice landscapes in the surrounding areas. Driving out to the counties with open trails during the pandemic was a trip, but it had therapeutic elements and great views.

Like the other categories, if we get 2500 backers for this reward category, the photos increase to cover 9 quarters. In addition, if we get 3500 backers the number of covered bridges will expand to include all accessible covered bridges on the National Historic Register in Georgia. Some of them are a little non-traditional, and I think one is a site where the bridge once was, but last I checked there were 16. If we get 4500 backers, we will add in the 11 historic covered bridges in Alabama.

Plants and Flowers will unlock when after we make goal and move toward stretch funding. We will take photos of any plants that are beautiful, interesting or strange and will tell you about them if we know, or can find out. We tend to appreciate native plants for their role in stabilizing ecosystems, so those will be prominent in our selections. Plants are at the bottom of the food chain, through photosynthesis they feed us all. Strong, beautiful and necessary, they aren’t just nice to look at. They make all of this possible.

“Local Sights and Culture, Movies and Architecture” With the only Georgia slate mine still in operation, Rockmart has slate roof construction from way back, but that’s just one example of the unique character makes great favorite spots and sometimes movie sets throughout the area. There are unique sites in this category all around. This category and the next will become available when we make stretch goal and are moving toward super stretch.

“Signs” We see all kinds of signs. Funny signs, serious signs, signs that would make Bill Engvall laugh, from incredulous themes to signs that are beautiful, from street names to hand made signs everywhere. We may do some artistic alteration on some of these.  2500 backers in this, or any, category adds two extra quarterly links with photographs.

Cost: $30 which is $2 per photo or $1.40 if your category gets the 2500 supporters that bring extra photos.

Category 4: High Intensity Interval (HIIT) Training Videos

We’ll produce 52 videos, 30 minutes each, designed for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). During a high intensity time frame the trail will be going by fast, then for the low intensity segment it will go by more slowly. We’ll stick with popular time intervals, but won’t make them all the same and put a noise in to sound the change. We’ll keep them as close to one week intervals as conditions permit. We need 200 supporters for this reward to make and if we get 2000 supporters we will double the reward to do 2 per week for a total of 104. These will be unedited like the YouTube videos. We’ll just add a signal tone for the time intervals.

Cost: $78 which is $1.50 per video, or 75 cents if we get 2000 supporters for this reward.

Category 5: A Poem by Karen or Russ

Did you ever want to have poetry written just for you, or someone you love? We’ll write you a short bit of verse on the not too shady subject of your choice. We will do Haikus with a limit of 400 Haiku rewards, or 20 lines of free verse with a limit of100 free versa rewards.

This will be an adventure. Dad was a writer, professionally and personally. He used to surprise Mom with sweet or funny poetry from time to time, so poetry and prose are in my circle of life, but I personally haven’t really written verse as an adult. Not any that I recall anyway. I do remember what was probably my first attempt at poetry. I was around second 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. And, I think this first poem could become pretty relevant to describe my feelings about the project.

So, here it is, a rare sample of my early work, the first poem I remember writing:

I am so tired

I would have admired


If I could have hired

Someone to be tired

For me

Tell us in 50 words or less what you’d like us to write about, and whether it’s alright if we share it on the website. We’ll take these in the order we receive them. We’ll start before full rides are up and happening, but delivery on these may be spread across the project and all should be delivered before the project is complete.

Haiku $40, limit 400,  20 lines of free verse $75, limit 100

Rewards Category 6: iNaturalist Listings

We will upload a species located on the trails and nearby areas to iNaturalist. We’re offering this one because it is a way of giving back to the trail and natural setting we are out to record. We think it will appeal to many people who would like our project.

We chose iNaturalist for the database to use because of its relationship to E. O Wilson and his Half Earth Project. I signed up when it was promoted on his birthday, and now it will be a memorial tribute. Making it an offering in our project is a way of showing appreciation to supporters while committing to someone else to do the work.

This reward is individually time intensive, so it will be limited to 365 listings that may be uploaded by either one of us. I’m calling that a limit of “one per day”, though we plan for the actual project to last longer, I think trying to do more would be a mistake. I’ll be trying to limit the time we spend on photographing, identifying and uploading any single species to 2 hours.

If you are the first person to support this reward, the first upload to iNaturalist is yours, second upload is for the second supporter, and so on. We’ll send an email when yours is posted and let you know what number and species it is. My guess, between choosing, photographing, counting, communication and other miscellaneous parts of the task, it will take an average of 2 hours per listing. Some species will be well known local natives. We will start filling these as soon as the first level makes, but also hoping to see more unique species as well.

I tried to think of a way to let people choose a species, but it seemed too complicated.

Cost: $30

Rewards Category Extra: Multi-use Multi-user Trail Safety Video Link

I’ve read those rules posted trailside at more than one trail, but have you ever seen anyone else reading them? What I have seen is a lot of people doing things thoughtlessly. All those trail users in a bubble not thinking about the needs, mindset or limitations of other users. Sometimes it is hilarious, but I’ve seen an ambulance drive down more than one trail to retrieve someone and I think everyone has seen a ghost bike.

Ghost bikes are not funny, but our goal will be to make a video that is, one funny enough to be very sharable so that people will pay attention, learn to look at things from every other trail users perspective and avoid causing or feeling pain, especially on the ghost bike level. It will automatically come with a creative commons license for supporters who choose this reward. We will get feedback from biking organizations before releasing. We’ve been out there a lot on the trails, but we want the best advice we can get to make this something that gives the best advice.

I’m listing this close to the top, but it will be the last thing that we produce. We’ll work on it a little along all the way through, but save it for the end because, as sure as we finish it ahead of time, there will be that perfect something that should go in it, and Russ’s new video editing skills will be at top level by then too. That means it will be 18 months to two years out.

Cost: $0

*This article was heavily edited after changing some of the rewards. How much to edit has been a difficult decision. Showing progression of the project planning and preparation is important, but in a category that sets supporter expectations, having old articles that say something different from our final rewards could be confusing and lead to mistaken expectations.

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.

Karen Goes, Cycling

I’m not an athlete, but riding a bike has been a part of my life since my sister promised she wouldn’t let go, then I rounded the cul de sac and saw her down the street. When I was in high school, I’d ride up to the nursing home to play checkers with my great-grandmother. It made her smile so big. Then there was the time I rode my bike over to the next town where they had a Pizza Hut back before I knew anyone else who would do something like that.

Later, I rode my bike to campus at the first college I attended. I’ve used cycling to work my way through some of the most demanding stresses of my life, but building up to rides that are more challenging has been relatively recent. We did a century for Russ’ birthday one year. There were sights in the countryside I wanted to photograph during the ride, but I was busy riding, and it was too far to drive back later….too far to drive someplace I just went on my bike. That was a strange new feeling.

City traffic keeps most of my miles on local trails, and I get to see nature that awes me. One day in the Paulding Forest a pileated woodpecker flew beside me for 20 yards while I was riding the Silver Comet Trail, and the turkeys out there… Usually when they’re out, I only see 1 or 2, but one day I saw a rafter so big, I’m not even going to give the number. You won’t believe it.

Before the pandemic I was riding more on Big Creek Greenway, a path in a stream bed north of Atlanta. I didn’t know there were otters at Big Creek until I saw them there. One of the coolest sights was when a Great Blue Heron flew from the stream below to rest on the railing of a bridge I was approaching, and then, just as I made it onto the bridge, it flew on across, about 10 feet from me. It would have been nice to have a picture to share. Deer are often out on many trails and very popular with trail users.

My interest in photography is almost as long-term as my cycling, but personally, I don’t always choose to try for a shot. Sometimes I choose to live it. For Example, one time I took a member tour with my children at the zoo early in the morning. The male lion came right up to the thick plexiglass. He stretched up and put his paws on the glass above their heads. There he was nose to nose with my children. Neither backed away, they just returned his gaze. I had my camera around my neck. I briefly thought about a picture, but I didn’t want to live that moment from behind the camera. I’ve seen some cool things on the trail though, and I want to record the ones I see next for other people to enjoy and the only way I’ll get some of them is if the camera is always going.

Sometimes the interesting things I see are people, all kinds. A person on stilts, on a penny farthing, a unicycle, a guy on a home made stand up bike with no seat, from the near exhibitionist to an introvert walking with his head buried in a textbook. They all come out to enjoy the trail.

One day noticing a woman tethered to her phone (not as in listening to great music and working out in the zone, but, as in, really never letting go of being connected to the device). I wondered, do those people get the same benefits from being out on the trail as people who are attuned to their surroundings, or is it merely cardio benefits and vitamin D for them? And, where do the less obvious benefits of being in nature come from? I listened to Nature Fix by Florence Williams after I heard about it on a radio program, but that was just timing. There are so many other books dating from “When we began to see ourselves as separate from nature”. I read other books too.

I thought; the person who isn’t connected to some of the benefit of being in nature misses out on some of the physical and mental health benefits (and some of the safety in being alert). That’s a choice people make, and they get what they are looking for from the choice. That’s okay. But, I got to thinking about people who are in the opposite situation, people who would be fully in the environment if they were able. Maybe there’s a way for people who are homebound or don’t have the resources to get out in nature regularly to gather some benefits of being outdoors.

Personally, I don’t just manage to get myself back on the bike when the outdoors is part of the picture, I want to (most days) ;). How can people who would attend to nature and their surroundings if they could be there get some of those benefits? What if I video, a large amount of trail time and captured some of the more extraordinary wildlife sightings as well as changing seasons to provide a varied distraction for people to watch while exercising, meditating, or even as background mood while they are working?

Video doesn’t capture the whole outdoor experience and it can’t provide all of the outdoor benefits. But, it can offer sights and sounds. At bare minimum, video with natural audio could help provide a more enjoyable experience for people doing indoor cardio, people who can’t get out, or can’t get out as often as they need or want. Maybe it will help them with the motivation to get back on that stationary bike or other cardio machine. It’s a good option for background noise while meditating, doing anything really, It could even be used for some types of natural or social science with species counts or other observation counts.

I want to collect video that could be used to give a varied seasonal experience for the homebound, or those who don’t get to travel for trails as much as they’d like to, an experience that is closer to the nature happening just outside the window. Whether it is used for the natural aspects, or as just a resource enough different from whatever they are already doing to help with motivation, it could be useful to so many different purposes.

I remember being on the staircase in my last house. My knees made a gravely grinding noise that my daughter heard. I knew I had bad knees, but I didn’t know they were so loud. Since starting to ride longer distances regularly, they don’t make noise, and they only hurt when I’m not riding, or when I’m building up after a break. They were grinding 30 years ago and now they aren’t. That seems like plenty of motivation, but it’s pretty easy to think right now is not the time. I have this other thing to do. If I couldn’t cycle outdoors, I’m not sure I’d have the motivation to keep going. It seems like having better knees would be enough, but people really aren’t going to continue to do things they can’t find a way to enjoy or at least tolerate. If my video helps people who have my problem or some other problem, those who can’t get out there in person to get out there in spirit, that would make me pretty happy. The more people I could help the better.

A base goal is just the start. It would be to film a roughly hour long ride. At the lowest level of funding, the project would provide equipment, subsidize rides that I already take, commit me to filming them and commit me to producing rewards. I would capture video that would provide an experience for people that changes weekly with the seasons. Stretching that single hour to video the full Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails is the whole plan though. That is the target I have my sights set on.

I had been building up to my plan, researching successful Kickstarters. There are really so many articles out there and personal stories out there with business advice, personal advice and breakdowns on all the ways running a Kickstarter is different from what many people expect. But, soon after the shelter in place order was official trails closed across the state , or had controlled access due to overcrowding. Big Creek was overcrowded, but not closed. The Silver Comet was closed in the two closest counties. The plan needed to be altered before I even got it out in front of people and I thought my project was on indefinite hold. I settled into sheltering. And, I thought I was doing fine.

I was so wrong.

A friend posted about going out past the two closed counties to ride the Silver Comet (SC) where it was open. She’s someone I’ve worked Support and Gear (SAG) for on overnight rides for the entire length of Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails. Together they make the longest paved paved path in the Rails to Trails (RTT) system that’s ridable year ’round. I’ve always tried to limit the amount of gas and transportation expense I was willing to use in order to cycle. It seemed too much to drive that far for a bike ride, and spending more time in the car than I do on the trail is not desirable.

But, after the second time she posted about it, she told me I should go once a week. It would be good for my soul. That sounds dramatic. But, Russ and I went out there for what turned out to be a ride that was both pathetic and necessary. 12 miles was all we had in us. But it was a very important 12 miles. I felt alive again after not having realized how far from that I had drifted. I said to Russ “If I get sick, you need to remind me that there are things I still want to do.” I didn’t know that my voice would to tremble when I said it. I started going out often, and as I did, I realized that my project is more important now than ever, and that I have to build back up to spending more time on the trail than I do in the car, even when I have to drive this far.

So, now I’ve edited and planned. I have tiered goals depending on the level of support we get, and I’ll continue to edit and plan and edit again. Sometimes I edit my writing a lot as I try to be clearer about what I’m saying, sometimes because I learned a little more, sometimes because conditions changed, edit and plan, whether it’s the full Silver Comet project, or some combination of local trails. I’ll stay flexible as conditions change and plan, then edit.

This will be a stretch in many ways. I’ll be happy enough to have the base goal fund, but the big dream since that day has been to make the full project “super stretch” goal. At the highest level of funding, I will film the entire Silver Comet and adjoining Chief Ladiga trail in two directions weekly.

For this, I will have to reach a level of physical output that I have never before sustained in any of my 61 years. And, though the project goal is to get a year’s filmed record of the longest paved RTT trail in the country, I really expect it to consume me for 2 more years. Building up (increases in mileage of 10% per week are recommended) will take time, and I’ll likely suffer setbacks. I won’t be able to stop that level of riding abruptly either. I expect to fill in weather or other unavoidable gaps that may happen by continuing to film as I slow my level of riding gradually.

I’ll be sharing my best film shots with supporters and doing some digital photography stills with different themes. Some of the unbelievable things I see while riding are wild life, and some of them are crazy stupid. I should get plenty good footage for a multi-use trail safety video too.

I do understand that this will be grueling at times and there will be days when I wonder what I was thinking. Be careful what you ask for, right? I’m looking forward to the challenge, and working through it to the other side.

Thanks for reading.