Tuesday Trippin’ July 12

It’s not just hot, it’s been hot long enough that people are tired of it, especially here in the south. and in some places we are breaking previous heat records for highest (“reliably measured”) temperature on earth, and other extremes regularly, including highest lows.

Locally, there’s been a small respite. Hurricane Elsa, the fifth named storm of the season passed south and east of us bringing rain and some cooler temperatures, a bit of an irony, because warmer ocean temperatures favor storm formation. Elsa was the earliest named 5th storm in history.

The weather made riding hit or miss, with a few good hits. The knee pain was medium to mild, but still around, then almost gone by the time I posted this. It turned out not to be caused by the strength training. I didn’t see how it could be, but the timing made me wonder and I couldn’t think of any other reason at the time. I discovered it was actually because we didn’t get my seat height and angle properly adjusted after the musical bikes. That’s all better now. I’m still liking the new flat bike shoes and pedals, but they’re not 100% at taking care of the tingle and cramps I get in the right foot. I got rides four days in a row. After giving it a rest for a bit, it could be that no shoe would help. Irregular activity levels irritate my problem.

On one of the earlier rides, I saw a newborn fawn. It was the first time for me. As I was approaching, I thought it was a thin sick dog, but then I saw the wet, vibrant dark red brown fur with the bright white spots and thought “Oh dear, where’s Mama? I hope she knows I’m not gonna hurt her baby.” Then the fawn ran away more awkwardly than Bambi on ice. Just afterward I bought a new “flagship” phone. It might give me some better options for getting the unexpected images while riding pre “official” project start time. It’s definitely going to give me better stills without having to carry the Nikon.

I’ve been writing a lot, mostly some of the (not yet finished) posts that should be up when I launch the kickstarter. I’ve also been applying to jobs. It’s not that I can do both the project and a job. I can’t. The project is more than full time for both of us and I’m still trying to get my expected project hours per week down much closer to 40. And, it’s certainly not that I have given up on the video project. Doing something that fits my need to make a difference could be the most important thing I might do next. And, Russ could use a break from his current life to do that as much as I could. What he could really use is about 20 hours a week when he gets plenty of exercise and doesn’t have to manage the expectations of a dozen people in an hour. Really, the reason I applied is that some of the jobs I once wanted very much came floating across my laptop. They did that now. I don’t know that I’d even get an interview for any of them, but back-up plans are pretty important, especially when you’re chasing a long shot, and I may have and answer on this project before any of those companies are ready to interview, so it’s not irresponsible to apply for a job I might not be able to take. If I ever get myself into consideration for the positions in the first place, I can responsibly take myself out as soon as appropriate.

In fact, some people, people who care about me might ask why I’m even thinking of spending another year and a half pursuing unpaid work. It’s really hard to explain. Money is important. Everybody has expenses, and the more money you have, the more options you have. Options are good. I’d like more of them. At the same time, money isn’t what motivates me most in life. It’s the pursuit of whatever I’m following at the moment that lights my fire. I get it. In the world we live in, that takes money, which is why I’m planning a kickstarter. But, my great pleasures are thinking and doing and giving. I don’t get so much pleasure from earning money, I get pleasure from earning opportunities. The distinction may sound trivial, but I’d be a happy clam in a Star Trek Universe where money isn’t really a thing and science, discovery, connection and truth are not just valued, they are the whole point.

I’m thinking about these things at the same time I’ve reached that place in this project where I sometimes give up on myself. That’s not related to those back up job applications I just mentioned. Those were just the choice to have backup potential. It’s related to refining an idea so well, while at the same time keeping most of it in my own head, (and some of it here in these posts). I believe in this project strongly, but I haven’t shared many details, even among some of my closest people. Part of that is because I’m accustomed to caring deeply about more things than most of my people are even interested in knowing exist. I have written 40+ Tuesday updates, but not even Russ has read many of them. When I tell my granddaughter I need some time to work on the computer, I suspect my children assume I’m typing furiously in a FB group (which is only true sometimes :).

The isolation I feel is partly because it’s my MO to be self contained about my ideas, and it’s partly because things are so busy and stressful too. All that stress I mentioned in one of those Tuesday updates? So here’s the thing. I’ve both applied to jobs and hit my wall, both at about the same time. I probably understand my strengths and shortcomings fairly well, and I’m still spending all the time I can pursuing this project. It must be what I am supposed to do next. So, for right now, I’ll just keep plugging along and make it work.

Training Tuesday October 27- November 2

Goal    99 miles

Actual Total  79 miles

1st Ride 34 miles

2nd Ride 17 miles

3rd Ride 28 miles

Week Total  79 miles

1st Ride  I tried out the full gloves that I normally wear only in winter. I didn’t need them from a temperature standpoint, but they have thick dense padding that kept the bite/knot in my palm from hurting. I think there were enough spaces between pads to relieve the pressure. It was nice to move toward a longer ride again, but the ride reminded me that I need to be looking at a recumbent and continuing to lose weight. From reading, those two things seem to be the ones that have the potential to relieve foot problems I’m having.

Hurricane Zeta wasn’t on my list of potential setbacks. I mean, hurricanes come through every decade or so, but we’d had one recently. It came through 36 hours after the first ride and it usually takes at least another day or two to clear the trails. It was the longest I’ve been living in a habitable house without power. While wondering if we were going to lose everything in 2 large freezers would have been a great time for excessive riding if the trails had been in better condition.

2nd Ride   The trails were closed in some places. We rode where we expected to have the best chance of few tree falls. It was about half good (near pastures and roadways), and half thick leaf litter combined with pecans, acorns, green sweet gum balls, walnuts and dead limbs. The nuts were still in husks and large. Nothing to worry about on a MTB, but on my skinny tire road bikes are designed for clean pavement. As we rode, our bikes would frequently shift 4 or so inches without warning as we rode over trail litter. These things are easy to miss when the trails are mostly clean. I’m missing a spoke. At one point I rode over a 4 inch diameter dead limb, I was sure that the bike, or I was about to end the ride abruptly, but I stayed upright.

3rd Ride  It was cool and took me a little while to warm up, but once I did it felt good. I felt a lot stronger than I was at the start and if I had the time, I would have ridden farther. The cold didn’t feel as cold as I expected it to, and that felt like progress in my fitness too. I’m likely to be able to expand my temperature based riding limits (ride comfortably at lower temperatures) and that’s good for the long term outlook of the project. This week I could have made goal and felt good afterward without the hurricane.

The photo is of a dead pine tree. It had beetle damage and was covered in poison ivy. When it rains, the tree becomes waterlogged and the locally 50+ MPH winds of Hurricane Zeta blew it down. These trees seem like they should be lightweight because they are dead, but the holes hold water during the storm and as they fall they are heavy like a live tree, so just as dangerous. The poison ivy is losing its leaves because it’s fall, but the resin in the stems remains potent. Scrubbing skin well after contact with something made for the purpose like Technu (my favorite), or any good soap made to cut grease, sap or resin like this guy. Unlike this guy, I do avoid contact because I’m not confident I’ll get it all of when washing. The sap also remains active on things it touches, so if you’ve made contact, wash your clothes promptly and don’t let them rub on things that anyone will touch.

Multi-Use, Multicultural, Multipass

A conversation I had last night has me thinking about one aspect to our trail video project that I haven’t said much about yet, the production of a multi-use trail safety video. Just as I’m looking to shoot enough video to get some “you had to be there” glimpses of nature, I will surely also end up with plenty of footage of people doing thoughtless things that could hurt (or kill) themselves (or worse, innocent others).

That “killed” part sounds a little dramatic for a multi-use trail doesn’t it? But, just last night I was telling a fearless mountain biking teenager I’m very fond of that the 15 MPH speed limit on Big Creek Greenway was important to follow, especially because of the huge variety of users on the trail. I said that falling when you are 90 could be a life altering event. I wasn’t reaching him with that. Maybe he can’t relate to the age difference, so I looked for an article about a fatal head on collision I remembered on an adjoining trail. Until you hear of it happening, people don’t really think about cycling collisions with other cyclists on fairly flat multi-use trails ending in death.

While looking for the incident I knew about, I found one that was more recent and actually on the Big Creek Greenway itself. There’s a small “s” curve on the Greenway. I slow more at this location than any other place on the entire Greenway because of exactly what happened to the woman that died. She couldn’t see that people were riding through that short curve in her lane, probably just shaving the curve to straighten it a little. They all had a head on collision and the woman riding in her correct lane died. I didn’t reach my favorite mountain biker with the story. He was set in his argument and unmoved, except for his mouth. That kept moving.

I love that kid. I don’t want him to assume he can break the rules because everyone else will follow them, or even that they’ll be predictably moving while he’s passing, Seriously, you can only assume that you will be the only one breaking trail rules, and, or moving predictably when you’re the only one on the trail, and following the rules is the only thing that helps trail user movements to be somewhat predictable. I go intentionally to some pretty remote areas, and I’ve never been the only one out there. That other person shows up just when you thought they wouldn’t, and wasn’t anticipating seeing you either.

Multi-use trails that are busy have a lot going on, with as many perspectives as people. Cycling groups can be the definition of cliquish, complete with derogatory slams. Experienced cyclists of all kinds can be the worst about thinking they’re in control, and while they may act like they think they are, they’re not even close to being the only trail users out there. Every kind of wheeled device that’s allowed shows up, all of them, and some that are not. And there’s foot traffic too, lot’s of it. Walkers wandering because they’re too young, or too old, or too distracted, or too invincible to walk straight-ish in their own lane. And oh, look, a butterfly, or a copperhead, ar an alligator snapping turtle that’s HOW BIG? Wait! somebody liked my post.”OMG Will that (foot long rat snake) kill me?” It doesn’t happen all of the time, just often enough to catch you unawares each time it does happen. I don’t want him (or anyone else) to be the vehicle through which someone commits suicide by selfie.

Few trail users will look up safety rules or even glance at the ones posted. And, even fewer will look at things from the perspective of other users.

All of the users of all kinds, in all of the age brackets with all of the different interests, perspectives and languages belong, but so many use the trail from inside their bubbles. There’s a self-fulfilling bubble for every user. It’s like Facebook, only on the trail we’re not bumping into each other virtually.

I had different conversation with a mountain biker while on the trail some time back. I grimaced. He not only noticed, he stopped and said “Wait a minute. What did I do?” I told him. He apologized, and it made all the difference. He took the trouble to pay attention and make a connection.

I’d like to create a safety video from a multi-user point of view with humour and connection that pops some personal bubbles. People aren’t going to read the safety rules, but some of them might watch a funny video that shows a little of what it’s like to walk or ride in the other guy’s shoes. There could be interviews, maybe not. We’ll have to see what works. Don’t worry. Russ will narrate, he’s the comedic tallet between us. We’ll put it on youtube and if we come up with something salient, I’ll promote it actively.

Training Tuesday September 30- October 6

Goal    90 miles, or whatever gets me back in the swing.

Actual Total  miles 95

1st Ride 12 miles

2nd Ride 20 miles

3rd Ride 20 miles

4th Ride 29 miles

5th Ride 14 miles

Total Ride  95 miles

So much for combining my miles into 2 rides! The first ride was a 12 mile “test out the new tire” ride. I was still feeling iffy, but it was an easy ride that felt fine.

2nd ride was 20 miles, which should have been easy if I wasn’t recovering from whatever that bite was. At the end of the ride I was a little wobbly getting off of the bike. I was afraid I had over done it, but by the time I’d been in the car for a few minutes, I was blasting the stereo and car dancing.

3rd ride, I didn’t have much time in the first place and I got out late, but I wanted to do the ride so I wouldn’t be stressed getting my miles later in the week. 20 miles again. I was chasing sunset, so, the last 5-7 miles were pretty fast for me. I had that sprint energy boost afterward.

4th ride, was nice. I could have made it to the goal for the week, but Russ didn’t have the miles in him, so we cut it short at 29.

5th ride. The grandson wanted to ride his mountain bike, so I took him out and put in those last few miles. I figured where I needed to ride to get the exact number of miles, but someone had stolen the street signs on the overpasses, so I ended up doing the extra 5 miles.

I was beginning to feel back on track and the rides were so short and spread out that there was none of the endorphin roller coaster. But as soon as I got back up a little, one of the grandchildren caught something, and now I’m fighting it off. We’ll see how next week goes.

I have 5 extra weeks baked in to my schedule for setbacks and holidays, but I’d prefer not to use them when I don’t have to. It feels really good to have them out there in the future, much better than the feeling of having them back there in the past.  The “Etsy store” is moving into the “busy season”, and organization is still my challenge. I don’t want a crunch week when weather and everything else hits at once and I have no more space to stretch the schedule.