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 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.

Road Bikes and Recumbents

Bikes are the big scary question mark right now. Not only do we have bikes in need of repairs (me) and an overhaul (Russ), but we’re also going to need recumbents to ride half time so we can vary our physical positions, body stresses and sit spots to stay healthy and riding. I’m not really sure what we’re going to be able to do about it either. In the comparatively low end bike price range, the repair or replace decision happens at a lower price point simply because it doesn’t take many parts to add up to a purchase price, especially when there are service costs as well. But, the photo above is the stock that was available when I took my bike in for repairs a few months back, and I’m still hearing cyclists talk about waiting several months for ordered bikes.

There are certain maintenance activities we’ll need to be doing constantly. For instance, tires will last between 1,500 and 2,500 miles without damage. That’s 7-10 weeks at the rate we will be riding when we’re up and running in full project mode. More durable wear parts will meet their doom and potential damage will surely happen. I’m keeping my eyes open in the used market. That search will likely be constant so that equipment never causes us down time. We will likely make several repair or replace decisions over the course of the project, and it is harder to find bikes that are compatible for riding together, especially with our above average height requirements.

To back track for a minute, our current bikes are Giant brand. They are good bikes when in repair, way above department store quality, but they are at the bottom end of what bike shops offer and serious cyclists expect. Giant is considered a pretty good quality in the lower price ranges, but a lot of brands make good bikes, and fortunately, we’d happy with any of them too. We like them, but going down in quality is not an option. Our flexibility will help to make up for the scarcity of bikes in our sizes.

I have two bikes. One is a hybrid that I was riding the first time I trained for a century. Later, I bought a road bike, to keep up with Russ on his road bike, and I took the hybrid to my mother’s so I’d have something to ride back home.

Recently I was without the road bike for almost a year and I brought the hybrid back. Riding it again felt like an old friend and early photographs of this project might have either bike. I need the faster bike though. Speed is increasingly important the more mileage a rider does. Distance riding isn’t just about stamina, it’s also about number of hours in the saddle. So, I sucked it up and made the appointment. Shop repairs where I bought the bike are by appointment through the pandemic.

I’ve spent about three quarters of the original purchase price on parts and service for the road bike in the last 6 months. It was much closer to the repair or replace mark than I realized. I’ve broken spokes recently and it may need new wheels soon. That could be due to the rough riding surfaces when the trail was full of storm litter, or it could be that the wear parts have worn. I’m riding it exclusively since the repairs. One thing I noticed when I got the road bike back is that it was quieter. I noted that keeping the adjustments properly made and replacing the cassette as soon as it’s worn would be important to reducing unwanted ambient noise while recording (and it helps to keep it faster too :).

Russ’ bike, was looking at a repair or replace decision before he crashed it. I really think that decision would have been replace if they had any stock, or had any on the way at the time. My second hande search handicap is that I don’t know enough about bike brands and models to know which bikes/models might be better, but, Bicycle Blue Book helps me to know what the right price should be. Bikes in shops that still have bikes are running 100% of “suggested retail” and so are many of the bikes available second hand. There have always been people who asked full retail for their second hand bikes. Right now there are more of those than usual. I found a trike that was a significant discount off of retail because it was an arm peddle, not practical for this project. I might never work up to the speed and mileage I need in one of those. And when I find the right kind of bike, some have condition issues. It’s easy to accidentally get a bike that needs a lot of repairs, and the shops don’t cut you any deals on repairs if you didn’t buy the bike from them. I’m afraid that the combination of Russ’ height (he’s 6’6″), current market availabilities, and our need to be on bikes that perform well and similarly enough for us to ride together will push us higher in price ranges.

Recumbents

Choosing a recumbent is daunting, and not just a little. There are good guides, but many recumbents are order online propositions and we’re talking about the difference between book knowledge and experience. When I buy a regular bike, first, I have experience riding one and second, I’m at a shop where I can test ride it in the parking lot. They’re too expensive to experiment. I need to get it right on the first try. I joined some facebook groups to see what I could figure out, but they were different enough in focus as to be unhelpful.

We narrowed it down a little. We thought about tandems from time to time, but finding one of those in the right size is likely to mean custom, and I’ve always been a little afraid I’d be a slacker (without intending to) on a tandem. A tandem could be fun for a lark on some other occasion, but when I consider that one of us might need to go for help or the car, that settles it. Sticking with separate bikes/recumbents also leaves us open to put cameras on each bike, potentially doubling our videos without doubling travel cost or time.

So, bike or trike? I like to maintain core muscles and all things being equal would choose a two wheel recumbent, but I think the three contact points of a medium to long wheelbase trike will offer greater camera stability, and smaller micromovements. What I mean by that is the midpoint between all three wheels. Needing less camera image stabilization is a huge factor in producing good video and that is the point.

Fantasy Island

I don’t even know what Fantasy Island looks like for the bikes. There are so many uncertainties. I”d like for us to ride road bikes in one direction, store them, and ride a recumbents in the other direction. That way, we won’t need automobile back up and will get good temporal spacing on video from each trip. I haven’t decided if I want to try to set up cameras at the same height for both bikes, or if I want to have two different perspectives. I’m leaning toward different perspectives. Any helmet cams or chest cams will clearly be at different heights. But those things will sort once we see what we have to work with.

The bikes need to be strong, fast, quiet, stable, safe and comfortable. We’ll need panniers for the road bikes I don’t usually care about color unless it’s heinous, I did notice Russ riding in front one day in a lime green Jersey. It looked so much like chromakey green that I thought about coloring everything, kit and equipment in chromakey green so that they could be easily removed at some point if anyone wants.

I’m not sure how that will all sort itself out, but I expect market conditions to improve. I hope I’m right.

Helmets

I don’t have personal crash experience with helmets. The only concussion I ever had was from falling off a bike, but kids weren’t required to have a helmet back then, and no one ever suggested it, so I didn’t. I thought this really big hill looked so very exciting, And, it was. I woke up in bed. I also flipped over my handlebars as an adult a few years back. I was waving at my postal carrier and hit a curb. I was wearing a helmet that time, but it didn’t hit anything as far as I know. I didn’t feel or hear any hits and there were no scratches. I landed mostly on my bum and had some really impressive bruises on my legs too. Doing an unexpected flip is a kind of mystery trip. You have to look at the injuries to figure out just what happened. I was so angry flying through the air. I had plans the next week, and I was sure I had just ended them.

There’s a newish safety system called MIPS to help me out should I ever go flying again. As of 2019, 100 plus brands use it, including newer versions of my favorite helmet. This seems like a feature that should be a part of every future helmet buying decision I make.

My favorite helmet is a Lumos and we bought ours from their initial Kickstarter. We were thinking that we’d ride some more centuries and we really liked the turn signal and brake light concept they were developing. We stopped riding on roads though, and I left mine in the closet while using the old one for way too long. We supported the Kickstarter and bought the helmets for the added safety, visibility and communication on roads. I was so happy to see someone bringing that smart technology into the marketplace. I’m sure it has saved lives. But, that’s not why I’m currently wearing mine. It’s still my favorite even though we’re riding on trails now. The fit on my head is what I like. It’s that simple. I like the way it sits on my head and I also like the straps better than all the other helmets I have ever had. So, while I ride on trails and only see cars when I see security patrols, or cross an intersection, the Lumos it the helmet I want on my head. I’m really glad that they made a successful business out of it and are still producing helmets. It makes me feel good about the support and the product. My original Lumos doesn’t have MIPS though. I should probably replace it soon. For current riding choices the MIPS is more important to my safety than the smart features.

Other needs might cause me to drift from my first Lumos love. There’s just too much going on around my ears right now. I’d like a helmet with goggles. I don’t really care for sunglasses. My sensitive skin breaks out where the glasses touch, even if it isn’t in constant contact. I need the protection though, not just the UV protection, but also the wind protection. And, believe it or not, I’ve had a pinecone fall off a tree and hit me right in the glasses while riding, The cones have points that are still really sharp when they’re fresh off the tree. So, yes, I need an eye shield for freak impact protection too. The annoyance of the pine cone would have been a doctor visit without the eye protection, and possibly some loss of vision.

Something like this looks like it would be nice. Not only would that get the eyeprocection off my ears, cheeks and nose, it keeps the goggles or safety screen secure. The other day I was coming down one of the few places on the Silver Comet where there is a steep hill and a sharp curve together on the whole trail. My glasses somehow became akilter, I had probably pulled them out and off my face a little. I needed my hands on the handlebars, but I couldn’t see very well. I was looking through and around the glasses at the same time. I had to wait to fix them until it wasn’t nearly so important for me to be able to see what I was doing. It was a difficult awkwardness in a tight spot that wouldn’t have happened with eye protection securely attached to the helmet.

Fantasy Island

Beyond attached eye protection, I’d like a little hook or button for a face mask. One that is the helmet equivalent of that button on a headband for masks. With any luck, the need for that will disappear before anyone could bring it to production. But seriously, for right now, there’s no warning before someone gets too close, and we’re all a little vulnerable to the unexpected. The ability to whip out a mask and hang it in front of your face is just not there when you’re wearing, glasses and a helmet and a headband under the helmet, especially if it’s a headband that warms and covers your ears. I’m going to be really happy to get my glasses on the helmet, but I’d like to find a way to mask up quick that does nothing to interfere with the effectiveness of the helmet or anything attached to it..

Headwear

This is headwear as in, not the helmet. I have sensitive skin and helmets come with disappointing washing instructions. I don’t understand what problem there can be with washing a regular helmet, but I do actually want the protection, so I follow the instructions. That makes me need something washable and breathable between the helmet and me during all seasons. For some people, wearing a headband is about trying to avoid sweat streaming into their eyes, and once I’m doing centuries across Georgia and Alabama through the heat of the summer, I may have that issue as well. For now, I want something to relieve the skin irritation so that I’ll wear my helmet properly.

With the exception of dollar store headbands (which don’t have a good bulk versus benefit trade off) the headbands that I’ve tried are all expensive, so, as a seamstress, I’ve tried my own versions too. I haven’t found the solution to end all searching for something better. Surprisingly small differences in thickness cause re-adjustments in my chin straps, so I’d like a bunch of the same thing, once I choose that thing. It keeps me from constantly adjusting the straps. Chin straps are also a problem. I just wash them anyway, especially in the summer.

My first experiment with a solution was a pleated cotton band made of woven fabric from REI. It had a covered elastic bit at the back. The pleats expand to the desired width, the elastic kept the fit snug and it didn’t interfere with the helmet fit because it was low in back. I made some of my own. They were awkward to sew and it was frustratingly time consuming for a little headband. I could have made something much more impressive in the same amount of time. The nice part was that I made mine of Liberty’s Cotton Lawn. I could swim in that stuff, not just the gorgeous look of prints like William Morris originals, but the feel too. Going into their store is like a little slice of heaven for a fan like me, and paging through what they have online now is always drool worthy, so I liked the look too. I don’t have a picture of these to show. REI doesn’t sell that one anymore and the ones I made with my beautiful Liberty’s Lawn were lost in a house fire.

My most recent headband trial was from Headsiweats. I ordered an assortment of hats and bands in grab bags. This is the headband I liked best from Headsweats. I was afraid I wouldn’t Like the terry, but it was very lightweight. And, after having sewn headbands, I have more respect for the cost too. I also ordered what is to date, my favorite mask from them. I ordered a grab bag for that too, and they sent me Bigfoot Camo. That doesn’t just appeal to my sense of the ridiculous, it is also the best fitting and most comfortable for me, and seems high in safety as well (but a little too small on Russ). At first I was disappointed that no one seemed to notice all those little sasquatches, but then, I realized I didn’t want them that close.

Headbands for winter are easy. The stretchy fleece bands that widen to protect ears are good from every company that I’ve tried. The problem is that I need to wear my sunglasses now, and at the same time, I’m looking for mask solutions to see me through the winter. (I loved the neck gaiters for riding, but then research came out that they weren’t the better thing to do. I experimented with layers to improve performance, but haven’t found the solution I like). I need headwear that allows all of the pieces of gear on and around my ears to actually stay on my head AND doesn’t interfere with my chin straps or my hearing. Anything that is near the ear canal seems to create that effect you get when you hear the ocean in a seashell. So, headbands need to be completely over my ears in colder temps, and probably completely off in summer.

Options from Smartwool and Junk look like they might be worth trying. I know nothing about Junk, but I have a few pieces of Smartwool and I love them. Moths finally found my first smartwool shirt. I keep thinking I’m wearing it for the last time, that I’m going to cut it up and sew it into leggings for my granddaughter, and then I wash it and next time I want a base layer, I put it on. It wasn’t made for cycling, but it is STILL a favorite and it STILL goes under as a layer every time I ride under 60 degrees.

Fantasy Island

If I could have anything for a headband? It might not be a headband in the traditional sense at all. Something made of Liberty’s or Smartwool (in a William Morris print, of course) that attaches to the inside of the helmet with bits of velcro or microsnaps. Maybe it would have a layer of ultra thin cotton terry or merino cloth on the side that touches me, and it would be reversible (as in inside out) or, come with a laundry bag, so that it doesn’t collect loose threads or damage other clothes in the wash. I also have a redesign in mind on those first headbands I made. I may get busy sewing soon, but it will wait till after I do more mask experiments.

Training Tuesday December 1

Goal100+ miles per week

Russ being reflective in Cedartown

I’m editing our training plan and goals. It’s not really a change in direction or about Russ’ wreck. Russ got back on the bike after that crash. His big toe is still blue and we’re wondering if he’ll lose the nail. That’s never happened to me, not a full nail from the base anyway, and it really gives me the shivers. He’s limping along. It set him back, but he’s ok and will get back what he lost.

There are a few things prompting the temporary change. One is the number of hours of light in a day right now, and when they’re available to ride (not after work). The Winter Solstice is just over two weeks away. I’m looking forward to the day after the solstice because I’m partial that time of year when every day is just a little bit longer than the one before, that time when daylight lasts long enough to do more outdoor activities. The short days present such a challenge. They limit the amount of time that Russ can ride and threaten to put a gap between the level of riding each of us can do. I’ve done too much riding alone recently.

We don’t actually have full weekends to work with either. We have a firm child care commitment every other weekend. It’s been a 3 year commitment and I expect it to last well beyond the 2 years that we’ll be consumed by this project. Unfortunately, how much time it takes is variable and unpredictable. The commitment will eventually become irrelevant to the project as it wouldn’t fit into weekends alone, but for now, the commitment is just another thing that makes having the time to increase mileage through the next few weeks harder.

On the one hand, I liked the relatively smooth progression in mileage that we were doing. On the other, it’s fast becoming apparent that I can do 100 miles every week, and everything will still be just fine if I get enough funding to do more. Since the tingling toes and other foot problems are likely to ultimately require me to do at least half my riding in a seat rather than on a saddle, I really need to focus on funding and how that will allow me to refine the ultimate goal. So, we’re going to keep mileage goals at 100 miles a week until after we find out what we have to work with. If things creep upward, great, but maintaining for the next 6-10 weeks is the goal.

I’m going to be happy with a long high plateau (or a gradual incline if it happens naturally) while we work through the next few weeks. Funding, is the proof of the pudding, the test that lets me know other people think this thing I want to do, that I’ve been working toward for months and that I will consume myself with for, really the next two years, is a good idea. Producing a video I’m willing to show people, answering any questions people may have and getting through the next 3 months of winter, a time that CDC Director Redfield has indicated may be the worst period in American public health history is where our focus is. It has the potential to be a bumpy ride. There aren’t six degrees of separation between us and someone struggling with Covid in any direction we can look.

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.

Training Tuesday October 13- 19

Goal    99 miles

Actual Total  85 miles

1st Ride 14 miles

2nd Ride 14 miles

3rd 24 miles

4th  Ride 0 miles

5th Ride 33 miles

Week Total   85 miles

1st Ride  It was a short mileage accumulator to fit easily into my schedule. I’ve been doing some rides at Big Creek lately. At the times I’ve gone, the crowd was closer to the old normal, but there’s still little-to-no mask wearing and the predictions are for a strong winter surge in Covid-19 cases. While riding, or not, is one of the few places where I get to choose my level of pandemic risk.  I have significant risks coming from several directions like people with “essential jobs” in our household, doing necessary to life things and grandchildren who will soon have no choice but to go to school in person.

2nd ride   Second verse, same as the first. The rub is that, while this project does potentially expose me to additional risk, the cardiovascular fitness that was wasting away while I was in isolation is a key factor in surviving if I do get the virus. I look on it as a strong net positive in risk factors, I just have to keep the risks as low as I can where I can. I’ll soon post about my mask experimentation.

3rd Ride  A nice average ride with a little plantar fasciitis pain in the left foot. It’s been creeping upward lately. I’ve been grateful that it isn’t as bad as last time I trained up to this point in pursuit of a high miles. I waited too long to get back in the habit of using my “ProStretch Blue”. It does work, at least for me, and I’m already feeling better.

4th ride  I’ve known that I should start using a checklist for a little bit now. We have a lot going on and our distractions are at all levels high and low. I’ve ridden without the right shoes. I’ve ridden without my sunglasses at times when it mattered, and there was the day I left my helmet at the place we stopped for lunch. I changed my process to hooking the helmet to the bike to take care of that oversight. I’m about to add a personal bike gear basket to the car in addition to the group bike gear tub we already have. My grandson is on an MTB team, so gear for Russ and I is not all we have to keep up with. A personal basket will help, but only a checklist will take care of getting my spaghetti brain back on track when there’s a catastrophe with one of the baby dolls, stuffies or plastic dinosaurs. Things gloves and other gear has to make it out of the laundry and back in the basket EVERY TIME. Today, we drove all the way to Rockmart only to look at the back of the car and see that the bikes weren’t loaded. That’s Russ’ job normally, but I walked right past the end of the car in the driveway without looking at it, so we share responsibility. ZERO MILES. Another 2+ hours of more driving to get back with the bikes was both too late and too much water under the bridge.

5th ride  I started at dawn to be sure I’d get the rest of my miles in before babysitting. I was literally sitting in the parking lot waiting on the light (I’m happy to ride in pre-light, but the trail isn’t open). It was cool. I’ve lost a slight bit of weight recently (with effort). I only had a banana for breakfast, which is usually fine for me, but with that combination of things, I didn’t have the juice to make the longer ride. I realized that I was riding really slow and refocusing on my riding didn’t pick up the pace. I stopped at the next bench to check for a snack. I might have plodded through the other miles if I had one, but I turned back because I didn’t know how much harder it would get if I didn’t. This was the week for CHECKLIST to be emblazoned on the project. I’m now down to 4 buffer weeks left in to my schedule for setbacks and holidays. I haven’t decided if, once I bounce back, I might try to intentionally increase one of more weeks by more than 10%. Over time, I now have some retro-10% to work with, but I could cause myself some trouble if I’m not careful. Of course, electric assist bikes exist, but I think it adds something to the end user’s enjoyment of the video if I peddle the whole project through. It certainly makes a difference to me.

Training Tuesday October 7-12

Goal    99 miles, or whatever gets me back in the swing.

Actual Total  miles 48

1st Ride 14 miles

2nd Ride 16 miles

3rd Ride 18 miles

The bug I had hung on for a bit. I was tired enough to fall asleep while sitting up a couple of days in a row, so it wasn’t a great week. Back to back health issues wasn’t the most fun either, but, hey, there was no point where I thought “This feels different from anything I’ve had before, I wonder if it’s Covid?” While I stayed home a little more and was a little extra careful just in case it turned for the worse, there was no time when a Dr would have suggested that I be tested.

Nearing the end of the training week, I was feeling well enough to ride in the rain, but Russ was dragging too. Before we got too far we cut it short. The last wave of Hurricane Delta’s was due to bring in the deluge before long, but I stopped to take a picture. The skeleton on the white bike changes props a bit from time to time, but, it’s always there. I think it’s gallows humor intended to call attention to the a sheer drop behind it. No one wants to be the reason a ghost bike memorial was placed. The skeleton on the stump is a little Halloween extra.

While I was taking the photo I called out to Russ that I was stopping. That set off the resident dog, who barked up a little phone tree like reaction among dogs all around us and stirred the Great Pyrenees that was out previously ignoring us. He moved in hot pursuit of me, but didn’t quite catch me. It was the biggest thing that’s ever chased me, but I was more wary years back when a German Shepard came after me. I read a Silver Comet review recently complaining about dogs and thought that dog issues are actually rare. Since then, I’ve had as many dogs chase me as I’ve had in the previous 2 decades of riding on the trail. We made it back to the car wet and had a lot of trail grit slung on every part of us, but no canine wounds.

It was a sluggish week, but I’m feeling optimistic for 99 miles next week

Training Tuesday September 8-14

Goal    shifting toward longer rides

Actual Total 35 miles

1st Ride 35 miles

I thought we’d get 2 rides this week, but ended up making the most of the single ride that we had. 35 miles is the highest single ride mileage for us for on this project. It’s much harder to increase individual ride mileage enough to reduce the number of trips made while also increasing overall mileage. It was a good ride and a step forward. The temperature was warm for my tolerances and I got over heated. At the same time, I recovered faster than usual, so I took that to mean I’m getting stronger.

I’ve been building back up for a while longer than I’ve been writing Training Tuesday. I feel a great deal healthier than I was feeling, but sometimes after a ride my throat can be a little sore, and the next day, I can be stiff. Since those are common symptoms of Covid-19, that can be a head trip.

This is the first week that I’ve missed any part of the goal since beginning. I was beginning to feel a little strained though and think a light week was a benefit. I’m going to stick with 82 miles as the goal for next week rather than skipping over it. Because 1. I don’t know if I could do more, and 2. There is built in leeway in the plan.