Tuesday Trippin’ May 10

Training wise, last week was significantly better than expected. Weather lined up for me to ride immediately before and after, and the break was only 3 days. In April the break was 4 days and we had 3 days of rain immediately before. We walked about 3 miles on a trail during the April trip, but I didn’t take hiking shoes. I ached from unusually low exercise when I got home.

I mentioned the need to shift over to walks for recovery exercise just before this trip. We ended up dong that. The Pensacola Bay Bridge is under re-construction, but the pedestrian-bicycle path on one side is complete. The bridge is 3 miles long. The first night we walked about a mile and a half. The second, we walked 5 miles.

Russ on the Pensacola Bay Bridge

5 or more miles is the length of walk I originally planned for recovery walks. That may be a touch on the long side, but I used to be able to do 5 miles pretty easy at any time without prep. Lately though, I’ve done more yard work, which technically qualifies as recovery activity I suppose. But, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve even walked around the neighborhood with my granddaughter on her scooter. I’ve been spending all my cardio time on the bike. The bike is awesome, but I need to make myself walk for the change in activity too.

I really wanted to walk the whole bridge in both directions, just because it seems complete, but when I looked back from the 2.5 mark at how far away the starting side shore seemed, I decided to turn back. I could have made the extra distance, but in the end, I was glad that I turned when I did and Russ was too. I expected soreness the next day, but there was none and my feet felt really good, like a bit of cross training was the thing I should be doing.

I’m not sure what I will settle on as the right distance for a recovery walk, but on the bridge with all the wind, it seemed more like a primary exercise day, which was fine for that week when I had less opportunity to ride. Some sources say 20-30 minutes is enough for recovery. But, more could be needed after a century ride than shorter forms of exercise. The key will be in how the rides are going. As long as my body feels better and my stamina is not reduced, it’s likely the right amount of recovery exercise.

If the recovery walk is shorter, it will fit better into a still photography day than I first anticipated. That may not reduce my project hours any, but it should improve the photography rewards. It is easier to carry a camera on a walk that only needs 20-30 minute intervals of elevated heart rate than one that needs 1.5 – 2 hours.

The Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails are not alone. There are beautiful hiking trails on both ends of our project, including portions of trail that may be added to the Appalachian Trail. I’m excited about the potential.

I’m going to leave it here for this post. I’ll put some of my other thought in separate posts. Have a glorious day and we’ll see yo on the trail.

Tuesday Trippin’ February 9

These flowers have been sitting on this memorial bench on Big Creek Greenway for days.

I stopped to photograph these flowers, not when they were fresh on the first day that I saw them, but several days later when they still sat there untouched.

The bench has a memorial plaque. It says that the person being memorialized and his grandparents spent many days experiencing joy on the trail. That speaks to me. The first time I got to spend significant time with my grandson, I was picking him up and taking him to the trails, first by the Chattahoochee River, later the Silver Comet and finally Big Creek.

At Big Creek there are mountain bike trails and he saw signs for RAMBO, the Roswell Alpharetta Mountain Biking Organization. In middle school (as soon as he was eligible) he dropped La Crosse, to join NITRO and mountain biking was the sport that stuck. Both are good organizations. He’s taught sportsmanship and to care for his bike, and he does volunteer work with the group too. He’s been on the team ever since. I enjoyed watch him try out all his team sports, but I felt good about taking him to the place where he found his thing. We don’t do the same kind of cycling anymore, but I take him to trails like 5 Points where I can walk while he rides. He just got his license and drives now. I don’t have to take him anywhere, but the connection remains, and I feel good about his thing being cycling.

One of the nice things about cycling is that it can start as soon as you get a sense of balance, and with recumbent trikes, it can last well after you lose it. I know riders in their 80s who are 20+ years older than me, and they ride standard road bikes for long distances. There are all kinds of cycling for all kinds of needs and wants, from motorized to hand powered with 1 to 4 wheels.

Cycling can connect generations like it did for me and my grandson, or the people on the plaque, for clubs or tours. It can help maintain health and increase longevity, even reduce health insurance rates. You can start at just about any age. It gets you outdoors and active.

One of the things I hope our video project will create is connection and inspiration between anyone willing to connect and for any good thing a person aspires to do. I hope that some of the people who see what I’m doing say to themselves that they ought to pursue riding, or something entirely different, especially the ones who never considered it before. And that people who were feeling old or depressed or isolated or powerless decide they can do whatever thing hanging around in the back of their minds that they aspire to do.

The only things that make me special enough to do this project are that I thought it up, I had the conviction to pursue it, and I have the determination to finish it. Anyone can do that.

I’ll be happy to give people some new exercise, health and entertainment options. I’d be honored to shift the perspectives of people who haven’t yet realized what is within their reach into the perspective of those who have.

I hope that your memorial, whether it is on a bench or in the mind of the people you leave behind, will come far into the future. I hope it says exactly what you’d want it to, and more than you ever dreamed it might.

Tuesday Trippin’ February 1

Well, we got Covid in the house. Again. Russ and I have spent some time in camp chairs in our bathroom working on the video (because there’s more room in the bath than there is in the bedroom) doesn’t seem reasonable to have more room in the bath, but that’s the way it is. With 7 people in the house and Covid, well, you just have to make things work. The thing to be thankful for is that the vaccinated people have had light cases and the boosted people have, so far, been negative/unaffected. I hope it lasts.

According to Johns Hopkins Georgia is dropping off of the 184K new cases per week high (but not quickly enough). My granddaughter is bouncing around at home on her second pre-school closure. I love every minute I get to spend with her, but having the schedule upended is inconvenient. I feel qualified to write a hilarious comedy bit right now, but I’d have to do it anonymously, to protect the innocent, and wait until people everywhere are ready to laugh before I publish it.

I did get a couple of rides in between one thing and another. The last was late and at Big Creek Greenway. I almost didn’t go. I didn’t think I had time, and I was talking to my mother as I drove. I made the mistake of starting a new subject just before parking. I was kicking myself for planning badly. But I got in an almost full length ride, and there were deer in large quantities, both in a field where they tend to hang out, and crossing the path right in front of me.

Popular “Kodak Moment” on Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway

These guys are reliably here during some seasons. I feel like I should go back and set this up properly with the Nikon and the tripod, but I don’t have one of those honkin’ big telephotos that weighs 3 times as much as the camera body, so, I suspect this will forever be that “easy” shot I never like my version of. And, it’s the shot all the passers by take. I tend to like the road less traveled.

The real shot to get was on the trail itself. A 10 point buck and two does crossed less than 10 feet in front of my bike, and I almost missed seeing a 6 pointer that didn’t make it across in front. The points on the smaller deer were quite small, not nearly so majestic as the buck I got a better look at…if I’d only had a camera running…

I really appreciate Big Creek. I’ve been going there for around 7 years, since we bought the current house. It is in a direction that has allowed me to ride when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to and the streambed is cooler than the Silver Comet in the heat of the summer. The crowding that kept me away early in the pandemic has eased and it’s about 10 minutes closer to home than the Silver Comet. Now that I’ve found the completed extension, I get to do a few hills which feels like a much better workout than the flatness of rail and stream beds. The greenway is a good bit shorter, and has a different character, but it has a lot to recommend it.

Tuesday Trippin’ November 2

Did you know that there’s a natural lull in the average conversation at twenty minutes? I think it’s related to the average attention span being about that. I had a little bit of a lull recently. It was time, partly because I got this respiratory infection…not that respiratory infection. I’m slow to get well from those, really, really slow. Part of it is because I needed a break. I had a dip in my cycling mileage that was significant enough to miss the cardio endorphins and get a little depressed. It’s strange to me when I get depressed and there’s no emotional cause, feeling it in my body and being aware in my mind, but not having a situational cause out in the real world for the desire to cry. My depression was just a reduction in the normal flow of endorphins produced by exercise.

I’m a little back on track this week, but still not fully recovered. The trail is beautiful with the fall colors and the crackle of leaves has me running sound recording options around in my head while I try to plan the best option for recording fall sounds without ground noise. I may have to put calling the crews and finding out when they will clean the trails into my weekly mix of factors that determine ride days.

The temps have dropped lately. They’re in that range where it would feel warm if it were spring, but since I’ve spent months trying to adjust to the heat, it feels cold instead.

I’ve been using a Buff and other brands of neck gaiters in headband style to cushion the deep red marks left on my skin from my now properly fitted helmet. It’s working well enough that I don’t think I’ll seek a different option for several months. Well, when it gets really cold I’ll want fleece on my ears. Right now, I’m pulling the gaiters down over my ears at temps where I wouldn’t normally bother to cover them and it feels cozy and comfortable. I like it. When the temps rise again, I’ll want something breezier. I’m expecting my warm weather solution to be a sewing project.

We’ll get high resolution focus back on our goals soon, likely this weekend.

Training Tuesday January 19

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

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

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

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

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

Rewarding Rides

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. 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. So, our supporter rewards 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 streaming. There are are cell towers visible all along the way. The trail follows loosely along a significant highway, but some low signal areas over the course we will be covering, it won’t be perfect. 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 non supporters going to Youtube 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 600 supporters to “make”.

Cost: $100, which is $8.34 per month if we finish in 12 months.

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 it 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 while you are taking advantage of the great market and showing the house for sale, whenever and wherever you want, play it for the mood improvement, entertainment or a little escape.

The videos will be taken on, 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.

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, 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 what I have when I capture the shot I want to use is my phone camera, 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’ll offer a section of artsy stuff, but for the most part, this project is about making a what’s real outside enjoyable. 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 (a year and 3 months) 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 2000 backers for each photo reward, we’ll make our top goal. That’s out happy place, so for each photo reward, we’ll add another 2 quarterly downloads (for a total of a year and 9 months of photos) if we get 2000 supporters.

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 more time we spend out there, the more likely we are to capture the spectacular. Since this category is based precisely on trail time, it will show here the most.

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 2000 backers for this reward category, the photos increase to cover 7 quarters. In addition, if we get 3000 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 4000 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 anything beautiful, interesting or strange and will tell you about it if we know, or can find out. 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.  2000 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 2000 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

It

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 12

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

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

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

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

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.

Training Tuesday December 29

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

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

Tracy Monroe

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

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

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

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

See you next week.

Training Tuesday Dec 22

It’s cooling off. The Christmas crush has come, and for me, mostly gone. A few days ago I edited the final dates for expecting Dec 25 delivery from our 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 my training Fantasy Island, I would magically acquire multi-millions so I could have a home on acres, lots of them, with old growth habitat and no HOA. Then I could have large house with a 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. That’s a pretty good runner up to Fantasy Island, and it’s real. I’m looking forward to the new year and hoping that it will be one like no other… in a good way.