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Back to the Future: Re-Committing, Re-Thawing

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yep: Back on track, re-committing to myself and dusting off all the stuff I know that works for me as I have written before. I'm coming to appreciate more & more the value of blogging and building a reservoir of one's trials and tribulations and more importantly, of one's wisdom and self-knowledge. When life pulls the rug out from under and you're frozen like deer in the headlights? You have all your smarts chronicled away in your blogs. I google 'em...where is that blog I wrote about...? Works pretty well!

How did all of this get started? After I did that awesome NYC Century I got an e-mail from Brightroom...a service that takes zillions of photos of athletes at events such as marathons and cycling, etc. They then offer to sell you photos of yourself in action. I thought: cool! I could finally get a good pic of me in action on my bike!

Well I went to look at the pics and was not very happy with what I saw! Despite my internal feeling and perception of myself as a light & sprite cyclist zooming about the city the external reality was a whole different story. Who stuffed that pillow bunched up around my belly as I'm bending over riding my bike?!?!

Well *I* did, that's who!

I saved a few thumbnails from Brightroom...not going to pay for a blow up of THESE! My 1st reaction was to tuck these away in shame. But I've decided I will share them after all as a motivator for myself. I want to look on a bicycle like I FEEL when I'm grooving to a workout while listening to Pat Metheny's tune "Eighteen": www.youtube.com/watch?v=sffBikk0dkw Revved, light & sprite!

So here are the thumbnails from the ride:

And here are a few that showed up under my number even though I don't see myself...just to share a few more itsy-bitsy slices of that Big Apple:

Now I realize it's only been a few days, but I've been back to my morning treadmill workouts, tracking all my food on the nutrition tracker and most importantly this morning I jumped back on the scale after an oh-so-long hiatus!

Like many of you I have a real messed up relationship with the scale. I struggle so NOT to give the numbers such power to BOOST or CRASH my self-esteem. They are just numbers. Like so many who have been successful in losing and more importantly maintaining their weight I'm still learning how numbers give me power. They remind me that in this world where SO much is beyond our control there are some vitally important things that are ALWAYS under our control.

I anticipated a much higher number on the scale and was amazed to find myself weighing in at 238. Not a good number at ALL, but a do-able number. I've been here, done this and although I'm getting tired of doing the Sisyphus rock-rolling up the hill I'm pleased to find that I haven't lost as much ground as I have in the past.

It seems when I let myself go and do my own thing I gravitate around the 240 mark. Although I take *some* comfort in this I know these are some decidedly dangerous waters in which sharks patrol! www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc9N-SPNsJE

Dusted off my old workout room as my fitness center is STILL bouncing back from the flood. I got over this sense of going back to "kindergarden" in retreating to my old home workout routines which I followed before joining the fitness center and am now getting up in the morning and tackling my treadmill 1st thing in the morning before my day runs away with itself.

It worked before. It will work again!

Another thought: a rebuttal to myself in an old blog where I contemplate this seeming "set point" of 240 which I reach when left to my own non-tracking devices. I once upon a time considered: is 240 "good enough"...? After all the extremely high weights I've run in my past, can I take comfort in the ability to maintain myself around 240? Is it "worth it"...? All the tracking, vigilance and diligence?

My present answer (hey, I realize NOTHING is ever set in STONE...!) is: Nope. It ain't good enough. I'm still WAY to critical of my body at this weight and there is far too great a dissonance between the lightness of my spirit and desires and what this body of mine will allow.

What's the magic number? Perhaps the 200 pound mark I reached in March 2010. We'll see.

Another goal I'm dangling in front of me? Dancing. I'm hearing that, of all places, a local martial arts studio offers a low-key beginner's dance class which might be a good fit for me. I may need to lose a little more weight before I jump in as I am OH-so-self-conscious and critical of my body and klutziness. We'll see...

But I really do YEARN to match my body with the ever-in-motion spirit of lightness and brightness that so often courses through my being!

Yours in SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEARTOLOVE 10/3/2011 11:24AM

    WOW!! That's sounds like an awesome bike ride!!
Me? I'm glad to just be able to do my 40 minute walk!
And you did the hills!!
You're a motivation to us "sparkies!"

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VEEJAY3 10/3/2011 9:12AM

    Wow ... I LOVE this blog! I'm a biker, too ... and I know how awesome I feel on a bike -- until I ride by a plate glass window and actually SEE myself. hahaha -- at least we FEEL that great, right???

I'm with you (as it appears many of us are, by looking at these comments). It's time to re-gear, re-commit, re-assess. You inspired me to go back to my food tracker (can't believe how long it's been ... I used to be PERFECT with that!).

Ride on, brother.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 10/2/2011 1:04PM

    We spark friends are here for you, you are doing great emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZELLAZM 10/2/2011 8:16AM

    Woohoo, Don - you continue to be an inspiration! Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of my reaching goal (58 K) and I'm still determined to get back there, although I also have entertained thoughts sometimes of this current weight (62K) being "good enough." We'd rather have "great," right?

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CHRIS3215 9/30/2011 10:42AM

    Don, YOU will get YOU back!!!
I also been there a few times & know how you feel..
Your pictures are nice I even hate seeing my own self in pictures & I see stuff I don't like either..

It's great you are getting you back & you know we all are here for you all the way!!
OK BUDDY, GET MOVING & emoticon emoticon

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JESPAH 9/29/2011 8:50AM

    This is a great blog.

I think what happens to a lot of us is we are flush with success and we kinda, sorta, lose those old pictures. Or they get shoved to the back. And then, if we backslide at all, we have this skinnier version of ourselves in the front of our minds. And either we're in denial or at least we are not owning up to our issues.

That reminds me - I definitely should change my big pic on my page. That's about 20 lbs. lighter than I currently am. It is untrue. I need to fix that.

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MOBYCARP 9/28/2011 9:39PM

    Your 240, my 190. I've been up and down the fitness trail, bouncing off low weights near 190 three times.

Thanks for the blog. It's another testamonial to the adage that I can't out-train a crappy diet, and to the conclusion that I'll need to track my food for life. So I may as well get good at tracking, because it isn't going to go away when I get to goal.

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FERRETLOVER1 9/28/2011 6:45PM

    Never forget just how far you have come, Don!!

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VARMINT3 9/28/2011 6:29PM

    Thanks for the inspiration - I've been hanging out far too long at my still-too-heavy pre-baby weight (baby is 7...) & I know what I need to do to change that - just need a kick in the behind to DO IT!

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DEBRA0818 9/28/2011 11:36AM

    Weight loss and maintenance feels Sisyphian to me too, but I cannot stop trying to roll this particular stone up the hill. It's good exercise anyway!

Cheers, Debra
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 9/28/2011 10:53AM

    what an awesome job you are doing.....
your journey motivates so many here...
blessings and hugs...lita

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAZINMICH 9/28/2011 10:17AM

    I needed to read this! I'm right there with you, time for me to stop making excuses and continue doing. I also struggle with that scale in the same way. thank you for the reminders and the honesty.

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JLITT62 9/28/2011 10:07AM

    It would be really nice if this were a journey that ends, but it just isn't. The good news is every go-round we learn a little bit more about ourselves.

Dancing is fabulous exercise. I am so not graceful, but if DH would even tolerate it, I'd sign up in a heartbeat. Don't let your present weight hold you back!

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VALERIEMAHA 9/28/2011 9:41AM

    You live in my heart as the "ever-in-motion spirit of lightness and brightness," Don. That's Who.You.Are. Yeah, now to match the shell with the inner reality!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAYHIKER 9/28/2011 9:37AM

    You're doing a great job of getting back on track, Don. I can sooo relate to your comment, "I'm getting tired of doing the Sisyphus rock-rolling up the hill!" I guess we just get "weary in well doing" sometimes and wander off in the tall weeds for awhile. emoticon

Best wishes emoticon

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Attack of the Deathly Stupids

Monday, September 26, 2011

Amnesia has struck again!

I call it the fog…not the misty, dreamy, rolling type through which the geese were honking and flying southward, bringing to mind Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where The Time Goes?” ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oBMDcLf6WA ) while on my cycling commute to work this morning.

But the kind of fog Stephen King might write about, filled with amorphous sharp things that detach me from my wisdom and cause me to forget my wise mind, bringing about an attack of the Deathly Stupids!

I often kid about how thick men can be, yours truly included sometimes, requiring the oh-so-subtle 2 x 4 approach! Or to be a tad more kind, requiring the Zen slap! c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZenSlap

Well, leave it to the kindness of my SparkFamily to come to the rescue.

Out of the blue folks have been swinging by some of my more memorable blogs of yore, leaving supportive, appreciative comments but more importantly serving to bring my attention to insights, motivations and goals that I have allowed to be snatched from me by that insidious fog.

Unfortunately one of my first responses is to self-deprecatingly wonder why in the heck anyone would want to browse through MY blogs…?

After re-reading some of my past writings and feeling a bit of detachment (who IS this dude who wrote such things?!?!) I come around to realizing, “Hey, you can be pretty on the mark sometimes! THIS is what you’re really all about, not the past several months of half-living!”

That’s not to say I haven’t had wonderful moments during the past several months. But underneath it all there has been a sense of being adrift and certainly NOT on my game regarding my food choices and workouts.

Thank you, and shout out to GIVINGUPTHEPLUS and TRUETOU for stopping by and commenting on my blog “Choosing My Hard: Living vs. Dying”

It was the Zen slap I’ve needed for a long time!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KINSBAILE 9/27/2011 4:11PM

    Great blogs! Thank you :)

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ZELLAZM 9/27/2011 5:47AM

    I think I missed that one back in February (I was probably traveling back then) so I'm glad I got to read it today.

Hope that fog is LIFTING!


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WATERMELLEN 9/26/2011 6:10PM

    Your blogs are absolutely worth reading and rereading -- and although there are a lot of terrific people on SP, you don't take second place to anyone Don!

Maintaining IS hard . . probably the hardest thing I've ever done and continue to do . . . but as you say, and so eloquently, it beats the alternatives. Which are even harder. No question.

And like you I'm choosing my hard!!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 9/26/2011 1:00PM

    Gotta get my head outta the clouds aLSO. Love the Zen slap emoticon. I consider this my wake up to get busy too.

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JLITT62 9/26/2011 12:55PM

    Maintenance can be really hard, but having the SP community at least means we have support!

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L*I*T*A* 9/26/2011 11:51AM

    enjoy your week....
blessings and hugs.............lita

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TAMIK1964 9/26/2011 11:46AM

    When I run across a blog that catches my interest I will often go back and read more blogs on that person's page. I like seeing the journey the person has been on. And as you've found, sometimes it does us good to relive our own journey.

Hope you have a great week :)

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LMLOPEZ 9/26/2011 10:53AM

    Glad to see the fog is lifted. Focus is always good! Have a great start to your week.

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VALERIEMAHA 9/26/2011 10:02AM

    Are you living in my skin...OR WHAT??? I'm SO there, and so deeply understand what you're saying. Wish I had the wisdom of Right Living to clearly point toward the Truth, but it just ain't there.

We'll trudge the Path together, seeking the Light that glimmers faintly, giving hope and even occasional inspiration!

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DAISYBELL6 9/26/2011 9:31AM

    I needed this today.....actually I needed it a while ago!


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DAYHIKER 9/26/2011 9:19AM

    I got a little foggy over the summer, too, Don, on a SparkBreak due to the heavy work gardening/canning season. Glad we're both refocused. I always enjoy your blog posts! emoticon

Cindy emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/26/2011 9:20:19 AM

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IMIN2GENES 9/26/2011 9:19AM

    What a timely reminder for me too! I needed an extra little Zen slap too. I've been a little too complacent after my initial success and I'm not ready to be done yet!

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NUTRON3 9/26/2011 9:04AM

    Have a Great Day!

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Another Bite of the Big Apple: NYC Century!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This ride was NOT supposed to happen. My cycling buddy and I had spoken about doing the NYC Century quite a while back when someone in our cycling club mentioned it. www.nyccentury.org

But life went on and there was no further mention of it so I figured it was a no-go.

However on Thurs., only 3 days beforehand, she brought up the idea of the ride again. First reaction? Annoyance! We coulda shoulda woulda made GREAT plans for this...but NOW at THIS late point?!?

But then I thought...you know, I'm too much of a stick-in-the-mud...spontaneity does NOT come to me readily.

So YES! Let's GO FOR IT!

We scheme all sorts of ways to find a place to crash Sat. night before the Sun. ride. Everything is either "no vacancy" or $300 / night...ugh!

Going with the theme of spontaneity I suggest we just sleep over in the car. Not ideal, but for one night? Why not? You only live once! I did manage to e-mail someone through Warm Showers ( www.warmshowers.org/ ) and left my phone # just in case they could put us up at the last minute.

Turned out my cycling friend at the last minute (a few hours before departure on Sat.) found a wonderful fellow not too far out on Long Island (her friend's father) who agreed to host us for the night! He was a delightful man who took us out to a Chinese restaurant and we enjoyed much conversation before a short but restful sleep.

Neither of us are in least bit familiar with anything but the largest of landmarks in NYC. We were due at the start of the ride at the northern edge of Central Park for registration by 5:30 a.m. Paranoia over making the journey in sufficient time we woke up at 3:30 and made it with 15 mins. to spare. Whew! Garmin was our lifesaver!

Registered, we were OFF and cycling by around 6 a.m. and made it through Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge to soak up the sunrise:

Another view from the bridge:

Here's the tune from my internal radio that was playing:


This was a very different ride from the 5 Borough Ride I completed earlier this year in May: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
That ride was very unnatural in that they closed down streets / expressways and had police or volunteers directing bikes / traffic at nearly every intersection. The good part of that was the ride was more sheltered and protected and in many ways a great introduction to cycling in NYC. The bad part of that was the interminable waiting and HIGH need for patience.

The NYC Century made us feel like we were "locals" and in the know on all the great riding venues. Highly enjoyable. But not without anxieties.

Like when we got lost.

Gulp! NYC map dunces. No GPS.

Around the 40 mile rest stop we departed by following other cyclists. Yes we had cue sheets, but with the ZILLIONS of turns, who was going to stop at every intersection and look at THOSE!

We forgot that there were totally different routes for those doing the 75 mile, 55 mile and under routes. We soon discovered that we were whizzing along with a group of 55 milers! We weren't here to do only 55 miles! So we began to ask other riders for help. Two were very helpful, even gave us a cycling map of NYC and gave us some ideas how to route ourselves back to the century route. We STILL got lost again, but were blessed by the kindness of locals who helped us to get re-routed. Our ride was supposed to be 105 miles total. But we were so befuddled we'll never know precisely how far we went. Could have even gone FURTHER than 105 miles! Yes it was scary to go through this, but edgy and a bit exciting at the same time. Here we were tooling around NYC down streets that weren't at ALL part of the planned routes...wow!

Other anxieties? Wobbling, weaving and squeezing our queue of bikes in between parked and double-parked vehicles on our right and moving vehicles on our left! I managed to clip a side-view mirror on a vehicle and lived to tell about it! Another time I wove too much, leaning into the side of a van and had to step down off my bike: with a line of cyclists bearing down on me from behind! I quickly walked my bike without dismounting to the front of this double parked van so that I'd get out of everyone's way...WHEW! No "protection" here...no police directing traffic or streets closed to traffic...we had to negotiate our way just like anyone else in NYC!

We had to fjord our bikes up and down stairs to the various bridges (Brooklyn, Tri-Borough/RFK and other smaller ones) and then ride along VERY narrow walkways on the bridges. I made sure my hands were positioned on the straight, inside part of my handlebars so that I wouldn't scrape my knuckles along the walls or posts alongside me.

Here's a song that got stuck in my head BIGTIME throughout the day...great beat to it that helped to propel me along and I think the minor tone gave it an Asiatic-ethnic feel that seemed to fit as we cycled through an incredible number of neighborhoods which felt like a microcosm of the world.


Cycling around the bay nearby LaGuardia with planes arcing overhead. Bridges all had beautiful parks around either or both sides. The sun gained strength as the day wore on, pumping me up even more!

The parks were great also and had their own surprises. Like the pathway that corkscrewed itself down and down and we were riding 'neath the path down which we rode!

Here's one of the bike repair tents:

Us? No flats, no mishaps other than my minor collision with another cyclist at a sudden stop.

Cyclists at a rest stop:

We had an AWESOME time on the NYC Century...felt like we were treated to every nook & cranny the Big Apple had to offer to folks on two wheels!

Two big thumbs up for throwing caution to the wind and BLITHELY (thank you VALERIEMAHA!) jumping forward with our lives!


ps...my apologies to ALL those blogs out there that I've been too crazy / busy to catch up with just yet OR to even thank folks for your comments on my blogs...love, appreciate and value ALL of 'em! And I WILL catch up! :-)

pps...just discovered another EXCELLENT blog which provides much better detail that I!

ppps...Here's another pleasant snapshot of cycling along the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEARTOLOVE 9/28/2011 11:38AM

    Hi Don!! Didn't you just do a Big long Bike Ride.
Don't be so hard on yourself.
One of my therapy clients biggest complaints is that exercise is so repetitious and that gets boring it's the rep's that cause improvement and increased muscle mass. It's when we put a load on our muscles and bones that we benefit.
I have fallen off the wagon too. I need to start up my upper extremity exercises. I use to do them 2-3 x's a day when I worked.
I'm with you on the dancing. It's great exercise and fun!
I'm into exercise for the fun of it. If I have to time my minutes per mile it becomes "unfun".
Thanks for Sharing!!

Comment edited on: 9/28/2011 11:40:17 AM

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/23/2011 9:16PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 9/23/2011 10:51AM


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KINSBAILE 9/22/2011 4:14PM

    Wow that's AWESOME!

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ZELLAZM 9/22/2011 6:10AM

    Not to worry, Don, post when you can...I know you're in this for the long haul!

What a great blog and what great photos - and what a great event! I think that the fact you made the decision on short notice is kind of a metaphor for being LIGHTER - sometimes when we lose weight, we also lose some of the heaviness of our hearts and spirits.

Have a good rest of the week...

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DARK_CINDERELLA 9/21/2011 9:59PM

    What an adventure! So fun! And way to be spontaneous...... :)

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HEARTOLOVE 9/21/2011 9:53AM

    Wow!! and you did 105 miles!!
in a strange city.
You are an adventurous spirit!
What an accomplishment!

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JLITT62 9/21/2011 5:57AM

    I just jump back in without catching up after a trip!

I don't think I would have enjoyed that - biking in traffic in NYC sounds REALLY scary - but glad YOU did & you enjoyed it.

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CINNAMONJOY 9/20/2011 10:07PM

    Excellent! It sounds like a fantastic adventure for the end of summer!

(That globe was practically in my backyard once upon a time, btw!)

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TSANC01 9/20/2011 6:01PM

  Thanks for sharing you trip with us. I've never been on a century, I don't have a road bike...yet..maybe someday.

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SKINNYPOWELL1 9/20/2011 12:13PM

    Isn't flying by the seat of pants fun? Sometimes life's best adventures are unplanned. Good for you in stepping out of the box and having a great time. I always enjoy hearing your stories, I'm living the life of a cyclist thru your eyes and more and more I'm craving to give it a try, who knows maybe someday.

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TOOTHFUL99 9/20/2011 8:43AM

    This sounds like so much fun, even the getting lost and surviving part!
I look forward to hearing about your next adventure!

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WATERMELLEN 9/20/2011 8:21AM

    What an incredible adventure! Your blog is a terrific endorsement for the value of spontaneity.

"The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence never can retract
By this and this only we have lived."

(From-memory more or less accurate quotation from TS Elliott's epic poem, "The Waste Land" . . . maybe in or around the "Burnt Norton" section . . . I've lost that particular map at the moment as well!!)

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GROEDER 9/20/2011 7:43AM

    Sounds like a great time - and some adventure too!!!! I really enjoy reading about your cycling trips.
Thanks for sharing them.

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DAISYBELL6 9/20/2011 7:42AM

    You rock! I am very impressed!

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BILL60 9/20/2011 7:40AM

    Don, just SUPER!! Way to go and way to be spontaneous!! You're DA MAN!!!!

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BD3269PM 9/20/2011 6:50AM

    Yea for spontaneity!! What a great experience you had and thanks for sharing it. Keep on Sparking emoticon

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DDOORN 9/20/2011 6:42AM

    There is something to love about BOTH types of cycling, city & country...for the most part I'm a fan of the quiet, open roads of the country...but this was certainly a unique, exciting and at times wonderful experience!

For a couple of seasoned, country cyclists I think we held our own pretty nicely down in NYC!


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BECKY3774 9/20/2011 6:33AM

    Sounds like you really enjoyed your ride...good for you for doing something outside of your comfort zone! emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/20/2011 3:22AM

    Sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for the trip report!

I think I like riding out in the stix, though. Did enough crazy city riding while growing up in Oakland, CA. LOL

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2BMYOWN 9/20/2011 12:41AM

    Damn.....between you and Maha, I get my weekly dose of inspiration right when I seem to need it the most. For some reason, the two of you are always joined in my mind...when I think of her, I think of you, and vice versa, isn't that funny? Maybe it's because both of you are exceptional, maybe? Totally AWESOME blog, Don, and YAY for spontaneity, it just sounds like an absolutely wonderful adventure, and isn't that what life is about????? Sometimes the plans that just kinda drop into your lap at the last minute turn out to be the most worthwhile.....and fun!

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VALERIEMAHA 9/19/2011 11:26PM

    OMG! Don, I had NO idea!!! THE BIG APPLE, indeed! When did you finish, after starting at 6am, getting lost, resting, etc.? I find the preparation for 100+ miles so overwhelming at this point. Might have to make a bike trade too, huh.

YAY! for spontaneity!

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L*I*T*A* 9/19/2011 11:11PM

    looks like it turned very well in the end..
blessings and hugs..........lita

emoticon emoticon

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A Few Years Ago...

Monday, September 12, 2011

...if somebody would have told me that when I get back to cycling I would feel best sitting on one of those skinny little seats all bent over those drop down handlebars I would have called them a liar...!

But you know, it dawned on me while working out at a hotel tonight and sitting on a cushy recumbent seat, sitting up nice & straight...my butt was hurting! Couldn't help but smile over that! I remember first getting serious about looking for a good bike for myself thinking: No drop down handlebars for me! I want to sit up nice and straight...and LOSE that skinny seat! Gotta get me a big cushy thing!

And now? I'm all crouched over on my skinny seat, hands mostly in the drop position, just buzzing right along feeling right at home! I notice how much more efficient my pedaling feels when in the "drop" position.

To the uninitiated...as I once was...it seems counterintuitive, but a word to those looking to jump into the world of cycling, or to re-invent your approach to cycling: work with your local bike shop and their suggestions and be open to trying things that may not APPEAR to be what you might THINK you're looking for...you might be pleasantly surprised!

Keep it SPARKING everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKINNYPOWELL1 9/19/2011 2:14PM

    Thanks for the advice, I just can't get past the idea of the skinny seat. My old ten-speed seat used to kill my tush. Silly quesion, but how long does the dairyaire hurt before it becomes accustomed to the seat? Inquiry minds really want to know. That's my only drawback.

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VHALKYRIE 9/16/2011 8:10PM

    I know what you mean! I really dislike the recumbent bike. I just cannot get as good a workout as the real thing. I find my padded cycling pants is all the "comfort" I need, but I prefer my real bike seat to be streamlined.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/14/2011 11:33AM

    Now that's my idea of "recycling" emoticon

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2BMYOWN 9/14/2011 3:19AM

    I can't even picture a skinny seat and drop down handlebars.....OMG.....but you're right. Every single person I see who rides all of the time chooses the very same equipment that you speak of, so there's gotta be something to it. Every morning on my way home from work, I see a dedicated cyclist pedaling to work looking like a finely honed machine, and I always say a quick prayer for him because frankly, people drive like freaking maniacs around here and I'm scared to death someone will hit him. But he always looks so relaxed and almost like he's part of that bike that he's riding, and I have often grinned to myself because it always reminds me of you! LOL Keep on kickin' it, sparky bud. Being one of those who has a hard time sticking with something for even two weeks at a time, your dedication and that of so many others here on sparks just literally amazes me.

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TAMIK1964 9/13/2011 11:01PM

    Great tips. I'm learning a few of those as I go too. Now I just smile when people look at my skinny seat and say ouch!!!

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RUNCHOOSE 9/13/2011 10:47PM

    I love the way new habits can just transform your life.

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WATERMELLEN 9/13/2011 5:31PM

    Amazing what a difference getting fit makes in how we feel . . .

I'm always stunned that my butt is bony enough now to notice if I sit for a longish period of time . . . lost pretty much all the cushiness, and don't miss it!

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L*I*T*A* 9/13/2011 10:03AM

    great tips...
who knew the skinny seat was so comfortable!!!
not for me though..
i tried spinning the seats too uncomfortable???!!!
thanks for sharing......
blessings and hugs............lita

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VALERIEMAHA 9/13/2011 9:26AM

    Something to look forward to in my next incarnation (in this life or the next)? We'll see how I make it upright-ish (I'm always trying to adjust into a "spinal slant!") on my skinny little seat through the fall classic this Saturday. I picked the 45-mile tour...will I stop at 28 miles? And Lycra shorts -- ni hablar!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/13/2011 9:26:41 AM

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W5VEOTX 9/13/2011 8:41AM

    Neck and back arthritis keeps me sitting upright but still look forward to riding my touring bike - finished 34 miles in Ride for Children Saturday.

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LADYGWEN25 9/13/2011 7:56AM

    no clipps for me...lol.. And i've really been riding on the drops lately.. gotta say.. it's been a good change and i've been having less hand numbness.

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BILL60 9/13/2011 7:30AM

    The theory on Clip-ons is similar to biking on drops. It makes cycling that much more efficient. When you realize this you'll most likely say, "why did I wait this long??? Hang tough my friend.

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BD3269PM 9/13/2011 6:45AM

    Thanks for sharing the tip on skinny seats. I would never have thought that they would feel comfortable enough to use all the time. Live and learn. Keep on Sparking emoticon

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JLITT62 9/13/2011 6:12AM

    I'll admit those are pretty much my thoughts if I were ever to try biking . . . and certainly no clip-ins, I'd look really dorky falling over! Good thing running & swimming keep me plenty busy. Plus yoga, walkingthe dogs, ST . . .

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DDOORN 9/12/2011 11:45PM

    AND, ya know...I still resist using bicycle shorts as much as possible. We have another older fellow in our cycling club who NEVER wears cycling shorts! AND he's a long-distance cycling dude! I routinely don't bother for rides 20-25 miles and occasionally 30 miles.

I'll grant that they are a necessity for distances over that...but who knows...maybe I'll follow in this fellow's footsteps! :-)

My reason? Lycra and me in public is just a poor idea...so I wear shorts over my shorts...which makes it a hotter ride. PLUS if I ride to work it's one more thing for me to pack and one more step to add to the process of getting to work and READY for work.

I like to keep things as simple as possible.


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/12/2011 11:11PM



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DDOORN 9/12/2011 10:59PM

    As soon as I posted this I thought: Oh no! Now *SOMEBODY'S* going to ZING me about clipping-in...! :-)


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/12/2011 10:50PM

    Hmm. And there seems to have been a time when someone I know swore he'd never wear the "dorky" padded lycra shorts, either... LOL


Perhaps eventually you'll even try the clip-in shoes. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Comment edited on: 9/12/2011 10:52:41 PM

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LMLOPEZ 9/12/2011 10:33PM

    Isn't it great when you "discover" what works or doesn't work for you? Glad your skinny seat makes you comfy-and thanks for the tip!

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On a Dristy Morning...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

...out on the Silver Comet trail with the weather poised between a misty almost drizzly grey day I'm out cruising along on my bike, bidding the occasional walker, jogger and cyclist a cheery "Mornin'" as I see how far along I can get heading westward.

Not too long after I start I see some figures off in the distance which are difficult to make out, especially as I've got my sunglasses on (better wind protection for my eyes which readily dry out and tear with the breeze even more when not well protected).

Soon I can tell these are a pair of dogs. BIG dogs! No owner in sight!

I have been extraordinarily fortunate in my cycling travels with regard to dogs. Nary a snag with one of 'em yet! Was my luck about to take a turn for the worst?

My plan? Breeze by them as quickly and quietly as possible!

Revving up I get closer and can tell they're both German Shepherds. Big & formidable...give Croce's "junkyard dog" a run for the money! One is HUGE and almost BLACK...let's call him Bluto. The other? A little smaller and lighter and darker...Jake will do.

Anyhow as I'm cranking the pedals, these two dogs seem completely oblivious to me, just stepping along in the same direction as I. Where's this keen canine hearing...? I'm really ramped up and go to pass when Bluto, the doofus, saunters right into my path! I hit the brakes, but not quickly enough! We collide! Bluto snarls!

Within a few milliseconds we have this conversation after sharing a few expletives:

Bluto: Looks like dinner just arrived!

Me: Gulp!

Bluto: Which body part would be the best first course?

Me: This isn't exactly the weight loss plan I had in mind...

Well milliseconds come and milliseconds go and the next thing you know the dogs are so startled by me that they take off like a couple of streaks ahead of me! I keep going...I'M chasing the DOGS! What a hoot! I pull out my virtual whip and crack it in the air: HeyAH! Get along little (?!) doggies!

Actually what I REALLY do is continue to chase the dogs, it is so WAY better to be behind THEM instead of THEM behind ME! I break into song! Music to soothe the savage beast, right? I'd been channeling Paul Simon's "Myth of Fingerprints (All Around the World)" during my ride and figure, hey, if I'm singing I can't be THAT ill-intentioned, right doggies? :-)

I was thoroughly AMAZED over how far I chased those dogs down the trail! For some reason they never thought to just scoot off to the side. Bluto would look back now & then and I couldn't tell if he was frightened or thinking of making good on that imagined conversation we previously had...lol!

After a piece I figured I'd tuckered them out well enough that they couldn't give chase to me and whizzed by the two of them...OFF to get further down the trail!

The Silver Comet is quite the accomplishment for Georgia...where OFF the trail the roads are about as bicycle UN-friendly as they can be. They have managed to create the longest paved rail-trail in the United States! It extends from a little west of Atlanta right across the state on into Alabama for a piece! Counting the entire trail it looks to run over 100 miles! A HIGHLY IMPRESSIVE FEAT! I'm hopeful more and more communities will take note and follow suit!


Although today's ride was relatively quiet, over this past hot weekend (Sat. / Sun.) folks were EVERYWHERE on this trail...runners, walkers, cyclists, in-line skaters...EVERYONE! What an investment into the health and wellness of Georgia citizens and their visitors!

I enjoyed a nice chit-chat with the Silver Comet Depot silvercometdepot.com/ proprietor after today's ride. He was duly impressed with my Tricross, but then he stocks mostly Specialized bikes! :-)

With a little luck, I'm hoping to pull together plans to catch up with other SP members out on the trail over this upcoming weekend.

Keep the SPARK everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEARTOLOVE 9/12/2011 9:59AM

    You're a great writer!! Loved the story!! Those Dogs can be a problem for exercisers!!

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2BMYOWN 9/11/2011 12:23PM

    LOL! Well, that turned out a whole lot better than it might have, with more aggressive dogs. I used to have shepherds, and for the most part, and with the exception of one that had been abused before I got her, they were mostly big teddy bears that wouldn't hurt a fly and ran from their own shadow. They LOOKED intimidating......the reality was a lot different. LOL Keep up the awesome adventures, Don!

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RUNCHOOSE 9/8/2011 6:09PM

    I'm happy you were safe - what a thrilling event. I know some folks who are afraid of dogs who would not have been very happy to be in that situation. Thanks for sharing also about the trail - I hadn't heard of it.

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CHRIS3215 9/8/2011 12:18PM

    WOW Don, what an exciting ride you had..
Lucky you that you were not LUNCH..lol

Bet them DOGS wish you went the other way..lol
TOO funny!!!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/7/2011 9:41PM

    I enjoyed reading this blog! I'm glad the dogs weren't TOO dangerous emoticon

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OUTDOORGIRL69 9/7/2011 8:57PM


Sounds like an interesting ride. Hope you didn't get hurt when you ran into Bluto.

Waiting to hear about your next adventure.

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WATERMELLEN 9/7/2011 7:12PM

    What a fun blog: and you were very brave! Like "dristy"; very evocative!!

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TOOTHFUL99 9/7/2011 5:52PM

    Sounds like you got a nice welcome from the biggest hazard to riding in the south! There are dogs everywhere down here and you never know what's going to happen.

These two must have been on a mission. Maybe they had dates waiting in Rockport...

Glad to hear you survived the crash and tumble. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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ZELLAZM 9/7/2011 3:40PM

    That was scary - but a great work out for all 3 of you, I'm sure!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 9/7/2011 3:11PM

    Glad your encounter with the beasts turned out for the best. I truly love reading your adventures. emoticon

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JLITT62 9/7/2011 3:03PM

    Glad to hear you didn't become a doggy snack. And glad you're not here cause you wouldn't be cycling today!

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GROEDER 9/7/2011 1:51PM

    Great recount of your ride. I'm glad the dogs amused (rather than abused) you.
That trail sounds like a super place to ride. I'm kind of jealous!!! LOL

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TAMIK1964 9/7/2011 1:27PM

    I sure am glad things turned out ok with the dogs and you got in a good ride. That trail sounds awesome!

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LADYGWEN25 9/7/2011 1:06PM

    good job out cycling the dogs! glad you're having a good time..100 miles huh..you gonna do the whole thing?? ;)

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L*I*T*A* 9/7/2011 12:53PM

    what an adventure!!
have a great week...
blessings and hugs.....lita


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KENAZFEHU 9/7/2011 12:45PM

    Whew! Glad you escaped the jaws of death!

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