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Fading Tiger Paws

Monday, November 04, 2013

This summer cycling season, after being cut loose by my cardiologist in June and taken off of Coumadin, was capped by two of the most special cycling accomplishments: 1) Cycling 'round the 1,000 Islands area of New York and Ontario with 15 of my bike club members and 2) Cycling 'round Cape Cod on my week-long self-supported tour with several other very special cyclists.

One of the things I do when I ride is, whenever possible, I wear my Keen Sandals:


Nope, no cycling shoes for me. No clip-ins, etc. Just don't want to "go there" and take my lumps learning to clip, falling at stop lights, etc. Besides I'm a keep-it-simple kinda guy: one pair of sandals and I'm good to go wherever I want to, cycling, walking, hiking...do it all with no need for changing over. It was a nice "downsize" to my self-supported load...no extra pair of shoes!

And as odd as it may seem, I really liked the "stripes" I earned from spending time in my Keens as the sun would tan the open parts of the sandals leaving stripes of tan against the pale, unexposed parts of my feet. By the time I finished riding the Cape I was sporting some pretty cool stripes, silly as it may seem I felt proud to earn them and just seeing them on my feet could make me smile and re-kindle the memories of how they got there! :-)

Well, since I'm a fairweather kinda cyclist I've been pretty well sidelined from riding for a while now. Not that I won't keep my eyes & ears tuned to a possible warm spell during which I can scoot out and enjoy, but increasingly my workouts are indoors at the fitness center. Spinning classes are great, but I am finding myself increasingly missing my outdoor "fix."

My Tiger Paws are fading and this past weekend's Daylight Savings felt like a big heavy door slamming shut against the daylight.


The Dark Months are upon us! It's not just the darkness in the morning and after work that I find so oppressive, but the confining aspects of the cold and dark, the withdrawal of abundant sunshine.

A couple years ago I finally bought a used cross country ski set hoping to be able to use them and to get my outdoor fix. However I and many of our bike club members who switch to cross country skiing during the winter are finding that climate change has mostly snatched away our readily available skiing options. Some travel north to ski. But I'd like to gain more confidence, as I'm a newbie, before driving a distance to flop around in the snow.

So the challenge returns: how to keep my Spark during The Dark Months!

One thought which I've started to put into action has been to make a more consistent and concerted effort to head out for power walks with co-workers while on lunch break at work. We have a handy hill nearby which we start right up at the beginning of our walk that always revs us up for the rest of the walk during which we keep a crisp, zippy pace. It's a great break from our long hours either riding around seeing clients or at the pc logging in our work. PLUS we shake loose our work and enjoy our conversations along the way AND:

We get our OUTDOOR FIX! Nice triple bonuses!

The other activity I know I need to enjoy more consistently is to get out for Swing Dance every possible Tues. night:


Yes it's on the other end of the county 20 miles away...but the costs of not going are too great. Need to make this a priority PLUS:

I need to be vigilant for opportunities to push the envelop, get out of my comfort zone and try other things. For instance, recently one of the most SPARKIN' members of SP I know: 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI has been enjoying the fun and community of contradancing and spotted an event that is coming up this Saturday practically in my back yard!


Part of me worries about being a total newbie to this kind of dancing, but I've heard from many sources how user-friendly, warm and accepting the contradance community can be. So yep: gonna do it!

I've invited our local SparkTeams to join in the fun and am hoping there will be others to meet. I'm truly grateful to 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI for her persuasive, friendly "nudges" to get going here!

Yes, The Dark Months may be upon us, but I'm beginning to realize and utilize one of the most potent defenses against the darkness. Pardon the dated lingo of this song, but it came to me while writing this blog and all "grooviness" aside, the message remains as timeless and vibrant as ever:


Yours in SPARK!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    "Reach Out in the Darkness" is one of my favorites songs (I'm listening right now). I like your other links also, thanks for sharing!
    2630 days ago
    2639 days ago
    Go for it Don-nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I think any kind of dancing is simply a mood lifter :)
    I agree on the DST transition-I have grown so accustomed to my walks and outdoor time that I am in a sort of mourning. I left the house Sunday afternoon at 4pm for a 5 mile jaunt and it was dark when I got back 78 minutes later. 2 months ago, I wouldn't even leave the house until 6:30 to avoid the heat....
    I have adopted a habit of taking a half mile walk at lunch-wakes me up and energizes me for the afternoon. Guess that may have to be my "sunshine" fix for a while, too. This too shall pass.
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    2639 days ago
    Love the Blog and the shoes. I need to look into them.
    2639 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14270285
    Hey Don, I love the talk about tiger paws and how they're fading. Do you do a road bike or hybrid of some sort? I'm surprised you wear them instead of clip-ins, and it actually gives me a ray of hope because no matter how I adjust my clip-in's, I still end up with knee pain and it shortened my bike-riding experience to almost nothing this year. Too late for this season, but I have my eye on next--am in talks with DH's family (they live in Iowa) about doing a part of RAGBRAI. Oh, and good luck with dancing--that's something I cannot do to save my life, not matter what style, lol. Cheers!
    2639 days ago
    Nice blog. Have a great day.
    2639 days ago
    It sounds like a fun active time.

    2639 days ago
    Don, you have nothing to worry about with the contra dancing. It attracts lots of people who feel otherwise socially or physically awkward. It's funny that way.

    Just check out this video, if you have any doubts:

    And heck, you already do swing, which many contra dancers aren't even brave enough to attempt! LOL

    Looking forward to seeing ya on Saturday. And dancing with you.


    2640 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/4/2013 11:34:57 PM
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