1,000 Miles in 75 Days: Patience, Pedaling and Persistence

The Long and Unwinding, Hilly Road
The Long, Unwinding, Hilly Road… to Lovely Manor, Texas

    Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

-Calvin Coolidge

     1,000 miles:  that’s how far my GPS app Strava tells me that I have bicycled in 2016 as of March 15.  Not too shabby, if you ask me.  If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning (if you haven’t, you really ought to!), you know my first words were 3,000 miles.  That is the distance I estimated biking in 2015.  (Truth be told it was probably closer to 3,500, but that was pre-Strava.)  So with 20% of the year gone, I’ve already achieved 25% of my goal of 4,000.  At this pace, I will reach 5,000 miles.  Whatever number I reach, I’m on track (so to speak) to bike pretty damn far for me. Continue reading


On the Economy of Words and Pedal Strokes

Snack of Non-Champions

< = + (Less is More)

One of the local authors A Dude Abikes met at One Page Salon (see my last post) is Natalia Sylvester.  I’ve just checked her book Chasing the Sun out from the Austin public library and look forward to reading it sometime I’m not working or biking.  Not only was she brilliant of mind, beautiful of visage and generous with advice, she was kind.  Clearly she has not hit the stereotypical writer’s bottle just yet.  Here’s a blurb:

Andres suspects his wife has left him—again. Then he learns that the unthinkable has happened: she’s been kidnapped. Too much time and too many secrets have come between Andres and Marabela, but now that she’s gone, he’ll do anything to get her back. Or will he?

     Nice, right?  Tight, to the point, to the point.  Taking a look at Natalia’s blog, I was struck by how economical she was with her words, something I have yet to master.  But I know it’s the sign of a good writer.  This is a rest day from the bike, after yesterday’s 24.9 miles (total for the day on Strava) – I missed 25 by that much, although that did not include my new short commute).  So I thought I’d try to emulate that and just put pen to paper.

Riding, like writing, is another example where less is usually better.  The fewer pedal strokes you take, the more energy is conserved.  And the less energy wasted the better. A Dude is no athlete, not in perfect health, and is no spring chicken either, so he feels every mile.  So constantly shifting gears help ascend the hills and descend the dales. Downshifting by not even biking for a day or two, or just going on a short recovery ride, is akin to shutting the hell up and being a good listener.  To wit:  sometimes the best answer to a stupid question is no words at all, just a wry smile. ;~}

“Regardless of how much money you have, your race, where you live, what religion you follow, you are going through something. Or you already have or you will. As momma always said, “Everybody’s got something.”

-Robin Roberts, Everybody’s Got Something

Continue reading

47 mph Downhill, 5 Up & One Page Salon

Surviving Spicewood Springs

After a work retreat Monday, A Dude Abikes was at the top of this serious hill between Mesa and Loop 360.  I’ve always feared it, and yet since becoming serious about biking, I’ve wondered if I could bike up it.  It’s not called the Hill Country for nothing.  So after bragging to some co-workers that I was going to do it, I went ahead and just did it.  Without stretching, warming up, wearing my stretchy jeans with a full back-pack.  I admit it was a little insane but as Helen Keller said (who was a good and actual socialist, by the way): “Life is a grand adventure or nothing at all.”

I don’t have any witnesses, and Strava didn’t record it right, but I achieved my top speed to date:  47 miles per hour. The downhill was awesome, and one missed rock or a wrong move and I would have been a bloody mess on the ground requiring an ambulance ride. But I made it down without incident — just alot of adrenaline — and then stopped to look up.  I hoped the woman in the car stopped at the light would look at me like in a movie and say, “What, are you going to bike THAT?  Are you nuts?!”  But she didn’t notice I existed.  This is my Little Engine that Could moment and you’re ignoring me?  What a bee…yootiful day for a bike ride!

Spicewood Springs
Spicewood Springs Road looking downhill, west, toward Loop 360

Continue reading