Tag: Cycling

A Life Altering Change

There are a few big moments in everyone’s life that are remembered. Graduation. First “real” job. Getting married. First kid. Events that will always stay in your mind. I had one of those events happen this week. You’re never really ready for the impact these life changes will have. I will remember this first week of September for many years to come. It was the week I switched to flat pedals and added a dropper post to the mountain bike.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Dude, the change to flat pedals has been around for years now – you’re just now switching? I know, I know. I’m a little slow to adapt the latest and greatest in tech. I’m old fashioned and, honestly, don’t like spending money. My clip-in pedals from the 90’s have been working just fine. Why spend money on new pedals and shoes just because it’s what all the kids are doing now? Besides, the duct tape holding my shoe together is working just fine.

So what was the catalyst that spawned this momentous change? I went for a ride on a trail I hadn’t ridden since last summer that’s pretty technical, rocky, and had a rather steep drop-off on one side. I was riding and had a wobble over a loose rock, couldn’t get my foot out of the clip-in pedal and nearly tumbled down the steep edge. That’s really never happened to me before. This summer, for the first time, I can tell my balance isn’t what it used to be. Age is starting to kick in and my reflexes are just not as cat-like as they once were. I accept it and I’m actively working on improving it. But the reality is that I’m a long way from twenty and I can no longer just assume balance and coordination will save my bacon every time.

So I bit the bullet and took my bike into the shop. New pedals, shoes, and a seat post I can drop when going downhill at ludicrous speed. I immediately went back to that same rocky trail to see if the changes made a difference. It was night and day. Like riding a completely different bike. Why I didn’t do this five years ago is beyond me. I had more confidence in the technical stuff and was able to finally get my butt back and over the rear wheel properly. Wow.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson when I finally upgraded to modern skis several years ago and realized that there was no comparison between old school and modern technology. Apparently being an old-school traditionalist (i.e. cheap) doesn’t ever go away.

So the lesson is, if your stuff is more than five years old – do yourself a favor and investigate what the latest and greatest is. Technology is moving at a rapid rate. If something makes life easier, you’ll be more likely to go out and do the thing. And that’s good. Oh, and work on your balance. Today. Everyday. It’s a perishable commodity. Use it or lose it as they say.

What’s Your Habit, Dude?

So, the other day I stumbled upon a YouTube channel. It’s a middle-aged guy who lost a hundred pounds and now competes in all kinds of running, cycling, and general fitness events. He’s articulate, funny, and doles out some pretty good, motivational advice. I’m not sure why, but I gravitate to those types of channels. Probably because in my head, any day now I’m going to go run an ultramarathon. Never mind that I’m struggling with 3 miles at the moment. The training is really going to kick in soon.

Anyway, in one of his videos he mentioned creating habits. He referenced a book that he says completely changed the way he thinks about this sort of thing. It’s called Atomic Habits by James Clear. Well, if it’s good enough for this guy it’s good enough for me. I jumped on to Amazon’s book site, found the book, and… it said I’d already downloaded it. I checked my Kindle and sure enough, there it was. I’d even read it. And I had absolutely zero memory of it. Clearly it didn’t make much of an impression on me.

But maybe I was taking too much cold medication that week? I decided to give it another go. Sure enough, something jumped out at me several chapters in. Something that further proved, once again, that Mrs. Troutdog is the smarter one in our marriage. She didn’t like my post from the other day, saying she hates when I talk negatively about myself. I agree that I tend to be very self-effacing when I write. Sometimes it’s for brilliant comedic effect. Sometimes it’s authentic voice. The truth is that I’m not much of a self-promoter. Besides, it’s hard to fail if you set the bar ridiculously low to begin with. Right?

So, what does this have to do with habits? One of the things that the author said about creating a habit is the importance of creating a positive affirmation. It’s a subtle thing, but one that makes a difference in how you view the habit you’re trying to start. Rather than saying, “I’m going to go for a run because I’d like to be considered a runner one day”, you need to tell yourself that you ARE a runner. It doesn’t matter that you can barely go three blocks… you ARE a runner and therefore you need to train. That subtle shift in mindset makes a huge difference in motivation to continue a habit.

I realized that this is exactly what I’ve been doing to myself, for years, and why it probably drives Mrs. Troutdog crazy. While a pure beginner may not know the difference, someone who’s participated in a sport or activity for a while can recognize the difference between an amateur and someone who’s actually good. For many of my activities I can tell when someone really knows what they’re doing. In my head, those are the people who can call themselves a cyclist, skier, runner, writer, etc… I’ve never viewed myself as one of those people. For anything. In my head I always see myself as a beginner. Not worthy of a higher rank.

I need to go for a run this morning because I’m a runner. That’s what I do. And runners need to train. Boom! Mind blown. It’s weird how such a small change in thinking, can influence your motivation to do something.

The other nugget that was in the book is about quantity vs. quality. I’ve always struggled with habits because when starting out, it’s hard. Your form is bad. You don’t have the coordination. Endurance and strength limits what you can do. You watch videos that tout “do this one exercise for 20 reps to make major changes!”. I can’t even to 10 reps, let alone 20. Guess I won’t be doing that one.

As the old saying goes, perfect is the enemy of good. Habits are formed by repetition, regardless of the quality of what you do. The author suggests that if you want to run every morning, start by getting up every day, lacing up your running shoes, and walk around the block. That’s it. Do just that for three weeks. Every single day. It makes no difference that all you did was go around the block. You’re creating a mental cue. Rewiring your brain to change what your morning routine is. It takes hundreds of repetitions to create a lasting habit. It doesn’t matter what your running form is, if you get better, how far you went, or how fast you go. What matters is a hundred times you reinforced that cue – get up, put your shoes on, and step out the door. It’s a habit.

I am a runner. I am a mountain biker. I am a skier. I am a motorcyclist. I am a fisherman. I am a photographer. I am a writer. Now please excuse me, I need to go train.

Scammed By A Headline

  • Brace yourselves – I’ve discovered some shocking information… the news is dishonest. I know, hard to believe right? While I’m certainly not the sharpest crayon in the box, I feel like I have a pretty good sense of what’s garbage and what’s not when it comes to the news. Unless it’s something you’re predisposed to believe is true because you’ve seen it day in and out. Confirmation bias. If it’s what you expect to hear, then it’s easy to blindly believe the words in front of you.
  • Here’s the backstory. I have been a longtime cycling fan. Starting in high school I dabbled in a few races and briefly thought I was a “real” cyclist. Reality set in pretty quickly and I evolved to a weekend rider and TV race fan. I watched the grand tours religiously year after year. There were days I’d be late to work because I got up early to watch the Tour de France in real time. I was, and continued to be, a big fan of Lance Armstrong through every tour and even after his fall from grace. A few years ago he started a podcast on YouTube with George Hincapie that gave the best race analysis you could find. Lots of “inside the tour” details and great tactical discussions. Every day of the tour I’d watch the recorded replay of the stage and then Lance’s podcast. As the big names all started retiring, I began slowing down on following cycling. Lance’s podcast revived my interest again. And then last year we had all the BLM protests. Sure enough, what pops up in the news headlines?
    • “Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong goes “woke,” cancels bike shop’s contract with Austin police”.
    • “Lance Armstrong’s Bike Shop Cancels Police Contract – Still Wants Cops To Protect Them From Threats”.
    • “Lance Armstrong’s Texas bike shop cuts ties with Austin police”.
  • God Damnit! Why can’t these celebrities just stay in their lane? I watch/follow them for their athletic ability or acting, not their politics. Why do they have to ruin things with their woke opinions? That was it, I was done with watching the tour and Lance’s podcast. I did not follow a minute of cycling last year or this year. I didn’t even realize the Tour de France had started this year until I saw the headline about the idiot spectator that caused that huge crash.
  • I was telling someone why I no longer followed the tour and was looking for one of the articles about Lance. Suddenly an article I hadn’t seen before appeared. Turns out Lance found out about the bike shops decision while he was on vacation and didn’t agree with it. He contacted the Austin police chief and brokered a thirty minute meeting with the chief and the bike shop to try and work something out.
    • Armstrong said ” the shop’s decision to cancel the contract is “not a situation that I support.” He also said he was “sick and tired of everybody screaming” at each other over the issue, which pitted the business against the police and some members of the public in a war of words”
  • Turns out Armstrong is a sworn sheriff’s deputy in Colorado. So… I got suckered into some sensationalist news headlines and made a snap judgement about something without making much of an effort to research further. What’s that old saying about assuming something? I lost a few Contrarian street cred points over this one. So what’s the lesson learned? The news lies. Media will always go for the sensationalist headline without bothering to do much, you know, actual journalism. Don’t let yourself be so easily swayed by “popular” opinion. Oh, and this year’s Tour de France is shaping up to be a really good one!

Song of the day: The Clash-Police And Thieves 1977

Maybe I’m Wrong?

  • I’m often wrong. Some days I feel like I’m wrong more than I’m right. But when it matters, I take extra steps to try and not be wrong. As a healthcare worker, you better hope I doublecheck what I’m doing before I inject something into your bloodstream. Since we’re about to spend a truckload of money to fight the scourge of climate change, don’t you think we should take a moment to doublecheck our work? Our climate czar John Kerry said that we only have 9 years left to avoid climate disaster. In 1989 the UN said we only have 10 years before the planet is destroyed. In 2006 Al Gore said we only have 10 years before global warming destroys the planet. In 2009, NASA’s James Hansen said we only have until 2013. AOC says we have until 2030, so at least there’s a little time left. 45 years ago it was global cooling that would become our biggest issue. Can we all just get our stories straight please? Before Bill Gates funds a program to inject tinfoil into the atmosphere to block the sun, shouldn’t we be pretty sure we’re actually causing global warming? If government and “scientists” were being intellectually honest, they’d fund a red team to try and disprove the global warming theories. Because every single climate model and prediction has been wrong. Not a little bit off, but spectacularly wrong. As the old saying goes, correlation does not imply causation. And since the very premise of the scientific method is to put out a hypothesis and let others try and disprove it, shouldn’t we be doing that? It’s only once it can’t be disproven it becomes accepted theory. The fact that you’re not allowed to question something should bother you. Therefore, I’d like to be proven wrong. Please show me proof that A) the earth is warming at a dangerous rate beyond what could be attributed to natural cycles, and B) that it is without a doubt being caused by man. Probably most importantly, if A and B are actually true then please prove that anything proposed by governments would actually solve A or B. I don’t think you can. So tell me again why we’re going to impact our economy for something nobody can prove with solutions that we’re not sure will even work?
  • Speaking of spending money on lost causes, the US has spent spent more than $787 million dollars on “gender equality projects” in Afghanistan. So tell me again why my taxes need to go up?
  • I found a pretty good YouTube series about a group of guys who take an eight day motorcycle ride around my state. It’s very well done and neat to see some of the local trails that I’ve ridden. It was compelling enough that I blew most of my morning yesterday being nonproductive and watching it. I sent the link to a buddy who started watching it with his young son. His son became so enamored with it, he got out maps so he could follow along where they were going. I love seeing that. That’s the sort of spirit we need to be instilling in young folks. Curiosity and exploration is what built this country. We need more of it.
  • While on the topic of exploration, the Mars landing of the Perseverance rover was very cool. It is amazing what we’re capable of from a technology perspective these days. I do wonder why we have such a heavy focus on Mars though? I get that it may be the end goal, but why all the focus now? Meaning, shouldn’t we be concentrating on how we’re going to build structures, manage food, water, and oxygen, etc… on someplace that’s just a bit closer? Like the moon perhaps? I honestly don’t get why we’re focused on a place that takes a year to get to rather than one that takes a few days. It seems like logistically we could achieve the same technology learning goals easier, by going to the moon rather than Mars. Maybe we are doing that and it just hasn’t hit the news. Perhaps the moon just isn’t sexy enough. I’ll have to do some research.
  • The UCI just announced that it is banning the “super tuck”. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s a technique where a cyclist sits down on the top tube to be more aerodynamic and shifts weight forward for increased speed downhill. Many folks don’t realize the pros can easily hit 50 miles an hour downhill. Doing the super tuck at ludicrous speed takes testicles much bigger than mine, that’s for sure. Oh, sorry to leave you with that image. Here’s a video of super fast cycling descents to make up for it.
  • Last night I had an enormous plate of Mexican food. This morning I’m eating a bowl of croutons as I type this. In a little while we’re going to meet some friends for breakfast and I’ll have a huge breakfast burrito of some sort. Meanwhile I wonder why my pants no longer fit. I saw a quote today that describes my problem exactly. “I have the palate of a raccoon”. Yep, that’s me. Sigh.

Song of the day: The Kinks – Lola (from One For The Road)

The Perfect Weight Loss Hack

Cool things, shower thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Clickbait titles amuse me and I couldn’t resist. Anyway, I’ll reveal the hack over the next few posts. Here’s the first part. Go find a BMR calculator that includes activity level. This one seems to work well. Enter in the data and see what your number is. Now here’s the crazy part – go eat less than that number. I guarantee you’ll loose weight. Boom! Mind blown. More to come.
  • I was fascinated by this article. I had no idea that there was such a thing as the Open Skies Treaty and we actually let other countries conduct surveillance flights over our military installations. I can’t decide if it’s no big deal, or our openness will come back to bite us some day.
  • I haven’t been very good lately at keeping up with friendships. The older you get the harder it is. It’s certainly a perishable skill that I need to work on. Been thinking about it, so I contacted a couple of buddies I hadn’t seen in a while and made arrangements to meet for lunch and a couple of beers. It felt good. Go do the same.
  • Watched “The Dawn Wall” last night. Well worth a watch but not as well done as “Free Solo”. The “rules” for big wall free climbing are unclear and the movie never explains it, so there are parts that may leave you wondering why they’re doing some of the things they do. At any rate, I may have to go dig out the climbing shoes. What could go wrong?
  • I’ve never been a huge fan of Lindsey Vonn. Her persona always seemed very cold. I was more of a Julia Mancuso fan. Lindsey recently launched a YouTube channel. She’s much warmer than I thought and has a dry sense of humor you don’t normally see.
  • I made a huge step in my street photographs. I actually went up to someone as asked if I could take their picture. If you’re not an extrovert this is a very weird and intimidating thing to do with a stranger. Wasn’t a great picture, but I crossed that hurdle.
  • Data tampering? But, they’re scientists how could this be? In related news, U.S. Oct-March temps were the third coldest recorded. But whatever.
  • Both political parties are full campaign mode trying to inflame their bases. Independent of the realties of each sides message, the left has gone full negative by devoting all its time to attacking the president. Traditionally people want to vote for something, not against something. It will be interesting to see what happens this go-round.
  • The Insta360 looks extremely cool. Inspiring enough I may have to dig out the GoPro and film something.

Song of the day: Florence + The Machine “Kiss with a fist”

Notions Of Cool V.019

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Your diet doesn’t matter. Seriously. The data shows that at the one year mark the success rate for all diets is virtually identical. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Mediterranean, South Beach, Zone, Keto, the cabbage soup diet… it doesn’t matter. In grossly simplistic terms losing weight is still all about calorie reduction. Expend more than you consume and you lose weight. Period. If your goal is weight loss, what’s most important is picking a diet you can stick to. The cabbage soup diet is probably not sustainable long term. If you’re picking a diet for other health reasons, blood sugar control, etc…, that’s a different discussion. Keep the two concepts separate and a pick a diet for the right reasons.
  • The history of Greenland’s melt cycles is interesting in light of recent “the sky is falling” news about sea level rise. As is NOAA’s potentially sketchy claims about February temps. Agree or disagree, the point is that maybe there’s more going on than we fully understand. That’s the point of science – to ask questions and search for answers. Don’t be a lemming.
  • I gained exactly 1 follower on Twitter. I find it interesting that on both Twitter and Instagram I get the most activity with posts or pictures of animals. People seem to like the hound. There must be some meaning around the human need to connect to animals and seeing happy things.
  • A video of all of the 8,000 meter peaks in the world. Worth it for the pictures.
  • I’m still not entirely sure why I’m writing. Performing for a nearly empty room day after day does get discouraging.
  • It’s interesting to watch the democratic 2020 candidates jockey for a campaign theme. I personally think that was one of the major factors last time. Like it or hate it, you knew exactly what Trump’s message was. I can honestly say I never knew exactly what Hillary’s message was. What is the central democratic message going to be for 2020?
  • Trying to heat a house in the mountains is challenging. Gas, wood, pellet, electric, hybrid… it’s making my head hurt. So many trade-offs between BTU’s vs energy cost and efficiency. It’s not like a plain ‘ole HVAC central heating system that makes all rooms the same temp. I will be very happy when I don’t have to think about this any more.

Song of the day: Fat Freddy’s drop “Bohannon”

Notions Of Cool V.011

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • I was fluctuating between 200-205. Hit 173 this morning. With a good poop I might hit 172. Not that I’m counting.
  • Listened yesterday to someone being told that if they continue the current lifestyle choices their lifespan will be measured in months. The response? “What time is dinner?” Hard to fathom.
  • We’re seeing the dimmest sun since 1978. The current solar minimum is trending towards the century-class minimum of 2008. Also, for the first time in 132 years, LA did not reach 70 degrees in Feb. No point to that other than you can find extremes on both sides of the thermometer at any day someplace in the world.
  • A baffling recycling program. Now take this and imagine the rules on medical waste. We have four different tubs that various wrappers and things must be disposed into. Nobody can figure out how to open the tops so all wrappers just end up in the trash or placed on top of the container.
  • No idea why I thought this was interesting. “The International Space Station is passing over the Idaho State Capitol Building on March 02, 2019 at 06:38AM, for 614 seconds.” More importantly, why someone took the time to figure it out.
  • This is my MTB ride. Not sure why I’m thinking about cycling. There’s some kick butt spring skiing pending.
  • I still scan tech blogs. I’m realizing that I still really like systems. I started wondering if I should migrate that way in healthcare? I’m not sure I could give up the three day work week though.
  • If you ever wondered where the US navy is currently operating at any given time, here you go.

Song of the day: Agent Orange “This is the voice”

Notions Of Cool V.006

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Continuing from yesterday… There has been NO warming of the troposphere since the ’50’s. This is the exact opposite of what the models predicted. Usually in basic science that means go back to the drawing board, ’cause maybe we don’t understand what’s going on. Convince me this is wrong.
  • Shockingly, I haven’t seen any of the Oscar nominated movies. Meh.
  • I made a poor decision and drove to the mountain yesterday so I can ski the next few days. Looks like they’re going to close the road and I’ll be stuck. Work will not be happy with me.
  • I started following Dr Rhonda Patrick. I’ve never taken any supplements, but I’m now doing a daily vitamin B12, D, and Magnesium. I figure it can’t hurt.
  • Stealing from today’s Daily Stoic, I particularly like this line from Marcus Aurelius, who wrote, “You’re afraid of death because you won’t be able to do this anymore?”
  • It’s still hard to believe we’re going to have a Tour this year without Paul Sherwin.
  • Speaking of cycling, I’m more and more convinced this country needs more of Rule 5. Chopper will explain it to you. Oddly, Australia is not a country I would have thought needed this.
  • Day five, no Instagram story. Maybe tomorrow.

Song of the day: Matisyahu “One Day”