Sickness & How To Avoid It

You can’t avoid getting sick. Sorry.

B was sick over the weekend, Wifey is sick right now, and just about every classmate, coworker, coach, teammate, friend, lover, enemy, and germ spreading, narcissistic Trump voting sycophant in the tri-county area has been, or is, currently ill.

I am not sick, but I have no doubt I will be soon.

Until the aches, sore throat, and snot settle in, I’m going to just keep riding my bike and taking pictures. And that’s what I’ve done for the third day in a row now. Pedaling, snapping pics and trying not to think about getting sick. Which I will.

NUGGET HAIRS & HOW TO LOVE THEM

At some point over the 12+ years of writing this ode to cycling mediocrity, unfulfilled career potential, and unneeded human space taking, I started using the phrase “nugget hair” in lieu of more desirable, less pubic phrases like “a smidge off,” “almost,” or “just under.”

I still don’t follow, could you use it in a sentence?

Sure, “This week’s rides have been good, but all have been a nugget hair under 30 miles.”

Nugget hairs are short, small, and undesirable (hello $130,000,000 spent annually world-wide on manscaping1, yo). As is falling short of the recommended standard weekday morning distance set by the UCI and USAC2 for dimwitted, thick in the middle, beer-loving cyclists bike riders of questionable fitness in their mid-40s like myself.

Yet, unlike finding a nugget hair attached to the burrito about to enter my mouth, I will take rides that finish a nugget hair under 30 miles any day. The burrito will be sent back, or at very least I will ask the burrito maker and presumed owner of said nugget/melvin3 hair to make themselves known to me so I know who/what I’m dealing with before I choose to waste an otherwise fine burrito. I digress.

On Wednesday’s ride, I started from my Gravel Ride Launching Pad south of town (to avoid pavement, traffic, and death). I got my gear on, stuffed my camera in its bag, and started off. Then I looked down to see that I had left my computer lying on the kitchen counter. Shit.

I’m not going to sit here and type shit about how liberating it was to ride without the shackles of a computer telling me speeds and distances, I fully admit that even though the most I’m training for right now is to not stroke out while taking a dump, I like to know that info. I’m sure it’s a combination of habit, wanting to know how much time I have to goof off, and how sub par my fitness has got. But most of it’s habit.

“Every time Metsler says, ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way,’ I get out of the way.” – Pvt. Joe Bowers, Idiocracy

But onward I went into the gray day. I went with a new route in mind as I wanted to explore a series of abandoned homes and farms, then I headed back to parts of one of my standard southerly routes. I had my phone with me, so I knew how long I’d been out, but that’s it. I rode on, I took pics, I started to get hungry, I headed for the car and home.

Once home I mapped out the ride I just done; 29.2 miles, a nugget hair under 30. Mediocrity is a sense, some of us are just blessed with the natural ability to do just enough. Don’t be jealous girl.

THURSDAY: CHASING THE HARVEST

After medicating, feeding and getting  2/3 of the family out the door for their day, I had one more cup of coffee–you know, the one that finally wakes you and your colon up–then set about getting my gear together for a mostly gravel ride from the Cul-De-Sac Shack before it got too hot, something I really shouldn’t be thinking about in late September, in Michigan.

While not as spanky as Tuesday and Wednesday, I did start to find a groove on the bike and eventually with the camera. The roads were alive with the fall corn harvest and the sounds of combines and trucks rumbling through the fields could be heard almost every other mile.

One truck after another would pass me, rumble into the field, pull up alongside the combine and roll along beside as it puked corn down into it. Then the truck would hurriedly take off and be replaced by another.

THE GOLDEN RULE OF RIDING GRAVEL, AGAIN

This seems like as good a time as any to reiterate my Golden Rule of Riding Gravel: Move over for the tractors and trucks, especially at harvest time! They’re working, they’re in a hurry to fill up, dump out and repeat, and the last thing they expect to see in a cloud of dust is a cyclist. I’ve come to use a blinky (always) and have no problem with pulling over and putting a foot down until they pass. I figure A. I don’t want to be smashed dead. And B., 95% of the time I deal with no traffic out on the dirt roads, I can easily give a few seconds here and there during the other 5% to ensure I don’t suffer from A.

It seems I spent a little too much time taking photos and the day really started to heat up. I crept home a dusty, sweaty mess, sucking tepid water from my bottles like a starving calf from a dried teat. I pulled into the Cul-De-Sac Shack, stopped my computer and what do you know, 29.3 miles. A nugget hair under 30 miles and fitting in perfectly with the week’s prior rides of 28.7 and 29.1. Nugget hair rides, you gotta love ’em.

OK, this post is now about 900 words too long, so I will end it here with another series of photos from the past couple days out on the dirt roads.

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Thanks for looking at them, I’m off to suck down another glass of Airborne and wait for the inevitable (illness, not death).

Later.


  1. That’s totally made up.
  2. Also a made up fact.
  3. For some unknown reason I have referred to the female genital area as the Melvin for years now. Pretty sure I am the only person in the world to do so. That doesn’t make me stupid, immature, or sophomoric! It makes me unique, like a fat snowflake. At least that’s what I like to tell myself, your opinion may, and probably will/should, differ. I think it started when B was little I called underwear “nugget covers.” He asked me what I call girl’s underwear, I blurted out “melvin covers.” I had probably had just listed to the Melvins and it was in my mind. Or I’m just an idiot.

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