Here in My Bosom…

And at Home…And at Home…And at Home…

It seems like I’m cheating, quoting poetry by a contemporary of Shakespeare to fill up a blog. But Ben Jonson’s poem “A Farewell to the World” seems so appropriate just now. The last three stanzas especially:

Else I my state should much mistake
To harbour a divided thought
From all my kind-that, for my sake,
There should a miracle be wrought.

No, I do know that I was born
To age, misfortune, sickness, grief:
But I will bear these with that scorn
As shall not need thy false relief.

Nor for my peace will I go far,
As wanderers do, that still do roam;
But make my strengths, such as they are,
Here in my bosom, and at home.

What a great poem! It actually rhymes. Every line has eight syllables. It’s got a beat, you can dance to it! I’m amazed some rap star hasn’t borrowed the lyric, thrown in a few ‘yo’s’ and plenty of profanity, and created a #1 on the Covid Hit Parade!

Ben Jonson: Pre-photography Poet

I don’t know about the ‘bosom’ part, and my strengths, especially riding my bike, seem to be not very strong at all these days. But Stoker and I have the ‘here at home’ part down pat.

The panicdemic is entering its 5th month. No eating out, no concerts, no group bike rides, no travel, no live sports, and (disastrously) no in person school classes. Wear a mask, social distance, wash you hands (like Lady Macbeth, muttering “Will these hands ne’er be clean?”). You all know the drill by now.

I just realized today that I have slept ‘In my bosom, and at home’ for 7 months. My last trip was with Stoker to North Carolina and Tennessee last December. We saw something like 10 live music shows in 7 days. I wonder what all those talented performers are doing now? Not playing for live audiences, that is certain.

Stoker went to Kenya in January, so she has only been at home for 6 straight months. She is welcome to share the strengths I keep ‘Here in my bosom’ anytime she wants, as long as I am allowed to reciprocate.

And unless “There should a miracle be wrought” we are likely to be at home for many months yet. I’ll save my ‘scorn’ for those who deserve it, and not be placated by their ‘false relief’. Thank you Ben: your dismal words which simultaneously express resignation and defiance in the face of “Age, misfortune, sickness, grief” have made me feel a bit better. They should get me through to Cote du Rhone time at least.

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Cast in Stone…

Statues are coming down all over the United States. Some are being toppled in anger, and some are being removed in fear.

This is not a political blog, so I’m not going to say what I think of this. Perhaps I am cheering as statues of Robert E Lee or Andrew Jackson are roped up and pulled to the ground. Or perhaps I am weeping and gnashing my teeth as tributes to Columbus or Jefferson Davis or Frederick Douglass are defaced or destroyed. I admit that the last of these confuses me, but just like the raid on the house of ill repute, the good are rounded up with the bad.

You will have to speculate how I feel about the statues here, but there are three special ones in Italy that I hope the protesters/mob/politicians leave untouched. They stand outside of the Chapel of the Madonna del Ghisallo.

The story of the Madonna del Ghisallo is too long to recount here. But in 1949 the Madonna was officially certified as the patron saint of cyclists by Pope Pius XII. The chapel at the top of the climb from Lake Como has become the both the spiritual center of cycling and a treasure trove of cycling history and artifacts. There is also an adjacent cycling museum which is a must see. Allow plenty of time; I stayed so long that the pizza oven was shut down and I had to settle for a panini for lunch.

Outside of the chapel, there are three statues. The first shows two cyclists, one raising his arm in victory, the other crashed on the pavement struggling to get up. There is a prayer to the Madonna inscribed on the base of the statue asking for her to protect all riders from the dangers of the road.

The Samson Got To Travel, Until the Tarmac Took Over

Outside the entrance to the Chapel, there are busts of the two great Italian cycling champions, Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi. Bartali’s story is amazing. He was a great champion before World War II. When the conflict came he spent the war years as a courier for an underground organization that tried to shelter Jews and get them papers to allow them to travel to safe locations. Because he was Bartali and a great cycling champion he could pedal the roads without interference. The story is chronicled in the excellent book Road to Valor by Aili and Andres McConnon. It really is quite a story of a great racing career split in two with heroic actions during the war.

Easy Targets, but So Far They Are Untouched

After the war, the much younger Fausto Coppi began his racing career, and for several seasons they were great rivals. It is hard to understand how important they were as cycling heroes in the aftermath of the war. Italy was a broken nation. Their rivalry was a welcome distraction from the difficulties of life. The two were quite different. Bartali was very religious and moral; his nickname was ‘Gino the Pious’. Coppi had a scandalous public affair with a married woman which shocked the Catholic country.

Fausto vs. Gino: Kind of like Bird vs. Magic in the 1980’s NBA

The Chapel of the Madonna Ghisallo is a very special place that every cyclist who comes to Northern Italy should see. The history, and the spirituality, and the amazing feeling of being in a country where the bicycle is revered will give a cyclist goose bumps. I certainly had them.

When I visited in 2011, I started the tradition of the prayer candles for Stoker and me. At this chapel the candles are electric, because so many cyclists light them that the soot would damage the historic jerseys and bikes that hang from the walls. There are also laminated prayer cards you can purchase. I carry mine with me all the time.

As far as I know, the three statues are safe for now. No one in Italy seems inclined to take offence at these two champions, and the two stone cyclists in victory and agony are pretty much apolitical. But if the statues offend someone and have to come down, my eyes will get a little teary. Just like they did when I lit my first two prayer candles ever in the Chapel, one for me and one for the absent Stoker back in California. I would never have believed that this would start a tradition that we have followed over 100 times on 5 trips to France together. The Spiritual Home of Cycling? I vote yes.

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Brain Freeze…

There is a different term for this in common usage, but it is semi-vulgar and this is a high class blog. So ‘brain freeze’ will have to suffice.

Stoker and I went to ride with Dr. Carl on Saturday. He is a good friend who has been dealt a bad hand with a health issue that requires him to keep his heart rate down. Since he is quite fit and likes to ride, that is a problem. But he is dealing with it and he purchased an e-bike so that if he meets a head wind or hill he can reign in his natural instinct to work harder. He keeps an eye his heart rate and increases the e-power as necessary.

After the ride we stopped on his concrete driveway where the Element was parked. Stoker dismounted and I continued to straddle the CoMotion while Carl and I chatted. Keeping the safe social distance of course. Stoker was out of sight changing her shoes. As Carl walked off I threw my right leg back and over my saddle to dismount.

Remember Which Bike You Are On, Or Suffer the Consequences

Oops, that is not how I dismount the tandem. My leg hit Stoker’s handlebar and I went down in an uncontrolled fall. The bike banged my shin (OUCH!) and my shoulder hit the concrete. That didn’t hurt much at the time but soon afterwards it got really sore. Nothing broken, and I’m better today.

I simply forgot which bike I was on. I was talking to Carl like I have many times after a ride, and my mind reverted to ‘normal club ride bike’ instead of ‘Stoker bike’. I’ve had something like this happen when making a sudden unexpected stop on the tandem. On a single bike I unclip my right foot. Always have. But Stoker wanted me to unclip on the left side, so I do. If I get really rushed and need to stop the tandem quickly the reflex sometimes takes over and I put the wrong (right is wrong?!) foot down, which feels really shaky for both of us.

Wrong foot stops have never brought us down, but my solo swan dive Saturday sure toppled me.

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Ride Middle Bar, then head for the bar…oops, they are closed.

I only remember needing to walk my bike up a hill once. It was on the very steep Charleston Road out of Volcano. I was doing the climb for the first (and last) time with Ray R. I was behind him, and an oncoming car on the narrow road made me stop and put a foot down, on what might be the steepest part (17%? 18%?) of the pavement. There was no chance I could start pedaling and clip into my pedals without falling, so I hoofed it. Ray managed to keep riding, but he wasn’t going any faster on his bike than I was off of mine

Considering how many steep sections of road I’ve done in the U.S. and Europe, only one time walking is a pretty amazing record. With so many climbs in all kinds of weather and in varying states of health and exhaustion, you might think I would have given up more than once. Somehow I managed to get up all the steep walls on my bike instead of pushing it. Even once on Mont Ventoux, where I got hit by a blast of Mistral headwind on the 12% pitch at the weather station. My heart rate and power spiked but I made it.

But walking going down is another matter. I remember several times where steep grades and narrow roads and fierce winds have terrified me so much I had to ease to a stop and walk down. There was Deer Creek Road in the Santa Monica Mountains on a day the Santa Anna Winds were up. On a section of road where a howling cross wind threatened to blow me down a steep slope and into the Pacific Ocean I lost my nerve, wobbled to a stop but stayed upright, then walked a couple hundred yards until the road turned putting the gale at my back. The climb back to Agoura Hills via Mulholland Drive was into that same raging Santa Anna, turning an easy ascent into something harder that the Stelvio Pass. On the news that evening I learned that the Santa Anna winds had exceeded 60 mph. No wonder I walked!

In France last year, I was following my guide down a steep, narrow and open stretch of road with no trees or hills for cover, and no guardrail either. There was a mini Mistral crosswind. My guide got down without a problem, but I again got too nervous and tired of being blown side to side and too close to the edge for comfort. So I got off and walked again.

Every episode of walking down had one factor in common: major wind. No one likes the wind, but when it is really blowing and I’m heading down I seem to do worse than most others. Perhaps it is partly because my body shape and upright riding position mean I catch a lot of air and get blown around more. Most of it is probably nerves and an inability to relax and not hold the handlebar in a death grip.

Yesterday Steve and I rode out of Valley Springs. We crossed Pardee Dam and headed up Stoney Creek Road to Jackson. At the school at the top of the climb I suggested we head for Middle Bar Road, negotiate the steep descent and then the steep climb out on Gwyn Mine Road up to Paloma. Then we would finish with the delightful Paloma Road descent and the final 3 miles slightly downhill and downwind back to Valley Springs.

Middle Bar Way Back When: The Road Might Be Worse Now

I know the descent of Middle Bar is treacherous. I have done it many times, slowly but without incident. The road is narrow and very bumpy. Most years the county fills the worst of the potholes, but apparently this has not been done for a long while. There were open potholes, some pretty deep. There were sharp edged rocks embedded and exposed, looking for tires to eat. Even worse, there was this combination of sand, fine gravel, loose stones and dust making everything quite slippery even though the road was completely dry. All this with some sections steeper than 10%, pointing down.

After a few minutes of riding this mess, I stopped, carefully and successfully, and walked about 100 yards on some really bad road. When the worst was past I got on again. I did this a couple of times. The descent is really steep for the first mile, then there are some relatively flat places where I could ride, but the last steep part just before the bridge was awful. I rode through it, but I was really glad to see the bridge and the climb out the other side.

This is the first time I walked down a climb in calm conditions: there wasn’t a breath of wind in that canyon.

Thanks to Strava, I have data. The descent is 2.7 miles and drops 670 feet, but much of it is steeper that 10%. Sometimes a lot steeper. It took me almost 25 minutes. Some of that time was walking and some of it was when I stopped simply to regain some composure and settle my nerves; the Strava Segment Clock keeps ticking even when you aren’t moving. The climb up the other side is 2.18 miles and climbs 700 feet, but the first mile is really steep with a long stretch of 10 to 15%. I needed less that 21 minutes to complete the climb (I did 16:22 once, but that was an all out effort, which yesterday wasn’t). So I spent more time bumping down the hill than I did sweating and puffing up it. That doesn’t happen often.

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Cycling With Sisyphus

My knowledge of Greek Mythology is almost completely lacking, as I am frequently reminded when the category comes up on Jeopardy. But I know about Sisyphus. He was this king who was a scumbag and angered the Gods by trying to cheat death. So Zeus sentenced him to an eternal life doing the pleasant task of rolling a boulder up the hills of Hades. Forever and forever, aching muscles and numbed brain. Sort of like this panicdemic.

The new mantra is “Stay the Course”. Yes, it has been 3 1/2 months. But keep up the distancing and the masks and the ban on groups or parties, unless you are demonstrating/rioting for social justice. Those groups appear acceptable to our authorities. No little league games or graduation ceremonies, but statue toppling is fine.

But “Courses” have finish lines. So you can’t really ‘stay the course’ on this panicdemic since you don’t know where it is going. Or when (if?) it will end.

This panicdemic isn’t a course to be stayed on. It’s a Sisyphean treadmill.

Cycling is also kind of a Sisyphean labor, doing a task that can never be completed. There is always another hill to climb, another mile of headwind to battle, another futile chase trying to keep up with faster riders. Unlike Sisyphus, we cyclists can choose to stop riding. But we don’t, because if we do we will lose the fitness we have worked so hard for. And unlike Sisyphus, cyclists get to experience moments of real joy, when the wind is at our backs and our legs are strong and supple and we whiz along feeling like we are pedaling ‘without a chain’. These moments are rare, but when they happen they are pure bliss.

So it is back to the Sisyphean labor of trying to do what our panicdemic experts and government authorities tell us to do, until they change their minds and tell us to do something else. Roll that bolder up that hill. “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time.” I’m a little better at Shakespeare than mythology; I didn’t even have to look that one up.

Like Mr. Macbeth, I’m getting a mite weary both of panicdemic protocols and cycling. I thought I loved cycling, but lately I feel like I’m just kind of going through the motions turning the pedals without a goal or plan or objective. No trips, no club rides, not much fun. Looking for the finish line that isn’t there.

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Can You Handle That (Bike)?

I decided to give myself a 64th birthday present of a Road Bike Skills training session. Bruce Hendler of Athleticamps in Folsom ( offers a 90 minute, one on one session covering the basics or stopping, cornering, bike control, and vision.

I never felt like I was an especially good bike handler, and I’m always cautious on corners and downhills. So when I learned Bruce offers this kind of training, I jumped on it right away.

We went to a parking lot at Granite Bay State Park, and Bruce set up some cones forming an alley. We started with braking. He told me to get up speed and then LOCK UP the back brake and control the skid. Wow, I didn’t expect that. I was a little worried, but I accelerated to 20 mph or so and then hit the brake hard and skidded to a stop, under control and in a straight line. The skid was about 20 feet long and didn’t waver at all. So far, so good! Except for the tire, which wasn’t new and now needs to be replaced.

Next he had me stop using just the front brake. The danger here is that the power of the front brake will cause your body to want to move forward. That old ‘every action causes an equal and opposite reaction’ thing. If the rider doesn’t pay attention to this he can have one of those dreaded ‘over the bar’ experiences.

The key is to throw your butt back off of the saddle and extend your arms so that your weight moves back to counter the braking forces. I was supposed to brake hard but not skid the front wheel.

Since Bruce had put up several sets of cones, I could see how long it took to stop. The front brake without a skid stopped much quicker than the rear brake with a skid. We all know there is more braking power up front but this was a graphic display. He had me do this twice, once on the hoods and once on the drops.

Vision Exercise: Use the Corner of Your Eye to Corner

Next we worked on vision. You are supposed to look where you want to go, not where you are. I knew this too, but I’m bad at it. I tend to focus too much down and close, looking for potholes and rocks and bumps and the edge of the road. Bruce set up a tight square with cones at each corner and a stack of cones in the center. The idea was to ride around the corner cones while keeping my eyes pointed at the center stack. I was supposed to pick up the corner cones with my peripheral vision, or out of the ‘corner’ of my eye.

I did this a couple of times, first counter clockwise, then clockwise. I was shaky at first but I started to improve. What was remarkable was how much better I was going clockwise (right turns) than counterclockwise (Left turns). I know I’m way more comfortable doing downhill curves to the right, and that was obvious here. Bruce says it is because my peripheral vision is better in that direction.

He expanded the square, which made seeing the cones harder. Then he expanded the square again. I did this drill for quite a while, both directions, on the hoods and in the drops. I can’t say I was good at it but I did make a little progress.

We did a drill with cones in a single line. The idea was to shift your body toward the cone while sort of guiding the bike from one side of the line to another. I was supposed to keep my body close to the line. Bike right, body left. Bike left, body right. I was quite awkward at first but I got a little better after a few tries. This is supposed to help avoid obstacles without swerving into other riders.

Finally, Bruce set up a corner, and we practiced the O-I-O that we all know: Outside-Inside-Outside. That is how to take a corner. I did left turns and right turns and didn’t do too badly. On the other hand, the parking lot was flat, not downhill at 7 to 12%. The corner wasn’t blind; no trees or boulders blocking the view. There wasn’t any wind. And no oncoming cars to worry about.

I was behind a ‘great’ SBC descender once. He had been dropped on the climb and was going to show us how fast he could descend. He passed me at about 30 mph while I was barely doing 15, because I couldn’t see around the next turn. I watched him set up the right hander ‘Outside’ then cut across the apex “Inside” and disappear. A fraction of a second later I heard brakes shriek and heard the crash of a rider using his face to smash a windshield. Then the screams. He lived, and other than some major facial lacerations he was ok. But he was very lucky.

Bike handling skills are important, and often neglected. Most of us could benefit from some instruction and practice, me more than most riders. But no matter how good your skills are, if you ride recklessly you put yourself and others at risk. Racers get paid to take risks, but Jens Voight advised the rest of us to ‘go downhill like a grandma!’ Advice I am sure to follow.

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Catching the Cycling Bug…

Today’s blog is kind of a ramble, but stick with it. The title will make sense in a bit.

For 20 years, I did 1 to 4 Stockton Bike Club rides every week that I wasn’t travelling. I would see perhaps 20 different people on those rides each week, sometimes more. I would chase some of them and let others go up the road, knowing that resistance was futile. I dropped some of them, some of them dropped me. I would pull for some of them, taking care not to go too fast and letting them enjoy the draft. Others pulled for me. I would regroup and wait for everybody, and most others (not all) did too.

Some of the people I ride with are close friends, others are friendly acquaintances. I like most of them and respect all of them; anyone who can ride a bike up Mount Diablo or up Stoney Creek Road has something in common with me that no political or social differences can overwhelm.

For the last 3 months, there have been no scheduled club rides, so my social network is severely diminished. And of course there is no travelling. Six weeks in France was replaced with dog walks and yard work and flat solo rides from home. I’m going a little crazy, and I’m not alone.

Too Much, Too Soon, Too Hot

I’ve started to do rides in the hills, usually with one or two friends. Yesterday Bennie and I drove to Ione for that old favorite ride up to Sutter Creek and Volcano. 50 miles and 4,300 feet, in pretty warm conditions. I’m really not in shape for that kind of thing, and especially not ready for the heat. So at the top of Ram’s Horn, while I was waiting for Bennie who very sensibly took it easy on the climb, I started to have the symptoms of heat exhaustion/dehydration/blood pressure drop that I have written about before. My vision started to narrow and shimmer. I sat down and drank some more and crossed my fingers that I would be able to finish the ride safely, if not quickly.

We had planned to go back to Sutter Creek on Shake Ridge Road, but cyclists know there are a couple of steep climbs on that route, and I told Bennie I needed to go back the easy way, and not ride hard. When we got back to Sutter Creek we stopped at the gas station and I bought a large Gatorade with plenty of ice, and we took a 20 minute break while I drank the whole thing. When we started up that very steep hill by the high school (11%! In town! What kind of urban planning is that?) I actually felt much better, so I was looking forward to doing Ione Sutter Road, which is mostly downhill in this direction and is a fun descent.

There are a couple hidden by the shorts. Way too close for comfort…

I was sailing through some of the gently sweeping turns when I felt a sharp sting on my right side, followed by another and another. Some bug had gotten under my jersey (I had it partly unzipped) and was not happy and was showing it. I was going about 30 miles an hour so I couldn’t stop right away, and the critter was really getting its licks in. Finally I stopped and practically tore off my jersey, but the stinging continued and was headed south, so to speak, toward some really sensitive areas. I reached under my bib shorts and found the bug and got it out and onto the ground before any serious damage was done. This morning I have several very red welts to remind me that the Cycling Bug is sometimes literally a bug.

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The Trip is Finally Over

Today’s entry on my calendar says “RF & DF fly home early”. I’m writing this at around 4 PM PDT Sunday June 7, which is almost the exact time we expected to arrive at Casa Brumby for a reunion with our dog Luke, followed by a couple of days of jet lag and adjusting to life back at home.

For the six weeks I have thought almost every day of where we intended to be and what we were intending to do. There were guided rides and unguided rides, tandem and single bike. A trip to Pont du Gard, and a walking guided tour of Nimes. A trip to the Carrières de Lumières, a spectacular light display in an old salt cavern with walls 40 feet high. Lunches with a ‘demi rosé ‘, a small carafe of pink wine. Or rouge, if the weather was cool.

And then a week long trip in the Cevennes, with 3 cycling friends I have toured with before and was so looking forward to riding with again. Jack and John and Steve, guys I always inform of my travel plans hoping they will want to come too. This year they did.

Except, of course, they didn’t. None of it happened.

So on to our next adventure. If it becomes possible to fly we will try to go to France near the end of August. A week riding in Northern France and Belgium. Parts of Paris Roubaix, including some cobbles and the velodrome. As many of the famous bergs and murs and cotes of the Tour of Flanders and Liege Bastogne Liege as my legs can handle. These steep cobbled climbs may require pushing my bike to the top, but they still count. Sometimes even the pros are reduced to walking. This is not a tandem tour, but Diane says she will come and we will find ways for her to occupy herself.

Then south to Nimes, for a week of riding and eating. We may actually have to settle for a ‘flat bar, wide tire’ tandem since proper road tandems for rent are kind of hard to find in France (or anywhere, really). But we can head out into the Camargue, which is flat. And the roads leading to Pont du Gard are manageable even for the heavy bike. I have to get back home by September 10 or so to start my 6 week job of ‘counting nuts’, so 2 weeks will have to suffice.

The trip may not happen of course. But Diane and I hope it does. We want a ‘France Fix’ to keep us from withdrawal and get us to next May, when we hope to take The Trip Not Taken.

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Smart Alec Software Part 2

The new Garmin 830 is a really wonderful device. Simple to use, connects with my phone easily, seems to have plenty of battery life, and smaller and lighter than the Edge 1000 it replaced. But it’s manners are terrible.

First a caveat: The 30 mile flat ride on a nearly wind free morning at a pathetic 15.5 mph needs a bit of explaining. I’m slow, but not that slow. I rode through Lodi, including a short stretch on the Lodi Lake bike/walk trail. Lots of pedestrians to pass carefully and politely, which I did. I slowed and stopped at stop signs and lights through downtown. This meandering brought down my average speed considerably. When I was actually riding on open roads I was doing more like 17 to 19 mph.

That said, I do not see how a 2 hour ride at 70% of my maximum heart rate can be considered ‘Unproductive’. And on June 2 I did a hilly ride for almost 3 1/2 hours in very hot conditions. I thought that was a very solid effort, but the Garmin disagrees. Since that day my training status has turned orange.

I’m known as a bit of a cycling data freak. I have power meters and heart rate monitors and I keep an exhaustive spreadsheet with lots of numbers for every ride. So I’m actually a bit amused by the way the Garmin evaluated what I’m doing. And I can hardly wait to see what happens if I take a couple of weeks off to go on a cruise or something, assuming that ever becomes possible again. There must be a ‘red’ dot too, with a description more foreboding that ‘Unproductive’. Perhaps red will be termed “Slacker!! HTFU!! Rule 5!” If you are curious consult Google.

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Smart Alec Software…

My Garmin 1000 died a a few weeks back. After 5 years and almost 1,000 rides, it was kind of like losing an old, familiar friend. I even wrote a blog tribute to it.

But all things must end, even ‘stay at home orders’, or at least so we are told. My new Garmin 830 arrived, and I got it configured and installed with only a few false starts and one call to tech support.

The 830 is quite nice. It is much smaller and lighter than the 1000. Since I am known to weigh everything that goes on my bike, I like losing a few grams here and there.

It also has some major software ‘upgrades’. If you wear a heart rate monitor and tell it your heart rate zones the device will let you know whether you are training enough or too much or too little. It will let you know when it detects a ‘New VO2 Max!” Which would be nice if I knew what a VO2 Max was.

During this panicdemic, I have been riding quite often, mostly from home. Sometimes I ignore the checkpoints at the county lines and take my bike up in the hills. I have been riding regularly enough and hard enough that the Garmin assures me my training load is ‘optimal’. Until yesterday, that is.

Steve and I headed south to Escalon to visit Dr. Carl. We did not leave the county in the car, but on the bike we did sneak over the Stanislaus River into the neighboring county a couple of times. The good doctor has had some health challenges which he is dealing with as well as possible. He is a very fine rider who has been advised to keep his heart rate below a certain number. He got an e bike (battery assisted) so he could still ride with his friends.

We did a very easy 23 miles, keeping social distance and watching for guards on the county lines. My Garmin was unimpressed.

This is the first time I have been informed that there was ‘no benefit’ to a ride. Usually if I ride easy I get a ‘recovery’ sticker to put on my refrigerator, but my Garmin seems quite judgmental.

Another thing the computer tells you after a ride is how long you need to recover before you are ready to make another effort. Usually I am advised something like 12 to 20 hours. One memorable day last year in the Pyrenees, after 75 miles and 12,000 feet of steep mountain roads, I was informed I needed 72 hours to recover. But we climbed Hautacam (5000 feet) the very next morning.

Yesterday my recovery time was ‘0 hours’. A new low. I need to get some software with better manners.

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