Blog Nuggets.

Usually when I come from a ride I'll have an idea or two for a blog entry, so I'll create one when I get home before I forget it. Some come out fully-formed and are full-fledged literary gems (as you've come to expect). Others are just incomplete thoughts, short bits that go nowhere, or ideas that otherwise don't qualify as full posts. In the interests of filling space, I present a few of them for your consumption.
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The wind always comes from the wrong direction here. When I leave in the morning, heading away from the coast, the wind is coming out of the north. It beats me down during the 90 minutes it takes me to get to the good, low traffic roads, and continues to pummel me for the next couple hours as I try to enjoy the rolling hills. When I'm done and headed home, the wind shifts and I get a healthy forehead full of push-back. 

I've tried leaving later and earlier. Later just ends up frying my brains in the heat and humidity, not that there's much left to cook. Earlier always seems to put me squarely in conflict with the drunks heading out to fish and the pious heading to church. Both seem to be in an all-fired hurry and neither tolerates me on their roads. I stay small and predictable and hope I don't end up like the rotting armadillo carcass I just passed.

I think they're ganging up on me.  
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As I watched the gaggle of kids run and jump and giggle in the bouncy house, I envied them. All it took to elicit absolute joy for them was some rubberized fabric, inflated to hold a shape, and held together with some random bits. Wait. I just described a bicycle. I envy me.
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My palms ache. It's the rough pavement that's doing it. The roads themselves are in relatively good repair, but the pavement itself creates vibrations that are killing my hands during the four and five hour rides. My gloves, which I bought in quantity on clearance and usually are perfectly serviceable, aren't up to the task. I ordered new ones with padding in more appropriate locations. I replaced my bar tape, which had compressed to paper-thin cork after two months of use. I hope this helps, because I'm running out of hand positions to relieve the pressure.
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"You from around here?" the friendly cattle farmer asked.
"Nope. I'm down at Keesler."
"You rode all that way?" he asked as he shook his head.
"Yep. Have a good 'un."
I get that a lot. When I tell the gate guards who ask they look at me in shock. When I mention it to the guys I ride with, they look dumbfounded.

Thing is, I don't have a car, family obligations, or a lot of constraints on my time. I think my average is about 15 hours a week, which isn't that high by serious competitive cyclist standards, but may be a little much by fat wannabe standards.
 
I'd do more, but I can't sustain it. I've been slowly adding hours as my body has adapted and the weather has cooled, but anything over 20 hours at the moment would fry me for the next week. My goal is to burn every last bit of stored energy in my legs by the time I leave, throwing it on a pointless fire that will flare brightly before crashing in upon itself. I have the whole winter to rebuild my stack of kindling.
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The kids are the best. They smile and wave as I pass, recognizing a kindred spirit. Bikes are fun.

The teenagers are the worst. They've forgotten what a bike represents. I hope one day they rediscover it.
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The mama raccoon sat up and evaluated the danger as I approached, before scampering off into the brush with her four young offspring in tow. The last one sat up and looked at me defiantly, jaw set in determination, before reluctantly following Mama. I named him Matt, after my youngest, because that's exactly what Matt would have done. Come to think of it, that's exactly what my son's namesake would have done. Might be something there...
  
 

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