Tonight I had a close friend express how they were scared about recent events. When I went to go reflect on it – this is what came out…
Blood pumps rapidly – faster and faster.
Eyes wide open – focused and dilated.
Paralyzed by the crawler – no better on the radio.
The uncertainty surrounds us, scares us.
Misinformation on the screen generating the doubt.
The hatred bubbling on the surface.
This is how they control.
This is how they squash.
This is their plan.
We must resist.
We must prepare.
We must fight.
We must transform.
I will not be scared – I will transform this fear into art.
I will not be intimidated – I will burn the manipulation and grow stronger.
I will not be hypnotized – I will transform this rigor mortis into life.
It doesn’t seem to me like my body has transformed over the last year. A lot of friends and even coworkers have noticed that I have lost significant weight recently. While my close friends say it has been gradual over the last few months, it really seems like it has just accelerated over the last few months.
It took digging up a selfie in the same outfit I took a year ago and putting it side by side with this mornings selfie to see my transformation. While going through selfies from around this time last year, I really wasn’t looking good. But even then, the selfies of me when I was doing a lot of cycling didn’t look much different. I really credit the new diet I am doing for this transformation.
I am happy that I became a selfie whore a few years ago – it helps keep me honest about what my life was like.
A few weeks ago, I picked up a new scale and I was shocked that I was only 210 – and just a few weeks later, I am at 207! 210 was roughly were I was before my old scale broke about 18 months ago – which coincided with my the reduction in my cycling. Even as of 5 months ago with my visit to the cardiologist, I was still hovering in the 225 range.
This morning I realized that my body has no issue running 10k now. This afternoon, I wish I went longer this morning before it started raining. Even as of a year ago, this was unheard of for me – a 5k run was long then.
Today, I am looking forward to actually running Bay to Breakers as a serious runner in May. I will have to figure out a outfit for it. But I have made a goal of doing it in 1 hour, which would be an 8:05 minute mile pace.
I am still getting used to being highly active again. I woke up and my legs were protesting even doing a quick 5k run this morning. So I listened to it and said it’s a rest day. While running helped keep a low level base it didn’t use the same muscles as cycling did. Over the last few months, I went from having about 2-3 hours of active time a week to 6-10 hours of active time a week.
These changes have really kickstarted changes in my body. Between my new diet and being back to a normal activity level – the fat is starting to come right off. I am feeling good both physically and mentally. Riding in the rain has gone from being annoying to something I look forward.
This time spent on my bike puts me into a cathartic state and many of my worries just fall off. I didn’t use to get this deep into a relaxed state before on my old bike and I have an idea why – the new bicycle I bought is a full on race bike and the way it responds has a lot to do with it. While I would not say it is twitchy, it is very responsive to any input I give it. This has resulted in something very similar to the bikers (as in motorcycles) I know say to me, you have to clear your mind and just focus on the road and bike.
This is the type of pain I enjoy. I decided last night that I am going to start training to do a Triathlon or two in 2018. Good thing the office has a nice outdoor pool.
2017 is sure shaping up to be a transformational year for me.
Today is turning out to be a really mellow day. My week last week was a combination of coming down from DNA and then it ended in a serious of frustrations which I don’t want to go into on my public site. I was going to do a flat ride along the coast, but there is a marathon blocking the route I want to take. Maybe in the end, a good chill morning is exactly what I needed.
But over the week, I decided that I wanted to get more serious about dating. So I decided to poke my toe in the water with OK Cupid. One of the debates I had over the week was, should I go use the latex poolside selfie I took in Vegas as main image. I decided to say yes to it. The reality is, if anyone is going to date me, they are going to need to be comfortable with who I am and not some perception of what they think I am.
I updated my profile stating that, hey if you are going to even consider me you need to be good with this. Over the last few years, I have just learned to speak my mind and be up front. And I should be up front on a dating site – I really don’t have time to deal with illusions. What I noticed is the number of people liking went down. Someone I was chatting to even said that I was too intense for him.
I was chatting to one of my close long time friends and he agrees that I have gone from someone that faded in the background to being very intense. But I am not sure this is a bad thing.
The question in the back of my mind is, am I just too intense for most people?
Over the last six days I have been out in Vegas attending Drummer North America. This was an interesting and fun trip for me in many ways. In the end, I really enjoyed the trip and had a lot of fun. But my mood going into it was preventing me from loosening up some to enjoy it.
Starting the trip was rough for me. I was still coming down from the adrenaline rush from the near accident the day before. Sometime on Wednesday evening, my body finally relaxed and I was able to make smooth muscle movements again. It even took a few more days until I was mentally unwound from it.
Thursday started off with a 7.6 mile run around the core part of the strip. I keep on forgetting how many hills we deal with in SF. Went to the Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmopolitan for brunch and got an absolutely great breakfast and started to break my diet by having some added sugar. As a side note, throughout the trip, I cheated a bit on this front and allowed myself to drink. But I am back to following my diet now that I am home.
People watching at the host hotel lobby was putting me in a strange mood. More and more people in typical titleholder dress showed up and I started to feel like I was going to write off this trip as something that I would not do again. I also didn’t really have a good background about what exactly I came for – other than having a friend said ‘come on down, it’s fun.’ And for those who are just starting to follow me, there is nothing traditional or old guard about me at all. At this point, I am glad I weighed down my luggage with some formal leather,. since I was getting flashbacks to my MAL trip.
Some back story: During MAL it felt that one wanted to break the ice with me until I was more formal leather instead of my normal spandex/rubber/leather rocker look self.
But that feeling started to all fade away pretty damn quick at the first set of mixers and events. I got hypnotized on Thursday night – it was interesting seeing the different techniques used especially in a group setting. Nearly everyone there was friendly and fun and seemed to enjoy a variety of fetishes and kinks. Sometime on Friday morning after attending the Leather Uniform Club mixer, my worries all faded away and I really started to enjoy myself.
On Saturday for the Rubber mixer, I wore out the new catsuit. And oh man did it make an entrance. Afterwords, I decided to take a dip in the pool and some of the Women of Drummer helped take the following sequence of pictures for me – which I present to you in GIF form. Apparently I look like Jesus and they started calling me Rubber Jesus for the rest of the weekend – it was fun.
I ended up winning a Silent Auction and now have yet another pup hood. There will be pictures forthcoming on that. I also got a pass to San Diego Leather Pride in that basket, and just booked my airfare for that. Plus tickets for Drummer California and I am going to plan on heading down there for that now. So much for my plans to reduce my fetish travel for the year!
Overall, I met a lot of new and friendly people, had a lot of fun, and really enjoyed myself. I’d do this again on the years I don’t do MAL.
I am still trying to figure out why I am so impacted by the close call I had last night. I’ve had plenty of close calls before on my bicycle in SF riding around. But there was something about this one that just impacted me in such a way that I have yet to fully recover. As I sit on my flight to Vegas I am starting to reflect on it and came up with three thoughts that may have contributed to it.
1: I’ve been learning to ride a motorcycle. I think this has a good chunk of the impact since I seem to be more aware of my body position, posture, and overall connection between everything. One of the things I noticed on Monday was that I started to tilt when I turned my head. Maybe this is something I always did, and if so I am just more aware of it. I also broke bad cycling habits and started keeping my head up more instead of looking right in front of my front wheel, started to not cover the brakes, and even use the same head movements you would on a motorcycle.
With all of that combined, I think that helped me avoid running into a curb at 17mph after swerving. But more so – I think I have a much different awareness of risks and actions I can take to mitigate them.
2: I had an eighteen month hiatus from bike commuting in SF. With the office in Cupertino, when I biked into the office, my route was on Highway 35. There isn’t much contention around cyclists and cars except for the Highway 1 intersection. But one of the first things I noticed with the new commute is that SF, and all of SF, seems to be more congested during rush hour than it was when I quit my last job. It seems like nearly every other car is a Lyft or Uber and everyone is impatient on the roads.
I really think that there is just more stress between all commuters in SF
3: I witnessed someone get doored on Monday evening. Was approaching Market and Van Ness in the evening and there was a taxi stopped in the bike lane. Someone with ample lights went to pass on the left and the door just opened on him. This just reinforces my vulnerability when out on two wheels.
TL;DR: Taking my morning selfies today was tough. I am still recovering from the adrenaline rush and drop from what happened last night on my commute home. If the events of last night were just a few seconds later, I would have been severely injured or possibly dead. I also think learning how to ride a motorcycle and doing a basic rider course over the weekend also possibly saved my life – it managed to break some bad cycling habits.
To set up the play by play – I am on my road bike with my rear light on flash mode, my front be seen light on flash mode, and my main headlight at the 300 lumen (medium) setting. This is typically how I have my lights setup for night riding. Also, this is over the course of 7 seconds (if that).
At the red light at Oak and Stanyan stopped waiting for it to change. I notice there is another cyclist approaching behind me and is probably going to shoal so I get ready to just take off.
I take off and somehow this guy doesn’t shoal and start the ramp up on that little downhill leading into JFK drive. At this point I continue my sprint downhill and I am in my typical position of being in the left part of the bike lane.
Reach about 20mph and I notice a Prius starts to barely pass me, slows down, and then turns on it’s signal right hand turn signal.
I see the right wheel turn, and I go OH FUCK they are going into the Park and Rec office parking lot. At this point, they are only a car length or two ahead of me.
They keep going without yielding and I scrub off some speed and swerve around them. I managed to scrub off from 22mph -> 17mph in that one second according to the GPS data.
Then I quickly look over and there is traffic trying to get back in the JFK Dr lane since they were passing the Prius and I go oh fuck time to get back in the bike lane.
Here is where I curse the SF and the SFBC – the out I wanted to go is blocked by those flexible barriers in the stripped zone between the bike lane and car lane. If I hit one of those at the angle I was going to hit them at, I was likely to get one in to a spoke and do something bad.
Swerve again and now I am on the path to hit the curb.
Something just tells me look down the path I want to go, so I do and everything just follows and I get parallel to the curb with plenty of space to spare (in this case, I had about a foot in the end)
Now I have the next obstacle, there is a fucking runner in the bike lane running right at me – at least at this point things are stabilized that things are back to normal and that was more of a gripe than an near death experience.
Every time I closed my eyes last night – the events replayed in my mind with different scenarios that would have ended in a bad crash. If that car was just a second or two later, I would have had no other choice but to emergency brake and end up in the door of a Prius.
Somehow throughout this, my upper body stayed loose and never tensed up. The other part was, before this weekend, I didn’t move my head as much on my bicycle. I used mostly my eyes to steer. Now, my head is pointing where I want to go and I am keeping it up more. In fact the only time during my commute the last two days where it stayed pointed down for any real length of time was is on the uphill of a KOM attempt on an overpass segment in Mountain View – and that was because I needed to watch my power output closely.
I really think spending 10 hours on those under powered motorcycles in a parking lot put some new muscle memory into me and may have just saved my ass.
I am really starting to believe from my biker friends that road cycling is way more dangerous than being on a motorcycle. At least if I had my motorcycle gear on, there would have been way more to protect me if I did have to hit the car. Still would fucking hurt.
Well I need to get stuff packed for DNA this weekend. If anyone I know will be in Vegas over the next few days, say woof.
I am just not paying attention to the Trump inauguration today. Seriously, it is not worth having this take space in my head. And I really recommend others do the same. The legitimate media will consume and process anything real that is said today, but I expect very little to be said during any of the speeches today.
We should all go on with life. This is what I am doing. I am focused on doing things that make me happy – and this might be because I burnt myself out a little dealing with the community over the past year. But there will be no way to win if we all act triggered and traumatized by the results of the election.
Stress can also lead to you making good choices. I am dealing with some stressful news at the office. Normally when I work from home I try to run before I start my day, and typically a short run for me is now 5k. Well yesterday, it was 5 miles. I needed to burn off the stress and get my head re-aligned. Redirect this stress into something productive – if you really feel protesting is productive, than go for it. Just don’t let it ruin your life and health.
But here are the selfies I failed to post up yesterday.
Yesterday was a rough day at the the office. Can’t really talk about the events that took place, it was a rough afternoon and evening. I am glad that I have many things going on in my personal life to keep me motivated, otherwise I think I would be ending up in a slump.
And today’s wet weather isn’t helping me much either. This morning looks like the calm before the first storm and my evening commute looks wet and windy. i debated about driving in, but the thought of being stuck in traffic in my car just made my soul shiver. I decided to just take it slowly, or at least what I define as slow, and not let anything get to me today.
On top of that it looks like another storm is going to hit over the weekend causing me to take the MSF class in the rain. This might actually be a good thing since learning to handle a motorcycle in the wet weather is something that I would have to learn anyways. Going to have an interesting time.
In more interesting news – I have now posted up my 1000th photo to Instagram, which was an ass selfie. I have been doing those a bit more since I have been cycling. I don’t like wearing my printed leggings on the bike because getting chain grease and road grit out of clothing can ruin them.
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