Being comfortable in your own skin can sometimes be fragile. I am always amazed at what little things will set me back.
One of the things I have noticed is that I stop taking selfies when I am no longer comfortable in my own skin. Lately, I have noticed there is a direct correlation to this when I stop working out as much. Last week, I had to take a break for a bit since my left knee was bugging me a bit so I took a five or so days off from running. And what I noticed is that I felt awful at the end. It took dragging my ass out of bed a few days ago and going back out for a run to feel normal again.
Other than that, I have been having a busy week – I had a work related meetup last night and I have another one tonight. When you factor in these meetups, they make for 12-14 hour days. I am slowly getting my road trip thoughts up and published. My goal is for that to be all be done Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I am going to have to put on my corporate drag soon and head into the office.
This might have been the forgetful day of my road trip. The ride from Morro Bay to LA more or less was typical coastal and nothing really mind blowing. Even the food for the most part was nothing really special to write about. I had a good omelette for breakfast, but compared to the other food I had this trip – it blends in the background.
It was nice walking around the Santa Monica pier, but once again, nothing really special about it. Didn’t feel any different than the Santa Cruz pier. Although, it was fun watching the seagulls fight over a fish they stole from a fisherman.
Instead of going down 1 through Malibu, I decided that I was going to just stick to 101 and get to my hotel as soon as possible. Around Ventura, traffic picked up and I caught up to a a Gixxer who passed me earlier. I decided that to follow him as soon as we needed to split lanes, and what an introduction to LA Lane Splitting that was. Overall the drivers in LA are way better about dealing with motorcycles – and the bikers have a style that is way more aggressive. The whole time I never felt unsafe – not a single close call in the nearly 45 minutes of splitting we had to do.
Eventually I lose him as he heads off for the 405. Eventually I get to my hotel, 1 hour earlier than the google maps prediction. I stayed at the Park Plaza Motel over in La Brae. It came out to around 135 for the night, which is pretty cheap for that part of LA. Honestly, it worked out perfectly for me. When I checked in, they noticed I had a motorcycle and told me to park it in one of the “reserved” spaces up front that they typically reserve for the large suites.
After I showered, I did a walk over through the Grove and then over to West Hollywood. Part of me has been wanting to check out the main gayborhood in LA for a while and I decided to just hit up Hamburger Mary’s for dinner, which was solid. Overall, there is something just missing form all of the gayborhoods lately. Things seem formulaic now.
Afterwords, I walked up and down Santa Monica Boulevard and stopped in a few bars. The one thing I noticed is that most people were a few ticks more friendly than SF. Maybe this is because I have the fresh meat factor, but it seemed easier to strike up a meaningful conversation. Then I grabbed a Lyft and headed over to the Eagle LA. Once again, the same trend was there. It was also nice to just sit out in the patio there with a beer and not have to worry if I needed a hoodie.
The one thing that really worked well was leaving Matte alone at the hotel and walking around. Even though the first two days didn’t have much riding, it was good for my body to stretch and move around.
I am pretty sure I could adjust to the LA weather. There was something just right about the temperature range for me. Not too hot, not too cold. I need to check out LA more. Each time I end up there, it goes up higher as a place I my want to move to in the future.
I know it takes a while for people to accept physical changes to their bodies. Somehow I still have not accepted it. I still feel like I am much larger than I am. While it doesn’t really seem like the changes over the last six months have been big to me, they really are when put in comparison with the past. Even when that past was still good for me. Most people would still not say anything negative about my body then!
I am slowly starting to understand what changes caused these positive outcomes. And one of the things I am quickly learning is to not dwell on the past and look forward. Look at where you want to go, your body, mind, and spirit will follow. I really think this change in my personality came with the motorcycle.
When I look at myself from this angle, and compare to the past, it is clear that my body is following where I want to go. I told myself at the end of last year I need to make some physical changes and I have. It may be a little bit here and there, and I may get discouraged.
I think it has been a good thing that I have a narcissistic selfie addiction. It has been helping me document my life as I evolve. But now I need to get ready for work and deal with my long day today.
Over the last week, I took a break from running. Between my knee bugging me just a bit, and some allergy issues, it felt right. But this morning I was starting to feel lazy and had to force myself to do my daily 5k run. Good thing I did, I feel much much better now.
But this morning after I finished my run, Facebook showed me this picture since I posted it last year. At first glance I don’t look much different, but when I looked at the other selfies from that set, it is very apparent that I have transformed a lot. It is clear that I have dropped many inches all over my body. The process was just so gradual that it takes reminders like this to see.
Whenever I start getting lazy on my exercise, I need to remember about all of the transformation I have made and continue it. Looking at the pictures of my ass after I run really does help put why I do this in to perspective.
It is also amazing how the body and soul can transform in a short time. Part of my transformation has been diet, but the other has been getting a motorcycle. In so many ways, it has placed many aspects of my life in perspective. Honestly, it just feels right for me and who I am.
One of the things I need to figure out with my transformation is how to balance out all parts of my life. While I was able to get all of the photos from my road trip up, it is taking me longer than I thought it would to write down everything. Part of that has been I have been keeping my life way too busy. When I think about my normal day, I wake up, run, shower, get myself into leather, ride Matte to work, work, ride home, and then crash.
I feel like I have put my journaling on the back burner. I want to restart that. I have bought a smaller notebook that is easier to take with me and I think that is going to help. Now I just need to put the ink to the paper and start it back up again.
But now it is time for me to face the commute and get into the office.
A few weeks ago, I realized I needed a vacation. So I decided to take some time off around the 4th of the July (since the 3rd was also a company holiday) and head down to the desert. Since I knew some of the people going to Drummer California, I decided that I should go ahead and spend three nights over in Palm Springs. So I booked a room at CCBC and off I went. And boy what an adventure it was.
What I am going to do is split this up into multiple posts and leave the gallery of photos up on my SFW site.
Last night was amusing to me. I decided that before I spend 4-6 hours riding around coastal and mountain roads that I should make sure the suit fits right and get it broken in a bit. So I just rode around SF for a two hours. While it should come as no surprise to anyone, it really felt like I now was the rabbit that every street racer on two or four wheels wanted to chase. Instead of giving them what they wanted, I just didn’t give a fuck and cruised around at my own pace. I didn’t even care when a scooter rider tried to race me down Oak (and seriously, who does that – the lights are fucking timed for 30!). To me I was just amused.
I am sure I amused some people as well, the guy in race gear cruising around at the speed limit and just taking it chill. When I started riding, my sane friends told me to just not worry about anyone else on the road and do things at my own pace. This might be the best advice one can follow.
Now I can see why people with less self control can get themselves in trouble wearing race suits. I’ve read several articles about it, and now I understand why. My body just clicks into place on the motorcycle in a very controlling, aggressive, and confident position – that was just upright. Once I was able to get some clear roads, I found out how much it made a difference. Going around some of the twisty roads, I found myself going much faster through the corners than I have in the past. Some of this is the new tires on Matte, but the new gear also had an effect.
I also found it much easier to hang my body off to the sides in the suit. To me this is interesting, since the gear I normally wear is pretty much track level gear as well. Since they are zipped together it is not like there is a firm connection between the butt and back. In the suit, it that firm connection meant wiggling my butt forced my back over a bit. That feedback to me is rather paramount – and I think it is the reason why I took some of the turns on O’ Shaughnessy at the speeds I took. I am not going to say how fast I took this turn, but I still had nearly a foot before my knee would make contact with the road and I was already doing a good pace. Off the back of an envelope, I would have to be doing at least 100 mph to be leaned over far enough to where my knees where scraping.
I will continue to say this – if I am ever putting my knee down on purpose on the streets, someone take my motorcycle keys away from me. Conversely, I need to get myself some track lessons and do some track days over the summer. There is something rather additive about all of this as I get more comfortable – just need to do it in a safe and controlled environment.
For me, this suit is that it feels like there are clicks on the positions for me. There is the mostly upright position which for me and my bike is somewhere about a 20 degree forward lean. Then the halfway tuck where my helmet is just getting protection from the windscreen – this is typically where my body ends up on the freeway when there is no traffic. So far so good and going between them was easy. While I could stay between the two – it was clear to me that the suit was designed to be worn in certain body positions and my natural positions fit are there.
Once I found some clear roads, it was time to go down on Matte and I went into a full tuck. It was like I had someone force my back and body down. My belly slapped down fully on the tank, elbows resting on my legs, helmet bouncing on my cell phone mount. Do’h – the phone mount is right were my helmet wanted to go! But there was no middle ground, this suit was forcing me into the correct tuck position and keeping me there. Now keep in mind, my bike is not a race bred super sport and is a bit more upright and takes some effort to go down like this in my normal gear, but it was was effortless.
Being in that position, it felt like I was on the hunt. Now I see why people get in trouble. that was a very primal feeling.
Earlier this week, I found a deal on the Dainese Aero Evo suit that was too hard to pass up as a gear head. So I jumped on it and it arrived this morning. During an all hands call I was listening to, I decided to try and get in. It was an experience getting the suit zipped up the first time. At first I feared that I would have to return it since it was not zipping up. Then I remembered you have to bend over like you are in a full tuck on the bike.
Got one side up, success! Now the other zip was fighting me. After finding some cord to use as a zipper pull, I got the it all zipped up. I was thinking to myself, I really hope this works since the next size up was out of stock and I would have to return and pass up on the deal if it didn’t fit. Next step was to zip up the calf zippers and put my boots on. Somehow I managed to get it on while the chatter of corporate goals and visions continued on in the background.
The sensation of the skin tight leather and armor was just amazing. I knew it would be a tight fit, but I felt like I could take anything that could happen to me. But walking and standing was hard. I know this is an aggressively cut motorcycle race suit, but it really was starting to feel like a bondage experience just trying to move around. But once I sat down and put myself in a position that I would be in on the bike, and it started to feel better.
I know from my other Dainese gear that it will break in a bit and the leather will stretch. The bottom half feels like the Delta Pro pants I bought after losing weight, and those were nearly impossible to get on at first. Now, they fit just perfectly. So my fear in ordering the wrong size was misplaced. Now I just sat around listening in to the corporate chatter while covered in this.
Eventually I decided I needed to make sure things fit with the back protector in, and had to get out. And this is were panic strikes, I didn’t think I could wiggle my way out alone. Uhoh. My left arm is stuck and I am just trying to shake it free. I wish I had a camera running since it must have looked funny, but then my left arm frees up and I am out! I realized I will need to wear some compression gear under it until it breaks in.
Once the call ends, I take care of some odds and ends for work, install the back protector, put on some leggings and a compression shirt, and get back in. It was much easier the second time after spending an hour in it. It was clear that it was starting to mould to my body. At this point I take some selfies. I know, a shock, right?
I head downstairs, setup the camera to take some shots with me on the bike to make sure things fit right when used for it it was meant for. The literal second after my leg was thrown over Matte, everything just hit right and felt natural. Then I put myself in a tuck. Even though this is an aggressive suit, any normal position on my bike was at home for it. While it may be a bondage like experience off the bike, it was worth it. And looking at the selfies of myself, I really felt like me.
Now it is lunch time, so I get out of it, change into jeans, then head out to hunt and kill something. While thinking about it over lunch, it feels like I have gotten both a physical and spiritual second skin. I know over time it will physically form around my body. I can’t explain why, but this piece of gear was already starting to make a spiritual connection with me and I want to explore it more.
I really want to know, what is different about this one piece suit vs my pants and jacket that zip together to form a two piece suit?
Now I can’t wait until Saturday when I am going to ride around the North Bay and break in the suit along Highway 1 and other twisty roads. Let’s start forming these connections close and expand them further. I bought Matte to go explore, I didn’t think it was going to make me start exploring my spiritual side again – that will be a topic of a different post.
There is a part of me wondering why I stopped being myself for a bit. After the fracture, I stopped being myself for a bit and didn’t wear leggings or my other gear out and about as I normally do. Even once I recovered, I noticed I tended to be wearing jeans instead of leggings. Subconsciously, I think this was leading me to a state of disassociation since I no longer felt like who I was.
Last night I said fuck it and let’s get back on track with life. Once I got home and changed out of my leathers I put on the Blackmilk coffee bean leggings and then headed out to Trader Joe’s to grab stuff for dinner. As I was walking up, I was thinking to myself, why was I hiding form the world?
It took me walking past a group of stereotypical hipsters looking all awkward tight skinny jeans, plaid, and the fur hats to realize a big thing. I feel like myself and I am confident dressed the way I am. I never want to be that person who is not comfortable in their own skin, even if it is just walking up the road to grab groceries.
However, Leggings and Motorcycles don’t mix. I’d like to keep my skin intact, thank you very much. It is going to be interesting to see how my wardrobe evolves from here. While I never have issue wearing leather out and about, I did break down and buy a pair of Bull-It SR6 Riding Jeans to avoid looking like a complete alien for short trips around town. On the other hand, I have found walking into a store in a two piece race suit does get you the quickest service.
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