Telling My Story

I’m starting to fill in the Rides half of my site. Today I added the intro and the first day of my first retreat. It’s a wonderful trip down memory lane re-reading this trip report from 20 years ago.


5/6: added Day 2 of 2001
5/7: added Day 3 of 2001
5/9: added Day 4 of 2001
5/11: added Day 5 of 2001
5/12: added Day 6 of 2001
5/14: added Day 7 to finish 2001

“Wave Streak”

Here’s a game for your next bike ride: How many consecutive people (in a car, on a motorcycle, on a bike, walking, standing, …) can you wave at and get a response wave from them?

You might try to game the system, becoming a bit less social as you hold back waves from individuals you think are less likely to wave back at you (deeming them not wave-worthy?). But the trick is to up your social. Own that wave. Work that wave. Really sell your wave!

My current streak is 4 (2 bicyclists, 1 motorcyclist, and 1 pedestrian). Gotta start somewhere. I’m shooting for a Wave Streak of 25.

Seattle Antifreeze | Ride | Strava

5/8/2021 Update:

My max Wave Streak has hit double digits, scoring 11 today. I also worked out a couple of new rules:

  1. It doesn’t count if they wave/greet first. Rambo said it best: They drew first blood, not me! – YouTube
  2. You have to commit to the wave/greet … you can’t do a non-committal short nod of your head (aka a half greeting) to see if that’s enough to elicit a response, and then not reset your count on a technicality.
  3. This one is a pro-tip and not really a rule: if you’re looking for an easy +1 to your current streak, wave at a full team of riders. Unless it is Team Douche Canoe, you’ll get at least one wave from the pack.

Max Wave Streak: 11 | Ride | Strava

5/16/2021 Update:

Blew the doors of the previous record today. I’m sure the sun combined with the high amount of trail time contributed. 17. Then 25. Then 26. (And kudos to the gentleman that got me #26 … despite carrying two grocery bags he lifted one bag as a form of wave and gave a nod).

Total waves today: 116.
Total responses: 104.
89.6%, which rounds up to an A-.

Anyone wanna help me build a “Spread Waves” app to make this easier to track … and build a point system … and crowdsource to determine warmest and coldest places, influencing points scored in those areas?

Double Shot of Jason | Ride | Strava

We can laugh about it now, we’re okay.

Last winter when I was still commuting to and from work in the dark, I ended up dealing with more snow & ice on the trail than I was expecting, which made for a sketchy ride.

To help calm me down after a stressful ride, I wrote a mimic poem of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost:

Praying by Slough on a Snow Covered Trail

When warm this trail is a fast go,  
So diff’rent when covered in snow.  
Squeezing the bars, eyes keep scanning,
This commute is running quite slow.

An empty trail had me smiling:
“A dark ride alone? Exciting!”
Then I hit a snow patch and knew
Why no one else was out riding.

I’ve always loved to bike the slough:
speed, views, and socializing too.
But “keeping the rubber side down”
Is now all I’m trying to do.

The roads have cars racing around, 
But a small shoulder can be found.
So trail I say “see you around”, 
And slip-slide off, for solid ground.

Praying by Slough on a Snow Covered Trail | Ride | Strava

“Fix bike. Ride on.”

Halfway through my first attempted “Sunrise to Sunset on the Solstice” ride in June of 2016 ((Half) Summer Solstice Ride | Ride | Strava), far down a backroad of western Maryland, four miles into an extended climb, the rear derailleur hanger on my rental bike snapped. I had basic tools (multi-tool, tire levers, CO2, tube), but I didn’t have a chain puller. So my only viable option was to try to wrap the chain and derailleur around the frame to secure it away from the spokes, so that I could safely coast back down the hill to cell range where I could call for help.

When I picked up a cell signal, I texted my biking guru Karl (Let Me Tell You ‘bout a Friend | Ride | Strava) to help brainstorm my options. Do I attempt to find a bike shop? Do I phone a friend? Is there some other way I can make the bike rideable? Karl’s first response was, “Fix bike. Ride on.”

We had a good discussion and I finally concluded that my sister who was an hour away and could come to pick me up was probably my best exit strategy. But Karl’s initial point stuck with me. I love this mindset: (a) always bring the tools you need and (b) be creative on possible solutions. Work the problem!

I’ve continued to keep this phrase in my head and have been getting steadily better at solving mid-ride problems,

This morning, as I saddled up to join my team for a morning ride, I saw my front tire was flat despite having added pressure a half an hour before. Just as I was realizing that, three riders of my team arrived at my driveway. And we had two more riders meeting us 15 minutes down the road.

There was no time to reseat the tube (this was a tubeless bike), so I went with a variation of Karl’s sage advice: “Switch bike. Ride on.” 🙂

It kept us on time, and made for a bit of comic relief during the ride, as I was riding a road bike while they were all on gravel bikes riding gravel and dirt trails. Better the wrong bike than no ride!


Happy Gilmore | Ride | Strava (look at those thin tires in the foreground)

Story / Song

“Behind every song, there’s a story. And behind every story, there’s a song.”

– J Allard

Music is central to my life, just like J’s quote suggests. Today I heard Mothers of the Disappeared, a song which I haven’t heard in easily a decade, and I saw myself back in college sitting in a dimly lit apartment room listening to U2 with some of my “VT Crew.”

“Hear their heartbeats. We hear their heartbeats.”

And with U2 in my head, I’m taken to March 2001 and my first retreat, where U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind was my album of the week. This is a much longer story, and a reminder that I need to start filling out the Rides – veho ergo sum half of this site. Stay tuned …

5/5/2021 Update: 2001 retreat is now up: 2001.

Why have routine?

Routines are not for when it’s easy;

Routines are for when it’s hard,

When you’re unsure,

When you can’t remember why you ever started it.

First and foremost, follow the routine.

On a day when it’s easy, that’s when you can reason about its value.

But on a day when it’s hard, there’s no reason to reason,

There is only reason to follow.

Five minutes in I remember.

Five minutes in I feel it.

Five minutes in I am happy I didn’t cave.