It’s been a long time since I read a blog post and then wrote a blog post responding to it. Like, it’s been years. But yesterday I read this post on ZwiftInsider around group rides, giving feedback to group leaders, ranking group rides, etc.
I joined one just last week, led by a pro rider. (This, by the way, is often the kiss of death on Zwift – pro riders are notoriously bad ride leaders.) The ride details stated a pace of 2-2.5 w/kg. He messaged before the ride began to say he would be holding a pace of 2 w/kg. Then promptly launched off the front, messaging 10 minutes into the ride that the pace would be closer to 3 w/kg.
It’s funny, because last week I did a couple of group rides that I normally don’t do, and both of them went poorly. Well, poorly for some of the people doing the rides. I didn’t have a problem with the rides or the leaders, even though they didn’t stick to the advertised pace. I just rode my own ride, found a couple of other people who were doing the same, and finished my workout. But I was amused with the whiny riders complaining about the leaders. Even while I was in the rides themselves I was thinking about this. I mean, it didn’t really irritate me, because the little text/message boxes popping up on my screen with people upset with the leaders didn’t affect my ride at all.
And that’s kind of the point.
Look, a virtual group ride shouldn’t put nearly the amount of expectation on ride leaders as in-person group rides. Safety is not a concern–nobody’s getting hit by a car on the trainer. Cues and steering are not a concern–nobody is getting lost out here. And really, speed shouldn’t be a concern–at least not one big enough to get upset about.
I get it. It’s fun to “go fast” on the screen because you are riding in a big blob while only putting out 2.5 w/kg of effort. But at the end of the day, what does it matter if the leader (and most of the peloton) want to bump it up to 3.0 w/kg and you can’t keep up? Why would you get upset about this? No one is stopping you from continuing on at 2.5 w/kg. That’s on you. That’s your inability to be disciplined with your pace. Take the opportunity to work on it.
Is it because you’re trying to get PRs on Strava segments or get more “miles”? Um….this isn’t real riding. What you’re really doing on a trainer is X watts for Y minutes. Spoiler alert–you aren’t actually going anywhere.
So if you don’t like the way the group ride is going, don’t complain. Just ride. Or just get off your bike. It’s not like the leader drug you out 25 miles away from your house. You’re already home. And guess what. There’s probably another virtual group ride starting up in 30 minutes or so.
Then you can get mad at whoever is leading that one. They are probably getting paid exactly the same thing ($0) as the person who was leading the last ride you whined about.
I get the point of the post is that there should be a way to provide feedback, but that’s so the leaders can get better and have more successful rides in the future. I’m all for that. What I experienced last week was anger and whininess during the ride. The feature I’d ask for is the ability to mute the Debbie Downers.
I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this song. It’s not getting old to me at all. I’ve been listening to it for at least 8 years, and it keeps getting better and better. This song keeps revealing more of itself to me as the years go by. I’ve even read a few other critiques and commentary about it, and I think they’re fair and (almost?) accurate, but I think they were based on people with limited listens.
I’m sorry, but this song just can’t be properly considered with only two or three years worth of listening–not by someone with my limited aptitude. Your mileage my vary. As I peel the onion back, I have to conclude that either Evan Felkner is an absolute genius, or I’m wasting my time uncovering clues and meaning that were never intentionally left. Radio silence on Evan’s part right now, so I’m going with the former.
So I just want to break down one little section of the song that took me down a rabbit hole. It’s the ambiguous placement of the words “I guess” in the leadup to the chorus. On the first few listens, it seems like it’s simply a way to find a rhyme with “loneliness”. But if you listen closely, “I guess” is a phrase used to bridge two statements, and there’s some ambiguity as to which statement “I guess” goes with.
When he sings it, it’s spaced like a run on sentence:
I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.
It’s got down in my bones I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.
So, does he mean it like this?
I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.
It’s got down in my bones I guess.
It’s just another phase of bein’ free.
Or does he mean it like this?
I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.
It’s got down in my bones.
I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.
Why does it even matter? Well, because one thing is a definite statement, while the other is the narrator’s supposition. It all depends on how you read/hear it.
This weighed on my mind for a while. Yes, I do have more pressing issues, but there’s no harm in taking some time to appreciate someone else’s hard work/art and trying to understand it on the level it deserves. I went back and forth on what he meant, and I landed on the second reading as the answer.
I was happy to have some resolution, and I decided to listen to the full song again with this little piece of knowledge.
As I was listening, I realized I’d been swerved. Everything else that’s revealed to us in the song just didn’t add up to my conclusion. This guy is a screw up. He doesn’t know anything.
That’s when my mind was blown. I think Evan meant it both ways–he’s just a damn efficient song writer. “I guess” works as both the end of one line and as the beginning of another. It would be read like this in prose:
I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.
It’s got down in my bones I guess.
I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.
He’s “guessing” about the whole situation. Just listen to the end of the song…
Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right.
Also, when he says, “I had good intentions ’til I had to many. I was stupid I suppose”. And then there’s “Good Lord Lorrie I love you, could it go more wrong?”
This dude is “guessing” and “supposing” all over the place. Could it go more wrong? He doesn’t know. Even Lorrie herself says, “I wonder what we went through all this trouble for.” Between the two of them, there’s lots of wondering, guessing, and supposing.
Maybe you have to have truly been in love to understand the absolute certainty that you were absolutely meant to be together.
But these two? They don’t have that certainty. Nothing revealed in the song anywhere reveals any kind of certainty existing between them. It never did.
He’s “learning how to lose a thing he never laid a hand on”.
The only thing that is certain is that none of their relationship was ever certain.
I get the technology. I understand (basically) how the blockchain works. What I don’t understand is how cryptocurrencies represent stores of value.
I’ll give you an alternative definition of a currency–extremely simplified: Something an organization with some level of military power says it will accept as payment for resources/services/products. And they’ll let OTHER PEOPLE use it also.
The military power is a really important piece of this.
If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically protect my resources and products from being taken by someone else, I won’t have a lot of faith in your currency.
If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically prevent someone from forcing me to provide services at gunpoint, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.
On tougher terms: if you and your friends (allies) don’t have the capacity to take resources from another organization, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.
We could debate the question of to what degree the United States government is willing to provide this protection all day. But I don’t see how cryptos can accomplish this at all, unless they are government backed cryptos.
I’m not pro or anti cryptocurrencies–just explaining what I don’t understand about them being a store of value. And I know this can be picked apart–go ahead. It’s simply a mental exercise to try and figure out where these things fit together.
Yesterday was the day. I’d scheduled my appointment for early in the morning, and I’m glad I did.
Pretty normal–got the injection at 7:45, then hung out for 15 minutes just to make sure there’s no adverse reaction. Around 1:00 in the afternoon I started feeling a little tired. Not really sick, just like I needed a nap. That’s kind of normal for me at that time of day anyway.
By 7:00 pm I was getting sick. This is the only time I’ve felt this way and been happy about it. If your body is responding to the vax, it’s doing its job and the immune system is ramping up.
It wasn’t horrible–maybe like a really mild and really short flu. I was a little achy, had some chills, and was pretty tired. Luckily, I woke up this morning and most of that had passed. I had a slightly sore throat and a little bit of congestion, but the worst of the symptoms passed overnight.
Hopefully things will continue to improve as the day goes on and I can get back on the bike tonight!
Not much to report around the experience with the vaccine itself, more about the experience of the experience.
First of all, I’ve already had several people ask why/how I was able to get it so fast (first injection on December 23). In short, it was a result of my employer’s (a hospital and health care company) plan for distribution. While front line staff had first dibs, the vaccine was offered up to supporting staff as well. I get their logic–these are the people supporting the front line people, and we need them to be healthy as well. Plus, we have to distribute this stuff before it goes bad.
I also get the other side of the argument; it doesn’t make sense that a healthy person with no pre-existing conditions would get to go early, no matter what. And I guess that’s a lot of what this post is about–the thoughts/emotions that came with the vaccination.
A month ago, there was no way I was going to take this vaccine. My assumption was that I wasn’t even going to be eligible for it until late spring at the earliest. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure about the new technology. In fact I was suspicious of it. So why take the chance on new technology when everyone else has been vaccinated anyway.
But when I received an email telling me I could get on the list, things changed. It was a little like someone asking me if I was hungry and I replied no. And then they tell me they have ice cream.
On the day I was eligible to sign up I went on a run to try to figure this out. I came to a few conclusion during that four miles:
I needed to learn about the new vaccine tech before dismissing it
By taking the vaccine early, I could eliminate a bunch of threat vectors for my family. I could take over the bulk of the food shopping and things requiring contact with others
I could get back to jiu jitsu at some point in the foreseeable future (selfish)
I could donate plasma during the time period that I have antibodies and maybe help someone else recover. Also, counterbalances the selfish part above. Hey…I need to rationalize that away
Most importantly, any risks associated with the vaccine are probably less likely and less severe than risks associated with infection. It has been closing in around us lately, and at some point the scales tip and you are choosing virus over vaccine. No thanks.
After watching this video on the technology, I was quickly over that concern. I won’t try to pretend that I know anything about the immune system and how cells operate. Just watch it.
Talked it over with The Missus, and she supported my logic. She’s not quite ready to take it yet, but she doesn’t have ice cream being waved in front of her face like I was either.
This is getting long, so I’ll skip ahead to sitting in the chair and getting the shot.
It was a weird mix of feelings. “The end is in sight.” contrasted by “You’re four weeks away–don’t mess up now.”
I had to stop by the grocery store on the way home from my appointment, and it was slammed (day before Christmas Eve). I was suddenly a little paranoid about being around so many people. I really didn’t want to mess this up.
I haven’t really written about it, but paranoia is a new feeling for me throughout all this. We’ve been pretty careful, but not paranoid. No need in taking unnecessary risks, and definitely wear a mask, wash hands, etc., but we haven’t locked ourselves in our home either. We’ve met up with people at the beach, our kids play outside with other kids (just no hugging and stuff), and I even got on a plane so I could drive a moving truck from TN to FL for my parents.
All of a sudden, Covid is on my mind more than ever. I’m now aware of every little cough, scratch in the throat, sneeze. For the first few days that was an awareness of reacting to the vaccine, but now it’s really focused on Don’t. Mess. Up.
But no reactions, and no infections. So far. I’ll update if anything changes, and will definitely have more to say after my second round of shots. It’s scheduled, and I’ll be going to donate blood soon after so I can have my antibodies verified.
If you think about it, it’s a little strange to decide to make major changes based on some arbitrary time when a number changes on a piece of paper.
Still, we’re human, and I guess we need these imaginary lines to psychologically break up time; this year more than any other in our lifetimes.
But I’m not making resolutions. I mean, I’m definitely making some changes that coincide with the calendar change, but they aren’t really resolutions. The timing is merely a coincidence. So…listed in no particular order:
When we moved from FL to Las Vegas a few years ago, I cut back on blogging a lot. I’ll write later about the reasons why, all the other changes that happened, etc. But I do plan on updating things here much more often. Not because anything I have to say needs to be read, but because it helps me to write it.
Going past actually writing, I think there’s something therapeutic/cathartic about putting it out in the world to be seen, even if it’s not widely read. It feels weird to make yourself a little vulnerable and realize that you’re still ok.
This one is really important because it’s my outlet to talk about everything else on this list.
I was really into cycling on Trainer Road a few years ago. It looks like I’m going to be transitioning over to Zwift, and I plan on talking about why along with tracking some of the technical stuff around it.
There’s a whole other aspect to this beyond training–lots of emotions tied up in it. Again, lots to say later, but the passing of my friend Bill this year ultimately led to a fire being lit under my behind.
Religion? Therapy? I don’t know. It will take a lot of long runs to figure this out, but it’s something I’ve brought back into my life more this year. I didn’t know how much I was missing it. I have a lot to say about how my feelings around running have changed and this new need I feel to protect it.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Holy moly do I miss BJJ. I can’t wait to go back, and the end is in sight. Taking all this time off has given me a chance to reflect on how bjj plays into my physical and mental health. Like running, it’s something I need to protect. Both are activities I don’t want to risk being sidelined from.
Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF
Wow. There’s a switch in topics. I’ve spent the last year reading and studying a lot. Again, lots to say here, but all of it can wait until after I take my last exam and have a certification that can’t be rescinded.
Greatest game ever. As years pass, I’m increasingly amazed at the breadth and depth of impact rugby has had on my life.
I wish I could have just one more season in a 28 year old body.
The Missus and I have spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about this. Shocking, right? Some about the specifics around the actual virus, but a lot more about it’s implications for our family and society going forward. I think our experience and journey through this has been really healthy, but it has made me look at our culture/society a little differently.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m subscribing less and less to “isms”. I think that’s because I’ve realized I don’t really have any answers and neither does anyone else. There are so many nuances to everything. Oh to have just one more day of being young and knowing everything (or anything). I’ve shied away from writing about politically charged stuff for years, but I think it may be easier for me now that I have more questions than answers.
Besides that, I’ve been listening to great music, reading some cool books, and reading some trendy books. I should share, or at least leave some thoughts I can refer to later.
I’ve gotten hooked on some really interesting stuff on YouTube. And while I haven’t been posting here, I’ve written quite a bit as well. Mostly on Twitter (lol), but also done some gratitude journaling (how trendy), and even had to get up in the middle of the night to get a poem out of my head.
Yeah…not really ready to share that yet.
Things I want to learn more about
Spanish, literature, music theory, economics, etc. This list is ever-expanding, and I’ve come to the realization I think a lot of people come to–I’m running out of time to cram all this in.
On July 23, 2020 I woke up to the horrible news that we’d lost Bill McArthur to Covid.
If you knew Bill but don’t know me, it’s probably easiest to introduce myself in relation to Bill (“Tiny”). Professionally, Bill was the best leader I’ve ever worked for. He was one of the best teammates I ever had. Most importantly, he was also one of my closest friends and he had a tremendous impact on my life and family.
Without going into details that are embarrassing for me, the beginnings of my relationship with Bill can be explained pretty simply–his gracious, accepting, and easy-going nature was so strong that it made up for my “personality challenges”. To be fair, he also gets most of the credit for us continuing to be close over the years and allowing me to get to know Stacey, Sarah, and Billy along with his parents and siblings.
I’m guessing what I’ve already said Bill’s personality rings true with Bill’s family, anyone who worked with Bill, competed alongside him, or had the opportunity to be his buddy.
I’m lucky that I got to see the way he carried himself in all of those situations.
Bill was genuine, authentic, and consistent in every setting. “Mr. McArthur” the Leader (wha?!), “Tiny” the Teammate, “Big” Bill the Friend, and Husband/Dad/Uncle Bill were all the same person.
Bill loved rugby, so I don’t think he’d mind me making this easier on myself by using the game to frame what I want to say. If your relationship with Bill was strictly professional, just stick with me for a minute. You may think you only knew Bill in a work setting, but when I describe who he was as a rugby player, you’ll clearly see the guy you know in a suit and tie.
Same guy, just muddier.
If you’re loosely familiar with rugby, you may have seen a scrum. There’s an aptly named position in the scrum–Prop. As the name implies, props are the people everyone else is leaning on in the scrum. Props are the foundation of the scrum. Imagine being in the center of over 1.5 tons of mass pushing in opposing directions. Without good props, scrums are pretty much just a big pile of injuries. Props are the ones who make sure that a rugby match is able to restart safely so that the other 26 guys on the team get to have fun in between scrums.
In rugby and in life, Bill was a prop. He didn’t play prop….he WAS a prop.
Props do the least glamorous and most grueling work. They don’t get the recognition they deserve, except maybe from the guys who have tried to fill in at prop. Not all leaders are props, but all good props are leaders. Bill was the best kind of prop. He worked tirelessly for the goal, but Bill never made the achievement about himself. He didn’t care about receiving the credit, just the progress of the team. He led by example instead of by rah-rah. He was the kind of teammate who made you want to give your all because he deserved your best.
It only takes one or two guys like Bill on a team to create a positive culture in which everyone feels accountable to the cause. In every situation, Bill wasn’t just a role player, he was always a leader in setting a positive and successful tone. I’m sure it’s obvious, but I’m not just talking about rugby here. Family, Sports, work, whatever–groups of people who feel that connection and responsibility to one another are groups that succeed and thrive.
I could run down a pretty extensive list of Bill’s professional achievements, but I think Bill’s memory is better served by mentioning the joy he received in helping other people achieve their goals.
By being a prop.
Bill was passionate about other people’s growth and development. When Bill asked you where you wanted to be in 5 years, he didn’t want to hear what you were going to accomplish on behalf of your employer. He wanted you to have a vision for YOU and YOUR family. Family meant everything to him, and as a leader he wanted what was best for you and your family. If you didn’t have a plan, he’d help you come up with one. And he wanted to help you get there with education, opportunity, and mentoring along the way. He was full of generosity. He was always proud to see someone on his team growing and knowing that he was able to play prop for them.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the one area where Work Bill and Play Bill may not have matched up perfectly. As much as Bill loved seeing his team achieve amazing things, he also enjoyed laughing with (hardly ever at) his buddies when they achieved absolute ridiculousness.
Bill loved to be around people who were having a good time and enjoying themselves–especially the people that he loved. It’s not his fault that some of the people he loved have unconventional ideas about what constitutes a good time.
He always did his part (usually more than his part) to help create the best experience possible. Even if you were making a mistake, he’d be there to support you. He was always encouraging and positive and always believed in you.
Bill never said things like, “I don’t think you can do that” or “that’s a crazy idea”
Instead he’d say, “Nah…I really think you’ll be able to digest it” or “It’s not illegal. It’s only a health code violation”
In all seriousness though, one of the things Bill helped me learn is that the best feeling in the world was helping other people get to a place that makes their life better. I really believe he chased that feeling every day–maybe the only selfish thing he did. He made the most of his opportunities to have a positive influence on everyone he came into contact with.
For his family, friends, teammates, and coworkers, I hope Bill’s legacy is the memory of how hard he worked for you. We should aspire to continue that legacy and continue to work hard for each other and support each other.
Be a prop everywhere you can.
For those who made it to the highlight reel of Bill’s best stories, please continue to do things to make him smile down on you. When you get the urge to do something stupid that won’t hurt anyone else, don’t hesitate. You can do it!!!
Please take video, and please tag me in the post.
One of rugby’s best traditions happens immediately after every match when both teams cheering each other and the referee off the field. Even when you don’t get the ending you hoped for, the last act of every match is an expression of your appreciation for everyone involved in creating the experience.
I will be back to long-form blogging again soon. You know–more time to read the analysis about BJJ training than I spent actually training.
I’m nursing a minor self-diagnosed MCL tear, so I’m taking a little time off to heal. Silver lining is that I’ve also had a sinus infection for the past few days, which makes it easy to not go and train. I’ve just stayed away from the gym completely.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of me choking Mr. Norm, which will probably never happen in real life.
I don’t follow UFC that closely any more, but let me get this straight…
Conor McGregor refused to show up for a publicity event.
As a result UFC receives a ton of publicity (what they wanted from the event in the first place, right?), gets a chance to put another highly anticipated fight at the top of their card, gets to boil up even more bad blood between McGregor/Diaz (more publicity), and can now sell buys for another event.
Yoga whoops me. It whoops me good. I have a healthy respect for yoga. It’s eclipsed only by buffets on the list of things that expose my personal weaknesses.
But I have a hard time dealing with all the spiritual stuff commonly associated with it. I’m not saying it’s not real, and I’m not knocking people who are into for those reasons.
If that makes your day better, improves your experience, helps you deal with buttheads at work, that’s great. More power to you! I’m just saying I roll those little invisible eyes in my head that no one else can see every time I hear that stuff.
Again, I’m not saying those aren’t real and powerful things. I know that feeling is real–I get it from running.
Running is my flow. “Scottyasana”–Sanskrit for “Fat Jesus Lizard”.
Yoga, running, rock climbing, surfing…whatever. I think it’s pretty badass if anyone can get this amazing experience out of any activity that doesn’t involve a Schedule I narcotic. If you can find anything in life that makes you feel this good and is good for you at the same time, DO IT!!!
What I don’t fully understand is the need to talk about it at length.
Let’s say you go to a yoga class at your gym (or watch a video). It may be that the person teaching the class feels a ton of inner awareness or connection/oneness with the universe. I’ll go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt and concede that.
But what about the other thirty people in the class? How many of them are feeling that–really feeling that? How many of them are just faking it because they think they are supposed to be feeling it because you keep talking about it?
I know for a fact that some of them (at least one) are thinking, “C’mon! I just wanted to do a tough workout that includes a little mini-nap at the end! And now you’re talking about crystals and soul rainbows during the nap part!”
Again. I get it. I know that feeling you’re talking about. But do you really have to talk about it (so much)?
And why would you want to?
One of the cool things about running/runners is that they generally don’t talk about this zen experience they have while running.
Don’t get me wrong. They will talk your ear off about running. They will drone on endlessly about their splits, their resting heart rate, and what they felt like 16.37 miles into the race. They will spend so much time at the water cooler telling you about how dehydrated they are from their last workout that you’ll dehydrate yourself just to avoid dealing with them at the water cooler.
I do it (here) all the time.
My poor wife.
But what I won’t talk about often, especially with people who don’t run, is that feeling I get from running. I’m more apt to mention it in passing with a fellow runner. And even then there’s a look in their eye that immediately lets me know whether or not they understand what I’m talking about and if I should carry on.
And when I do talk about it, there’s no way I’m going to divulge the full extent and details. That’s such a personal thing. Really, it’s too personal for me to put into words.
And if I could, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t.
Besides the fact that this feeling is so personal, I also feel like it’s something of a secret about running that I don’t want just anyone to know. I just found it one day. I was never looking for it.
You have to earn it, and it usually happens by chance. Just because you know it’s possible doesn’t mean you always get to have it, even though you walk out the door every day looking for it. At least that’s my experience.
Could it be that everyone doesn’t get a connection to the universe every single time they practice yoga? And can we talk about it a little less?
Maybe, just maybe, people can find it on their own.
For various reasons, I don’t consider bowling to be a sport. I’ve always had two big issues with it that have disqualified it. First of all, you can win a world bowling championship with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth the entire time. Secondly, I don’t see how your opponent’s skills or performance impact yours. I mean, I’m sure they do somehow…I just don’t see it. It seems like to me the object is just to get the highest score you can every time out you sling the ball.
But what if that changed? What if bowling was a heads up game of 20 frames, with rollers alternating who gets first shot at a fresh frame?
Example: for the first frame, Player A tries to roll a strike. If he gets the strike, Player B will get to roll the fresh second frame. Ah…but he already knows that Player A gets his next two balls added to his score. So Player B goes for the strike on the second frame, but if he rolls and only gets 9 pins, there’s only 1 pin on that second frame, but the full third frame for his second bonus ball. But Player A also gets the spare opportunity there. And…they get to go first on the third frame.
But wouldn’t it be great if, late in the round, guys tried to purposely leave splits they know are difficult for their opponents individual weaknesses? Lower scores for sure, but at least there’d be some strategery involved.
In other words, bowling commentators would have something interesting to talk about.
I may go out and collect some test data on this. I think it would be a pretty cool way to encourage people to stay sober at the bowling alley. Wait…bowling alleys may reject this scoring system entirely.