First port of call was into Cozumel, Mexico yesterday. Wonderful day in the Caribbean. Limited Internet connectivity so posts will be short over the next week.
We’ve enjoyed a pre-cruise day at the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World yesterday. And we are getting ready to make the trip to Port Canaveral this morning. We board our ship later this afternoon and we will enjoy a week or so sailing the Western Caribbean.
The weather is sunny and warm. Just the way we like it.
Limited Internet access on the ship but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Life unplugged has its dividends.
I have been working on getting a commercial driver’s license over the past few months. In my spare time. Because I often have so much spare time that I find myself thinking about things to get. Like a commercial driver’s license.
There is a backstory here. It has to do with eventually getting ready to retire. I am not getting any younger these days and, before we know it, Lorraine and I will have to start thinking about what we will do in our golden years.
We have, of course, already given it considerable thought. We do intend to become snowbirds in our retirement years but we really do not want to be locked into a fixed property in one of the southern states. We would rather have our mobility and a little condo on wheels.
We are getting a motorhome.
We decided to get it now so that we could get used to operating the vehicle and begin taking some of our vacation breaks with it. Sometime over the next few years, we’ll take longer trips during the winter and perhaps forget to come back until late spring.
The type of motorhome we purchased is a Class A Diesel Pusher. It is a large coach, 40-feet in length and weighs in at about 36,000 lbs unloaded. In the province of Ontario, you are required to obtain a Class D commercial driver’s license if the weight of the vehicle you are driving exceeds 11,000 kgs or about 24,250 lbs. You also have to obtain a Z endorsement if the vehicle has air brakes.
Turns out that driving a motorhome in the retirement years can take quite a bit of work just to get licensed.
I had to pass an eye test. I had to complete a physical and submit a medical report. I had to write a test specific to operating large trucks and tractor-trailors. I had to write a test on air brakes. I had to be tested on my practical knowledge of air brakes on a tractor-trailer. And I had to pass a road test driving a large vehicle over 11,000 kgs.
Over the past eight weeks, I chipped away at each requirement. I passed all of the tests and I now hold a commercial driver’s license.
I really wondered whether learning to operate large commercial vehicles would be relevant to operating a large motorhome. After completing all of the training and testing, there is no question in my mind that I am far better prepared to take ownership of the motorhome and operate it safely.
Although I sometimes grumble at government rules and regulations, having to get this license before operating a large motorhome makes a lot of sense.
A shot of the studio from the BicycleFitGuru. Some great reading on bike fitting on that site.
Getting a proper bike fit is really important if you want to ride well and stay healthy.
I received an email this morning:
Thank you for your time reading my email and if choosing to reply.
I came across your blog and read about your 2012 bike fit. You mentioned that you bought a new bike and later got another fit from the same fitter.
You mention you no longer use the 9mm shim anymore on left leg. I am really intrigued how you managed to get rid of such a big shim. Did you stretch daily as your fitter mentioned. Are you able to tell me what were those stretches.
Did you seat height change in the second fit and your fore-aft as well. I assume that if the top tube was similar and the seat angle same not much would have changed.
2012 seems so long ago. I no longer ride with shims. Especially shims that look like this.
Here was my response to this email:
Thank you for dropping by the blog. I always appreciate hearing from readers!
And yes, I did have a significant shim on the one leg. Looking back, it is hard to believe that I was so out of balance.
I worked with a personal trainer for about 4 years since 2011 and he brought me along with a variety of core conditioning exercises and stretching routines. Part of my challenge was due to a significant amount of sedentary time — I work in an office and spend a lot of time sitting. And part of my challenge was leading with my right side. I had overdeveloped my muscles on the right side by constantly “pushing” down from the right when sprinting, going up hills or whenever I needed to get some more watts to the rear wheel.
For me, a large part of the conditioning was stretching out the muscles and getting more balance into the muscles. I cannot remember the exact measures, but I had significant differences in muscle mass on my left and right legs.
It obviously took a bit of time to improve the pedal stroke, regain some flexibility and rebalance the lower muscle groups. My last fit included a pedal stroke analysis. We were able to identify dead spots in my pedalling, left and right leg power imbalance, and angle of peak force. That analysis showed a lot of improvement in the pedal stroke and, of course, the ability to ride without shims.
We have done a bit of fine tuning of the saddle height on the bike — nothing overly dramatic. And a bit of fine tuning on the drops.
The sport is hard enough and experiencing pain from a poor bike fit is no fun.
I truly hope that you find a way to get your bike fit working well for you.
The weather finally turned nice here in the Kingston area. Two 60k rides over the week-end. The rides were, for the most part, uneventful. Strong gusting winds, ENE, made the ride home on Saturday really tough. The winds were a bit kinder on Sunday. Not as strong and more from the southwest.
The loops I ride are in the country. Very little traffic except for a couple of the rural highways, highway 38, county road 6, and the corner pictured above, county road 4.
County road 4 provides a two-lane, higher speed service. The posted limit is 80 kph although most cars travel the road at around 100 kph or faster. There is a small shoulder for a cyclist to use. From the corner of Maple Road and County Road 4, I usually ride north to Simmons Road, about 750 metres or so. It is an uphill ride so a bit of a harder pull from the intersection of Maple and 4.
I was coming along Maple Road pushing against some strong winds. I stopped for the stop sign at the corner of Maple Road and County Road 4 when, all of a sudden, three dogs came racing at me from behind. Instinctively, I sprinted up County Road 4.
A woman, just north of the house at the corner of Maple and County Road 4 started yelling: “Stop! Stop!”
She wasn’t yelling at her dogs though. No. She was yelling at me. “Stop! I don’t want my dogs to get killed!”
The bylaws in our area concerning dogs are pretty specific. Kingston’s By-law Number 2004-144 includes the following:
4.18 No owner shall cause or permit his or her dog to be at large or to trespass.
4.19 Every dog shall be under the control of its owner at all times when on any property that is not owned or occupied by its owner.
I had to race well over 500 metres to get ahead of these dogs. I hit somewhere over 45 kph uphill and against the wind.
The dogs eventually gave up. Tired I am sure. Dead? Well, not that day.
I am not sure why any responsible dog owner would let three dogs loose on the property of a house that adjoins a rural highway. Especially if they are unable to control their dogs.
So. Why did I not stop for these dogs?
It is the owner’s failure to exercise control over the pet that leads to the conflict and to the owner’s potential liability. If I can outrace a dog without injuring myself, then I sprint. I do not stop.
Many dogs out in the country will exhibit very aggressive behaviours, particularly when giving chase. Stopping only invites a potential showdown with a dog. And, in this case, there were three of them.
The last thing I would do is stop for a pack of dogs. Dogs revert to their more primitive natures when they run in packs and the most difficult dog attacks to deal with are those involving pack behaviour.
I was down to Arizona for a speaking engagement at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale. I really love the southwest. It is just a beautiful part of the world. Here are a few shots from my all too brief time at the resort property. Lorraine was able to join me and I hope she also enjoyed the time south. The very last photo of this series was the view from our hotel room. I could get used to that view.
It was definitely painful to watch Nick Jonas botch his solo at the Academy of Country Western awards ceremony. And it looks as though CBS is pulling the videos down of the original performance as quickly as they can.
This video captures why so many guitarists are posting parodies of the solo.
Alberto is an amazing player although, in my opinion, he made the original solo sound far better than how it was played live. His own version of the solo speaks for itself.
UPDATE: Looks like he was also forced to pull his video down. Oh well. Drop by his site. His guitar playing is amazing.
And it is only about half a million Canadian! I wonder if my 1976 Les Paul has any chance of appreciating that way over the next 15-20 years?
Click here to buy it now. The guitar won’t last long at this price.