Friday, November 1, 2013

A MAN OF A CERTAIN AGE…

 

Sausage, Egg, Cheese Biscuit Double burger with cheese

(A teaser of things to come…)

I must admit that I’ve been challenged this year to find the motivation to ride and to write. It seems I have let life’s distractions get in the way despite my early season promises to self to be more attentive to my riding schedule. With the exception of the month of April, I just haven’t been faithful to myself or my mini-stable of bikes.. The lack of riding has led to a lack of writing as well and it has been a struggle at times to come up with something new or something …

that I think might interest people. I’ve never wanted to just publish words just to be publishing something although to keep readership interest, you obviously can’t go weeks without posting something.

April was pretty good. I promised myself I would participate in the 30 in 30 effort and I did ride something for some time the first 23 days of the month. But, then work, weather, commitments intervened on the 24th and that was that. My motivation to finish out the month was gone. That lethargy carried over into May, then June, then July, etc. until September arrived. Sure, I had excuses and that’s what they were – excuses.

Along the way, I had some reminders of the importance of riding, which is my chosen form of exercise. In early September, I finally broke down and had my blood work done so my physician would keep calling in my medications. That effort was rewarded with a phone call from his nurse saying “you need to come in and get some more blood work done. You’re blood sugar was a little high.”

Of course it was! No exercise – sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits at Bojangles 3 to 4 times a week will run up the old blood sugar count.  There was no magic, no mystery here… I’m probably lucky it was only 133. So, I am supposed to return for the 90 day blood sugar average test.

This is my life long pattern when building and remodeling houses. I quit eating in a healthy manner and go for the quick fix. Along with those Bojangles’ biscuits were probably a number of double whoppers with cheese, fries, etc. It explains why my 34” waist appears to have taken a vacation and refused to return home. The Navigator and I built our first house upon a solid foundation of TRIPLE chili cheese burgers and fries! That was back in 1982. I would imagine pure grease was running through my veins by the time we moved into our first home.

 

The Tanita of Truth!

 

My Tanita super-duper “way too much information” scales informed me this morning during my monthly weigh-in that I have “blossomed” to 192.4 lbs. If I were on my physician’s scales, that would be 202.4 lbs. I may well have to do the unthinkable and return to P.A. - Pizza Anonymous. “Hi, my name is Zeke and I’m a pizza eating maniac!” Nah! Too drastic. I can quit anytime…

Being a man of a certain age means that I’m acutely aware that I’ve rounded second, and heck, maybe third by now and I’m heading home for the final finish. I’m aware that my time on this orb is well past my halfway point and I contemplate more often what  I will be leaving behind. Will it be a pizza/sausage biscuit/diet soda laden me that gets laid to rest or will it be a svelte 170 lb.’er with an abdominal two-pack version that makes that final climb? As in all things, I guess time will tell…

Changing the subject…

In the meantime, for those so interested, here is the text of my latest cycling column as it appears in the local paper, The Mountaineer.

WCU ECONOMIC STUDY SHINES LIGHT ON BENEFITS OF TOURISM

Dr. Steve Morse, of the Western Carolina University College of Business, spoke to the Waynesville Rotary Club at their October 18th meeting and shared with them the results of a recent economics study completed by his students. His report underscored what many people already know and that is that tourism is a major contributor to the well-being of Haywood County and our citizens. What you say, does this have to do with a column dedicated to cycling?

Well, the connection is clean and simple. Cyclists are tourists and they are coming to our area in increasing numbers to ride our roads and spend their money. Nationwide cycling is booming! While much attention has been publicized about the increase in urban cycling, a casual reader can now find much more information on the impact of cycling on rural communities. One needs look no further than the State of Oregon where cyclists contribute $400 million dollars per year to the state economy. (Source: bikeportland.org)

Events such as the Blue Ridge Breakaway, the recently released brochure of destination rides in Haywood, and infrastructure support such as the new road sharing symbols in Waynesville from Commerce Street to Hazelwood are great first steps as Haywood County becomes more bike friendly. These efforts help to round out the overall economic draw of many kinds of tourists to Haywood County.

In the past, I’ve semi-jokingly suggested that Haywood residents unhappy with seeing an increasing number of cyclists on the road should pretend they are seeing dollar signs instead of cyclists. Thanks to Dr. Morses’s study, I can now put a value on those dollar signs. Tourists coming to Haywood County state and local tax relief for each of the 35,361 households to the tune of $320.00 per year.

Unrelated to cycling, Dr. Morse indicated that from 2005 to 2012, Haywood County manufacturing had actually increased from 17.1% of total jobs to 18.1%. This is remarkable considering the economic downturn that occurred during this time span. Many congratulations are due to Mark Clasby, Economic Director for Haywood County, and to others who have fought to keep and bring manufacturing to Haywood!

The opportunities are out there to keep Haywood Healthy – not just physically but also economically. The question is whether we have the political and economic will to pursue the opportunities before they go elsewhere. The Comprehensive Haywood County Bicycle Plan provides the blue print for becoming Bicycle Friendly. Will small businesses in Haywood step up to join Bethel Grocery Store and Sorrell’s Café on the journey?

For more information on the WCU Economic study, contact Dr. Steve Morse: scmorse@wcu.edu.

For assistance in becoming a Bike Friendly business, contact BicycleHaywoodNC.

Well, enough of this. I need to get to the doctor’s office for that new round of blood work… and I’m getting just a little bit hungry!

Until later,

- Zeke

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