As part of my last few rides of the fall and early winter I took some video with my phone to show a friend of mine my route and gain a little insight on my riding form. I clipped that up and put some four tet in just for fun.
After a few drinks and a tiny amount of ridicule about the number of pillows I have on my bed last winter, I donned a new cap as a pillow strategist. See, the ridicule I had been enduring (for all of about 5 seconds) was misinformed. My friends were discussing how crazy and haphazard my sleeping habits must be with the number of pillows on my bed. I quickly informed them that they were wrong to assume that the placement of my pillows was in any way random, not knowing that I have been thinking about these things for years as I have struggled putting my racing mind to sleep. And thus began an hour long discussion of pillow strategy in the bar, followed by demonstrations and critiques after arriving by at my apartment. Below are some of the notes of what was discussed, but I will probably save some details for my self help book with the working title of "Pillow Preacher".
Dual Layer Primary Pillows
The biggest and most amateur mistake I see almost everyone make is only sleeping with a single pillow under their head. As someone who sleeps in the proper stomach twister position, I know that proper sleep can only be attained with two pillows under your head. Why would you need two pillows under your head you ask. Well my friend it is all about pressure points. If your asshole self decides to cross its arms overnight you can wake up sore or with some dead arms and nobody wants that. Start with a relatively thin (3 inches or so) base layer body pillow, stick your bottom most arm under that. Then add another relatively thin regular sized pillow on top of that and place your upper forearm under that and above the base layer. With your arms separated from each other and your face you will feel magnificent, and they will stay nice and cozy tucked under your pillows.
Alternatively, you can wrap your upper arm around a cuddler rather than placing it under the second layer. If you like this strategy, bump up the thickness of your base layer body pillow by an inch or two for proper support.
A slapper is a pillow placed above the primary pillow at an angle adjacent to the bed resting in the gap of the mattress and the headboard. Slappers serve numerous purposes. First and foremost, slappers protect your hands from your asshole unconscious self in case of any rowdy midnight punches you may throw upward towards that hardwood headboard or spackled wall. Secondarily, a slapper keeps your hands warm and cozy like the rest of your body all night long, as well as preventing them from drooping over the edge and allowing them to fall asleep.
Cuddlers are pretty straight forward, you spoon the shit out of them with either an elbow and upper leg if you employ the dual layer primary system, or your entire upper arm and upper leg if you find that more comfortable. What size you ask? These should be as big as a human adults torso which is equivalent to a nice and thick king size pillow. What’s that? You’ve never heard of a KING SIZED PILLOW. Look it up and send me a dollar for saving your life and get spooning. Best practice is to have two cuddlers available, just in case you need to roll over for some cool comfort in the middle of the night.
*Note, it is completely appropriate to replace a cuddler with a significant other if you happen to have one and they don’t mind being the little spoon.
Insulators again are very obvious. Place them around you in the winter to hold in the heat. Retired base layer pillows will do. Keep them on the sides of the bed, at your feet, and between walls if you are a one sider.
I am not really one to make New Year's resolutions because if I want to work on something I usually just start working on it. That being said, winter has put somewhat of a damper on my biggest current hobby of riding my bike, and as the year changed, the tempurature has dropped to a level that I am not as comfortable venturing out in for a 100 km ride. I will definitely catch rides when I can through January and February, but as I have gone all in on cycling I've learned that doing so will definitely require a lot of maintenance.
So I have started learning how to maintain my bike and do all my own mechanics. I am enjoying it thouroughly so far despite myself being poor and the tools being expensive. Believe it or not, bikes have their own set of propreitary tools, so I am pacing myself and going through component by component. After reading four articles and watching eight youtube videos on how to remove, clean, and maintain a cassette, I execute and record my experience and take notes for each of my bikes.
Progress, as I noted, is somewhat slow, but I have started with all the biggest of the moving parts. I am now ridiculously knowledgable about a bicycles drive train, bottom bracket, wheel hubs, and next up, cabling. I am excited to get my tuned bike out on the road, not only so I can make fine tuned adjustments, but because I have a new confidence on the mechanics of my bike. That and as immune to cabin fever as I am, I miss the meditative state that rolling up and down hills provides. Something that a trainer bike in a stinky gym can't come close to providing. I may clean up some of my notes and post them here depending upon how extreme and/or long this winter ends up.
60.8 miles in Iowa's frozen tundra
It's been a few months since I've been out on my bike. With school, work, and weather all being obstacles, getting out for a winter ride is harder than the rest of the year. I should have know it was a sign when I overheard a girl saying how the squirrels were going to be confused by the nice weather. Anyway, after finishing a test I realized I had the afternoon free, or I could go to work...
I couldn't pass up the opportunity, so I got ready to roll.
My neighborhood is home to a roving cat. I try to give it treats whenever it's around, though usually he just wants a good rub. As I was pulling my bike out he snuck into my house, but then followed me back out and made sure all the other cats knew I was taken.
It felt great to be out. I brought extra gear just in case I got cold, but didn't end up needing it. After about 20 miles I decided to get a picture in front of Lake Macbride on my way back from Solon.
After two months of riding trainers in a stinky gym, I just wanted to roll. To feel the hills and the turns under my wheels. My body was putting off enough heat to keep me warm, and my training has kept me in good enough shape to keep going, but as the day wound on I started losing daylight and a 4 hour ride is hard to replicate on a trainer and I started to get a little stiff. 60 miles in was enough. I can't wait for conditions to be favorable again so I can get back out.