Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"sag" asked ...

A couple weeks ago, I received an e-mail from fellow North Carolina randonneur "sagittandy".  Text follows:
Sent: Fri, Feb 18, 2011 7:27 pm
Your cycling audience might enjoy reading a blog report explaining how you keep records about your rides. An electronic spreadsheet?  paper ledger?  text file?  a diary?  or a pile of scribbled napkins?
I often marvel at your ability to recount minutia about rides from years ago.  While I also scoff and make fun (ha!), it is impressive how you have done it for so many years.  You must have an efficient way.  Do share the "Skiff Method", so that others so inclined might emulate the master.

Although he insists that he is not, I still suspect that he's "taking a Mickey"; however, here is my response:
"sag" -
Audience?  You think I have an audience? 

They're coming to take you away, ha-haaa.
They're coming to take you away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time and you'll be happy
to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming
to take you away, ha-haaa!!!

I have given the matter some thought, and here is what I've concluded:
  • Yes, I have an Excel log in which I record every ride, the date, the course, with whom I rode, perhaps a very short comment, the distance, the time-in-motion.
  • Yes, since February-2009, I have a blog where I have written sometimes very, very short reports, and other times the reports are quite long.
  • Yes, even before I started the blog, I would do write-ups of rides with the "Irregulars".  
  • Yes, sometimes I scribble a few notes immediately upon completion of the ride -- but those are never more than distance and time-in-motion, a cryptic description of the course, and with whom I rode.
  • And yes, I think I have a good memory. 
But, in the end, none of that really explains how or why how I can sometimes recall minutia of previous rides.
In the last couple weeks since you inquired, I have looked over my old Excel entries and also over previous blog entries.  I found that sometimes I cannot remember that a particular ride even occurred, let alone details from the ride; sometimes rides that fall into that category are as recent as April-2010 -- perhaps even more recent than that.  I have re-read blog posts of rides I had completely forgotten; some I don't recall even after reading the blog entry AND looking at the Excel log. 
Other rides, even before locating the entry in the Excel log or on the blog, I remember vividly.  Some memories are only of a few moments during the ride; others are of almost the entire ride.   What do I think accounts for the difference? 
Epic-ness.  That's what accounts for the minutia being recalled for some rides.  If the ride was "epic" (based on ability and experience to-date at the time), there is a memory.  If not epic, but just "another standard ride", no memory.  Rides from 2004, 2005, 2006 are easier to recall than rides from 2008, 2009, 2010.  In earlier period, there were many fewer rides than in 2009-10; almost every ride in the earlier years could qualify as "epic".  Few rides count as "epic", anymore; something quite bad or very, very nice has to happen for the ride to be "epic" now. 
Two flats in the frickin' cold this last January doing "Get 'Er Dunn" with Dean and Janis would count as "epic"; I'd never previously had two flats in any ride.  That ride would stick in my mind anyway, since it is the only ride to-date that I have done with Janis.  I suspect that successful and enjoyable Permanents where the ridership consisted of only one or two others and me shall likely remain in the memory -- esp. if that was the first REAL time I rode with said person (e.g., Ricochet's first Perm this past January with BikerBob and me, with Bryan(photo) this immediately past February, with ChrisW one week later, with Dean and Sridhar last Sep-04th  -- oh, that's the "I kicked Roscoe" ride, with JohnO last October, with BikerBob last July -- oh, that one is already really, really "EPIC" anyway). 
My "Irregular" cycling friend Lt. Dave bonking last Jul-05th ... that was another kind of "epic"; something that involved someone else rather than me.  I can recall rides where others struggled and I did not (a rarety, I assure you).
All six brevets that I started last year seem "epic" to me, in one way or another.  However, I am not sure I can recall all the successful Permanents since October-2010.  On the other hand, I suspect that it will be quite some time before the three failed Permanents in June and July fade from memory -- those were "EPIC". 
Yes, I have convinced myself, that I mostly recall minutia from rides that were "epic" at the time. 
I'd wager that it is the same for everyone.   
It's just that (perhaps) I write about it (the past) more than others. 
See you on the road ... 
[Lyrics borrowed and modified, ha-haaa, from here.]


  1. Would you believe that 45rpm single was one of the first recordings I ever bought as a child?


  2. Serendipitous choice!!