James Pearl Thinks Blogging is Dead


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Let's kick this off by addressing the sleep issue. I slept great last night. I think it has to do with the following things:
  1. Don't overdo the caffeine after dinner. Generally this is not an issue but I think it's a straw I don't need to add to the camel's back.
  2. Rip the covers out from under the bed. I hate the way they make the beds. Who sleeps like this? I need to tuck the covers under my feet. Rip them out.
  3. Set 3 alarms - good call @2Julianas
  4. Turn the AC to "Northern Alaska"
  5. Realize that no matter how many small light sources there are, they go away when you close your eyes. I think the light thing is more in my head that not
Breakfast was sludge-like oatmeal at the hotel then a vegetarian burrito at the office. We stopped at the Starbucks Reserve to grab something before we went in. I have to say that the reserve stuff is actually pretty good.

Pants fit just fine. NO BELT NEEDED anymore. One less thing I need to pack after this trip.

Hit up the sucralose machine mid-morning. Sadly they have cut the flavors by about 1/3. Just not the same as it used to be. The erosion from within begins.

I also decided to try and make this week meat-free. Since it is now 10:30pm CST as I sit here and write this, and I have gone the first 2 days without eating meat, I'll make the jump and say that I'm going to try and do it. I don't think this is especially hard under normal circumstances. But given that I am in Texas, which is Texan for "fuck yes, pass the more meat plate," I think it's easier said than done. Just this morning when I ordered my cold brew coffee they asked me if I wanted extra meat with it. The weak link in this is the provided lunch. Today I was lucky they did wraps and there was a veggie option.

They also had brownies & cookies. I may have had 1 or more of these.

I don't want to belabor the work thing but I will say a few things about this. First, this 3-day workshop is a little bit like having a 3-day conversation about how we would run the country if we were given control of it today. It's a neat mental exercise, but on Friday morning we won't run the country. And shit will just be the same as it always is. Second is that at 5:11 the person running the meeting made some statement that she did not think she really understood where we were with everything at a high level and frankly I wanted to rip her hair out. At 5:30 I stood up and said I had to go, and left. I was the 3rd person to leave. It burns me up when a single meeting that is 8.5 hours long runs overtime.

Went to hotel, got bike stuff ready, got Uber. He was parked in the Whole Foods which is literally 300 yards away. It took him 10 minutes to get here. Got to the shop at 6:23.

Was on the bike by 6:45. Picked up a Trek Emonde SL5 carbon frame in a 56 for the next 3 days. I had mapped out a 25 mile ride based on the ridewithgps street colors, an Austin city bike safety map, and the strava heat map. It was a long way to bring the bike from Mellow Johnny's back to the hotel, via the west side of the city. The first 6 miles or so I felt more or less like I was riding uphill on the beach, but eventually I warmed up to the idea of biking.

I then made my way onto route 360, which is a highway on the map, but it's blue on all the sites which means it's generally as safe as it gets without being a bike-specific path. I'm not sure I would say it's 100% but it was just fine. I opened up a bit more on this road and the landscape started to really change out here. I went from Austin downtown to residential to the hill country with a totally different terrain which is like nothing I have ridden through nor really seen in quite some time. Then I saw a scenic overlook on the right, which I rode by. But I looked right and saw this:

On both sides of the road the terrain was just wildly different and it was a much more awesome experience than the first 6 miles of the ride. After about 9 miles of this, I turned off and wound through some other areas that were great for biking, and really quiet & enjoyable. The sun had gone down a bit and the temps were far more comfortable. As I got closer to the hotel the terrain went back to Austin-suburb but even there, bike lanes were pretty much everywhere. While not all roads have them, bikes are obviously very well accepted here. Plenty of lanes & signs about biking. Very pro this idea.

As I was trying to find more pics of it, I realized that this road I was on has a Wikipedia entry:

I guess I had some dumb luck today. I will say this ride made this trip at least 10% better. I'm going to try and wake up early tomorrow and ride again before work. I refuse to work before & after this workshop.

Ok next to last tidbit. I had to Uber to the shop which I did in normal clothes and then put them in a drawstring bag which I tossed on my back. Worked out very well and I didn't even think about it being there the whole ride. Got back to the room and dumped the clothes & shoes on the floor, then took a shower. Went to get dressed to grab more Whole Foods Cardboard Box Salad and realized that I had sweat through the bag and my shorts were wet. As it turns out, the only spot they were wet was the crotch. So it looked like I pissed myself when I went to grab dinner.

Finally, I leave you with this, a parting shot from @jmanic as he left KT last week:



Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Glad you got some ride time in! Also psyched about the belt thing, but of all the things that I think about being a pain to pack for a trip, a belt has never been one. Is that more an emotional milestone that physically you don't need one, or a "Oh man I don't know if there is enough space to carry a belt on this trip" kind of sentiment? On a side note, few years ago (10?) on a trip to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas I forget to pack all of my pants for a meeting save for the shorts I was wearing to fly out...no belt needed I guess lol. Luckily there are a few stores on the property that carried some pants for me :)


Well-Known Member
Staff member
one could think of the belt as a whimsical accessory. representing the emotion, or position of the day.
black if it calls for being the bad guy, or white to play the hero. perhaps a splash of color?

and i'm kinda confused about the belt - wouldn't needing it to hold the pants up be a more sought progression?
or has the appearance of hips provided that service? which means you weren't buttoning your pants.

or go classic, belt should match shoes.

note to self - dress bib pants....

might be a little easter egg in here.
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Well-Known Member
Any time I accidentally get anything wet it's always the crotch. It's more fun to be the side show for anyone who's actually looking, vs caring whether or not someone thinks you pissed yourself.


Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I also decided to try and make this week meat-free.
my take on the holy trinity for weight loss (or body composition change which I think is a better metric): 1) cut out alcohol or reduce to 1-2 drinks/week; 2) cut out or reduct "meat" and move to plant-based and fish/seafood protein; and 3) incorporate strength training into weekly regiment (even at cost of sacrificing a ride).

I've tried my best to stick to this since January and have been very happy with the results (bike & general fitness, sleep & energy and body image).


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Hey there-
Sorry I'm late to chime in, but I returned to a veritable shit storm on the work front. As soon as I set the auto responder on the email, shit just flooded in. So much so that I've had to cancel my plans for a return trip to VT this week (golf camp this time).

Anyway, that thank you was initially for the coffee, but also applies to the trip. As Utah and others have said, you did an awesome job herding cats on mt bikes. Awesome daily itineraries with all the cool kids- you did a great job organizing all the fun. And keeping us healthily caffeinated.
And that house? Hot damn but that was awesome. Hoping we are able to score that again next year. Which, as I told you, I'm already looking forward to. Can't wait!


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Okay, in between putting out forest fires on my desktop:

1) caffeine and sleep: I'm no scientician (okay, maybe I am), but look at the caffeine intake and sleep patterns. You drink espresso at like 8p if I have that correct. It doesn't always affect peeps the same way, but consider that. I personally don't drink caffeine after noon, and my WFH days which involve more cups, I brew 1:2 ratio of caf to decaf.

2) Meatlessness- check out Beyond Meat burgers- they have "fresh" in the refrigerated burger section, or frozen super burgers. Made some fresh for Mrs Manic the other night, and they were legit.
Giving up meat is easy, getting rid of dairy is the real challenge. Just don’t become a bad vegetarian, like me, I think French fries are one of the four main food groups.


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I don't like belts. They are not a "thing" to me that I enjoy at any level. Dressing up in general does not do much for me, though I admire those that enjoy it. But to @fidodie the real answer lies in the fact that yes, until recently, I had not even been buttoning my pants. So a belt was more or less required. Now, I don't need it at all. It's not a packing issue so much as a symbol.

I often pack 2 pair of pants in the event that I spill something on 1. Otherwise I think 1 is just fine for a 3-day adventure.

So let's talk about sunrise & sunset. D had pointed out that the sun was going to set earlier here due to it being more south. I thought she was right until I checked it out on Tuesday and found that Austin & Vermont have pretty much the same sunset time. Interesting, I thought, that we had been so wrong about that. Well, it turns out that we are not. I mean, not exactly. Sunrise in Vermont is about 90 minutes before that in Austin. So while Austin is south, it is also west in the CST so it makes up for the difference. But that difference is reflected in the morning, with a much later sunrise.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 5am to the alarm and found it pitch black out. This is when I realized the above. Anyway, I got out eventually and went for a 27 mile ride. Again, the varied terrain was cool and the sun rose as I rode today. Again, bike lanes everywhere, except when they are not. And in some spots I just felt that the sidewalk was a better option, especially as I returned to the hotel and the rush hour traffic was ramping up. Got to see this for a long while today:


Work is nothing of note. Lunch is Tex Mex which is easy to make meat-free.

Ride #2 is after work, in the absolute blistering part of the day. Went back to West Austin and climbed some hills this evening. Traffic was pretty heavy for the first 3 miles and I hopped on a few sidewalks again where needed. Again I found in some spots that bike lanes just appear and disappear at somewhat random times. When there was no shoulder I took the safe route. People driving home are unpredictable.

After 3 miles it turned into controlled chaos and I made my way out to 360 again for a little. After 6 miles I was on an island of silence mostly. Then I climbed a brutal hill in the sun and that was tough. Eventually got to the top and between the scrub-ish pines got a view of the city:


Tacked on another 25 miles and managed about 3:10 on the day.

Joined the crew for dinner and we went to this Asian place which was almost desperately devoid of vegetarian options. I ended up having to get the fried fish as there were no non-animal options for entrees. I know this still counts in some circles so it is what it is. I skipped the pork beef chicken options but in a sense this does not totally count as a win. Play the cards you are dealt.

As I was finishing up dinner the fish took a serious downward turn in my stomach and I thought I was going to vomit. So against all odds I skipped the ice cream trip and went back to the room to tie up some things and do laundry. This is the first time in my known history that I can remember skipping an ice cream trip. It's a little sad. But it also tells you had bad I felt at the time. Eventually it cleared up and now I feel mostly ok.

Tomorrow is the last day of the workshop. Will try to wake up early and ride. Then I need to bring the bike back before 6:45 or so. Ride there is only 13 miles so that should be a non-issue.