Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

Am I crazy?

A fair question.  One that my wife has me consider from time to time.  The reason for it today has to do with my new favorite recreational activity:  cycling.  Today marks my one year anniversary from the first real ride on a road bike.  I’ll never forget that day – riding in a group, feeling a part of something fun, working hard to keep up with the others… It was hard, but a great experience until I got home 40 miles later.  It was too much for me at that time.  I had no idea about proper nutrition and refueling.  At that time, my wife and kids were still visiting family in Albania and I was home alone.  I took a nap immediately upon getting home, and when I woke up 45 minutes later, I experienced the worst leg cramping that I had ever experienced.  I was writhing on the floor and literally screaming for pain.  The dog came to lick me – but that didn’t do much good.  (Why do dogs think that licking will actually help?)  Eventually, I made it to my feet and to my cell phone to call a friend who rode with me to ask what just happened and what I needed to do to make the cramping go away.  Finally, it did.

I was not deterred.  I kept getting back on the bike – albeit for shorter intervals.  I have learned more about the importance of proper hydration and nutrition (although I realize I don’t look like a guy who practices proper nutrition).  At least I try to do better on days I am going to ride.  I finished 2009 logging over 1600 miles for ~5 months.  I am hooked.

The winter was tough as indoor riding on a trainer is about as fun as watching paint dry – coupled with leg pain and gasping for breath.  Needless to say, I didn’t do too much of that.  E-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y Springtime showed up here in NE Ohio.  Back on the bike!  Start slow … but get out there and start racking up those miles!

Sad to say, I have not been out riding near as much as I would like.  Nevertheless, I’m focused on progress over perfection.  So here we are, July 5th, 2010.  My cycling anniversary.  The local bike club is planning a 50 mile ride.  I’m in!  It was a beautiful day, sunny and HOT.  Lots of hills.  It was kicking my tail – but I wasn’t going to let the others know that.  I kept up.  I made it.  What a Dude!

Now in true celebratory fashion of my initial 2009 ride – I got to experience some severe cramping again!  Man, I thought I had eaten right – I drank a LOT of fluids – I was taking in energy packs along the ride – but still my thighs let me know that they didn’t appreciate the beating over the last few hours.  OK thighs – “I’m SORRY!”  Can we be friends again?

So, I thought about how I probably need to make some awesome spiritual analogy about my experience today – being a pastor and all – but I’m not going to do that.  This is my blog and I just wanted to write about my (still) favorite recreational activity.  Today was not a good testimony to encourage my wife to get out and join me on the road.  I should have kept the screaming  down a little.  From time to time I give her sufficient evidence that I am indeed “a bit wacky.”  Today was one of those days.  Oh well, “Hope springs eternal!”

I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend!

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Was it your screaming that gave her evidence that you were “a bit wacky” or the fact your right leg is shaven as compared to your left?



I’m glad you like the photo. Actually it is not me. I don’t shave my legs. I haven’t gotten fast enough to notice the leg hair friction significantly slowing me down. Otherwise, I’d say the screaming was just another reason for her accurate conclusions about me.

Take Care my friend!


This is encouraging in advance of our Saturday ride. Go easy on the missionary. Don’t give me the heaviest bike you can find. Or at least let me preach Sunday sitting down.


No worries my friend. I am hooking you up with good equipment and we will enjoy a leisurely pace! Several others will join us as well so it should be fun.


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