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Old 02-14-06, 08:27 PM   #1
jppe
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Stress and Cycling

The indicators on ye old Stress meter has pegged out for me lately. Not to belabour the issue as we all have challenges but recent announcements of layoffs and significant job reductions at my company have tended to push it over the top! It's very much like the anaolgy of they frog sitting in water that is getting hotter and hotter and just before the boiling point.

They have already announced another person that will take over the role I presently have in a month or two. I continue with management and oversight of my 25+ member team and assist with all their issues around significant job reductions. This comes right on top of my funding 3 college tuitions and a 4th additional monthly expense for education needs for a High Schooler. I just need a few more years before I could walk away......We have reorganized every 2 yrs for the last 10 years and I've managed to survive and advance. In fact, in the past I've been very involved in the designs of the new orgs but with a new management team leading the effort I'm not involved. This one feels like it could be the Big One!!!

Enough of that.

Anyway, it's amazing to see the effects of stress as it relates to riding. I wear a HR monitor and use a cyclometer and have kept up with the stats for a good while. The differences in the HR readings and "wattage output" are key indicators that continued high levels of stress are not healthy!! No surprise there but it's very interesting to see the stats. Heart rates are much higher, takes a lot more effort to get equivalent results, etc. It sure does the body, mind and spirit a whale of a lot of good just get out and get in some miles, though.

At least I'm in pretty darn good shape for 50+ and managing those physical aspects fairly well. I can't imagine how I'd be doing physically if I still had those extra 50 lbs!! Just another great reason and excuse to continue to pile up the miles!!
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Old 02-14-06, 10:09 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
Just another great reason and excuse to continue to pile up the miles!!
I did get laid off from the company I was at, and I'm using that as a great reason and excuse to continue to pile up the miles!!
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Old 02-14-06, 10:39 PM   #3
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A broken romance three years ago that was very emotionally hurtful got me back on the road. Whether it was endorphins, physical work-out, or the floating mind syndrome that happens on longer rides.....riding was my therapist and my relief. Being depressed and stressed saps a person almost insidiously. Devoting myself to, and structuring my life around, riding was just the distraction and healthy pursuit I needed at the time. For many of us, Riding the Bike becomes more than just a pass-time.

JPPE, best wishes for you. I have two in college on a single income.....I know the sacrifices and financial planning it requires. (I won't tell you how many times I patch a tube before discarding!) Glad you have those long rides as a respite.
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Old 02-14-06, 11:40 PM   #4
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+1 to jppe and GrannyGear. I'll spare you the details, but I can definately relate. If I weren't cycling, I can't imagine what I'd be doing -- but I know it wouldn't be good.
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Old 02-14-06, 11:59 PM   #5
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Cycling, I am convinced, is one of the best responses to stress there is. With so many stresses being the result of factors beyond our control, there is just so much we can do to control the stress in our lives. But cycling in response to stress does two things for us. One, it provides a haven and a release... a place that we can retreat to emotionally to get away from whatever is bothering us for awhile. Two, it actively combats some of the physiological consequences of stress. Stress can elevate heart rate, elevate blood pressure, and produce a host of other harmful physical effects. These effects are not "in our head", they are real. Cycling, which is one of the best forms of aerobic exercise there is, combats these harmful effects in an equally real fashion.

So, jppe, ride on. It will do you good on many levels.
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Old 02-15-06, 12:12 AM   #6
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I know this is off topic somewhat but please endure.
I am 63 and was in the semiconductor industry from 1966 to 1995. Saw the writing on the wall in the early 90's and spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do when I finally grew up. Needless to say most of that thinking occurred while riding. They don't call it CYCLOTHERAPY FOR NOTHING!
I did a skills inventory and was able to take skill sets and match them to a number of industries. It is amazing what skills are transferable. It isn't easy making a change but when you make the transition it is quite satisfying.
I switched from semiconductors to biotechnology and from a chief to one of the indians. This was a considerable change in income level but is much less stressful. I have 2 kids in College so I understand expenses. Come together as a family and don't define yourself by your position. Look at your financial options and make some hard decisions. Worrying is a waste of time.
There are loans that the kids can take out for college and they can work to help support their expenses. This will help them to grow up make sacrafices. Most of all get out and find some networking groups It was amazing how much it helped. And keep riding!
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Old 02-15-06, 12:56 AM   #7
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I have a girl in College and a boy that's a Junior in High School. My girl has a full tuition, room and board scholarship, and it's still tough to make ends meet. My in-state tuition in the late 70s was less than $400 a semester. Talk about inflation. There's nothing that I can ponder that has been inflated like college tuition. Sounds like you've got it a lot tougher than I do. Hope the job works out.
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Old 02-15-06, 01:53 AM   #8
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Bad news all around the world, it seems, but there lies a chance in it. I lost my "good job" in the late 80's (the Berlin wall break down was an economically bad time for the most of us) and my income decreased. But on the other hand it was the best what could happen to my family. Sometimes you have to decide: stress or time. I couldn't decide ("they" did it for me), but I don't know if I would have been courageous enough then to make the time decision.
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Old 02-15-06, 04:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
I wear a HR monitor and use a cyclometer and have kept up with the stats for a good while. The differences in the HR readings and "wattage output" are key indicators that continued high levels of stress are not healthy!! No surprise there but it's very interesting to see the stats...Just another great reason and excuse to continue to pile up the miles!!
Sounds like good reasons to throw the HR monitor in the trash and enjoy your biking without the added stress that this gadget induces in you.
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Old 02-15-06, 05:04 AM   #10
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Do I need to start a BFs "Prayer Request Forum?"
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Old 02-15-06, 08:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh
Do I need to start a BFs "Prayer Request Forum?"

Reverend, consider us your virtual flock.......currently holding services at Irma's Outreach.
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Old 02-15-06, 09:22 AM   #12
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Nice thread! Getting into cycling was a life altering experience for me (for many of the same reasons already mentioned). I used to think how many years I missed by not cycling earlier in my life but I've come to realize that I found it when I needed it most and when I could really appreciate all its benefits.

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Old 02-15-06, 09:42 AM   #13
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Stress? What's that?

Let's see:

2nd son born profoundly developmentally disabled, just the start of 40 years of fights with bureaucracies which continue to this day. Even this week, I am fighting for a better program for him with another horde (they change yearly) of faceless non-caring bureaucrats.

1st son paralyzed from shoulders down 20 years ago February 8th (on his 21st birthday). Another round of fighting for resources, with the same but different bureaucrats. I couldn't even walk in the building where I was supposed to be working after that, and took 3 years off from my "career" to assist in getting him back to life, and then changed "careers."

2nd son also paralyzed from waist down after a fall out of bed (severe osteoporosis) in 1998, Took another year off from my "career" to assist him to get walking again.

Lawsuit against my small company took another year out of my life and closed the small non-profit company which I had started to serve those with profound disabilities.

Somehow, during all of this I managed to earn a doctorate and, between my wife and myself, stayed somewhat solvent. Even managed to get the first son through Stanford Law School, and last wek, he settled the largest claim of its type (disability access) against a nationwide well-known company of 1,500 stores (still paralyzed from shoulders down, married to a wonderful Yale Law School graduate).

My atrial fibrillation, trigeminal neuralgia, hypertension - all were a result of stress, IMHO.

Ditto with the wife, who has also gone through (and is still going through) some severe psychological problems brought about by terrible abuse as a child, and all of the intervening stuff noted above.

Almost to the point of bankruptcy at one time, wouldn't answer the phone because they were always folks demanding money that had already been spent on medical bills. Worked 3 jobs to help get us through that.

Along the way found the resources to get the 2nd son quarterly to a special program in Philadelphia which we did at home 13 hours per day 7 days per week with over 350 volunteers during a 5 year period in three different homes (this was when I got my doctorate).

The only thing that has kepy our sanity was physical exercise, be it walking, bicycling or whatever, and our attempts at spiritual growth.

Stress, what's that?

Anyway, jppe, you will get through this.

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Old 02-15-06, 11:19 AM   #14
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I hope things work out well for you, jppe.
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Old 02-15-06, 11:37 AM   #15
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I don't have an HR or power tap but when under stress I know that my performance is suffering.

This is evidence that riding and life in general is 80% mental 30% physical.

I sometimes deal by meditation
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Old 02-15-06, 12:59 PM   #16
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I am at the stage where I only have 6 years before I retire and the reins are gradually being given over to younger people. I now have people just out of University- no experience, telling me how to do my job. Stopped getting stressed about it, but also stopped getting them out the holes that they have got themselves into - because they know better. I've only done the job for 30 years- and know most of it inside out but these kids know better because they have letters after their name.

I now have no interest in work- except for payday- so put all my frustrations into riding. Thats where I am now- Waiting for my co-rider to turn up for another night ride but not sure I want this ride. Started raining last night and 2" puddles on the road so no idea what the trails and woods are going to be like. With a bit of luck- I'll fall off and sprain my toe and have to have a month off work- which is what the last sickie got noted as by the Graduate supervisor.

Roll on 2012 when I retire- And I'll have time to go to the Olympics without travelling halfway round the world.
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Old 02-15-06, 02:09 PM   #17
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I think one of the appeals of cycling to older folks, is this is one of the areas left where there is still a lot of control left.
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Old 02-15-06, 06:24 PM   #18
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Sorry to hear of your stress jppe. I'm having somewhat the same problems right now. Here I am too old to find another job and the one I'm at demonstrates their unwillingness to accept "let's do it right" as a way to do business. Sooner or later they'll crash because of that. We all see it coming but no one is taking any responsibility to try to make the major management see that they're screwing themselves.

Our division is only 15 or 20 million dollars and they don't seem to understand that we're the enabling technology for their entire product line. With us they can go into the customer's office and say, "We can do it ALL. You don't need to chase around finding other vendors and try to manage them and us at the same time."

So they do everything half ass and then complain that although everything got installed at a hefty profit, that maintenance costs destroy all the profits and eat up customer satisfaction.

But then I get on my bike and leave it all behind on that 22% grade. Along with my lunch, my bladder and what sometimes feels like my bowels.
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Old 02-15-06, 06:39 PM   #19
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Best of Luck to you jppe.
I retired from an extremely stressful job and completely appreciate the therapy/value of distraction.
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Old 02-15-06, 08:13 PM   #20
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I've been going through the "down-sizing" of my company (a small part of the parent company) for several years now, and I too have found that cycling does a world of good in helping adapt to the job stress.

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Old 02-15-06, 10:31 PM   #21
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Sounds like all of us in same boat. American Companies policy reflects me to think:

'so much for pathos'
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Old 02-15-06, 10:42 PM   #22
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Darn! Now I feel bad about whining because I have to put in a few hours at work to pay for potential new toys. Hope things work out for you jppe. In re:stress and physical responses-it is worthwhile to note that monday is the most common day for a man to have a heart attack.
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Old 02-15-06, 10:49 PM   #23
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jppe, hang in there. I'm carefully watching my situation at work. It sounds like there may be some cutbacks coming. I'm hoping I'm not one of them. Like you, I just need a few more years to be able to semi-retire. Then I can do what I really want to do. Sell bikes at a LBS.
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Old 02-16-06, 09:27 AM   #24
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Thank you for your responses and for the interesting insights into a lot of different folks' situations!! One of the things I keep reminding my team is to really try and not take this personally-it's just a reflection of the business climate. Many of your responses just reinforce that unfortunately that seems to be the business environment a lot of us are in.

The weather the next couple of days in NC are going to be sensational for riding and I will attempt to break away from the tentacles of my folks and get in a ride or two. Unfortunately it looks like this weekend is going to be cold and rainy so I definitely need to get out on the road before then!!!
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Old 02-16-06, 10:03 AM   #25
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Hang in there jppe. Getting outdoors and exercise is the best cure.

I lost my job 6 years ago and have been on disability since. It was ordinary life stressors that triggered major mental illness that I have had since my teenage years. But I was able to work for almost 30 years and am grateful for that. I was in a trade that is largely disappeared. Manufacturing as a toolmaker.

The psych meds were worse than the disease so after being a guinea pig for 5 years I gave it all up. I was literally a walking,drooling zombie while on meds. Bike riding was seldom as I had little energy and my balance was severly affected as well as you are supposed to stay out of the sun and heat on these meds.

In the last 18 months I have rode 1400 miles. I call it spinning the Wheels of Dharma. I feel ready to try working part time in a volunteer capacity. With my trade all but gone I don't know what I will do. That matters little as I want to live today and enjoy life and ride and hike and swim. Having lost my car years ago I have no regrets about that now. I just wish I lived in a bicycle friendly city. I have more than the usual number of horror tales of pedestrians and cyclists dying where I live.

Who knows what the future holds, I try to live for today.

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