A Few Changes

In the last year, I have had two significant career changes.  In February of 2011, I was assigned to work on a nearby environmental clean-up project.  I don’t want to be coy about this, but I don’t want to give the impression that I speak for my employer (now former employer), nor is this the appropriate forum to describe the internal workings of the project, since there are several law suits pending.

The project is located about 45 miles from home, so cycling to the site was out of the question, at least on a daily basis, so I did more driving than I have for years.  Fortunately, I only needed be at the site two or three days a week and I mostly worked out of my downtown office.  I eventually got access to an assigned car, and the ride to pick it up was an opportunity to add a few commuting miles.

Somehow this change in routine, along with the mental exercise of tackling work that I was not all that familiar with, took much of my mental energy.  Blogging frequency suffered, as did other volunteer commitments. Even though I spent much of my transportation time thinking about writing, it seldom made it on the page.

The cleanup project was a great professional experience.  I learned a lot and worked with some great folks.  However, I was not that passionate about the work, and it was a temporary assignment.  At its close, I would have to find a new niche and develop new skills to match.

This was not to be, as it turned out, because a new employer offered me a job with significantly increased responsibilities and an opportunity to work on issues that I really care about, and even to have significant impact on those issues locally.  I started the new job just last week.

This job will consume my mental energy to a much greater extent than the last job change.  I have lots of stuff to write about, including a frame building project and a bike camping trip, along with the new challenge of bike commuting to a coat-and-tie kind of job.  But I suspect that the demands of the job will make me scarce in the blogosphere.

One of the original excuses for starting this blog was to pass on the experience of heart valve replacement and recovery.  Almost two years out, I feel fully recovered, although my sternum still feels less than whole sometimes.  Because of injuries and illness, I have not had a good season of training (to the extent that you can call what I do “training”) since the surgery, so I do not yet have a complete before-and-after comparison of speed and endurance.  The best comparison I have so far is the fall century that I completed this year right at seven hours, about six weeks after the orthopedist let me back on the bike.  The last time I did the ride before surgery, I did it in 7 1/2 hours.  The surgery did not make me 25 again as I secretly hoped (I could have done it in five hours or so back then), but there is a definite improvement in performance and energy level.

The broken arm is not yet completely healed.  I have full mobility and good strength, but the latest x-rays show that the bone is not entirely fused.  I need to be somewhat careful with it, so the mountain bike is still off limits, even though there has been an incredible growth in  trails available with connections only about a mile away from my house.  A piece of advice here: don’t break your arm

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