2019 Cycle Life Challenge: Introduction and Ride 1

Our theme for the 2019 Cycle Life Challenge is TREATS – those small indulgences that make life just that little bit more pleasurable. Our choice theme came about in a few ways:

  1. I have been on a very strict anti-inflammatory diet since late last August. I have had no red meat, dairy, wheat, alcohol, junk food or foods with added sugar in that time. I have focused on anti-inflammatory foods and jacked up my intake of Omega 3s, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and brightly-coloured veggies. The diet hasn’t done all that much for my fatigue, but it has done absolutely marvelous things for my brain problems. The brain fog is all but gone, my short-term memory has returned and I can do difficult thinking and reasoning again. HOWEVER, a life without an occasional treat is not really a life. While I will continue with my diet in a slightly less-restricted form for the foreseeable future, I do plan on having a treat here and there as I ease into a Mediterranean diet.
  2. It was the hottest summer overall, and hottest January and February, on record. The Climate Council dubbed it “the angriest summer”. It was the most miserable summer of my life. More than 200 records were broken in 90 days and records were broken by huge amounts, not just a degree or two. And… I don’t have air-conditioning. But I do have temperature regulation issues because of my screwed-up neurological system. So for 2.5 months, I had tremendous difficulty not overheating in the nights and evenings or when not at work. If you’ve ever gotten overheated, you will know that feeling of nausea that occurs. Well, I just had 2.5 months of feeling faint and like I was going to puke. EVERY F***ING DAY. It was if my body was saying, “oh, the fatigue isn’t enough to make you feel like crap, here, have this on top of that”! Consequently, I had very little appetite over summer and certainly wasn’t going in search of treats. But the weather shows some signs of cooling off, so I’m ready to eat things again!
  3. I seem to be collecting a rather long list of woes at the moment. I know we all have woes, and my woes are all first-world woes… but they seem to be clustering rather mightily at the moment. I am not sure what I have done in a past life, but boy have I been paying for it for the past couple years! So when life gives you a whole bunch of lemons, you make yourself lemonade, or at least go find a little indulgence here or there that makes you smile for a moment or two.

So let’s go in search of treats! Here is our video introduction, recorded after our first ride.


It was a hot and somewhat sticky day. Eventually the clouds came in, the wind picked up and we got about 26 seconds of rain. But, most importantly, it dropped the temperature from 33C to 22C in about 15 minutes. Aaaahhhh…. Time to go for a ride!

We just did one of our local 20 km loops out through the vineyards and along the river, stopping by the IGA on the way home for sale items and our first treats!

View of the clearing skies to the west over All Saints vineyard.
Looking to the east… you would be mistaken if you thought there was rain in that. We got a trace of rain from it. Just enough to make a car splotchy-muddy.
Birds on a wire up above (galahs), terrestrial fauna down below in my bag, plus my bike in the pic… this should qualify for this month’s fauna challenge.
I like the clear distinction of the back side of the frontal boundary.
Down along the river among the trees in the floodplain.
Riding toward our local IGA – our treat source for today. They have just done a major renovation. They really do get involved in the local community and are really good about ordering in stuff that people want. I feel like not all of my money is heading straight out of town to corporate HQ somewhere else when I shop here.
Our Ride 1 treats: Popcorn and a Kombucha. While air-popped popcorn has been on our list of approved foods the past six months, this kind of popcorn has crap in it that is very bad for you. So we only indulge on rare occasions (even before getting sick). Kombucha is a nice alternative to soft drink. You have to be careful about the kind you get though – some have lots of junk in them and added sugar. This brand is good though – no nasty additives and only 2 t of sugar vs 7t in soft drink of this size. And the salmon… we just got it because it was on sale and I eat a heck of a lot of it these days. The popcorn and drink are for watching a movie tonight on my laptop – Sophie’s Choice. I’ve never seen it – I was just a little kid when it was released.





Nerdy chick in Australia who loves to ride and is accompanied by the crew: 'The Commander' Verne and the 'Mental Health Specialist' Kermit.

15 response to "2019 Cycle Life Challenge: Introduction and Ride 1"

  1. By: gregblood Posted: March 10, 2019

    I think popcorn is my favorite salty snack in a bag too. Maybe it does have a few nasty ingredients, but I figure it’s still way healthier than, say, Nacho Cheese Doritoes. But I have to admit that I don’t pay too much attention to the health factor–I just LIKE popcorn.

    Hope you enjoyed the movie. Meryl sure deserved her Oscar–especially in the part where she had to make her “choice.”

    • By: The Navigator Posted: March 11, 2019

      Yes, I’ve always liked popcorn. I do it on the stove a lot and in the air-popper when I’m lazy. But sometimes, once or twice a year, the movie kind tastes really nice. And yes, Meryl Streep deserved that Oscar!

  2. By: NancyG Posted: March 10, 2019

    Nice post Em. You and Greg have outdone it with your video intros! Now that I have missed the intro video maybe I do an ‘endo’ video if I get around to it. And know what I am doing!

    Your diet does sound oh so healthy when compared to some of what mine consists of. Mine is not the worst, but is not so close to the best. I can surely understand missing treats, and any other foods you like that are not on that diet. Good that you can get some of that in now. This is the second time I have heard of Kombucha and I don’t really know what it is. I do not drink soda (or pop as we call it) but might need to try this drink if there are more health benefits.

    I think you will like Sophies Choice because of Meryl Streep, but it is kind of a sad one as I recall. It has been a long time since I have seen it.
    Thanks for the post and congrats on getting a twofer — CLC and Fauna!

    • By: The Navigator Posted: March 11, 2019

      I’m a healthy eater day-to-day anyway, but I kicked it up a notch over the past 6 months (9 cups of veg a day instead of 4-5!, etc). Kombucha is a fermented green or black tea. You put a SCOBY culture in the tea, feed it sugar and let it ferment for a couple days. The culture is a mix of yeast and bacteria. The fermented tea is meant to be good for gut health with its probiotics, but I’m a bit skeptical that is the case for the commercial ones. If you have a friend that brews it, that can be really good for you. If you get a commercial one and it tastes sweet… it’s probably not all that great. I got some water kefir grains from someone at work (similar to a SCOBY but not quite as gross) and made water kefir (fermented water drink that tastes a bit like ginger beer) for awhile. But it was too cold in my kitchen in winter, so the grains just hibernated, and then I killed them this summer when it was so hot! I like the water kefir better than the kombucha – but kombucha is easier to buy.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 13, 2019

      dearest, intro videos can be done any time you wish to introduce yourself to us. First post or not. We would love to hear if you sound like Eleanor Roosevelt, Kathleen Turner, or Groucho Marx. Doesn’t matter which. It’s just nice to be able to hear your voice as we read your posts. But again, always optional.

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: March 11, 2019

    Enjoy the treats, spoil yourself, you deserve it. You survived a HOT summer and things are finally cooling down now, happy cycling with the crew amongst the gum trees.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: March 12, 2019

      Ah, yes, the cooler nights have been delicious. Still getting into the low-mid 30s through the day, though, so some 20s would be nice! Maybe it will be one of those years when we go straight from summer to winter. It’s unusual to have this many active wildfires around this late… normally they would be ramping up for planned burns but this year they’re still putting out the summer fires!

  4. By: Suzanne Posted: March 11, 2019

    Loved your video! I was inspired to give it a try, too.
    It seems things are looking up a bit now – so happy for you. Enjoyed your ride, as always.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: March 12, 2019

      I loved your video, too. I am slowly but surely getting better – lots of ups and downs, but the trend is up. The heat set me back a bit, but I feel like I have enough energy to go back to full-time work at the beginning of April. I have been working just 4 days a week but will go to a full-time 9-day fortnight.

  5. By: Scooter Posted: March 11, 2019

    You make me feel so guilty, Em. I’m such an undisciplined eater – well, actually I’m just pretty undisciplined period. Great to hear you’re making continued progress with your recovery!

    • By: The Navigator Posted: March 12, 2019

      I’m lucky to be a pretty healthy eater normally. BUT feeling like crap for as long as I’ve felt like crap is a HUGE motivator to eat well and stick to it. You would be surprised what you would do to feel human again after feeling like a zombie for more than a year! Maybe you just need a bigger ‘stick’ to eat well than what you’ve encountered so far 🙂

  6. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: March 13, 2019

    Thanks for the video — looking forward to your challenge rides.
    The Kombucha sounds ‘interesting’ — and so did Vegemite, until I tried it! 😉

    • By: The Navigator Posted: March 14, 2019

      Good to hear from you, Rich! I was wondering about you and hoping you hadn’t gotten marooned in a snow drift. I don’t like Vegemite either! Kombucha is even more popular in the US. In Colorado, several cafes had it on tap like draught beer. There was even draught kombucha at the Denver airport!

  7. By: Kathleen Jones Posted: March 13, 2019

    Dearest Em,

    Good for you and we thank you for the video. The command center is awesome – a tech wonderland. Well done.

    • By: The Navigator Posted: March 14, 2019

      Thank you, Goddess. The tech centre is still supplemented by a large map box and I’m still not very tech on the road. I just don’t like having to worry about charging stuff! The best places to ride have no phone reception anyway 🙂

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