The government of the United States of America, in its wisdom, has decided to furlough many of its civil service employees.  Monday was my first of 11 furlough days, amounting to a 20% cut in pay for the next three months.  The silver lining about being on leave without pay for a day is it gave me the opportunity to ride, which I took.

The weather threatened, which made for some unusual lighting

The weather threatened, which made for some unusual lighting

I've never actually gone done this road

I’ve never actually gone done this road

I’ve been doing a lot of sprint workouts in preparation for next month’s triathlon, but it is not lost on me that I will be riding a century two weeks before that.  So I stretched my legs a bit and went for a 43 mile jaunt across Route 29 and into Fauquier County.  This road has always been something of a boundary for me.  Way way back in 2010 when I started cycling again, it was a barrier that was not crossed due to its length from my house (about 17 miles).  There are so many good rural roads east of this highway that I only occasionally slip over it to the west.  It’s been several months since I made my way to the wild and wooly lands to the west of the highway and I was excited to see if anything new was happening.

Approaching "The Barrier"

Approaching “The Barrier”

In short, nothing new was happening.  But the roads were in good shape and the weather was cooperating, so it was a good ride.

A "Fixer Upper"

A “Fixer Upper”

Dumfries Road

Dumfries Road

I actually rode ON Route 29 for about a mile

I actually rode ON Route 29 for about a mile


Some towns have stylish bistros, others have old fashioned cafes.  Nokesville has a 7-11, which worked quite well for me.

Some towns have stylish bistros, others have old fashioned cafes. Nokesville has a 7-11, which worked quite well for me.

The big news remains my feet, which have continued to worsen over the past several months.  I have concluded I am suffering from significant nerve pain which first made its appearance while running.  The pain has since joined me while cycling and even when wearing dress shoes.

However, I believe a breakthrough is at hand.  I have discovered the importance of insoles.

At work on Friday, I wore a more casual pair of shoes and noted the absence of pain.  When I sported a pair of deck shoes this weekend (stylish but with virtually no padding) the pain returned with a vengeance.  In desperation (and my wife’s urging) I bought some gel insoles and they almost completely eliminated the pain.  Perhaps a solution was at hand!

It then occurred to me that the insoles in my old cycling shoes could be removed and placed in my new shoes.  I realize that most of you would have hit upon this idea after one or two painful rides in the new shoes.  It only took me six weeks.  I tried the new shoes today and made a determined effort not to mash my pedals.  This resulted in a decrease in about 2 mph off my usual pace, but I am happy to report that the pain, while still present, was significantly less and at no time did it feel like anyone was attempting to drive a nail through the ball of my foot.  I think we can all agree that is a nice thing.

I’ve ordered a pair of gel insoles designed specifically for road shoes and look forward to giving them a try.  If this doesn’t work, my only solutions will likely involve copious amounts of motrin or simply resting for many weeks.

In closing, let me take care of some old business.  In my previous post, I mentioned how I failed to photograph the construction on the bridge at Aden Road.  I passed by the site again today and am happy to share the scene with you, which includes a closure of one lane and some temporary traffic lights.  Enjoy.



12 thoughts on “Furloughed

    • Thank you very much. Between my recent vacation and these furloughs, I’ve definitely increased my exercising and my soreness confirms it.

  1. Steve, sorry to hear about your foot pain! When you mention the ball of the foot, I think I’ve had something similar. Oddly enough, I’ve been wearing “Yoga Toes” for a few minutes every night before bed, and my pain is gone. Something about stretching out the toes….might help! Just google “yoga toes” for a pair of strange little rubbery devices.

    • Fascinating. They look a little bit like the things my wife comes home with after getting her toe nails painted. 🙂 I realize they are different and they certainly look interesting. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I wish that I could get a day off now and then.

    The foot problem is a nuisance. I hope the insoles work but you might have to see a podiatrist to get advice before you wreck your feet entirely.

    • The voice of Wisdom comes to me from across the waves. Normally, I simply wish it good day as it passes me by, but perhaps this time I shall listen to it.

      • I understand and thank you very much for your sound advice. My at-home remedies are continuing to have a positive effect, although the problem is not completely eliminated. I wouldn’t expect such a chronic issue to be resolved in less than a week, so I remain encouraged by the progress.

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