It’s all about enjoying the ride

I was chatting with a blogger friend today after my last blog post. In it I had mentioned the long ago jerk who told a relatively new cyclist (me)  “Well until you do the RAMROD, you aren’t a real cyclist.” Now normally, I brush off comments from people without a second thought.  For some reason, probably because I REALLY disliked this guy, it stuck in my craw.  Having completed the RAMROD this year I finally have the monkey off my back!

My blogger buddy Ron, of the Sevencyclist’s Blog, put it in perspective when he said. “it’s kind of a elitist type of comment. It’s all about enjoying the ride … The important thing is to get out there.”

And that is how a blog post is born! Continue reading “It’s all about enjoying the ride”

Yet ANOTHER reason I love to ride

As those who follow this blog know, I am currently tasked with training a coupla folks who are being promoted from the call center and moving to a more professional role.  Both these ladies are great, but both are in our Spokane office.  This means I am training 300 miles from home, without my bike.

In our icebreaker session on the first day, they learned that I biked over 200 miles in a day twice in the last three years.  One of them said, “I’ve heard a lot about you and your cycling.  Why do you like riding a bike so much?”

I love this question.. Continue reading “Yet ANOTHER reason I love to ride”

Looking for the eye of the tiger

So, its been just over 3 weeks since the STP, when our intrepid hero braved 97 degree heat to cycle 204 miles.  I am happy to report that I have fully recovered from this ride, and the body parts that were hurting are now doing well again.

So physically I am raring to go, bring it on!  What’s next? YEAH!  Mentally though…. Continue reading “Looking for the eye of the tiger”

Well I thought I was in Shape!

It’s funny, you can cruise along and think you are in pretty darn good shape.  I eat pretty well (with the occasional cookie thrown in).  On the bike I can pedal like the wind.  I can plan century rides, double centuries, and multiday trips without any concern of completing them at all.

People you talk to that don’t cycle will help you with this theory of being in good shape.  They say things like “Wow you commute 16 miles by bike?”  “You ride 100 miles in a day?” “Oh you must be in great shape with all those miles you log.” Yep its EASY to think you are in great shape.

But then, you get a day like Thursday or Friday, or worse yet, as I have just experienced,  2 days in a row that brings you down to Earth and you realize, “Oh hell, I am NOT in the shape I thought I was! Continue reading “Well I thought I was in Shape!”

The Challenge for the Rest of the Year.

It happens every year.  Sometimes as early as July, and other times not until September.  But yet yep, each and every year it happens.  Whatever goal (or in the case of this year) goals I set for myself have come and gone.  It’s time to look back and see how I did! Continue reading “The Challenge for the Rest of the Year.”

Yes, it is OK to Take a Break!

I am not what many would call a smart man, at least in some areas of life.  For example, I don’t understand why anyone would need more than one fork or spoon when eating dinner.  As long as you have one of each, you can eat anything on your plate.  

I also used to get in trouble, long ago, for not cutting my meat with my right hand, then putting down the knife, and then placing the fork in my right hand to stab the meat, and then put it in my mouth.  Seemed MUCH more efficient to hold the knife and fork in different hands and use them that way!.  When I am hungry I want to eat.

I don’t get why Levi 501s are not appropriate attire anywhere you need to go.  Shoot, get a pair of black ones, and that should be good for weddings, funerals, corporate functions, the works.

So in all these areas I freely admit I am not the sharpest tack on the cork board.  

There is one additional area in which I lack common sense sometimes: admitting that it’s time to let this body of mine recover.  

In the past, I have pushed myself farther than I should have.  I once spent an entire softball season (Team Chaos) with a sprained ankle.  I injured it early in the season playing second base.  In fact, I rolled it once, felt a pop, and decided how bad could it be…  Then REALLY hurt it a couple of at bats later.  Bad enough for an ER visit! 

I gave it a week, bought  brace and kept playing…  6 weeks later, the end of the season finally hit.  After 2 weeks of not playing, I was back to normal.  I could have skipped 2 weeks worth of games.

Once, back in the day, we were playing broom hockey, I slipped and fell, and took out a guy who ended up sitting HARD on my head! ( Helmets you say?  Nah, those are for sissies!)  After catching my breath, I went right back to playing.   While being driven home, I asked my ex, “Am I supposed to be seeing double when I try to read a license plate?”  Yep you guessed it, another visit to the ER room, and yep a mild concussion.   I could have sat out the rest of the game.

Or the time during the Wife Beater Softball Game (ok actually it was a fund-raiser against domestic violence.  I called it the Wife beater game to help with donations.  When I started with “This is a fund-raiser for Domestic Violence”  People walked away before I could get as far as asking for money, but when I called it the Wife Beater game, people laughed and at least listened, but I digress)

During that game, I played short stop.  a hot grounder took a wild hop and took me RIGHT in the mouth!.  Yep, once again, ER room where I was declared fit to play, so back I went for the last game!   Of course the 4-year-old would yell every time I went out to the field “DON’T GET HIT IN THE MOUTH AGAIN DAD!”  Thanks kid.

So why am I telling these stories?  Well, its like this.  Even though I am the first to tell someone else to sit out, rest, skip a play or even a game or two, I consider it a sign of personal weakness when I do it.   Anyone who read my blog last week saw I did a century, in almost 90 degree weather Sunday, and then bike commuted Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.  By friday morning just walking from the lunchroom on 5 to my desk on 7 with a cup of tea was leaving me winded.  

Mentally I was fired as well.  I was tired, and having trouble concentrating.  Not good.  All because and I stubborn and don’t want to admit weakness.  Now this a great trait when you are 75 miles into a century ride  or 150 miles into a double century.  Your body can tell you, “Shut it down son, we’re shot.”  But if you are stubborn, you mind and overrule the legs and keep you going.  But for day to day training, to much of it can be a bad thing.

Luckily for me, two things were in my favor this last weekend.  First off, my wife keeps an eye on me and will flat tell me, time for a break!  She knows he stuff, so I try to listen.  The other was the trip to Walla Walla.  No bike to ride.  Time to sleep, walk slowly around town, refuel with good food and good wine, and let the legs recover.  Without these two things, I am sure I would have ridden at least 50 last weekend.

Yesterday was to be my commute home day from work.  But the youngest asked me to come visit last night instead of tonight.  This gave me one more rest day (and avoided biking home in a thunder storm!)  I will tell you, every part of my body feels SO much better.  I can without a doubt attribute this to the 4 days of no exercise.  

In my mind, I understand taking a break like this is a good thing, but in my gut it still feels like I am wussing out.  But then, like I said, I am not the sharpest tool in the drawer. 

Short Term Memories

I’ve noticed nowadays that conversations I am having with people, that in the past would have been nothing out of the ordinary, now result in my walking away thinking “HUH, that would be a decent subject for a blog post…” 

Well that happened at work a few days ago when I was talking to Bridget in the lunch room at work.  We were talking about rides in general, and we talked about how tired we can be at the end of a long ride.  Then she said the phrase that made me start thinking about this post.  “It’s a good thing we forget how hard things are, otherwise we might never do it again…” 

She’s right!  There have been times I have been in the middle of an endeavor, be it a climb, run, hike or ride, and I can distinctly remember saying “If (sometimes it is not when but if) I finish this thing I will NEVER do it again!”  Case in point the Highpass Challenge.  Two years ago I was pushing it, digging deep for everything I had left.  Splitting my remaining water between drinking and pouring it over my head.  (it was 90 outside.)  When I knew I was going to make the time cut off, I KNOW I said never again! 

This spring I found myself wondering if I could get a silver medal instead of a bronze if I did it again… 

I HATED getting out of a sleeping bag at midnight on a glacier to climb a mountain.  It just seems wrong…  Loved the stars (the second time when I finally thought about looking up) but it still seemed wrong.  I tried Rainier 4 times!  And it wasn’t till the wakeup call in the subsequent attempts that I would say “OH YEAH!  This is the part I didn’t like!” 

I know I told Michelle that after doing the Seattle to Portland (STP) in one day, I was done with the ride…  Yep you guessed, I’ve started wondering if I could better my time…   Why not!  Who doesn’t love 15 hours on a bike! 

I also believe your mind erases certain aspects of what we do as well!  Again, with the STP, I found myself going UP a steep hill going into Napavine.  Now I gotta tell ya, not only do I not remember the hill (I said to myself “Who built this damn hill??), I somehow blocked out the whole town of Napavine.  Granted its not a big town, and I do remember the long downhill afterwards, but the uphill slog into it and the town itself, nope, did not exist last time (and yep I checked, same route….)  I remembered all the other towns…. 

It doesn’t need to be an athletic event for this to happen.  Recently I was looking at some pictures and saw a Roller Coaster at Silverwood theme park and I saw Aftershock!  I immediately started thinking THAT looks like fun again!  I should go!!  The youngest kid and I had a blast!  Then he pointed out, “Hey I thought after the 3rd time you almost puked, you were done!”   Oh yeah forgot.  Or Disneyland in general, “OH yeah it will be a blast!  Love Disney and everything about it!”   But then you get there and you remember  “Oh yeah, the crowds and lines suck, who are all these people and why are they here when I am!”

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 Even TV shows or movies.  I am going to show my age here, but I used to watch Land of the Lost when I was a kid (there was a recent Will Farrell remake, stunk!)  Cartoon network had a marathon of the old ones on one day.  I gathered the kids to watch with me!  You will love it!!  (I was heard to say…)  OK, yeah not so much, it was a terrible show!!!  (On this I will take a bit of a mulligan, I was 35 years ago!!) 

How many of us have said “I WILL NEVER DRINK AGAIN!” while experiencing a hangover…… (but wait, alcohol kills brain cells, this may not be a good example….) 

I am sure all of us can come up with examples of when this has happened to us.  And think, those things that you remember NOT so fondly and know you will NEVER do again (My one halfathon!) must have really stunk.  Otherwise we would have forgotten the bad parts and going out again! 

I started wondering why our minds work that way.  Is it a trait passed down from cavemen.  Tog and Mog, hunter gatherers, go out hunting for saber tooth tigers, and each, though bloody and battered bring one home!  Mamog, the cavewoman, is very excited to get fur coats and dangly tooth earrings from the both!  

Mog, being the smarter(?) one, thinks to himself “Ooga, booga, unga umgawa!”  (Which translated for those of us in the future means “THAT sucked!  I am never doing that again, next time I will gather acorns!”)  

Tog on the other hand, as soon as the wounds heal, starts thinking, “Hell that wasn’t so bad, I wonder if I can get a bigger cat, or even a cave bear!” 

As both are competing for Mamog’s affections (and cavewomen were MUCH more materialistic than ladies who read my blog today!) the offerings of acorns just couldn’t compete with fur coats.  Tog got the girl, and passed down through the eons of time, the ability to block out the worst parts of the adventures! 

I for one owe that caveman a huge thank you!  Every year I sign up for something new, and even more challenging than the year before.  I don’t think about the training involved, the hours on the bike, the rides in the shed, the crappy weather I will endure, I just think about the crossing the finish line, and the feeling of accomplishment when I am successful.  Hmmm maybe it’s not that we just forget, maybe, just maybe, the feeling at the end makes it all worth it!   

Either way, I think I still owe Tog a beer!