I walked in the shop and he was still taping up the bars. I was envious! So tasty. This Surly Ice Cream Truck sports 5 inch tires, drop bars and a brand new Brooks saddle. It is menacing to say the least. This combo puts it over the top and into its own category. Pure viciousness. Not to mention the massive saddle to bar drop. As I said, we are flat-landers and this beast is perfectly suited for long flat stretches of crushed limestone prarie path. Only to be ridden how a roadie likes to ride his fat bike-FAST. When the momentum of those massive gyroscopic wheels roll up to speed and C gets in his drop position, I know were in for a fast ride! The combination of big, power and speed is something we cannot get from our other bikes.
Only 2 miles from home, the sky growled and the angry bolt strikes surrounded us. They test us and motivate us to go harder. The conditions were unsettling but there was little choice. Then the downpour. Generally, I like a refreshingly random rain ride but there was a feisty anger in this morning’s drenching that marked an ominous cap to an oddly eventful 6 a.m. ride. When I got home and sat down my chamois pad squished beneath me and released what seemed like a quart of gritty water onto the floor below me. I looked over at my shoes and a quarter-inch of water had pooled in the bottom of each one. I could swear there were a couple of minnows swimming and calling my Specialized road shoes their new home. I just hoped my iPhone managed to stay dry enough to keep from shorting out. Sometimes, you just take what is given to you.
There is a reason for everything. It may not always make sense to us at the moment. But with time it often reveals itself. We need to keep our mind and eyes open. This is a story about Taylor Phinney’s discovery through recovery. A year ago I watched him win an amazing stage in the Tour of California, then a few weeks later he suffered a serious career deterring injury. Ironically, this opened his mind to an amazing ability that flourished from within. But what is more illuminating as he gains so much more from it all, is that he is able to spend this time with his father and develop a perspective that enlightens his life and awakens his perceptions. Truly inspiring.
All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. Mark Twain was not a cyclist. But he was correct when he spoke these words. It is ignorance or in fact it’s emptiness that allows room for confidence to grow. Don’t over think it, just get on with it. An attribute that allows us to achieve many things. Unfortunately, it is an attribute I do not possess in the amounts that are critical for success on the bike. But this Wednesday night was a turning point. Through a good night on the bike and a poignant observation, the baby rhino finally took a charge in the right direction.
I am a flatlander. I have few climbs around me and the ones I do are minimal and pale in comparison to the true climbs and challenges that test most Strava athletes. This weekend I decided to record my first ride in over 3 months. It’s not just any ride, but one of the regular rides I used to do with my brother when over 20 years ago back in “the D”. The ride is a loop that encircles a man-made lake and quite beautiful little local park area. What I love about this ride is what the Strava score really illustrates. At a glance the mapped out route echos the shape of the Ebola virus. And the topography map is amazingly similar to an EKG heart rate recording. Looking at this recording can tell you more about the ride than what you will ever see by looking at any scores and times.
There is a difference between feeling pain and getting hurt. Pain is draining. Pain is demoralizing and pain is emotionally degrading. Anyone who has felt true pain in a lasting state can attest to it’s burdening effects on mind and spirit. Getting hurt on the other hand is what can make you appreciate what it’s about to be alive.
It’s about to start storming, I am hungry and I realize I am only a mile away from one of the best pizza joints I know. Minutes later, I am sitting, scanning a menu and about to order my pizza Quattro Gusti ( that’s 4 toppings to the rest of you). At that moment I look up in the dark and eerily distant space above the heating vents, window valence, and chandelier I spot her. The celeste green Bianchi that immediately solidified this as the most authentically Italian place in town.
Today was my first day out on full team road ride in over a year. I coughed, gasped for mercy, got dropped, then was allowed to get back on, I gagged on my water bottle, hit a turtle sized pothole, felt my legs whine like little school children, brought up the rear as I limped up the local mini hill, and suffered as I helped lead out during the last town line sprint. I did not set any records for myself. I did not find any superhuman strength in my legs. I wasn’t even able to fully hang on throughout the whole ride. However, I bypassed any efforts I had been able to achieve for quite sometime. All while hanging on to one of the fastest rides I had done in over 18 months. At the end of the ride, I was able to roll in together with the group. Today was a good day.
Its been a few weeks since I’ve re-dedicated my attention toward my training plan. I’ve been maxing efforts during interval training as I am close to the end of our 11 week winter session. I’ve had a few interruptions but we’re now near the end of indoor training and starting to spend more and more time outdoors. I’ve noticed some great progress but I am still prone to some days where things just do not seem to be clicking properly. When these happen I realize it may be time for a recovery day.
One of the many qualities that separates me from a pure racer is my inability to draw the iron gate that separates total ride focus from the thoughts that tend to taint the purity of my ride. Over the past week my focus has not aligned with what I was attempting to accomplish through winter training. Concern, worry, and distraction, have all entered and magnified themselves to the point where my enthusiasm for the ride creeps toward apathy. Especially when concern about the health for the ones I love overwhelm and cloud my mind. A new challenge faces me now. It is not one that can be gauged on the Garmin or any powermeter.