CYCLISTS FIND THINGS, INVENTORY: MORE BALLS
We head out on our bikes to find a little peace and perhaps to find a better version of ourselves. Clearly what we’ve been finding is other folks’ lost balls.
Lots of them.
And they’ve become a reminder for me. Those balls stand for one thing: Fun. Because that’s what casual ball sports like these seem to represent to me.
What they’re reminding me to do on my bike.
So I owe a debt of gratitude to some anonymous folks out there.
Because if we remember to have fun, then they didn’t lose their balls in vain.
Their loss is our gain.
CYCLISTS FIND THINGS, INVENTORY: AMERICA’S PASTIME.
One of our Universal Truths of Cycling is that cyclists find stuff out there on the road and trail. Over the next few posts I’ll be showing the last six months’ haul.
Now, if we come across an object and the owner is obvious, we won’t put it in our jersey pocket. For example, if one of these baseballs was in front of a home where it was obvious that ball-playing kids lived, we’d leave it alone or even toss it back onto their lawn.
But these baseballs were found in odd locations. One was even found on some singletrack (???).
So what now? We believe they should be used. Bur our kids don’t want them.
Do we find some kids and offer them up? Nope, too odd.
Ride next to a little league field and drop them off? Nope (see previous sentence).
Until we figure it out, we’re open to suggestions.
C’mon, let’s hear some chatter out there.
A FAN’S EVOLUTION.
Grand touring season is in full swing and how I watch it has changed completely.
Since I first saw Greg Lemond and Monseur Fignon, I watched each race rooting for a specific rider or team.
With age and wisdom, I go into the race cold and wait for the stories to develop naturally.
As with any sport, if I decide to follow a specific athlete I can be let down by injury or controversy. But I’m finding that, if I go into it without any expectations, without any agenda or goal, wonderful things happen. Stories. Heroes. Courage.
Example number 1,000,000 of how racing is a lot like life.
(Image courtesy of Rapha)
HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.
That’s the 25th Infantry up there.
We think it’s worth your while to read about them. Get to know them. Here’s a link.
Oh, and have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.
UNIVERSAL TRUTH OF CYCLING # 30: THE GREAT DIVIDE
When you climb aboard your bicycle, the divide between what’s going on in your head versus your legs can be vast.
Your brain and imagination can conjure up all kinds of things, but the legs don’t lie.
It’s fantasy versus reality.
In my head I’m 140 pounds.
My legs remind me that I’m 180.
In my head I’m screaming into a lone breakaway to win The Hell of the North.
My legs say I’m a bit buzzed and screaming around the corner to a liquor store for more wine.
In my head I wish to be dancing on the pedals.
My legs would prefer I’d never left the warmth of my bed.
In my head I love to ride. Any time.
My legs remind me that it’s been a long week, thank you very much.
The divide between my head and legs would seem as if it discourages me but it’s actually quite motivating. It grounds me in reality. A reality in which I am always looking to improve.
We all have that divide. Even (insert pro cyclist here).
And pro or beginner, we can agree on one thing: there’s no greater feeling than when we have one of those rare rides when we climb on, get rolling and within a few spins of the pedals it hits us.
Our legs are as strong as our desires and fantasies.
Everything is clicking.
The divide has been closed.
WHAT’S IN A CLIMB’S NAME?
A lot of climbs have names that are overtly trying to humble you.
Then there’s one of our local climbs.
It has a seemingly-innocuous name.
It’s tame, but it usually comes at the end of a longer ride so it’s where you empty the tank. You leave whatever you’ve got left in you on that climb.
We’ve always called it 9-Minute Hill, for obvious reasons.
Turns out some other folks call it something else.
Do yourself a favor and Google “Strava 7 Minute Hill.”
Well, ain’t that an ego shrinker.
And look at those times. Could be 5-Minute Hill.
Maybe it’s the 30-Minute Martinis I had.
Or the 10-Minute Fried Mozzarella Sticks.
Whatever. I’ve got to face the facts.
It’ll never be 7-Minute Hill if I’ve got 9-Minute Legs and a 12-Minute Gut.
IN PRAISE OF WINTER RIDING.
The long, hard, cold months of winter training are over. The concern whether I had enough clean base layers, arm and leg warmers, booties and all the other stuff up there in that photo…done for a while.
The warm weather is here.
So as I look back on those months of opening the front door of my house at 6am in my kit and having a blast of frigid, morning air hit me like a bucket of icy water, I ask myself why I did it.
There’s a brilliant Nike ad from years ago that pictured a runner slogging through waist-deep snow and the headline read: Somewhere there’s a nice, warm place where all the second-place guys train.
That used to be my mindset back then.
but now it’s different.
Now, the advantage I have by getting out there in the cold is not that I got more fitness, but that I got more riding. More time out on the trail and road.
It’s not me versus them.
It’s not me versus anything.
It’s me giving to me.
Kinda makes me miss those cold months.
THE UPSIDE OF SICKNESS
If it weren’t enough that I’m barely recovering from a major crash, I just got sick, too. And I assume that a few of you out there are going through the same mental process I am.
See, I just started a fitness regime when a virus changed that schedule.
I imagine that, while I’m coughing uncontrollably and achy, everyone else is out there hitting their stride, passing me up and hitting fitness goals effortlessly while I backslide. The virus is an anchor, holding me down. I’m talking of course about small, manageable colds and other such maladies that are more of a temporary inconvenience than a serious threat to one’s life.
I often find that, in the long run, getting sick did not hold me back. Or set me back. Quite the opposite. The fact that I got sick meant my immune system was weak - i was coming off of three weeks on post-surgery antibiotics. I was probably under rested. I wasn’t going to make any fitness strides in that state. The rest I have been forced into by sickness is the rest I need. To heal muscles. To strengthen my immune system. Soon I can get back to it. Sure, the first couple times out will be rusty. But even that is what I needed.
For about the thousandth time I get to experience that scary, stiff, unsure and exciting feeling.
A fresh start.