Friday, September 21, 2007

Good training

Been a long time since I've been so pensive about riding. Really busy these days, preoccupied with finding ways to make sure we get to race again next year at these big, inspiring races; trying to find someone to believe in our cause and that cycling is a viable place to market products....and that we're the ones to do it! See? Obsessed.

Having that said, I came across this quote today and recalled with perfect clarity the conversation I'd had with my coach almost two weeks ago; about staying motivated over the winter (when there's signficantly less daylight and fewer races):

Some people train so they can race; I race so I can train, so the all-important workout doesn't get shoved to the back burner so easily. Nothing inspires like knowing you're going to get your butt kicked in the next race if you don't train. The fact that I get my butt kicked anyway is completely beside the point.

-Jef Mallett, a former bike racer and current triathlete and cartoonist. His strip, "Frazz," appears in 150 newspapers across America.

Anyway, I actually stopped pedalling downhill on my commute home from work today. It felt good to coast.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Because it feels good

There's a lot to get used to when you first start riding. The saddle issues are the most obvious. First, it hurts, like a muscle you haven't used in a while. You get sore and it feels like a bruise on the part of your ass you never think about, until you get back on the bike the second day.

Keep riding. Your ass will not be damaged by this, the same way your quads are not damaged after a run. Do you ever get that? You haven't run in months and you think, "I'll go for a short run. It's time I got back into it." And so you run and the next two days you wake up to sore quads. It's the same for your butt and cycling. It's OK.

Now, if you do this for weeks, for hours at times, the next saddle issue to pop up is rarely discussed out loud. There are reasons for this; I'm not going into detail here, but there are chamois creams made for these issues. It's like a right of passage. It's OK, people! Embrace it. Master this last hurdle and you will never turn back.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Because it's my baseline

My work fluctuates (I've been really busy this short week). My life fluctuates. My diet fluctuates (not much time for meals). My schedule fluctuates. Everything about my life seems to be scattered through the calendar. Family here, there. I want to paint, I need to clean. I work. Watch sporatic TV, movies. Obsess about the club. Obsess. My one constant, my baseline is that I know I'll ride today. To get to work. To get work off my mind. To think. To relax. To go hard. To smile. To fly. I ride. Like I sleep...

Sigh. And I love it.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Why do I ride?

Mostly, I ride to train. I ride because I race. I took the weekend off from racing to attend my family reunion. I didn't race the Proctor Classic, much to my own dismay at the time. Saturday, in a women's category 4 road race, a racer was hit by a truck. I won't give details I don't know. You can read about it here.

I still get chills. My heart hurts for her family and friends and teammates. I think about any close call I've had or seen on any ride. I think about how nonchalantly we all suit up and head out on road rides and races. How dangerously I've seen riders take corners, blow through intersections, cross yellow lines. I think about it with a lump in my throat.

I've asked myself all weekend why I ride. Do I still want to? I have such a sick feeling about it.

I could fall down stairs, be in a car accident or whatever. There are millions of dangers involved in just living and I can't live in a padded box fearing catastrophies and germs. My ultimate conclusion is that I will ride and race and train. Just like I have been; but with a heightened awareness of consequences. I will ride and think about a girl I didn't know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Because it's better than Coffee (sometimes)

Nothing like waking up to throw on a race kit and head out the door for a 2 hour pre-work work-out! I also liked Sydney's term for a morning training ride.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Because I CAN

Someone I know lost their mom today. She passed away after some time in the hospital so it wasn't a surprise and they got to say goodbye. I know that is a small concession; but I'm somewhat familiar. I couldn't help but think of how the situation resembled the passing of my dad. He suffered for three long (and somehow incredibly short) months with advanced cancer and we all lived in denial; but that's a whole other story.

My point is that I often ride for Dad, because I'm still able. I still can and I don't take that for granted. I push it up a hill in a race, gasping for air that I know I can get to my lungs. I inhale the headwind and think of it as a more efficient delivery of oxygen. OK, maybe not always, Dad knows I hate a headwind!

Dad wasn't a cyclist, but I know he would have liked to see me race. I like to think of him up there, playing pinochle, bartering for better weather. He wasn't the type to cheer, except for a sporatic (and loud) complaint to the referee (or official). I think of him fondly and know he pushes me a lot like the first time he pushed me on the bike 28 years ago.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I get to see stuff at a different speed.

Sometimes it's nice to sit back and enjoy the view...unfortunately, today I was only vicariously catching this view as I trailed the caravan following the Women's Pro 1/2 (Stage 2) Nature Valley race. I wondered several times if I had been in the race if I'd have seen the beautiful scenery. I probably wouldn't have, but that wasn't the purpose of today's ride anyway.

Race on, Team Revolution girls! So proud of them.

More soon.