Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nobodys' excuse


Finally. I was finally able to get out to Yankee Springs and ride this so-called "hero dirt" that I had been hearing about for weeks....even with all of the recent rainfall.

Honestly, everyone was right. The trail was in amazing shape. Me...well....more on that topic later...but more about the trail.

When someone says "hero dirt" it can be as relative a term as "fast". Because "fast" for one person is clearly not "fast" for other people. In this case the trail dirt was simply a perfect mixture of everything Yankee has to offer. Some newly scattered rocks from the multi-direction use, the usual sand pits, the pine areas, the loose rocky climbs and all of the roots...all packed into tightly woven dirt trails. I will not say "hero dirt"....but I will say PRIME. I have not often seen Yankee in better shape.






 Now, a bit about my actual ride. First off, it was just nice to be out in the woods with temps hovering in the 60's. I was shocked, but shouldn't have been, when I pulled into find a packed parking lot. With the Time Trial coming in a week that is generally the norm.

I geared up and headed out. I hit the warm up look and wasn't feeling bad. Not bad at all. But the trail here is fairly flat and I was just getting warmed up. I just found a comfortable pace knowing that I was going to feel dead by the end of the ride.

The lack of riding started to rear is ugly head before I got back to the trail head. That's right....2 miles and I was gassed. Oh how far I have fallen. But, I trudged ahead and just kept pedaling. The trail was in such good shape that I was just focusing on how amazing it felt to be out there. The pain of the ride only really showed up when there was a hill.......which if you have ever ridden at Yankee is often.

I just kept plugging away and Jay ended up catching me. We chatted for a second and he was off to the races again. It felt good to be riding, slow or not. I will chalk it up as a solid ride for a heavy out of shape guy that has some major work to do. Still, I was riding.

But being out there and knowing how I was struggling was allowing my mind to wander. My landed firmly on the concept of riding alone. How I really enjoy riding alone because I can just ride my pace and I don't have to wait for anyone and, in my current health, nobody has to wait for me. I just ride. I can stop. Tinker. Look at the woods. Walk up climbs if needed. Nobody there to witness the misery I was in. I understand that Misery loves company, and there is always a time and a place for company....but right now just isn't that time. Why? Because I don't want to be the excuse for someone.


Excuse? Yes. Each of us has said "well the ride was good but we kept having to wait for (insert name here)". We all have....especially because we are all each on our own journey with these 2 wheeled machines. I am very guilty of blaming people for "ruining" a ride because I wanted to go fast and they simply couldn't keep up. I have also been on the receiving end of that where it was totally my fault that the ride went long. When you ride with groups you are bound to be both sides of that coin as some point in your life.

Right now, because I haven't been riding, the best bet for me is to just simply ride solo. I know my limitations and don't like to hold up the group.....or have the feeling that I might die trying to keep up. I wasn't really joking when I said I basically had to start over because of what I have done to myself. It is only fair that I suffer alone, for now, until I get some of that speed back and can keep the gaps smaller. It won't take long, I have that beast inside me just waiting to be quicker....faster....stronger.....back to who I was when I know I had speed and endurance. Riding alone is just one of the first steps in this journey. 

The time for me to get shit out the back of the group will come soon enough. But mentally, I am just not ready for that scenario.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Waving the white flag



I do. I surrender. At this point in 2017 life is still pure chaos and I have not made riding a priority. Two gravel races have passed and the first mountain bike race is in less than 2 weeks. By my calculation......I would be DFL......by a lot.

Add in that I cannot attend the first MTB race regardless, because of other family responsibilites, and I am standing here with the white flag in my hands.....ready to wave it frantically.....but maybe there is still hope......

The second mtb race of the season is only a few weeks later.....but.....it was 70 degrees last weekend and I never touched a bike.....I did look at one....but only because it was in the vicinity of the toolbox I was raiding looking for sockets.
Finding the balance hasn't been a priority for me this year. We have a lot going on from top to bottom. Stressors from every aspect of life....much like all of you have I am sure. So I am not here to bore you with the details of my life....and I cannot post about riding...because....I simply haven't been riding.

The quote from Albert Einstein is a good one. You have to keep moving to find balance. I haven't. I plopped down on the couch and said "fuck it". Motivation went on vacation. But this past weekend I was actually ready to ride. It was warm and everyone was out posting pictures of their rides and talking about hero dirt....ugh.


So while the white flag is waving....it is only waving for racing. I am just way to out of shape to even bother to try. And I will be missing the first two local races due to family things anyway. So, the towel is thrown in.

But, that doesn't mean I won't be riding. I am getting things straightened out and plan to make getting on the bike a priority.....because I am worth it. My family is worth it as well. So, right now....I am the token out of shape fat kid that never rides. But keep an eye open for me. Give me a word of encouragement like "GO FATTY" or "put that donut down". Those kinds of things will go a lot further if I hear them from friends and family versus complete strangers that are working at Old Country Buffet. 

I do have a lot to learn still....and learning the balance will be the key to success for me. I know I post all the time about rebooting and starting over and yada yada. So....I am not starting over. I am simply going to do my best....and if that is riding 1 day a week....well......that is better than riding the couch.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Not good....not good at all

I am not sure if you noticed or not....but this guy hasn't been on a bike for weeks. And the last time I did actually ride....I was heavy...slow...and out of shape.

I have my reasons....(eh hem....excuses) for why I haven't been riding but I am not going to bore you with them...it is pointless.

I will tell you that my stress level has sky rocketed again and I have been seeing symptoms from the ulcer I had. That is awesome. Somewhat self inflicted but not entirely. I cannot control the outside forces that cause the stress...but I can control how I deal with it. How I have been dealing with it.....poorly. 

I have been shoveling in the food in a futile attempt to make myself feel better. And in typical fashion I do feel better while eating, then feel like dirt after stepping on the scale. Circle of life...yada yada.

So I am on the brink of throwing in the towel on the first few races again. I just simply don't have the motivation to get on the bike, let alone get on the bike and race. I am starting to add up the cause of all of this and working on changing it. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dear Body :an open letter to the rest of the body.....from the legs....

Look....we need to talk. Like....put that donut down because this is serious kind of talk.

Okay, do I have your attention.....no....no...NO....stop touching that.

FOCUS.

Finally....thank you for your undivided attention. The reason I am calling you all together today is to discuss our current situation. Due to piss poor decisions by the brain and stomach in recent months I have been forced to drag your lazy ass around on the bike. Arms and hands....you really think this has nothing to do with you? You are just as much to blame because you are the shuttle that puts that garbage in the mouth.....then the mouth just aimlessly chews whatever is there.

You guys....the only one of you on my side in the last ride we had.....was the lungs. Well, the lungs and the heart. Because if the heart gives up hope then the rest of us are just screwed. And don't think I don't hear the stomach and intestines joking about the "events" we have been having since November. You think that is funny....why don't you ask the colon how it feels. Yeah, piss the colon off once and see just how bad the rest of us feels. It isn't funny to send acid rockets to the colon and expect it to still be our friend. Thankfully I could get us to a restroom fast enough....ugh.

Anyway, we are in rough shape gang. The brain...hey....you have held it together during major life changing stress moments when the rest of us didn't want to continue. Kudos. The heart, dog....you just keep beating to your own rhythm. Well done on keeping the blood pressure down and not causing other issues as we fall apart. The lungs. Where do I start? You have always struggled. Been held down by an abdominal cavity so full you feel like you cannot inflate to your potential. Still, you do what you can in the space provided. Well done.

Now.....the bad news kids. As well as the brain did to hold this shit together....the coping mechanisms were not the right ones. Not by a long shot. You teamed up with the arms and stomach to make a long string of terrible nutritional decisions. In turn, the rest of us suffer. Honestly, we all suffer. Don't you see what it is doing. The core muscles cannot hold us ups straight....or postures is awful....think Quasimodo from Hunchback of Notre Dame. Granted we are not that far yet, but we are approaching it. 

I, the legs, had this realization on the third sister of the Barry-Roubaix last Sunday. The lungs and heart couldn't get me the oxygen I needed to haul your dumb asses up that hill. Well, because we have been laying on the couch eating chips and cookies I don't have the freaking strength to do it....so then....we walk. Guess what friends....this makes all of us look bad. You know people point. They stare. Little kids cry out in horror "why is that huge sausage walking with a bicycle". Admit it....we need to fire this thing up and work together...because I can't do it alone.

So, I simply ask this of the brain. Overpower the stomach. Don't let the stomach decide to dump thousands of empty calories in. If the left arm brings a brownie up to the mouth....either don't the mouth open or make the right hand knock that brownie down to the floor so I can stomp on it. I get it, I really do.....they are delicious. But if we don't get nutrition sorted out and learn discipline we are going to be in the same boat year after year.....and it is sinking. 

I loved the feeling of all of us working together to get this guy across the finish line at Lumberjack 100 in 2015. But then we went thru some tough times. I didn't speak up because I thought it was just a phase. Clearly I was wrong. I showed us what we are capable of on the training session the other night. Felt good right? Lets take control of this dude and get him into race shape. Lets get him competitive this year. Lets get him some confidence. Because lets face it.....the better this guy we are attached to is...the better we all are. 

Now....lets go....

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March is here already

Is it just me...or has this year been sneaking past already.....it is already the second week of March?!?!


Riding....well....a bit. Nowhere near the level of riding I need to be putting in right now. I have had a few trainer sessions and that has been about it. 

I headed out to Barry Roubaix 2 weekends ago for a jaunt on the short course. My thought process was "it is shorter, it has less climbing"....which it does....but the hills are still tough. It was a solid 21 mile ride in awesome weather.

This past Sunday I headed up there again. With only 1 short trainer session in my legs I was sure it was going to be awful again....and it was. I am well overweight and was dragging a 38 pound fat bike around those hills....just a dumb thing to do....or is it?

Secretly it has to be fairly genius. Think "weight training". I drag that beast around for 20ish miles and then when I get on The D.U.F.F. or the Defy at half the weight and I am instantly faster, not to mention the added strength I use by hauling that tank around.

Anyway, Matt (new teammate this year) and I headed out and did the short Barry Roubaix course again. The wind was cold, with a windchill in the mid teens. But I never really got cold....once I got warmed up. By the third sister my legs were begging me to turn around. I will have a post about that coming up because i found it pretty funny in my head. 

Struggling up the last part of "The Wall" photo courtesy of Matt F.


Matt was kind enough to hang with me while I trudged up the hills I could made and the couple that I did have to walk. No shame. I am heavy. The bike is heavy. The hills are no joke. It was a great day to be out though....the sun was shining and the gravel roads were like concrete. We finished our ride and headed home to continue our Sundays!

The races are coming....quick. I won't be doing any that I planned the first month of the season simply because I am not ready. I have some work to do but will be racing at Yankee and Fort Custer for sure. By then, I will have shed some weight and gotten a wee bit stronger!

Keep moving forward.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Believe.....



A few years ago I used my anger to fuel my training. With every pedal stroke I pictured the face of my enemy. Then there was multiple people on the list. It might sound funny....but proving someone wrong can be a huge motivator. It just happened.


Sure I skip rides....2 already this week. No excuses other than I just have to figure out how to train with the way my body and digestive tract decides to work. Some days will be better than others...and I just need to swap days from a training day to a rest day when the body disagrees. This....is a basic fundamental of training. Some days you just don't have it.


But back to the "prove them wrong" list. I did it in 2015. I proved a person so wrong....that they talked to me for the first time in 3 years....by congratulating me after I finished the LJ100. I am reminded of Marvin from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when I think of this particular person.....because he would give advice and repeat the advice...and I would never listen.

It was only after he stopped giving it and walked away from me with "you will never get there" attitude that I gained some perspective.....which turned into a spiteful focus. I had the following thoughts:

First was "how dare he be truthful about my actions"

Which led to "I don't fucking need your help asshole"

Turning into "fuck, maybe he was right....I do need to change"

Finally arriving at "I will be successful....just to prove to you that I can do it"


But in turn, this led to me believing more in myself than anyone else ever could have. Confidence. I gained so much over that time period...but then it all shattered. I allowed myself to fall back into where I was before....just slogging thru with no goals or belief in myself.



The pic above is from my very first Barry Roubaix ride. I wasn't ready....but I had people around me that believed I was ready and pushed me try...pushed me to believe....pushed me to succeed. Those people are still around, but my negativity has pushed them to a point where I don't know if they believe in me any more than I believe in myself.

Today, a few minutes ago, I just got pissed off enough to do what it takes again. Diet. Training. Life. Time to get ahold of the reigns and guide this horse. A guy that it big into Cross-fit was chatting with another guy at lunch about working out. They were talking about plans and when they squeeze workouts into their schedule. I smiled and said "mine is a mess, but I am getting back on track" to which the one guy responds "I have known you for a long time and you are all talk". Snap. Called me right out....right in front of witnesses and everything. 

I won't do what I am going to do for him....or to prove him wrong. I will do this for myself first. Proving him wrong will be the icing on the cake (which I won't be eating because I am tired of being fat)




Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Finally back!!

Maybe you don't know...but I have been struggling with some health issues for the past 2 months. The good news is....I am finally healing and ready to get back into action!

What better place to test the fitness....than Yankee Springs?? dumb right? Well, not exactly...


See, I needed to head out and ride in the snow for multiple reasons....and Yankee was just another reason. Here they are.

1. Snow, buck up and get out there in the cold (even though it was 30's)
2. Just get out and ride to see where my fitness level actually is located.
3. Yankee, well...because I know the trail...I know it is hard....and why not?


I geared up and headed out. There was a group riding, but I needed to just ride solo and get my bearings. First off, Yankee was in great shape! I am sure that has been ruined by the 40+ degree days and the SHIT TON of rain we got today, but it was good when I was there.

I started on the warm-up loop...which is different now. Last year they made the excellent decision to move the start/finish of both loops to the main parking lot instead of up the road towards the entrance. After a quick stop at the directional sign I was off and riding. Not fast, just pedaling. Trying to figure out what this fatbike thing is all about....especially in the snow.

Some of my friends might remember my first ride on a fatty....and how it ended with me in a pile with Dan using me as a landing pad! I have only ridden this bike 2-3 times and am still getting acclimated to a bike that is 16 pounds heavier than The D.U.F.F. 


The ride was about as expected. I was running out of gas pretty early for the simple fact that I have zero endurance. Still, it was a great day to be out in the woods again doing what I love. I will get my legs back and then we can go for a ride, until then....keep the rubber side down!