Thursday, June 16, 2011
This site has lay dying, in an under utilized, underfed, under nurtured, dehydrated shock, while I did the same to myself for the past month. Honestly, it hasn't been that bad, but there have been a few bumps on the road, that I could have done without. Life is just that way, sometimes, everyone's life.
The key lies in perception and focus. If you focus on all of the aggravations, errors, and confrontations, you will find yourself mired in negativity.
So, herein lies the good:
I raced at the Redbug Challenge, and had a lot of fun. No stellar performance, just good fun chasing lines through the roots. I started last, and planned to move up as I needed. The problem was, I apparently jumped the gun on "as I needed". I passed guys, and blew to pieces. After that, I settled in and started riding my rhythm. Next thing I know, I'm reeling folks in again, and moving back up the ranks. Juancho recently touched on the concept of flow, and my race that day was a study in forced effort versus flow. I went against the grain with entirely too much vigor, and it cost me. Settle in, push the tension here, load the spring there, lighten the load over this, and symbiosis was regained..
I built a new ride. The Niner EMD has been an excellent addition to the stable. In fact, I've only ridden the Titus once, since I built this thing. I still have the incorrect fork installed, yielding the most twitchy 29er ever. I didn't think it was possible to make those big wheels so agile. As I've ridden it the last month, I find myself less insistent about finding a correct fork. I kind of like some of the idiosyncrasies of this mismatched match up. It's a new test, and a new set of skills to learn.
I did my first century. All these years riding, and I never went after one of these monuments. Here is where perception becomes interesting. Big Jim speaks of a sedate pace, whereas I was sure that I was pushing far beyond what I could sustain for the time required. I don't remember much talking, just single minded focus. I was bummed when Wrecking Ball and his clan separated from us, in Monticello. I was thinking I would need his comic relief in the coming miles. I stared at hubs. I took my pulls. I did not allow myself to get pushed too far into the red zone on the bigger hills, and I survived. Big Jim and his buddy Don pulled like clydesdales that day, and the one true clydesdale hung on as tightly as he could. When I cramped at mile 95, I thought I'd be on my own for the last 5, but Big Jim would have none of that. He slowed up, and gave me a chance to work the errant muscle free. By the time we finished, it was just BJS, Don, and myself, still together. That's just how these long rides go. At some point, folks find their own pace; their own sense of flow, that will carry them to their finish. This ride was a charity ride, based around cancer. I was blessed with incredible in laws. And the loss of my wife's mother came much too early. I watched her fight, tooth and nail, for one more Christmas. I would have given anything to give her my strength, as she battled the evils that were emaciating her body. As I watched the miles tick away, every time I thought of sitting up, I thought of Mama Lou's struggle, and I went back to work. That one was for you.
Did I say it's been hot? Damn hot! Sounds like a negative rant coming, right? Nope. I'm thankful that, for whatever reason, it's been a very dry hot. Reminds me of Arizona and New Mexico. It was 104F when we rolled out Tuesday night, to ride the trails of the east side. 15 minutes in, and water bottles carried piss warm hydration. BUT, the night was beautiful. We had an outstanding group. I mixed up the route; a little old with a little new, much like the riders who made up our posse. Everyone finished with a big smile. Several actually went so far as to thank me for the lead. It was a simple thing that brought pleasure to folks, that, in turn, brought pleasure to myself.
Redemption, salvation, and just plain relaxation, can all be found, if you just keep tuned to the positive.