Chameleon

Always seeming to be the new kid on the block

Quiet and shy

Blend in with your surroundings

Be a Chameleon or at the least try

//

Too much hair gel

A look Elvis would appreciate

The new kids just teased

A feeling known too well

//

A new color to match the day

Press on and take action

Move slow and quiet

Being dumb, stupid and mean

Somehow felt right

//

The outliers

The “uncool’

The new

They were my victims

I finally fit in, my new school

//

The color of cool

An artificial hue

The pain I caused

I wish I knew

//

One eye on the past

One eye in the present

That was idiotic

I was no better, not cooler

//

Who am I?

One step, two steps

An endless search, a constant battle

The straight line… don’t stray

Show a smile… always please

This typecast I must forgo

//
The Great Pretender

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Hour Glass

Turn the hour glass over

15 years back

A broken soul and no hope

//

Open road

Trailer stuffed with bric a brac

A new life a fresh start

//

West coast livin’

Ocean mist and jasmine

Instrument at the ready

Day and night

Study study study

//

Turn the hour glass over

10 years back

A broken soul and no hope

//

Open road

White lines mark the way

Cities pinned on a map

Paint by numbers is back

//

An empty stage

Heat and colorful lights

Ambiance is mild and low

//

On to that stage

Instruments at the ready

Nerves bubbling at the surface

Breath deep and steady

//

Strangers in the front

Shadows in the back

The energy flows through

It’s sad, we must go

//

Turn the hour glass over

Wide awake and looking back

That broken soul with no hope

//

City to city

Coast to coast

Just One more taste

These days I would savor the most

//

If I Could Turn Back Time

The Arc of a day

The day started like a typical coastal town, overcast, humid and breezy. It made me miss California.

I rose out of bed, downed a liter of water and then headed to the garage to gather my bike. Birds chirping and squirrels prancing around as I took my bike out of the trainer and changed wheels out. Wheels pumped up and water bottle loaded I headed out the door to head down to the chiro. My knee has been giving some problems over the past few weeks with not tracking correctly and with it not going away after a week off the bike it was time to set an appointment. As has been the case before when this occurred I’m out of balance in my quad and hamstrings. A little massaging and ART work and things are back on track.

Credit card swiped and I was out the door for the days training, the clouds still blanketing the sky. On the menu today were hill repeats in Palmer Park.

Half way there the clouds started breaking up and the sun illuminated the brilliant spring foliage. I was feeling good and had thought of putting my headphones in but decided against it. The day was too calm and alive to drown out with a playlist. Palmer Park is this amazing maze of hiking and mtn. bike trails located smack dab in the middle of the city surrounded with busy streets. When you get to the top you are greeted with a spectacular overlook of the city. Today was no different. The color volume of the sky, trees, grasses and flowers was turned to 11. The lack of traffic other bikers and hikers added to the calm atmosphere of the morning leaving me to focus entirely on the work at hand. This theme continued through out the rest of the day while at work as well.

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To cap off the day was the drive home, windows down, warm breeze traversing across exposed skin and headphones in. I was going to listen to an audio book but opted for putting my music on shuffle. When you put all your songs on shuffle you never know what kind of listening experience you’re getting in to. Sometimes it doesn’t jive with your mood or the atmosphere of the moment. Tonight was an exceptional experience. It was one that allowed me to soak in the day’s events and fully appreciate them.

TTFN

*here is the song that caped off the day*

Oh May

Oh May, how I don’t miss you.

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It’s been a while since my last post and that’s mostly due to the month of May being down right lousy. The rainy weather really put me in a funk and left me blasé about life. This is proof that I probably wouldn’t do well living in Seattle so kudos to those who do.

The upside to the month was that I was able to get 3 more race days in. Thankfully those were the days the rain held off and the clouds parted. Results were average but I felt good mentally and physically. It can be frustrating because I feel like I have the ability to be and do better but for some reason I can’t put it together. It can also be frustrating to see other guys who you started out in the same category with move up quicker than you and with ease or so it seems. I do my best to let it roll off my shoulder and not get caught up in the ego about it but sometimes it’s hard. You consistently put in the time and hard work but nothing seems to come of it. There must be something I’m missing so I will keep on pedaling along until I figure it out.

I’m very happy to see May go away.

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“Hey look, the sun is out. It’s out again…and again. Alright this is what I’m talking about.”

June is finally here and the sun is finally greeting us, consistently, with its warm self. There are more races on the calendar but I will be forgoing them. Instead I will be focusing on putting as much time in the saddle and climbing as I possibly can. There is a little bit of doubt in the back of my mind though. The two solid days that I have put in so far have been quite taxing. Mostly physically though and not in a good way that you want. I think, with all the adjustment my body has been going through over the past 5 months with this rehab program, it will be hard for me to be able to complete this Everlasting challenge. With that being said, I’ve already accepted the fact that if I can’t do it this summer I’m OK with that. Honestly it might be better for me. It will give my body time to settle in to the adjustments and allow me to acquire the time and fitness required.

I’ll keep pedaling on and see what’s around the next bend though.

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more please

TTFN

The good enough life

Training Stats thus far:

Vertical feet ridden – 111,283

Training Hours – 256

Calories consumed – A LOT

Meditaion minutes – 1630

Race days – 1

 

My Everesting prediction:

Minimum hours to complete (on a good day) – 16

Maximum hours to complete (on a bad day)  – ?

 

I haven’t set a date for when I will attempt this challenge. In part because there are few things, equipment wise,that I need and I’ve just been waiting until I get the money for them. The other part is, I’m not sure if my fitness is… good enough.

 

Good enough.

 

It seems like such a self defeating phrase. Like you’re settling for less than you deserve. Is it really self defeating though and are you really getting less than you deserve? I guess it just depends on how you look at it.

 

Since I’ve never pushed myself in this way before I don’t have a baseline to look back on and judge from. This is the best place to be I think. At a point having too much information, I feel, can actually slow forward progress and keep you from taping in to your potential. In the past, when I was about to do something that was new, scary and beyond my perceived limits I’ve always imagined it to be absurdly harder than it actually turned out being. There were occasions where it was that hard but most times it wasn’t. When I have this imagined reality in my mind I always train and push myself harder, in whatever capacity I think is needed. The end result, for the most part, is coming out the other side performing better than I thought I would and realizing that it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined.

 

Th tricky part in this particular scenario is the time factor. Is my fitness good enough to last 16+ hours? Is my mind good enough to stay focused and positive for most of the time?

 

Ideally, I’d like to have my power on the bike be higher, my heart rate lower and some more race days under my belt. I would want to be at my peak and be firing on all cylinders. Having that feeling where speed is effortless to attain and climbing is a breeze. In reality I have to believe that’s not how I’m going to feel.  Since I don’t have the pleasure of having a coach and/or someone in my life more experienced in these type of challenges I’m just doing all the research I can, not too much though and keeping a positive outlook . Regardless of how I feel come that day, I will complete the challenge. If I keep striving for perfection and the feeling in my body I think I should have, I’ll go crazy, stress myself out and never even start.

 

What I’m starting to realize is that at a point, striving for perfection and those last 1-2% gains doesn’t serve you and your mission anymore. Yes, it’s OK to aim for perfection in hopes of giving your best effort come the game day but if it’s holding you back from making forward progress you need to just let go. Let go of those “well if I just tweak these two things then I’ll be ready…” thoughts and accept that good enough is…well…perfect.

A “Dear Diary” moment

While writing the previous post, a bout of heartache came on un expectedly. The reason being, when I talked about the relationship I had before I moved to California I started reminiscing on those days and thinking of what could of been. I don’t get hung up on these feelings like I use to but when they do come around they hit hard. But I look back on it with a smile and gratitude. I’m thankful she was in my life for a brief moment than not at all. It blows me away how one person can make such an impact on your life in such a short amount of time.

While the lyrics are obviously not all specific to my situation I feel there are certain lines that capture my perspective perfectly. The anthemic sing along at the end gives a nice bittersweet touch as well.

Dear Marie,
Tell me what it was I used to be?
Oh, dear Marie,
Tell me what it was I used to be?

And if you’re further up the road can you show me what I still can’t see

Remember me?
I’m the boy you used to love when you were 15
Remember me?
I’m the boy you used to love when you were 15

Now I wonder what you think when you see me in a magazine

From time to time I’ll go looking for your photograph online
From time to time I’ll go looking for your photograph online

But some county judge in Ohio is all I ever find

Dear Marie,
Tell me do you still believe in me?
Oh, dear Marie,
Tell me do you still believe in me?

Well, I got my dream, but you got a family
Yeah, I got that dream, but you got yourself a family
Yeah, I got that dream, but I guess it got away from me

Why I ride

Hmmm……

Well to be honest there are times where I don’t have a clear answer, I throw my hands up and ask that very question. There are other times where I could give you a precise answer right on the spot. So to really get to the bottom of it I think we must first go back to the beginning.

Like most kids my days on the bike were spent riding to school, jumping off curbs, seeing how long you could make your skid mark, how many skid marks you could make and basically just exploring the neighborhoods. My first was a silver and black BMX style bike that had the braking system where you pushed backward on the pedals and that protective pad that went across the middle of the handlebars. I’m guessing that was put there so you didn’t knock your teeth out while launching yourself off the two foot high curbs. SO RAD!

Some of my fondest memories with this bike are the countless hours riding the dirt jumps that were behind the trailer park my dad and I lived in. Up and over up and over again and again.Then there was, what I affectionately call “The Path”. This little stretch of dirt road was located around the perimeter of school. It was lined with pine trees, had berms on the side and had killer jump at the end which you could launch yourself off of, out of the shade and into the dessert sun. The way it was laid out looked similar to how some of the streets in Europe are lined with trees on both sides making a canopy overhead. Then there were more hours spent riding outside the confines of the neighborhood and out into the dessert. Following walking paths up and down the rolling hills that surrounded. I remember going out there and just sitting in the dirt with the little yellow flowers that blanketed the desert floor, towering bushes and tumbleweeds. I don’t remember doing anything in particular, maybe I had some Hot Wheels or Legos to play with but I do remember just siting and immersing in the feeling of being alone out there with just my thoughts. Oh the joys of solitude. After I outgrew this bike I don’t remember riding again until high school. This is because, once junior high came around my life was all about rollerblades and roller hockey. I’m sure most of us remember this gem of a movie. SO RAD!

OK OK, moving on.

The next bike that came into my life was my first mountain bike. A powder blue GT Avalanche that my step dad purchased from the bike shop he worked at.

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Here is a snippet of some of the memories with this bike:

  •  Numerous night rides up the Chutes
  •  Flipping over the handle bars for the first time
  •  Moab
  •  Starting my path of bike racing
  •  Winning a state championship
  •  Hauling ass, numerous times, to get home and out of a lightning/rain storm
  •  Learning that low tire pressure is a good thing
  •  Learning  that I can’t always force the bike where I want it and thus learning acceptance

While these are all great memories there is one that sticks out for me and I’m sure most can relate to in there own way. While I was taking music classes at the Conservatory and before I moved to California I met a girl.

*GASP*

See, now you can relate.

This relationship only lasted a few months but made a lasting impression on me. When it did end, like everyone in history, I was crushed and filled with heart ache. I remember going to work and just being mad and frustrated all day. Up to this point there hadn’t been any consistent riding. Just a few rides here and there. Then one day after work I decided to pull the trusty GT out of the garage and go for a ride. It was just the typical loop from my house, to the high school, up the side trails, over to The Chutes and up the always steep, tricky uphill to the parking lot which has a great over look of the city.

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This overlook was always a great place for me to catch my breath and just take inventory of my life. Being able to look down on the city gives you the sense that you’re looking down on your life from above. Being able to spot all the little landmarks of special events in your life, good or bad, and just reflect. I would do this loop, consecutively for weeks after work until the time came for me to start packing up and head west.

During my time in California my focus was solely on music and the only riding that was done was when I returned home on vacation.

When the band I was in at the time parted ways I was left with a few months of just working before I moved back home. My step dad, a few months prior, had hunted down a road bike for me on Craigslist and genrously packed it up and sent it to me. He said that I should go out and explore the beauty of the central coast before I came home. That’s exactly what I did too.

When I got the bike via FedEx I was giddy like a little kid at christmas time. I ripped open the box and put the bike together immediately. A few days later I was out in the hot sun riding the back roads around Santa Maria and discovering, again, the excitement of exploring on two wheels.

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This beauty is now my commuter. I love the paint job the most.

Around the same time I received this bike, The Tour was going on, Lance Armstrong had retired for the first time and Alberto Contador was beginning his climb, literally, to fame. I’m not exactly sure why but watching the way Contador would dance on the pedals as he was climbing mesmerized me. I’ve been hooked on cycling ever since. This is when I first started thinking about racing as well.

For those who don’t know who I’m speaking of here is a clip for you to watch. Just as a heads up the music is pretty cheesy.

When I got situated back at home I was burnt out on music. I desperately wanted the spark and passion to be there but it just wasn’t. So the next best thing I could do to occupy my time was to find a way to compete again in whatever form. Getting back in touch with soccer and playing indoor was my first step. Then I looked into getting into triathlon for a hot minute but decided that since I was poor and hadn’t swam since I was little I should just move on from that idea. I then found Duathlons which was great because they are just a Run – Bike – Run format. I had a bike and I had running shoes….PERFECT. I found a local series that had 3 races over the course of the summer so I signed up and started training. I did pretty well at these races and competed in them for a couple of summers. I ultimately came to the conclusion that I liked the bike leg of these races more than I did running. If I was going to run I would prefer to run after a soccer ball rather than running for the sake of running.

At this point it’s 2009 and I’m off to Moab for a Thanksgiving trip. At the end of a long day navigating the famous Porcupine Rim Trail my friend was complimenting me on how well my GT and I were keeping up with him and his full suspension bike. He then asked

“Have you heard of the Winter Park mountain bike series?”

“No” I replied.

Up until this point I had only spent the winter months up at Winter Park.

He said that it was a well run race series with friendly staff challenging courses and that I should look into it. So later that night, after everyone had gone to their rooms, I got online and started looking into what this race series was all about. After reading through the course descriptions and photos from previous years I was sold and that summer I entered my first mountain bike race. Being out on the mountain that had been my home for skiing and snowboarding for so long was extremely more enjoyable during the summer. The lack of crowds and being able to ride on trails other than the main ski slopes was a big part of this joy. I spent the next 3 seasons racing this series and another called the Mountain States Cup series.

Sadly though, like most good things, my mountain bike racing has come to a pause. Thirteen plus years of abuse on the frame has caused something to come loose on the welds and there for made me unconfident in the safety of the bike. I’m not sure when i’ll have the funds to get a new bike but I look forward to that day with much anticipation.

This brings us to the present and the bike that I now ride.

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I’ve spent many hours on this bike over the past 4 years training and focusing on road racing. My performance has been up and down and it’s feel like it’s taking FOR E VER to just get out of CAT 4. This frustrates me at times and brings back to the question at large

“WHY DO I RIDE?”

“IF YOURE NOT GOING TO MAKE A CAREER OUT OF IT WHY BOTHER PUTTING IN ALL THOSE HOURS AND MONEY?”

I’ll conclude with these thoughts:

I ride not for one specific reason. I ride because some days I want to be that kid who rides dirt jumps and makes skid marks across the pavement. Other days I want to run away from everyday life and spend 5 hours riding just so I can get some peace and clear my head. Then, somedays call for pushing myself to my limits just to see how far and how much I can take, mentally and physically.

I understand ,that to those looking in from the outside, it may seem ridiculous to spend so much time training only to compete in something that is so fleeting. For me, though, it provides a platform for self discovery.

  • The hours spent training and breaking your body down.
  • The nutrition and sleep to help you recover and let your body adapt to these stressors.
  • The mental focus to do it day in day out.
  • Balancing it out by adding in some social time with close friends and family.
  • Then, you race, which brings it all together.

In the end the outcome of that race doesn’t matter. Its what you learned along the way to get to that start line and making note of what you can do better in the future to help you cross the finish line stronger, not just in your sport of choice but life in general. Because of this I will keep training and growing so I can get in touch with my greater self.

WHY DO YOU RIDE?

TTFN