Finally some quality miles. 

Lately I have been making an effort to reserve Saturdays for the family, given my upcoming trip which would take me away for a significant amount of time. However, when I was invited to ride with the senior citizens power rangers ( a group of older guys who are properly quick) I brokered a deal with the misses and was on my way double quick to the meeting spot. 

The route is mostly “flattish” with a couple lumps here and there. The difficult part is usually hanging on to a wheel on the flat/false flat drags that comprise most of the route when the pace picks up… Which is usually from the start.  

 

Rich’s new steed…

 
The first thing that got my HR spiking was the sight of Sir Rich’s (SR) new Bianchi machine with deep November wheels (though it was just May – bad joke I know).  Rick on the other hand brought his B bike… I had mixed feeling about that, on the one hand it was comforting to see he was not planning on participating in the self-mutilation that was sure to ensue but on the hand, it seemed like he came with a cupout reason as to why he couldn’t hang…idk. We struck out, and in the first mile we had dropped 2 guys already, which make sense since Sir Richs was setting a pace akin to the run in to the finish line on the first day of a grand tour. 
   
  
We slowed down only after he murdered an indecisive squirrel in his path…maybe that’s too harsh but after the encounter only SR was upright with any sort kinetic energy that were not reflexive convulsions.  We slowed up, regrouped and headed up Highway 96. This stretch, a false flat of about 6 miles, usually windy and requiring an organized group to stay smooth, inform of road debris, cars from the rear and more importantly safely getting off the front and tagging back in. 

   
    We turned off the highway and unto a quiet 2 lane country road where Rich Mike (RM) the resident snow bird who just returned from Florida with crisp cyclist tan lines and serious bike fitness to boot bedazzled us with tales of fast group rides In the Florida planes. We took a brake and ogled SR new bikes some more, then headed up the only significant climb once the group was back together. 

   

  

Atop Evitts

    
     

At the top, we stopped and collectively admired the beauty of the valley we were headed towards. Standing next to 3 men over twice my age I couldn’t help but admire the agelessness of standing over your top tube, looking into the paradise we all call home, brain still euphoric from the effort that earns such a view. I look at these great gentlemen and see decisions being lived out, mistakes accepted and triumphs embraced. I wonder what their legacies would be, what demons they fight when they pedal around these steep green hills, I wonder what they wish they did more of and the things they wish they had never done, the words they wish they say more of and those they pray they never utter. I wonder what such a ride would be like for me in 40years. 

   
 

Whatever the answer to those questions would be, I embrace the truth that right now, right here they are happy doing what they love to do, teaching unspoken lessons and inspiring the next generation. I’m sure it would be great if the scales favor a lot more victories than failures when that time comes for me but I sure do hope I’m still on my bike at that age. 

We take a second break at BuffaloMills where I fix a flat and put the hammer down all the way back to the cars. All in all, a good ride, great day but the best possible company. 

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Are you successful?

 

What is Success? Have you ever pondered such a seemingly simple question? Quite capricious is human nature that we set a moving target as our definition of success. We wrestle between having a full life, living our dream, and making a difference beyond ourselves. Lately I have been trying to come up with a definition of
success that works for me. Of course there is a myriad of cookie-cutter answers like spending quality time with family, experiencing life, having a successful professional career and the likes. Like Solomon, given the opportunity, what would you ask God “specifically” when you ask for success in life?

I concluded that; besides desiring to be a great role model for my children and the best possible Godly husband to my wife, I cannot with any specificity articulate what I want in the form of a successful life. This comes from a lack of faith, resulting in vague prayers. God does not answer vague prayers because we can’t tell if they are answered or not, then he doesn’t get any glory. Because some desires (to be a bike shop owner, adventure journalist/photographer, outdoor adventure manager) seem and sound unsustainable and outlandish we have difficulties believing it is achievable and instead ask God for a better job rather than the specific desire he has created in us and is aware we have.

I watched the documentary Living on a dollar a day, it brought about the question: how do you live without guilt when by providence you are born into a family, place, and time where you have options. How to you decide to downsize and live as if you are on burrowed time when the most joy you have comes from activities that are a luxury in many other places? How is it that security brings about less joy than uncertainty? If you have follow this blog, you know I have more questions than answers.

I do have one answer though for all these question: Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the lord with all your heart, lean not on your understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.

 

 

Got Any Gears Left?

Killer Miller is  a climb about half a mile long and has about three levels, it kicks up then gives you a little break, kicks up again, gives you another break for about 15 yards (just long enough to prevent your heart from exploding) then it serves the final segment which is a solid 17% grade where most resort to slaloming just to not have to walk. At the top you are not sure what to attend to first: your heart feeling like you are about to have the big one, your lungs convulting like an accordion playing a Sicilian tune or your leg muscles which feel about twice its original size. On the last lip I honestly would have been thankful for a triple crankset or a 11-36 cassette.

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I have always wondered what to do about gear selection on big climbs, like every other rider I have tapped that shifter a couple times in the middle of a climb begging for an extra gear though I am fully aware I am in the tallest gear I have but we all believe in miracles… we all pray and hope somehow we forgot to or didn’t needto go to our easiest gear till now. .. alas there’s never any extra. This is one of those things I have always wondered about…. When starting a climb do you immediately go to the easiest gear you can push or do you save it for when you start hitting the Redzone? Some think you always save that for when the pain comes other claim maybe if you ride in the easiest gear, the pain will never come.

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In life it is pretty much the same dilemma we get to contend with…Isn’t it?  Do we do it our way till things are as bad as they are going to get then go to plan B or do we just go to that granny gear (God) and ask what his will and plan is. We ride life like we do our bikes we do not usually think about the distance of the ride or the consequences of starting out too hard. I happen to be one of those guys who would make a great domestic, I would rather ride hard and go fast and then bonk in the last 10miles than sit on someone’s wheel the whole ride and have someone else dictate the pace all in the name of energy conservation. I might finish last but I know I had 90 miles of fun (I know! I stink at racing). Someone told me you want to start every climb in a gear you can complete it in, easier said than done especially when you are in a group ride or running strava.

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The thing though is life is not quite a group ride, its more of a marathon you don’t gage your performance by the HR monitor, power output, cadence or speed of the peleton, you go at your own pace with focus on finishing strong and not have a coronary…

share: Do you ride save the easiest gear for when you need it or do you start a climb in the easiest gear so you do not have to need it?