I was working on a post that I’ve been putting together for about a week now when I received an email that said:
THREE OF LIFES SECRETS ……..
” Nonresistance, nonjudgment, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.”
So said the slave who stayed on the plantation rather than escape to the North. So says the prisoner who is too afraid to get out of prison to create a better life.
Thank God the Founders of this country had big enough balls to say, we deserve better.
If you’re not keeping up with me here, let me try a different angle: So said every boss who claimed you were only worth $1.50 an hour.
While I do understand the sentiment behind the email, it is nonsense. Nonresistance is a dangerous way to live one’s life. To simply accept that freedom can be snatched up on a whim begins an ugly journey down the slippery slope. The other two ensure we are to remain at the bottom, to be buried by all of those who manage to cling on just a little bit longer by conforming, until they too fall out of favor. After all, as one more bit of freedom is carved away, who are you to judge? Is not non-judgment of imprisonment in the system freer and more enlightened? Why should we, after all, be attached to freedom? Non-attachment is much more comforting from your padded cell.
We can take this a step further and even deeper down the foxhole: Should rape victims not seek justice? After all, maybe they should choose nonresistance, no? Maybe a battered wife should simply say, “Meh, I’m choosing non-judgment today.” Or the old lady whose house is broken into, “I think everything is okay because I’m not attached to that $200 I had set aside to pay for my medication, better to be nonattached, non-judgmental and nonresistant.
That putrid phrase has been uttered in one way or another by every dictator who has ever said from on high, “Do as I say… And pass the caviar. Freedom for me but not for thee.”
I have a confession about my ride yesterday: For the first time since I’ve been cycling, that’s three and a half years now, I didn’t want to go. My friends all bailed for one reason or another, it was unseasonably cold and cloudy and both the Lions and Tigers had games on TV. I hemmed and hawed for what felt like an hour, trying to come up with a good excuse that I could hang my hat on… I’m an early morning weekend cyclist, I told myself (as if I would buy it). No wonder I was having a tough time. I don’t want to be cold, I thought. When I’d had just about enough of my BS I started getting dressed. Knee warmers, shorts, arm warmers, jersey, long sleeved jersey, vest and wool socks – it was 45 degrees. I pumped up my tires, filled a water bottle and headed out the door.
I still went out for 30 miles. Nothing to write home about but it’s not all that bad either.
Truthfully, I’d planned on 40 but the initial 20 into the wind really sucked the life out of me. I’d managed a 17 mph average into town and I stopped by a couple of friend’s houses to see if I could refill my H2O bottle but nobody was home at either house and I was running low on water and energy so with the wind at my back I decided to see how fast I could get home. I was averaging between 22 and 26 mph, depending on the terrain (slight uphill vs slight downhill – either way it was pretty flat).
In the end I got in a great workout. I didn’t enjoy it very much but I got it done and that’s the important thing.
Sometimes getting out the door is hard. We’ve got things to do, places to be, people to see… All too often we can find reasons to skip a workout, even if it isn’t very good but the simple truth is this:
I’m not going to trade feeling like crap for the rest of my life so I can feel like a lame-ass today. Either way, I lose.
I was hoping for 120 miles, give or take, from Friday through today but it didn’t quite work out… I was hoping for 30 miles on Friday with Mrs. Bgddy but we cut that short due to rain. A 6% chance of rain turned into 100% about a mile into our ride. Add to the drizzle, unseasonably cold temps and it was just gnarly.
I made my miles yesterday, 30, but only got half today, another 30. On Tuesday we talked about meeting up for what’s become a regular 60 miles but it ended up not working out. My wife wanted to get a ride in this morning too so that meant a later start for me and we’ve got a sportgy in about three minutes with the Lions playing Panthers and the Tigers up against the Indians… Good Lord, I can hardly contain myself. Still, 76 solo miles for three days is good enough for government work.
Love to go into more detail but the opening kickoff is already in the air and the first pitch is only moments away…
Fall isn’t all bad!
I am unfairly good when it comes a lot of sports. Baseball, way above average. Not only could I throw a strike for the opening pitch, I could choose between a fastball, a curve, a screwball or a knuckle ball… I even know how to throw a ball minus the movement as well (my dad was a catcher, you place your thumb under the ball so you won’t get the same tight spin when you throw). I can play first base (I’m a lefty – ironic, that) or anywhere in the outfield and when I play softball I bat around .600. Hockey, I can skate. Bowling, golf, I was a scratch golfer before my wife and I had kids, rollerblading (I could hold a 20 mph average over 8 miles back in the day), tennis – though my younger brother is quite a bit better, he’s a teaching pro… In other words, we grew up well in sports.
Teaching my girls how to catch and throw, my daughter often complains that “it’s no fair” that I make it “look so easy”. Humorously enough, while I’ve been thin for most of my life, except the two years I was rollerblading 30 to 60 miles a week, I’ve never really been in great shape… Until now. For the last three years and at 44 years-old, there is no doubt that I’m in the best shape of my life, by a long shot. When I was younger, my resting heart rate was around 70 – average. I have no idea what it was through the rollerblading days but fifteen years ago, I was still in the 70’s. When I started running, fourteen years ago, it slowly started dropping. I dropped into the 60’s and I was happy, better than average.
About 3-1/2 years ago I started cycling and I went from exercising three or four days a week to six and it dropped into the 50’s. This drop was something special because I progressed from “Good” to “Excellent” and right into “Athlete”. Since I was a kid I’ve wanted to hit that “Athlete” classification and at 41 years-old, I’d finally arrived. As I got faster and rode longer, it kept dropping to a point where last year, at 43, my resting heart rate (measured in the morning after a cup or two of coffee, after I’d woken up a bit but before I really did anything) matched my age. In fact, just for fun I checked it once when I was getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist: 52 beats per minute and still within that “Athlete” classification:
Then, this morning after a great stretch of riding for three weeks with only one day off before rain derailed the streak, this:
Yes, I was really up at 4:00 this morning, it’s kind of one of those unfortunate things that comes with my job. Technically, waking up at 4 am really sucks but it sucks less if I do so every day – over time it became the new schedule. Either way, my resting heart rate is lower than my age. Pretty cool.
P.S. I have had my heart checked out by my doctor, extensively, including a few EKG’s and an ultrasound to make sure that my ticker is working right. All of that “check with your doctor” stuff isn’t crap.
Apparently the weather doesn’t care that Fall doesn’t start for another nine days or so because yesterday was our first day of it. Cloudy, cool and windy with a shot of misting sprinkles thrown in just for good measure. Add to that, the fact that I was up early and absolutely tuckered out by the afternoon and I decided to take a second day off rather than ride…
This, for me, is an unbelievable rarity – I always choose to ride.
Today is going to be a little bit gnarly again – mostly cloudy and will only barely break 60 degrees – more like late October than mid September.
Still, at least it isn’t snowing. Yet.
That said, I’ll be putting in around 25 miles (or more) today, I’ll get 30 in tomorrow and another 60 or so on Sunday. Another great week, even with two days off.
Have a great weekend my friends, ride hard and sleep well.
I can remember when I was a kid, riding my mountain bike everywhere. At twelve and thirteen years-old I was riding my bike seven miles each way to middle school (alone). I’d ride eight to ten miles each way to friend’s houses at twelve (all dirt roads). Now, I could have ridden the bus to school, heck it took my little brother and I 45 minutes to ride that seven miles but there was freedom in those late spring, late summer, early fall rides to school.
Once my dad bought me my first car though, the bike was hung up… 24 years later and cycling became more than just a fun way to get around, simply because I grew bored with running and decided I wanted to get into triathlons. Within a month, cycling became a way to enjoy life.
I started with a mountain bike first because they’re so much more versatile than a road bike. I also had a running friend who was also big into mountain biking and we began talking about it every once in a while after we ran. I did my first two Olympic distance tri’s on a Trek 3700 with road tires and a set of aero bars… Seriously, aero bars on a mountain bike. Ah, if I only knew then, eh?
I was geared out within a few weeks so I started looking into road bikes. I went cheap first, purchasing a 20 year-old aluminum Cannondale off of a guy advertising it on Craigslist for $300 or something… $30 for a saddle and $55 for pedals and I was off and running, err, riding – and it was instant gear happiness. I had more than enough. In fact, I had so much I didn’t have a hill anywhere near me that required coasting.
That Cannondale was my main bike for all of three months. While I was infatuated with the speed, the Cannondale was an insanely uncomfortable bike. I could feel every imperfection in the road and the frame was a full 6 cm too small. The owner of our local bike shop took pity on my lack of expendable cash and sold me one of his customer backup bikes (he offers customers a loaner when their bike is going for an extended stay at the shop):
This bike changed everything for me. Once I got it dialed in and comfortable, it was “Katie bar the door”. Speed was finally comfortable. The Trek, even though it’s now 15 years-old, is a full carbon fiber frame so it’s excellently comfortable on rough roads. Beyond that, it’s a 58 cm frame – it’s the right size and in a sport where a millimeter or two matters… So 6 centimeters is a pretty big deal. Now, I wasn’t any faster on the Trek over the Cannondale but I could maintain my 20-21 mph average over a much greater distance – I went from 13-16 miles to 30-40 miles, then 40-100. In fact, just last year three friends of mine and I guy I’d never met managed a 20-1/2 mph average over a full century. Just two months later, with a larger group, I managed another sub five hour century: 4:36, 21.7 mph average on that bike.
At the end of last season, came this (and I was completely, hopelessly hooked):
Fast became even more accessible and comfortable – it’s amazing what 14 years of technological advances do to a bicycle. That ride is so much more comfortable than the Trek that it almost seems unfair. Not only that, at speeds above 40 mph, rather than feeling squirrely and just on the edge of control, my Venge is smooth and steady beyond 55 mph.
Cycling is one of those funny sports – given a bike with a decent set up, anyone can be fast if they’re willing to put the effort into it. That’s really the trick – the effort. There’s a diet involved because fat and fast don’t work together. Then there are countless hours on the bike, maybe a little weight training, hill repeats and a lot of pushing to the point of nausea… So why go through everything it takes to be fast?
Everyone has their limit – a point beyond which they’re not willing to go – otherwise we’d all be pros. That said, speed is everything that slow isn’t. Speed is exciting, it’s a little dangerous, it’s work, it’s hard – and because riding fast is so hard, it’s only for a select few who want it bad enough to work for it. If that weren’t enough, speed takes nerve and for those who choose to attain it, we find that speed is one thing above all:
Speed is fun.
Now go out and get yours.