I’ve had a very good run, as far as business is concerned, over the last six months and I’m actually thankful things have slowed down for a minute. I’ve had a chance to enjoy a couple of weeks in August and these few days of September where just before I was stressed out, completely.
So now that I’ve had this little breather I’ve taken to being a little lame as far as the effort goes at work. It’s not that I haven’t done anything, I just haven’t thrown my best effort at it…
This led to a conversation with my mentor yesterday evening while I was driving home… Here’s how that went:
“Hey, what’s up man? I’m having a tough time getting back into the swing of things at work. I’ve got plenty to do, I just have no drive to do it… I’ve needed a break for so long, now that it’s here I’m having a tough time getting back into it”.
To which he replied, “Well listen man, you’re the boss and you put a lot into the last six months, why don’t you just relax on yourself for a minute”.
Let’s just say I was a little stunned. I was expecting the old, “dust yourself off son, and get back up on that horse” pep talk. Now most people would relish the notion that they were given permission to screw off for another few days. Not this one – and here’s the trick to the title of this post:
There are a few things that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: 1) I am an ex-drunk, which pretty much just means a daily reprieve – That drunk is still lurking in the shadows. 2) I am also an unbelievable loser when I’m a drunkard. 3) When you sober up a horse thief, what have you left with? A horse thief.
So here’s the dealio; my mentor’s advice was wrong and I explained that to him in great detail. What I needed to do was get my butt back on track again and that’s exactly what I did today. I got through a veritable mountain of work (with the help of my lovely secretary – err wife).
To sum this up, I can believe my own bullshit, that I just need a break, but it’s an excuse to coast and I damn good and well knew it. I am free to sit back and let the rest of the year float by, I really did have a great year but in the end, that loser who wants to coast through life doing as little as possible is lurking just under the skin. If I buy into that excuse, even a little bit, I can end up right back where I started. Asking, “You want fries with that”?
To say I was pumped for last night’s ride would be a bit of an understatement. The warmup felt great and did what it was supposed to do. We lined up and talked about the normal pre-ride stuff, how was DALMAC, my new bike, races from last weekend…
Then it was time to go. I started up front with Mike, into a decent breeze but nothing to whine about. We always take that first mile and a half pretty slow to allow everyone who wants the opportunity to latch on.
From there the speed progresses to pretty frickin’ awesome over the next few miles. I was feeling pretty good so when the group got broken up at a stop sign I took a spot closer to the front. Before long it was my pull again and we were cruising at 23, dead into the wind – it was not an easy pull and I stayed on a little too long. When I fell back I got squeezed to the edge of the road and chose to go off and back on rather than risk falling off – and the lead group was gone, that fast. I tried my hardest to latch back on and even got a little help from another guy who was charging to get back… When I looked up though, the lead group had been decimated. They were down to maybe ten guys, down from thirty. I just didn’t have enough, I pushed until my heart started beating erratically… It was not good, so I eased up. I was so close too.
Fortunately, with the main group whittled down to nothing, I knew there was plenty of help coming behind me… Sure enough I looked back and saw a group of five was only about half a mile back. I had to ease up to let them catch me though. When they finally caught up I thought the cycling gods were being gracious, I latched on behind a big’un… Oh how I misread that – he was Fred. Pushing about a 115 cadence, all over the place and to beat that, every time he’d get a chance to coast, he’d pull back hard on his bars and stand up. He was drifting back about two feet every time he did that, which pretty much meant very little draft for me because I had to stay at least three back so he couldn’t back into me. I put up with that shit for about two miles, my heart skipping a beat every time he almost rammed my front tire. On top of that the guy couldn’t hold a line for more than ten feet to save his life. As soon as I recovered I’d had enough. I shifted up a gear, signaled to the guy behind me to come take my place and I put the hammer down. I managed to stay out front, alternating between into the wind and a crosswind for about four miles before they caught back up. Not surprisingly, I got stuck behind the same guy. Oh, and also not surprisingly, egg beaters and mountain biking shorts.
Then, just as I was about to give it another go off the front, my buddies Mike, Phil and a new friend Mark pulled along side with a decent head of steam. I wasn’t waiting around to get crashed so I jumped on with them. We were gone – and just for good measure, I did everything I could to make sure we went fast enough that Fred had no chance of keeping up.
After we left Fred behind, Mike peeled off, wiped out from DALMAC so that left Phil, Mark and me. The three of us hammered hard over the remaining 15 miles and finished with a respectable 20.7 average.
Now folks, when I write ill of Fred(s) the guy in this post is who I am writing about. Maybe our group is a bit more high-minded than some because we don’t care what kind of bike a person shows up with as long as they possess the ability to ride it. The fella last evening had no business in a group – he was a danger to everyone. The fact that he wasn’t dressed appropriately only made him that much more identifiable.
The sad thing is that there are so many out there who need to read posts like this one, who simply don’t understand how each and every thing they do has an effect on the entire group… Don’t be that person, sit your butt in the saddle and hold your line. If you need to stand to stretch your legs, do so at the BACK after your pull where you’ll be able to do so safely. If you have a tough time grabbing a water bottle while pedaling, take your drink at the back after you’ve had a few seconds to stretch your legs and recover from your pull.