My tan lines, every year, are frickin’ ridiculous…ly awesome!
This year, because my miles are through the freaking roof, the tips of my fingers are tan. My hands are fair, and my arms from my wrist to my bicep are tanned excellently. In other words, I’m tan from the tips of my fingers to my cycling jersey arm except where my hands are covered by my gloves.
Rule #7 states that “tan lines should be cultivated and kept razor sharp”… Well, I had to cut the grass in the back 40 today and it was sunny, so I was at an impass. Cut the grass, which sorely needed it, and ruin the contrast between my hand and wrist, or skip cutting the grass. I was at a loss. I had to cut the grass!
I must go to any length…
UPDATE: In the comments section, the Tempcyclist suggested that true commitment would have had me mowing the lawn in bib shorts as well… The man’s got a point.
When my dad was my age (44), I was 17. Things were a lot less happy than I knew but I lived in a nice little cocoon of awesomeness that my parents spun around me.
My dad was relatively healthy back then, except for the fact that he still smoked like a chimney (2 packs a day, sometimes 3 – I quit more than twelve years ago now, I think). My dad was fairly active (if active is considered getting in and out of a golf cart), more than average and in spite of his numerous imperfections, did a great job of raising me. My mom played a bigger, better role in my upbringing but in the end, my pops taught me to be a man (my mom taught me how to properly treat a woman – something my dad didn’t do so well).
As I watch friends and family…
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Stronger, Faster… Fitter: What happens when you reach the next level only to find that you liked where you were at?
I had a great conversation with the owner of our local shop the other day about my Tuesday night club ride. It was fast. Maybe too fast.
While I rode hard and emptied the tank, I truly believe I could have stayed with the racers. If not to the end, close enough for government work. I chose to sit up and let a gap form because my friends had dropped and it was time anyway, because that’s just what we do.
I’ve improved my average on that ride from 19.5 mph the first year to 21 the next and 22 last year. May not sound much but that’s a ten minute difference over 30 miles. It’s a lot. 20 seconds a mile. This year I’ll beat that. Easily.
So Matt says to me, “You should have stayed with them [on Tuesday]. You’re stronger, faster… Fitter. You’ve learned a lot too, about where to be in the group, when to hide.”
He’s right and I’ve been working for this for a long time.
And now that I’m on the edge of the next level, I’m not sure I want to give up that last ten miles with my friends. Couldn’t I be happy, maybe even happier, just being the hammer of our little gang or do I have to make the progression just because I can? It’s a great problem to have. I used to think my age was going to limit me, that I was getting on in years and that I should just embrace my place as a young geezer, but I was wrong. It wasn’t my age, it was miles and fitness – and go figure, in a year where I’ve put in more slow miles (with my smokin’ wife) than ever before.
The truth is, speed is a funny thing. Sure, it has a lot to do with being strong and fit, but the faster I get, the more I’ve come to learn that it’s more about “want to”. It’s often said that the best way to get fast is to ride with people who are faster than you are. In my case, I ride with people vastly faster than I am. As this is published, I’m out on the road with my best cycling buddy, Mike. Today’s going to be a long one so we’ll have plenty of time to talk things over. One thing is for sure, this year is far better than I’d hoped – and we haven’t even hit summer yet.
I can say this for sure: I never thought that I’d get to this point and say, “Do I gotta?”
From the Memorial Weekend ride: