Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feels like...

Last year this time I would be on the bike no worries. This year, yeah, a bit different. I have all of a sudden become averse to the three hour solo 24 degree 15mph wind training ride. Maybe I am smarter? Maybe I am more of a sissy? I guess I will do a little knobby tire MTB ride over to the local poaching locale and twirl for 90 minutes and slog home. As I write this, upstairs, I just heard K breathing hard on the trainer downstairs. I shudder to think what that effort was. She can suffer as much if not more than anyone I know. Yep, for numbers geeks she was rolling along at her race TT pace. Hay friggin' Zeus!
Enough on training.
I have the good fortune of having a pretty good job. One of the downsides of the job, downside if you actually give a shit about humanity, is that I spend a fair amount of time in community mental health centers. One of which is a facility for children. There are times when I leave that place and am so sad and disheartened. Thursday was one of those days. A major scientific premise, that has been proven, is that mental health disorders are hereditary. Your risk factors increase exponentially if your parents suffer from a mental health disorder. That being said, I was in this facility for about 30-40 minutes Thursday and 50% of the parents that brought their kids in, were definitely passing along some less than stellar genes. The other 50% were such derelicts that I felt so bad for the kids. Those poor kids do not stand a chance in their lifetime. What is your chance for a decent life if your point of reference is someone that has a hard time living their own life? It is moments like these that I hate doing what I do. Not because I am not of value, but because I see little kids that are destined for such an incredibly hard life. No matter what any doctor, nurse, therapist will do or say the unfortunate child is still going home to a parent/guardian that will only make matters worse.
Let me be clear that you do not need to be affluent to be a great parent. This has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with bad parenting and the unfortunate fact that children of parents with a mental health disorder are forever stuck behind life's eight ball.
So in tough economic times and you think you have it bad, take a field trip to your local community mental health center or MHMR facility and sit in the waiting room for thirty minutes. It will give you a new perspective of the gifts that we have, and take for granted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Humble pie

Yep, had my fair share on Saturday. We went climbing at Earth Treks in Timonium on Saturday. One of K's friends has been after her to go climbing for a while, and Saturday finally worked out. We set off to experience something different and try a new challenge.
Well, challenge it was. Holy handholds, Batman. As I type this my forearms are still tight and my grip strength, what little there is, is finally returning. Climbing was fun, and incredibly humbling. We both went through the 5.6/7 beginner routes with ease. Then it was on to some tougher stuff, with more incline. I tried a route that absolutely paralyzed my forearms for the rest of the day. I "completed" the route eventually. To make an analogy, it would be like McEwen hanging on to the window of the team car up the Ventoux and contesting a sprint. Yeah, I "completed" it. K's friends were such amazing climbers, and even better people. The maneuvered the wall with a crazy combination of power and grace. They took their climbing time to coach us and belay us, as we hung off the wall trying to shake some feeling into our forearms.
Climbing was fun and I can only imagine how much satisfaction you would get climbing outdoors. Listening to Ross explain climbs he did was so cool. I am definitely looking forward to the next time. Next time I will set aside my athletic ego. Hey I can pedal a bike fast, therefore I MUST be able to climb a wall. Right?
I have always had a great deal of respect for those who can do something that is so physically demanding. Saturday just proved that point again. I was amazed at the skill I witnessed Saturday. Maybe next time I will eat some humble pie before hand and work my way through the challenges, commensurate to my skill level.
I wonder what Steve Rice is doing these days?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cold Turkey

I put the road bike away somewhere around the beginning of September. I have not been on a "road" bike since then. Granted it is somewhat semantics, as I rode my cross rigs on the road during CX season. In fact I do not even have a road steed built up at the present time. My last roadie started to crack at the chainstay so I am patiently awaiting the warranty replacement and my fixie is apart since I switched some cranks around for K.
I am going to break down and actually build the fixie back into a road steed this weekend. The fixie has just become an ornament in the garage, so I might as well build up a rain bike with soem older road parts. Hopefully the new steed arrives soon so I can build up yet another white bike, with some fancy schmancy Red shifters. Who knows maybe I will even race it? Prolly not. Better chance racing the TT bike than a pure road bike this year.
Funny how things can be cyclic. I lived and died for the road a few years back. Now, I could honestly care less if I ever race on the road again. I am quite sure that the road scene could honestly care less if I ever came back as well. MTB and cross are much more fun, at least for me. I guess you just get to a point where you want to do some different things. I remember speaking with Ry a few years back before Lower Providence crit. Your prototypical four corner mind-numbing 40 laps. Ry asked if I was doing an MTB race that day. I said that I was doing LP crit, his reply has always stuck with me. "Woo hoo 160 right hand turns, that should be fun." Crit racing was fun, but it just pales in comparison right now. With all the good road events around Lancaster I should check some out. I am sure they will be quality events.
I wonder if Mike Miller is counting his pretzel intake yet?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New year, new leaf

Obviously my last post alluding to more literary prowess went by the wayside. With so many things to pontificate upon maybe I was just overwhelmed?
After a much needed two week hiatus from work, I have hit the new year fresh, relaxed and in better spirits than I have seen for years. Which segues into part of the new leaf for '09.
I am going back to my roots, so to speak. I entered the bike game as a geek, and I am returning to geekdom. Well, at least off-road geekdom. In search of something different than just turning circles, I am going to compete in XTerra races this summer. The end goal has not changed from the past few seasons, National Champion. Legit National Champion this year. No gravity hucking, pure endurance for '09. Maybe this is even more legit than any two wheeled only national Championship I have been striving for? Maybe not, just more work.
So yes, the bike leaf has changed, at least somewhat.
The personal leaf, now that will make any success or lack thereof in 2009 pretty insignificant. No matter what happens on the bike, it is only a bike. I go to bed and wake up a happy, fortunate man.
Time to ride some virgin snow.