Monday, March 20, 2017

Muscle memory

It's easy to love from a distance.

From a distance, the city is skyscrapers, life is an adventure, and commitment is easy to maintain.

love takes effort up close and personal.
I bring my bike into the start control cause leaving it on the predawn city street is naive. 

Riding the long gradual climb over the Ben Franklin Bridge beats hammers in my off season heart. 

Up close and personal, the distance again seems insurmountable.

Camden, NJ, is not a metaphor, it's an urban reality of progress amidst poverty that I pick my through along rutted streets and overgrown paths that lead to the NJ suburbs, picturesque, quaint, idyllic.

On an unusually warm Sunday in February, after weeks of no riding, my winter legs are spinning over a 127 mike route from Philadelphia to Princeton and back.

The day unfolds along the roads up close and personal

 I rely on muscle memory to get me through.

Till once again the course fades into a distance 

that is easy to love

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Rides of March bike challenge 2017

The month long March riding challenge is back and starts March 1, 2017. Let's get ready to PEDAL!!! 


  • "A" TEAM = 60 minutes a day  for 30 days
  • "B" TEAM = 30 minutes a day for 30 days
  • 24 HOUR TIME TRIAL=  60 minutes a day for 24 days
  • 12 HOUR TIME TRIAL =  30 minutes a day for 24 days

Rules: Ride 24 or 30 days in March for at least a half hour EACH day (you get one day off!).
  • Stationary bikes, rollers and trainers count! So does riding outside!
  • Track the number of days and minutes per day.
  • The riding minutes start fresh each day (no carryover from a prior day)
  • The Ides of March makeup special (ride an extra day's time - two half hours or two hours) and get credit for both!)
All who successfully complete the challenge and notify me will get listed in the Iron Rider blog (First name, last initial.)

Join the conversation on Facebook:

So who's in?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

First Friday Writing for Randos: Live to Fight Another Day

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's an excerpt from

A Man's Life

Live To Fight Another Day

By Mark Jenkins 

We went out for breakfast, a great heap of eggs and bacon, and talked about kids and guilt and climbing and Asia. About loss and lessons. We talked straight into the afternoon. We left the cafe and went to his house in the country and sat for hours drinking tea in a living room filled with mementos from Nepal. I told him about my own shadows of Everest. And Guy told me how, in 1995, he guided a client up, Doug Hansen, to the south summit of Everest before making the decision to pull the plug. Hansen died with Hall the following year.

It was a painful subject, and we quickly moved on. But the conversation circled back. It had to. Guy Cotter had spent his entire adulthood trying to determine when to push on and when to turn around. One of his best friends had died on the crux of the dilemma. His wisdom was hard won.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

First Friday writing for Randos: Embrace struggle

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's an excerpt from 

Life Lessons From the Guy Who Just Ran the Appalachian Trail Faster Than Anyone

By Brad Stulberg

Beat and broken down? Focus on what you can control.

Midway through the hike, my shin, which was an area of concern heading into this, blew up on me. It was really bad. I remember thinking to myself, “This could be over.” But I knew if I let that thought occupy my mind for too long, the attempt would be over. So rather than ruminate on the condition of my shin, I focused on what was in front of me, all the things I could do that were within my control like icing, taking anti-inflammatory meds, adjusting the pace, and eating more since I was moving slower. This not only helped me physically but also mentally, because it kept my mind occupied with productive and not destructive thoughts.

Low points are a part of long-ass hikes and low points are a part of life. But low points are just that — points. You’ve got to remind yourself things don’t always get worse and you can almost always make them better.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

First Friday Writings for Randos: "Let go of expectations palm up"

{First Friday Writings for Randos - A monthly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This month it's a re-post from Facebook. Amy Grumprecht, the author, wrote this while riding across the United States to raise money to support MS research. This is one of her daily posts from the road . . 

 "Let go of expectations palm up"

by Amy Grumprecht

Day 50, Suwannee River State Park to Olena State Park, north of High Springs, FL, 70 miles of uninspired cycling.

I have a friend with whom I once rode 150 miles up in the foothills and height of land of Western ME. She appeared to be moving along fine all day yet was missing her spark. At mile 100, she announced that she "felt better now." After 100 miles. After turning over the pedals and not feeling that great. For 100 miles. Some people wouldn't drive 100 miles if they didn't "feel great." She taught me the basic tenet that if I can turn the pedals over, everything else would eventually change. I just had to hold out and keep going at a steady pace. Drop a piece of wood in the stream, eventually it will float downstream, different but the same.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A good place to be (notes from the Boston 600K)

It is the middle of a sunny Saturday afternoon in July.

I am on an audacious New England adventure, riding my bike up yet another hill, in temperatures well over 90 degrees.

The sun relentlessly beats down on the sun sleeves that protect my arms and the white wicking skully cap that protects my head.

My short sleeve, green plaid bike shirt is unbuttoned to my belly so that passing breezes can lift the sweaty fabric and cool my back.Fortunately, after weeks of summer bike commuting, I've acclimated to the heat and humidity and actually enjoy the hot weather.

On the descents, the wind cools and refreshes. I soar through the curves of the rolling hills having earned these moments of flight.

This is my life today, any for most of tomorrow, because this is a 600K in July.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Spirited rides (or revisting the hierarchy of needs)

"Abraham Maslow (1943) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. 
When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one, and so on." Link

Maybe Maslow was wrong. If you're so inclined, hear me out on this one.

At this point in my life, at the tail-end of middle age (almost halfway to a century), I am acutely aware that I am fortunate. No. That's not right. I am acutely aware that I am blessed. I am blessed  to be able to satisfy the first four psychological needs that Maslow identified. My biological and physiological needs, for air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sleep are pretty much a given.  A nice house in a nice neighborhood give me protection from the elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.  I enjoy love and belongingness in the form of friendship, intimacy, affection and love. My career provides some of the esteem needs such as achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others. So according to the theory, I should be working on Self-Actualization - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

But this past weekend, I find myself once again returning to this sport and once again randonneurring takes me back to the basic needs. It is a place where breath (air), food, drink, shelter, warmth and sleep are no longer a given. Where I face the elements, vulnerability, and, yes, even fear.

I do keep the sense of love and belongingness. These are tools that I carry that as surely as I carry the things I need to survive. 

Maybe I jumped into the deep end of this discussion too soon. There's a back story. Forgive me. You weren't there. Let me fill you in on that before we come back to this.