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. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Advice for a new randonneur

What advice would I give to a new Randonneur? 

Probably some of these gems that I've picked up along the way . . . 

Dan A.:  Ride your own ride.

Rick C.:  Greet people along the way.

Chris N.(from NJ):  Take pictures

Chris N.(From PA): A burst of slow can  salvage a ride.

Joe K.:  Challenge yourself

Friday, April 8, 2016

Rides of March: Team Rosters

 The Rides of March Challenge returned for 2016. The basic challenge is as difficult to accomplish as it is simple to describe: ride a bike for  30 or 60 minutes a days for 30 days in March. One thing that makes the challenge a little easier is the community of people that share stories, pictures, humor and encouragement throughout the month. Not everyone successfully completed the challenge, but it seems that everyone benefited from  the attempt.  I now have the pleasure of listing the roster of successful riders:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Fleche of all seasons.

Maybe we should celebrate the start of a new year at the Spring solstice like the ancients once did. Gather with friends and strangers at the time of year when the seasons are in a state of flux and day and night balance for a moment on the needle of time. Maybe that is the time of year to celebrate new beginnings, not in the midst of winter's cold slumber but later, at the leading edge of Spring, as the world awakens, when anything seems possible and the promise of a new season of growth rises clean and bright on the horizon. Perhaps it is appropriate that a PBP finisher is called an Ancien because the Randonneuring season begins in the early Spring. At this time of year, in our part of the world, it is the season of the Fleche and this year, I rode a Fleche of all seasons.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

On the last day of Winter: Lackawanna 200K

The first edge of sunrise lightens the sky. The surrounding woods slowly materializes from the darkness. Close to thirty randonneurs are here, ready to set out on the Lackawanna 200K. Bill, acting as ride organizer, gives the pre-departure briefing. Outside of the Hostel, sharp crisp air reminds me that it is the last day of Winter, not yet Spring.  It's been a long time since I rode a Pennsylvania brevet. My mind wanders. Standing here, in this familiar setting, on the landing outside the hostel as the dawn breaks, random memories of past rides seem to emerge with the daylight. I relive them without intervention, a raft of consciousness floating on a slow river of thought. Collectively, they carry me back to this time, this place. I have ridden before but each ride is different. Am I wearing the right layers? I don't want to be too cold or too hot. I just want to ride. It's time to ride. Let's go.

Friday, March 4, 2016

First Friday Writing for Randos: The dreamers of the 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 a quote from 

T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)


Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Rides of March bike challenge - Back by popular demand!

The month long March riding challenge is back and starts March 1, 2016. Let's get ready to PEDAL!!!