Thursday, December 24, 2020

 Snowboard.  I love it.  Gliding down the icy snow. It has been several years since we have gone.  Last time was about 5 or 6 years ago.  The kid tried and failed.  He has tried other sports since: wakeboarding, dirt jumping .... He wanted to give snowboarding another try.  

It didn't come easy.  Try, crash, burn... repeat.  After about an hour, he started to get the feel of it, yet was discouraged and wished he had gone with skis.  Ok,  I was willing to do that if it would improve his experience, but pointed out that he was better than when we started an hour ago.  I did not want him to give  up.  I don't care, really, if he skis or snowboards, I just did not want him to give up learning and go the easier route.  

We took a short break and moved up to next level of slope.  Bigger, more wide open, easier to work on turns.   

It went well,  he stuck with it and by the end of the night, we found ourselves on the lift that took us to the top of the mountain.  Granted, we butt slid the first steep part, but then is was game on.  Gliding, turning, breathing, enjoying.  

Parents, its not always about us.  When our kids are challenged, don't give up and succeed,  we succeed.  Teach them to persevere, but be willing to let them back down and take a step back to look at the big picture.  

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

 This guy's excitement is infectious!  We all have battles. other people's battles might feel bigger or smaller but they are not there for comparison.  The feelings of failure and success are the same!

Complex Trauma

There was a period in my cycling life when I had hit a wall.   I was having trouble staying hydrated and keeping the fuel tank full.  I was having struggles with the long haul.  My body could only do so much with what I was putting into it.   I tried a lot of different things but nothing seemed to be helping.  

Then I realized I needed help. 

I found a nutritionist and a coach.  People who specialized in this area and could easily pinpoint what I was doing wrong, give a chance to hit the reset button, and start figuring out how to move forward.  I will never forget that pivotal moment in my cycling career.  I got better.  I rode stronger and longer and stayed healthy.  No more expensive ambulance rides!

I am now at a point in my life where I have hit a wall.  This time it is not cycling related, but emotional and mental, which definitely affects the physical.  

I have struggled with anxiety, more specifically separation anxiety for a long time.  This has derailed many fun trips and events that should have otherwise been relaxing.  I stress out so much in the prep phase that I get physically ill and it takes days to recover.   I'm not sure why, but the issue has crept in stronger and stronger in the last couple of years.  

Maybe its some sort of mid-life crisis. Maybe its this, or that,  I don't know.   What I do know is I needed to get things figured out and find ways to cope.  

Having spent my entire post college life in some sort of mental health work,  I know a lot about mental health issues and have been able to figure things out on my own.   I've done a lot of ground work to become a better person, father and husband.   But now, I ran into a wall and just couldn't get things figured out.  

So, I did something I have never done before.  Went to a counselor.  And wow!  After just 2 sessions, we are talking about Complex Trauma. I was referred to this video series by Tim Fletcher.

Very validating information.  He describes my experience and my feelings to a T.  I'm normal, my coping mechanisms are normal, I do need help developing better coping, there is hope!   

Friday, January 31, 2020

The End of an Era, The Beginning of Another

Things change, constantly.  Ideals, dreams, desires, reality, goals, etc. They change.   It appears that even I change.  I had a goal and and a dream and those were fulfilled.  I came, I saw, I stood up and pedaled that single speed to the best of my ability.  I stood on some podiums, I dnf'ed some races, I pushed myself and enjoyed the ride.   

Then I got burned out.  Maybe it was training through the cold, wet, winter for my 10th and final Pisgah Stage Race. Maybe it was a myriad of other reasons.  I'm not really sure.  What I do know is, I was not looking forward to riding my bike much anymore.  I was tired, my legs were tired, my mind was tired.  I was still doing it, but it wasn't fun like it used to be.  Something needed to change. 

The Single Speed that made dreams come true.
 So I pulled out my trusty steel Salsa El Mariachi with gears.  This bike has taken me on many adventures and I pictured us going on many more.  I "upgraded" to a 1x10, which involved taking of the front deraileur, and then I added a brand new Thomson dropper post.  Sweet, ready to roll.  Now I had two bikes, exactly the same, ready to roll.  One geared, and one single speed.  I started riding the geared El Mar fairly often.  It was odd.  Sitting on the uphills,  pushing gears on the flats and downhills.  It took several rides before I could decide if I liked it or not.

I finally admitted that I liked it, and I was having fun again.  But something wasn't right.   Something was missing.  While this bike climbs great and descends just as good for better than any steel frame on the market,  I could feel the difference from the Ti El Mar. 

Dilema.  I wanted to keep the Ti El Mar set up single speed so I could still ride it when I felt like it.  But the Ti material is so much smoother than steel.  What to do.  Again, it took a little while, but then I sealed the fate of the steel framed El Mar and did the inevitable.....

 ....I put the gears on the Ti El Mar!!!
Beginning of an Era

 And just like that,  I'm having fun again. ( I even briefly thought about taking on The Snake and Pisgah Stage Race with gears! Just briefly though).

I'm having fun again,  sitting on the climbs, pushing gears on flats and downhills.  Relaxing, enjoying, railing, ripping fun times!  

I might have a steel framed El Mariachi (large) for sale.  How else am I going to pay for upgrades to my new geared bike?

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Writing Again...

...maybe.  I get inspired, then I don't.  I get inspired to write, to ride.  I do it for a while, then I don't.  I've raced for so long it is hard transitioning to not racing.  I want to join in on the events, but the entry fee have made this cost prohibitive.  So I just ride, with the goal of riding.  But,  I like to go fast and be strong.  So I try to ride fast and choose challenging routes.  But then some days, I don't.  I take it easy, and rest and enjoy the sounds.

 I rode Bent Creek today and broke my chain.  I didn't have any tools with me.  I've never broken  a chain, and I was only out for an hour.  I've been riding BC without a spare or toolkit for a couple of years and finally got a warning shot across the bow.  I'm glad it was warmish.  I still rode the downhills and walked the uphills so that was interestingly slow.

A dude rode up from behind and joked that I should get a chain, it would be more fun.   He rode away without any offers of help.  I lamented that mountain biking is not what it used to be.  Seems like your everyday recreational rider has not learned trail etiquette and the leave no mountain biker behind mentality.   We were at the top of a downhill section of trail.  He said "sorry about that" and took off,  I jumped on the bike, coasted and caught him!  He pulled away at the next climb, and I didn't see him until the parking lot.  I let it go.  Its not worth it.
It was a nice day to go slow though.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Lake Life

 I love the lake.  
The open expanse of water.  
Skimming across the surface.  
Pulling up to the beach. 
Jumping in the cool refreshing water.  
Dodging thunderstorms.
 Eating scrunched up sandwiches. 
Waving to the other boaters.  
Wishing I had  a bigger boat.  
Being content with my 12 foot little motor boat.  
The boat seems to shrink as the kid grows.   
Teaching the kid. 
Laughing with the kid. 
Providing for the kid.
Enjoying what I have,  missing what I don't have. 
 Practicing being kind.  
Practicing being selfless. 
 It all takes practice.
 It does not come naturally.  
It is intentional, worth the effort because it helps the greater good.
At the end of the day, focusing on who I am, what I am and being satisfied.
Just be.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Just Be

Self care, self improvement, self aware.... becoming a better person requires a lot.  Breaking the negative cycles and habits that were ingrained from child hood, requires a lot.  A lot of thought, a lot of work, a lot of new habits and new focus.    I've been doing that, to the nth degree,  but suddenly a though crosses my mind.  When am I good enough?  When will it be enough?  In my desperation to be the best dad, husband, neighbor,  I am now stressing myself out trying to improve. 

And then it dawns on me.  I have to take a break.  I have to relax.  I have to be.  I have to enjoy the work that has been done.  I have to be who I am and be who I have become.   I have worked hard, and the change is obvious (as reported by my wife). 

Is there still work to do?  Sure, but for a period, for a season,  I can relax and know that I have worth, that I have purpose and that I can enjoy the freedom that has been given to me. 

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Racing the Storm

 I set out in the sunshine and heat.  It was upper 70's in the shade but the humidity was thick, so it felt like 90!   Heading out the parkway and up Avondale, I was planning to loop back on Rose Hill for a lollipop loop.  Plans changed when the thunder started rumbling through.  I decided to turn down Concord and try to outrun the storm.
 I was successful for a while, but when I took a left on 74A, the wind picked up and the curtain of rain was closing in.  I ducked in to Dollar General for a little while.  When the rain let up, I headed up the road again.  When the next band of rain came through, I hid out at the produce stand.  After about 15 minutes, the rain let up and I took off.  

I made it home mostly dry,  just a little damp from road spray, but even more importantly, didn't get hit by lightning!
Home sweet home.