Posted tagged ‘Distance’

Numbers

August 24, 2009

Crossing the century mark yesterday put me at around 408 miles over the last 11 days.  Numbers can be important.

 

1, 3, 5, 7, 12, 40, 1000, 5000; heck you throw a number out there, and somebody’s going to find some meaning or significance for it in the Bible.  Is that why numbers are important?  

 

Usain Bolt now holds how many world records?  His time in the 200m was 19.19 seconds.  Michael Phelps got beat in one if his latest races by .96 seconds.  Is that why numbers are important?

 

Some people crunch numbers for a living, trying to balance a checkbook, estimate accident or life expectancies, even transacting business at the checkout counter.  Is that why numbers are important?

 

I don’t really think that numbers are important at all.  I see numbers as a means to a greater commonality- experience.  Even economists look at the latest consumer spending numbers and attempt to interpret what I “feel” about the economy!  Do I think it’s improving or do I still think things aren’t quite getting there?  I think numbers need to go beyond asking what – towards asking how and why!

 

Numbers, thought of in this way, can lead us to interpretations of experience.  You see, I just got done riding 100 miles, and there is nothing like the feeling of that accomplishment!  It feels so good, I cannot describe it!  The emotions of coasting in that last mile or so were overwhelming.  It is not a frequent mark for most cyclists I run with, rather, it is often a goal or a highlight of the season, because it’s a big number!  It takes time and training and focus and most cyclists can commit to that only so much.  But the truth is, there are cyclists who go that every weekend, even every day!  So I qualify myself, just a little when I claim it.

 

I’m proud of my numbers.  I’ve earned them.  I’ve pedaled every mile.  More than that- in a spiritual and emotional way- I’ve gone the distance.  I’ve experienced the exhaustion.  I’ve known the high.  I have seen the mountaintop and I have rolled through the valley.  I have seen the glory and the misery.  This century, for me was a glimpse into my own happiness in a way not yet known.  The satisfaction of friendships long lasting, the joy of muscles doing their work, the nourishment of a peanut butter and jelly as it creates new energy within, the road- smooth and rough and the sign of the finish which made my heart both leap and sigh – that, my friends, is why numbers are important!  

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A Turtle In Traffic

August 17, 2009

Picture 1Riding a Century is long!

As I prepared myself for a long day on wheels, I filled my tires with the necessary top off, and rolled out from the garage.  I wasn’t entirely sure how far I was going.  The map in my pocket prescribed an 88 mile route, but I had my sights on something bigger.

 

As I pulled out on Southport Road, I noticed in the distance the approaching gravel truck and tailing Jeep swerving out into the center to avoid something round in their tire’s path.  One notices these kinds of moves when the only thing between you and that truck is a helmet!

 

As I got closer to that spot, I identified a round lump, which, to my surprise became a frightened turtle, clammed up in his shell!  I couldn’t believe it, the little booger had gotten about 2/3 into the lane, and gave up!  Poor fellow!  So, I glanced at traffic and flipped around to grab him.  As I plucked him off the asphalt he looked my way, and cowered even more.  I walked over into the grass and headed toward the pond’s edge.  After laying him near the water, I jumped back on, waited for a couple cars to pass, then headed on my way.

 

For the next mile, all I could think of was – “Today’s going to be a long day.  Take it slow!”  And for the next 6 hours, I proceeded to remind myself- “Anything worth doing, takes time!”  Six hours in the saddle is a long time-  time to ponder, time to get lost, time to be angry, time to be happy, time to be tired, time to feel great- time for a lot of things!  But every time, every time I questioned what I was doing, I considered that turtle, and what a blessing he was to me.  “Take it slow.” 

 

Once I passed the 70 mile mark I knew I could do it.  I had pedaled to that point, had fresh water bottles, and a good meal, so why not.  I was amazed that when I climbed, I climbed, and when I rolled on flat, I really rolled!  I was still easily reclaiming 20 mph after a hill, recovering well.  I wasn’t completely shot!  In fact, quite the opposite.  The piece I found to be true for me, was that I CAN DO it, and I don’t need to worry about whether I can, or can’t.  You know, I’ve actually read in several places that ANYONE can ride a century on a bike.  If you train a bit, work hard, and plan it right you can do it too!    Most of the hundred mile achievement is mental.  That’s why the Turtle in Traffic was a big help to me!

 

But maybe that’s not your goal.  I’ve never been big on specific goals.  They always seem to get in the way of enjoying what’s right in front of me.  (Granted, most of the time that’s a Nutty Bar vs. weight loss!)  But I do see from this experience that maybe certain goals are worth writing down.  If you do not see them, you will not live them.  Perhaps that’s why reading scriptures daily is so important.  I don’t do that all the time either (yes- honesty is a drag, I know!), but, when I do, and it’s right in front of me, reminding me, it’s far more likely to make an impact, than just some faint memory verse in 5th grade Sunday school.

 

Perhaps that’s enough rambling for now.  Let me just ask this–

What is your goal this week?  this month?  this year?  

How are you coming along?

 

I think I’ve got one more century and a couple of mountains to tackle before I return to work.  See you soon! 

Go the Distance…

May 30, 2009

“Go the distance” he hears whispering from some etherial voice from the great beyond.  It’s a classic – Field of Dreams.  We went 65 miles today – well technically 64.759 according to my bike computer.  It was a great ride.  I discovered Wilbur, IN!  Never been there!

 

Two men sat in those wooden Adirondack chairs on the porch of the convenience store at the crossroads in Wilbur.  Looking like Kings, they greeted us with curious stares and quiet hellos.  No doubt these farmers had sat there on that porch in those chairs for years, and they hadn’t seen anything as curious looking as us in a while.  Cyclist are a bit odd looking, in all that spandex and color – but, we get people’s attention!  Remember that next time you pass one by in your car.

 

Anyway, it was a curious place.  I heard tales of the pancakes as big as your plate at the old restaurant across the street (Rosie’s I believe).  I also heard of how the health department shut that place down 2 years ago.  Also classic.  

 

After that, we climbed a killer hill and headed home.  All in all – a GREAT ride!  I can’t even remember those moments in the ride where I thought “What am I doing!??”– Classic!