Saturday, April 12, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
Thursdays somehow have become throwback Thursday on Facebook. I posted a picture of me as a sophomore basketball player at Wheat Ridge High school which triggered an entire avalanche of thoughts and dreams I recall from my days as a Farmer. I asked myself, how does dreams of yesterday affect me today?
I think back to cold days on the driveway playing against imaginary Russian basketball foes and draining jumpers for our country. It’s ok to dream, realistic or not, it helps motivate me and it is who I am. My race results merely tell you what I did, the effort tells you how hard I tried, but it’s my dreams that might perplex you as I suffer through a race with a smile because all those dreams are wrapped into the moment and make me push harder and harder.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
|Dave and I at Mary's market in Hygiene|
Saturday, March 22, 2014
|The trail where I "wrote" much of this|
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
|Patrick from Houston, Art from Montana and me at IMAZ|
It's that bond that is probably one of the most endearing aspects of triathlon. The social connection might surprise outsiders who consider it a solitary sport. That secret oxymoron of the social benefit versus the individual accomplishment can really only be understood by those that participate. Yes, triathletes compete in the same venue, but 90% really race against themselves. Sure, I have been fortunate to land at the top of my age group and found myself wrapped up in worry about beating those near me, but historically my races have been more about improvement rather than winning.
I think it's that component, improving, that creates such a collaborative community of athletes happily helping others improve. Even the narcissistic competitive racer knows it's their own effort that ultimately makes or breaks the race, not the failing of others. Every race is really thousands of races all bundled together with each athlete typically combining small goals to equal a big one. Most athletes I know compartimentalize the race and try to achieve certain times in each segment and transition. I feel the spirit of competing and improving can get lost in such minutia when sometimes more subjective goals like simply finishing something thought unachievable or even showing the mental strength to overcome things like the fear of the swim or the pain of the run can and should be every bit as noble.
It is a sport of lots of lonely training. It can be technical and equipment intensive but it's that mental strength and connection to others that really drives triathletes. That lonely training is a necessary evil that come race day serves athletes well. Once the cannon booms, most people keep to themselves and dig deep. But once across the finish line, it's like coming home from school and the stories flow (along with the beer) and everyone just wants to be around the energy and passion that helps carry them to the next race. It's that social connection and drive for improvement that I believe hooks us all.
Don't be shy.....
Thursday, February 20, 2014
This is not a book review. I don't feel comfortable critiquing writers much more accomplished than me. I did not check their facts and have no reason to dispute anything they offered. I take the book as fact.
I want to tell you how it affected me and my thoughts about pro cycling and Lance in particular. Before I read this I felt like Lance was more of a victim than a perpetrator. I thought he was a talented pawn manipulated by corporate greed operating in a sport governed by the lame UCI, who overseas international cycling, and seems to sway with the money in its diligence, enforcement and sanctions.
I feel I was right about the UCI who didn't necessarily turn the other way. I feel the evidence suggest they didn't try "too hard" to really crack down on Lance and his postal teammates. Why would they want the money in their sport to go away? Let's face it, once Lance became prominent, the largest sporting economic power in the world, the United States, suddenly became interested and poured lots of money into European cycling in the way of sponsorships, television and sheer exposure.
But Lance pushed the agenda and in my opinion got more than just swept up in the big bucks--he solicited them and created the buzz for self serving reasons. By all accounts he was just simply ruthless and quite frankly an asshole. I know people who have met him, spent time around him and his sponsors and never is a nice thing said.
Sure he raised money for cancer. He had cancer, fought a brilliant battle and came back to win the most grueling sporting event on the planet--seven times. That part I admire, drugs or not, it's still impressive as hell. Make no mistake, he is a great cyclist.
I really don't even want to judge him, but I can certainly offer thoughts on documented behavior. I know I have not always been as upstanding as I would like so it's not my place to throw stones. I do believe he wanted to help people with cancer. I have no doubt he battled tons of pain and great odds to win his own battle. I just can't believe he didn't have some empathy for others in similar situations. I must say though, this book made me think twice about even his most noble acts.
I guess I'm simply a bit shocked at his ruthlessness to "beat the system" and in some of the cold, calculating and downright wrong ways that he tried to cover it all up. The depths of intimidation to those that knew is amazing. It's hard to believe that such an iconic sports star led such a scheme. The energy it must've taken to not only train, but to mastermind the doping and cover it up is mind boggling. He had help no doubt. But it seemed to me that those who helped did so for more logical reasons--to save their jobs (like his teammates), to protect their investments or those of their associates, or to simply avoid getting in trouble. With Lance I felt his incredibly narcissistic, ruthless behavior delved into much greater depths. Sure he wanted the money and sure he wanted to win, but even stronger I think is his desire to not lose. To beat everyone at every angle of cycling and doping to simply prove he could-- to prove he was king. He didn't care who was swept up with him, who got chewed up and spit out like Floyd Landis, or who lost everything.
The book painted a deeply dark picture about a person who influenced me for sure. I read his first book about overcoming cancer and was quite taken by his battle and became a bit of a fan. I must admit I started watching the tour because of him and only stuck with the coverage to see how he was doing.
I don't think anything less of cycling. I still love it of course. I don't think anything less of pro cycling for that matter. Besides Lance I feel the rest of paleton were just doing what they needed to do to save their jobs. The riders needed to stay competitive and once drugs became prevalent, that tiny boost in power, stamina and speed meant a huge difference in placement and exposure--the parts cyclist could sell to sponsors for money. I get it.
Organizations and companies like U.S. Postal, Nike and Trek invested tens of millions of dollars into cycling, and in particular Lance, with completely false pretenses. He took them for a ride and left a pelton of fans, sponsors, teammates and competitors in shambles hoping he would break through the pack unscathed.
It's too bad, his brief triathlon career after cycling proved he still had some amazing endurance ability. He crushed most triathlons and beat many seasoned pro's. I would love to have seen him race Kona, like he planned, but now he is banned for the foreseeable future.
I think somehow the sport will become even greater and all of this negative exposure and fall of it's worldwide icon can pave a way for a truer sport to exist. It's tough in America as we seem to want that champion to hang on, and it might be a while in cycling.
I guess this book proves to me that nothing can be greater than its sum and sooner or later what goes around comes around.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Anyhow, I was scheduled for a 90 minute negative split run. The thought of spending that much time on a treadmill on such a cold but beautiful day didn't sit well with me. I knew an effective training run would be difficult in such cold and on snowy trails, but I felt compelled to be outside and enjoy nature.
And did she give me many reasons to smile. The skies blue depth mesmerized me and provided an amazing backdrop against Table Mountain with its rugged "square" top highlighted by snow perched perfectly on the edges of rocks and resting on each blade of grass and branches of trees. There had been no wind when the snow fell and with the brilliant sun cutting through the crisp dry air, it sparkled and looked magical.
I ran, and hiked and stopped to take it in and snap a few photos. Running on snow challenges the feet and ankles recruiting small muscles to stabilize each foot fall. In talking with coach Lindsay yesterday, there is definitely some benefits to runs like this that help strengthen under used muscles. When fatigue sets in on an event like an Ironman, those smaller stabilizing muscles can help immensely.
But, let's be real, that was not on my mind Sunday. I simply wanted to be outside nourishing my need to let nature do what she does best and that is to remind me how beautiful life is and how lucky I am to be healthy and to be able to train, frankly live, in such an amazing place.
Table Mountain is iconic. South and North Table Mountain frame the city of Golden and guard the valley housing the world's largest brewery--Coors. As the name suggests, they are relatively flat on top and provide amazing views of the Rocky Mountains to the west and Great Plains to the East. Trails criss cross and circle each mountain making for endless loops of varying distances ideal for all sorts of recreating. They truly are a treasure to west part of the Denver area and are home to all kinds of critters, most notoriously, rattlesnakes.
But it was a wee bit cold for rattlesnakes on Sunday and I saw lots of deer and one dead one that I can only think a mountain lion had killed and left a lot of carnage on the trail. There was an odd beauty to the ribcage on the trail. Everything was blue, brown or white. In the most stark contrasting way possible, the red on the snow was almost shocking but yet brought a sense of balance and a feeling of being simply part of the natural state of things. It made me feel more honored to be in that place at that moment where life was just the way it was meant to be, a place where we all do what we do to survive and this mountain lion (I presume) was simply trying to eat and maybe provide for some young.
Maybe that is why I ran outside, didn't follow the plan, but rather followed a calling to commune with nature for a couple of hours and explore a beautiful place only minutes from the hustle and bustle of city life.