Monday, August 06, 2007

Yeah, I'm a geek, but I'm dedicated...

It has been pissing down rain for about 3 days, now.
Cold rain, cold wind. Miserable riding weather.
Right now, it's +55F! I'm tempted to get the
wood stove going....

I gotta admit, I was letting this bad weather cramp my style.

Today---no way around it: I had to ride and I
just couldn't face 2-3 hours of slogging around in
the cold and wet.

I got a DVD from the local library, "Hell on Wheels"
which was a pretty illuminating view of the Tour de France.
I think it was shot in 2003....up front and personal with the
German cycling team....lotsa interview time with Eric Zabel
(sigh!) and some time with Alexandre Vinokourov, of 2007
Tour doping fame.

Neat thing: I can get my HR up to 165 and still read
English subtitles!

That was my afternoon....
Cycling with this video and thinking about my Century+
ride coming up in just over a week.

I am getting really stressed out about it.
The weather and my persistant stomach aches/pains
are screwing up my training schedule. Thinking that
my body issues were dietary, I've cut out alchohol
entirely. One week without a glass of wine with dinner!
There's dedication for you...

But seriously, I am worried about my preparedness.

I am worried about the weather.

I know I can do the miles....I just can't have this
mystery abdominal pain jack the whole event for me.

When I was on my 77 mile ride, the phantom pain struck and
I found a nice piece of wet plywood by the side of the road
to have a little lie down on for 5 minutes. That seems
to be the only thing that helps (the lying down, not the plywood.)

On the 40 miler with Fromage the other day, I tried different ride
food; instead of a power bar (lotsa sugar) I took along some beef
jerky and cashews. Amazingly, a few handfuls of nuts made the
side ache go away for awhile.....or was it just the resting for a minute?

I HATE not having health insurance.
I HATE the fear of the expense keeping me from just seeing a
doctor about all this.....

Like I said, stressing out a little....

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Blown Fuses

Yesterday was a 40.4 mile ride in the evening with Fromage.
We rode up the Elliot Hwy to the Hilltop Truck Stop---just
a good out and back destination to get some serious miles in.

Lately, it's been hard to ride.
To be honest, it's been hard to ride since my 77 mile ride on
July 27th. I think I blew some major fuses with that day.....

Since then; aches that don't go away, a persistent exhaustion,
trouble getting motivated to ride, changes in body functions,
and some strange and worrisome abdominal pain.

What have I done about all this?
Took a few days off. Cut alchohol out of my diet entirely,
started back on the bike with smaller, slower miles, and
made sure to drink more water. 40 miles is the most I've
done since the 27th...just over a week. I feel pretty good
after it, and I think I'm ready to start increasing the miles
again. Now that I'm just 10 days away from the Big Ride,
I am stressing about what to do with my training until then.
Good diet and good sleep, I have in hand. It's the miles that
I am worried about---how many bigger rides should I do
before D-Day? (Or, I should say, 'C-Day...')

Riding with Fromage is always great. We don't ride
together that often because his ability and speed
are so much more advanced than mine. He is
always patient and has great advice and information
for me. He taught me to do bunny hops last night!
This is where you pull up on your handlebars as if
you're popping the front wheel over something, but
also pulling up your rear wheel with your clippped
in feet---you basically hop the entire bike into the
air a few inches. You can pop yourself and the bike
over a bad crack in the pavement this way. So cool.

In cycling this summer and also in skate skiing last
winter, I've been letting myself drop my need to be
really good, really fast. This is probably the only aspect
of a competitive personality that I have. I hate to be
bad at things... I hate to be seen as the novice. Of
course, setting out in any new course or direction,
one has to be the beginner. Dedicating some serious
time and effort to these new sports adventures has
led me to challenge my "be good or be an idiot" masochism.

I have given myself over to a certain degree to the
idea of Shoshin which is a Zen Buddhist concept---
"Beginner's Mind." It encompases the individual's attitude
as having an openess, an eagerness and lack of preconceptions...
keeping a feeling that there are endless opportunities. The
Zen Beginner's Mind is encouraged even at an expert or
master's level in one's efforts, so that sense of endless
possibilities is still open.

Gotta say, it's helped me a lot. I've been able to just be
and do the skate skiing or be and do the miles in cycling
without worrying about if I'm doing it just right or going
fast enough or having the right gear. I am able to accept
that I am doing, that I'm beginning this venture, and it's
enough...I'm doing just what I need to do and lack for
Of course, reality is taken into account! When my butt
started hurting like hell after 20 miles, I knew I lacked
for some good, padded cycling shorts....

Shoshin has helped in my approach to painting, as well.
I have let go of some of the stress regarding if a painting
is going to be really good or a dud. I have let go of my need
to make every artwork a fantastic personal masterpiece.

This specific stress RUINS my ability to make art.
To even start's crippling.

I'm practicing an approach in which I tell myself that
whatever painting I am working on will be what it will
be--great or small--and it will lead to the next, and the
next and the next painting---and I will learn amazing
things from each one. So far, so good.

My beautiful husband Fromage.

While on our ride last night, he thought it was
terribly funny to sneak up behind me and pinch
my butt. Seeing as he can go about 10,000 mph
faster than I can, there was no way to get
him back....