Archive | February, 2012

Re-Learning Balance. The “Hard” Way

8 Feb

I am constantly learning things that I didn’t know and re learning things that I used to know. The past two weeks have been a real testament to that.

My wife and I recently had our first child and my riding has suffered because of it. Over the years I had developed a system of riding that would allow me to spend time with family and still maintain a good amount riding fitness. Since the new addition, however, I am struggling to find the time to even do that.

I like to ride. Having said that, I also like to ride at a certain level. If I can’t then I get a little bent out of shape. In the absence of any training at all; I can say that my experiences of late have been less than inspiring. I find myself in a vicious cycle of blame and injury because of this. …OKOK it may not be that dramatic.

I started loosing my fitness about a month ago. Big deal I thought. There were a couple of feats of strength coming up and I figured that I could ride my legs back into shape with those. If I didn’t ride well then I would just blame it on too much time off the bike and too many hours sitting idle looking after a tiny human.

Down here at Highroller we talk a lot about being “hard”. Most of us here have been riding bikes since before carbon fiber was the road bike of choice and before mountain bikes even had front suspension. We marvel at how may riders now days don’t have a full appreciation of what our predecessors endured for the love of the sport. “Harden the F*&% up” is what we will always say to one of our own who is exhibiting symptoms of a wuss.

Original Ozark Hardman Carl Umiker

Taking a dose of my own medicine was just what I thought i needed. I had planned to attend the Headwater’s Challenge on Jan 29. I knew it would be tough but I would “suffer through”. Unfortunately the day before the ride I injured my foot and it became swollen to the point that I could barely get my cycling shoe on. I made the decision to abort the ride, but later on I got the bright idea that “I’ll just go out and do a road ride”.

About an hour into what turned into a three hour journey my foot was hurting and I was too far away to turn around. I basically soft pedaled with my L leg and did one legged riding all the way back to avoid putting pressure on the foot. Needless to say I really stressed out my R knee doing this.

So now I have a bum L foot, R Knee, have no fitness, and no time in the near future to gain any. Time to re coup and let mother nature do some healing I guess. OR I could be HARD and just ride. I decided that I would go out and attempt the WR50 last weekend. Needless to say I failed miserably in my attempt. Both knees and my foot basically blew up. I cited course conditions as my reason for turning around, but I guess I wasn’t fooling anyone.

Andy Hampsten, tough as nails

I was mad as hell after this. At myself for being an idiot, and also at the situation that put me here. Since things couldn’t possibly be solely my fault I invented blame to place on my time situation and family obligations. Just in case you were wondering, it is never a good idea to tell the mother of a newborn how little time you have for personal betterment. You will never win that argument….EVER.

Still angry at myself and feeling like i let my riding buddies down; I decided to go out for a long ride on Sunday. I road out hit some gravel roads and all was well until I decided ending with grunting up Dennis’ hill on my cross bike was a good idea. I made it all the way to the top, and was starting to feel pretty good about myself until my body decided to self destruct on the way back through the valley to Fayetteville.

The moral (if there is one) is that you just have to re-learn how to enjoy the things you love in different ways as your life evolves. As for me, I plan to take a few weeks to just chill and enjoy life (at least until I can walk around with out pain).

Thanks for reading.