Thursday, December 31, 2009


it's been snowing for days, beginning with a grainy, unclean, mucky sleetish snow and gradually morphing into a beautiful, crystalline, light powder that now sits lightly over every surface and is sparkling under the sun's rays.
it's a beautiful morning, full of promise and perfection.
and here I sit, on the day of closure, looking back at my cycling year. I think I'll take a few minutes to just glory in all of those miles, all of those experiences, the totality of what the past 364 days have meant to my life.

my 6000 miles included:
  • a chilly ride from wanship up chalk creek to the wyoming border on my first bad ass team ride
  • durango to silverton, 34 degrees at coal bank pass on memorial day weekend
  • the fastest 100 mile tour of cache county I've ever been on, thanks to the bad ass team
  • the 1000 warrior-fools ride, hitting the base of little cottonwood 94 miles in, on a 99 degree day
  • my slowest lotoja yet, an exacting test of my mental strength
  • countless rides up and down emigration to my beloved little dell and back
  • wolf creek pass, torrey, teasdale, monte cristo, trapper's loop, old snow basin road, little cottonwood, big cottonwood, big mountain, morgan, ,millcreek, henefer, city creek, francis, kamas, midway, brown's canyon . . .
  • and 2 (yes TWO) mountain bike rides

places those miles did not include that I wanted them to:
guardsman (I only went halfway up, once)
albian basin

just kidding about the hawaii part. though I have heard from quite a few people that riding at sea level is a thrill ~ all that available oxygen, you know. someday I will ride at sea level and experience that for myself.

I have had an amazing year. I am truly grateful for every experience, both off and on my bike, as each such experience is moving me closer to becoming the best version of me. I suffered plenty this year, and I celebrated great accomplishments. I kept my commitment to myself, and I continue to keep the concept of balance part of my belief system. I will never stop learning, I will continue to keep an open mind, I will always take it all in and keep only that which matches who I am.

I haven't yet committed to any organized rides for the coming year. at the moment I have no great goals, no have-to-do-it rides. my overarching goal is to train smarter, and not ride quite so much. what my challenge will be is that I like to ride my canyons, and I don't necessarily like doing "drills". so once power camp is over, I will need to develop a plan that allows me to ride where and when I want that also includes the kind of workouts I need to keep me fit and progressing up that performance ladder.
piece of cake.
I mean, sweet potato.
or kale.
yes, I will continue to incorporate those good foods in my diet. yes, I will still eat cake. yes, I will add more electrolyte replacement drinks in my intake and I will not overhydrate with plain water.
yes, I will still drink diet coke and coffee.
can't change too much or I wouldn't be me.

which brings me to my best goal for the new year: to be authentically me, me, me. because that's what God intended, and that's the best way to play my part in the world.
so how about if you be you this year, and I'll be me, and we'll all work together to try to pull it back around to the kind of world we want to live in?
happy new year, and may it become your best one yet.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the fool

lest you fear I am a one-dimensional being, one who lives only for 2-wheeled adventures and velo opportunities, herewith I share with you my Grand Adventure of last sunday:
Susan Takes a Boarding Lesson.

I could begin with today, and tell you that I've spent most of it hobbling around, limping, favoring my poor bruised knees, tailbone, and thumb . . . but that might take some of the fun out of the story.

I think I'll begin with the fact that I'm quite excited (and amazed) that john captured this picture of me upright and smiling.
smiling wasn't the difficult part.
remaining upright was.

I took a snowboarding lesson at snow basin sunday, and I ~ once again ~ enjoyed the state of humbled humiliation. I find this to be good for my character, this experience of being a novice, an initiate, or, more accurately, a bit of a fool.

there is a card in the tarot deck called 'the fool.' it is known as the card of infinite possibilities, and it represents someone embarking on a journey full of confidence, trust, and faith that all will be well, as well as an understanding that every experience encountered has a deep, essential meaning.

I learned many things during my hours on (and underneath, beside, and holding) that board: one of the most important being how very darn easy it is to just ride a bike.
but I also learned, or more accurately, relearned, that oh-so-important feeling of starting from nothing and building a bit of a skill that takes you to a place you've never been before.
and which makes you desire a bit more of the same.

I'll leave it to you to guess whether or not I'll be on a snowboard again this year.
or next.
or possibly the one after . . .

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the new bike

a few days before Christmas I was walking through a wal-mart parking lot.
I noticed a mountain bike leaning against a car, a bright, shiny royal blue brand new mountain bike. the car was some kind of compact sedan, a dark red color. the man wore jeans and a puffy coat, and I watched him pop the trunk open, then begin trying to fit the bike into the trunk.
I grinned. both outside and inside.
some lucky kid was getting a shiny new bike for Christmas, and my mind just went spiraling off in a multitude of pleasant directions, thinking of where he or she might be headed on that magical machine.
this is what I hope: that whoever it is who received that bike will find even one tenth of the amount of pleasure I have found on my bike this past year. may they swoop and soar and pant and push and grind and be exultant when they reach the top of every hill. may they work up a sweat, and spend oodles of time coasting. may they discover the pure joy of wind rushing against their cheeks. may they grin every bit as big as the grin that lit my insides when I saw that bike.
and may the bike-giver experience that wonderful feeling one gets from giving a gift that brings someone great joy and pleasure for hours and weeks and months to come.

happy pedaling to us all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


what a thing to discuss two days before Christmas: bodies.
body shapes and sizes and structures.
now I realize we're all subtly adjusting our bodies with all that holiday season high caloric intake, but in general we don't move far from "normal" in just a week or two.
and this is what I keep noticing lately: we come in a million (or so) different versions of normal.

I, unfortunately, grew up with that image of Beautiful that was long-limbed, narrow waisted and hipped, full breasted, naturally blonde, and, well, much more Barbie-like than seemed reasonable. (I do remember believing princess caroline of monaco was gorgeous for a while there, she of dark hair and blue eyes: she broke the mold a tad with that brunette mane, but still possessed all the other physical feature must-haves.)
oh, and creamy complexions: skin that never flushes or reddens or behaves in a prickly manner.
cheeks that become rosy in the cold, but never go blotchy.
noses that, if they turn bright red with cold, look dainty and sweet.
let's see, what else. oh, yes, never, never, never any cellulite on any part of the body. firm, taught skin that glows with health and makes evident the strong, supple, capable muscle structure beneath.

that was exhausting.
it's hard to think about the perfection that taunts us. all of those fit, gorgeous, physically blessed people who grace the covers of magazines and our television and movie screens.
reality is that we come in all those amazingly different shapes and sizes, and there is very little perfect out there. or I should say, we are each perfect in our own imperfect ways.

in my power camp class there are extremely fit people whose shapes aren't the typical Beautiful Person shape. some of these people even have a little extra body fat. some have thick torsos, some have thick legs, some have thick arms. there are people whose legs are short, and those whose legs never seem to end. some of us are tall, some are shorter, and a bunch of us are smack dab in the middle.
no two of us are very much alike at all.
and this is what I've been noticing lately.
I wish I didn't think so much about it, but I do. if I could come to class wearing makeup and a ballgown it would be completely different. but the makeup-less, sweaty, bicycle shorts (ugh)-wearing me is not me with my best look. so I'm always looking to see what other people look like in bike shorts.
yes, there are a few (okay, two) women who look really good in their bike shorts. the rest of us sport lumps and bumps and are not incredibly flattered by the padded chamois. and for this, I feel great relief.
I just want confirmation that I'm not the only imperfect non-Beautiful Person out there.

I'm getting better at accepting how I am. I tell myself I'm fit and healthy, and those are the important things.

but I still want to come back in my next life with flawless, non-reddening skin and long, slender legs.

Monday, December 21, 2009

those things in my ears

I am plugged in again.
back on my music kick:
at one with my ipod.

I love my ipod.
yes, I know you've heard this before. but I hadn't used my cute greeen ipod nano for months, and hadn't worked out with it since . . . well, perhaps early one wet fall morning when I used it in the spin room, before the 6 am class started, needing my own music to spin to. but prior to that it had been since last spring's weight room workouts, those long and boring sessions before riding season began in earnest.
so, a few days ago I asked my son to purchase two songs for me and put them on my ipod. which he did. and then I plunked myself down at the computer, opened my library, and created a new playlist.
I have hundreds of songs on my ipod, many of which were placed there by my daughters who for some mysterious and unknown reasons occasionally need to use my ipod instead of their own. I usually just hit shuffle, then skip through the songs I don't care to listen to. but what I discovered is that too many songs I love never get shuffled to the play position.
so, nearly 3 years after I received my ipod and made my first 2 playlists, I finally created a new one, playlist number 3.
and included the best of the best, the songs I love to hear and to sing with, the songs that motivate and inspire me.
monday after power camp class I headed down to the weight room, eagerly strapping my ipod to my arm, pushing the play button. from the very first song I was in heaven. I love my music.
the only aspect of listening to my ipod I regret is that it is an alienating activity . . . I get lost in my own little musical world and I am both unapproachable and oblivious. I don't make eye contact with anyone because if they then open their mouths to speak, I can't hear a word they say. and usually, I don't want to hear it because I would then have to pause my song and leave my inner bliss.
for now, my ipod has become novel again. I adore it, I am engrossed in what it's feeding me through my earbuds. and my compatriots will just have to tolerate my physical presence/mental absence until I settle down into a more tolerable relationship with my ipod.
which may not occur for a while, because my December 09 playlist (creative title, I know) is full of chords and words and voices and melodies and harmonies that please my soul and fill me with joy.
amazing what a little piece of hardware and a set of earphones can do for a person.
may you find your joys and soul-filling experiences somewhere out there, as well.

ps: this is post #500. apparently it's a week for milestones.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

coldplay times three

those of you who know me know that coldplay is one of those bands I really, really like. a few years back they recorded a song called 2000 miles, which had previously been recorded by the pretenders. it's not on any of coldplay's albums, and the story I uncovered is that they recorded it, then made it available as a free download on their website.
I love this song.
I even like it done by the pretenders, but I prefer coldplay's version ~ mainly because of chris martin's voice, I'm sure. and the piano.
it could be classified as a Christmas song, because the words do mention Christmas time, but it's truly just a song about someone missing someone. the pretender's video has snow in the background, and all in all, I guess I think of it as a winter song.

it's winter now.

but I also had (yes, past tense) a milestone to reach. and today was looking to be warmer and drier than any of the next ten days heading our way, so I decided to get my butt on the saddle and conquer those remaining miles.
thus, in 34 degree weather under partially sunny skies, I indulged in my own cold-play.

and it was great.

I miss that bike saddle. I loved the pull of my cleats on the pedals, the flex of my hamstring muscles and the tightening of my quads. rises fell away under my wheels, and each hill was just a pale and lessened memory of my canyon climbs. I remembered what it felt like to ride a real bike out in the real world. an exclusive and limited club had members out and about today: Cyclists Who Will Ride in 35 Degree Weather.
it was wonderful.

and then it was wonderful to be home two hours later, to snuggle my toes into the warm carpet and ground myself with the heated tile floor. to stretch and flex my fingers and let them come to be warm again. to curl on the couch and knit, and look outside and relive the experience.

and to know that I hit a significant milestone this calender year, a pretenders song times three. I may never do that again ~ I don't feel the need to force it to happen ~ but I am pleased and grateful to have been able to do it.
and darn pleased and intensely grateful for an exhilarating, terrific, gratifying ride today on my good friend and staunch companion, ruby.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

getting chicked

this morning the gal next to me in power camp said, I get all my pop culture from this class.
which holds true for yours truly, as well.
trivia, gossip, tidbits of what's going on "out there" . . . power camp brings to me an awareness of the Great Big World that I often don't pay much attention to.

for example, let me tell you about some of my experiences in the past few days.
  • I listened to just a sampling of the tiger woods jokes spinning all around the country, as he has been outed as the kind of guy we all dread being in relationship with, and he was just voted Athlete of the Decade. wow. just wow.
  • the lyrics of two songs actually stunned me into near-speechlessness this week. I had no idea these songs were out there, as I suppose I listen to "clean" radio. and because you're dying to know, they would be The Real Slim Shady, and Californication. uh-huh. this morning listening to Eminem I was either blushing, or just suffering from over-exertion. your guess.
  • I learned that the Tour de France began in 1903, and that the first documented case of cheating occurred in 1904.
  • I learned that not only is there a school that requires its students to take a course in unicycling, but that the tallest unicycle is 10 stories high. is there a point to wearing a helmet when you ride that thing?
  • and the best thing of all this week, I learned a new phrase, thanks to a story about Ironman competitions and Chrissie Wellington.
this last item needs its own paragraph here.
one of our instructors is a triathlete who was telling us Ironman stories the other day. Ironman competitions are for those people who (I am going to be kind) find enjoyment in completing grueling workouts that combine swimming, biking, and running in outrageous lengths. those would be 2.4 mile swims, 112 mile bike rides, and 26.2 mile runs. back to back, with "transitions" between the events that leave them biking sockless and running until blisters form and toenails fall off. gee, I can't believe I haven't signed up for one of these yet.
this instructor was telling us about Chrissie Wellington, the reigning Ironman champion. apparently she is so fast that she often passes professional male athletes. and apparently, these guys have coined a phrase for being passed by a female: getting chicked.
as in, Chrissie passed me: I just got chicked.
I love this.
and this I also love: chicking guys.
I know, I should be above it all, but I just get some really childish, snarky sense of satisfaction from passing men out there on my bike.
I don't get to do it all that often, and I don't count the guys who are obviously overweight, out of shape, or over 75 . . .
I don't gloat, I don't act superior, but deep down inside that little 5-year-old me is just pleased as punch to be chicking a guy.
up til now I haven't had an appropriate name for this event, so I am exceedingly grateful to my power camp class, which teaches me all sorts of wonderful things about this incredible world we live in.
but californication? geez.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

link of the day

sometimes I hear a song and am immediately enraptured by it. I love music, I hear the rhythm in everything, and I feel songs deep down in my bones.
I especially love hearing a new song that catches me by surprise in some way: a unique rhythm, unusual chords or patterns, or a voice I find particularly intriguing.
and spin class songs are under an intense microscope: I often distract myself from the pain and/or boredom of the workout by focusing on the music blasting from the speakers. I strain to catch the lyrics, I try to spin in time to the beat, I scour my memory for artist's names, and without a single bit of coaxing my memory banks delve deep into the past and push forward those little snippets of my life when I first heard a particular song.

the other day our instructor played a song that captured my heart and soul within the first few beats, and every time I visit youtube to play it a grin spreads across my face and my entire countenance lightens. and I start to wiggle, move, and dance, whether I'm sitting at the computer working or moving about the house.

so my gift to you today is this link, where you, too, can listen to kristen andreassen sing about crayons. and if this doesn't bring a smile to your face, I really wonder what might.

Kristin Andreassen Crayola

Sunday, December 13, 2009


whatever we choose to do in life, we do it much better when we are passionate about it.
this thought is on my mind because it's been challenging lately to think up things to write about: I am in my winter cocoon and although I may have passions for many things, my passion for writing about cycling is dampened by the cold and wet and lack of outdoor cycling opportunities. there is only so much one can say about power camp.
I want to ride up a canyon and be invigorated again.
I want to see and hear and smell and be an active participant in the world, instead of rushing to spend as little time as possible between car and building in the bitter cold or drizzling sleet. I want fresh air and sunshine and glittering hillsides and dry bike lanes.

today john told me about plans for a velodrome to be built out south in our valley, and while this may be great news for many people, I can't imagine being one who would utilize the facility. I'm sure I should (catch that?) do it once . . . but I don't see that fitting in on a regular basis with who I am.
I want to be out there, not in anywhere.

that being said, I am glad to be doing power camp. the workouts are good for me, the camaraderie is good for me, and the commitment is good for me.
it's just not always passion-inducing.
or emotionally stimulating.
it doesn't make me want to come home, turn on the computer, and write a novel about my experience.
however, I often enjoy the jokes that fly around the room.

thus I will turn to a power camp joke to end this missive ~ this is my favorite of the week, though my daughter tells me it's old news and posted all over facebook ~

sometimes I wonder why that frisbee keeps getting bigger and bigger . . .
and then it hits me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

it don't come easy

this is one key thing cycling has taught me:
how to spend a long time doing something you don't like so that you will become a better cyclist.
which can, of course, be extrapolated to the larger world:
I have learned how to tolerate experiences I don't care for so that I may evolve into a better person.
I have come a long way in these past few years, yet it is still a daily battle, one I am not sure I will ever emerge from completely victorious.
will I ever reach a point where I tolerate difficulty without wanting to quit, scream, pull my hair out, or just turn around and do something absolutely different?
as I said, I've made great progress over time. I'm much better at telling myself I will survive this than I used to be: now I know enough to believe myself when I say that. now I believe that these experiences do make me stronger, probably even more so mentally than even physically.
but this does not mean I have to like them.

my latest goal is to stop complaining about the experiences I don't like.
take this morning, for example. our task in class was to warm up for 10 minutes, then to spend 40 minutes spinning at 105 rpm's at a medium-low heart rate. the heart rate was not difficult to reach and hold, but the fast spinning is just something I find hard. I don't like it, it's not fun, it's something I constantly have to remind myself to keep up with, and it's just hard work. my legs prefer slower spinning with more resistance. so each time we have to do this fast-spinning-stuff I groan.
and I am working hard to first, keep those groans to myself, and second, reduce the number of groans I allow myself to groan.
attitude, attitude, attitude, I tell myself.
and then I realize I've become distracted and my legs have slowed to 100 rpm's and I have to push back up to 105.
and I give myself a pep talk about how there are only 38 minutes remaining.

I will conquer this.
because it's all about becoming the very best version of myself (thank you, matthew kelly) and that don't come easy.
if it did, it wouldn't be worth it, would it?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


yesterday's power camp class was a "time trial." what this means in the real cycling world is go fast and hard and try to win. what it means in power camp is high heart rate for extended time and plan on hurting.
we joke all the time in class about drafting each other, never being able to pull ahead of anyone, not getting there (wherever there might be) any faster than anyone else, and the headwinds/tailwinds provided by the fans in the room.
the only way to win a power camp time trial is to assign yourself a personal victory for spinning through it in whatever way you prescribed for yourself.
I just like to end without ever having experienced the I Am Going To Die sensation.

which is what I did, so I labeled myself victorious.
however, I did experience something else, which was the I Think I Hurt My Hamstring sensation.
this is new for me.
I've had knee issues throughout my cycling life ~ these issues come and go, and usually time, ice and bike adjustments end up solving the problems ~ I know knee pain. and I know cramps: I've not had many, but I've had a few over the years. but this muscle thing I experienced yesterday is new.
not good new, like yippee! I'm having a new experience! wow, this is cool!
new in the unknown sense, in the I never wanted to be here sense.

what happened is that about an hour into the class I suddenly felt a sharp, stabbing-type pain in the lower middle portion of my left hamstring. it moved along the muscle, in a way that made me think of a tear zipping through a piece of canvas. electric, painful, jolting me from my little zone and sending a loud message up to my brain and back down to my right leg: STOP !!

I don't need to go on and on; suffice to say I have a slight issue that I am working on.
a little ice, and a plan to apply heat on the way to class in the morning, plenty gentle stretching and some small amount of rest. I plan to be very careful, as the thought of really being injured is almost more than I can bear. I will be gentle, and give more work to my quads, and listen to my body. all the right things.

this morning's class was a combination of slow, heavy resistance work, and fast, light resistance spinning. what I learned is that my little injured hamstring doesn't like to spin around really quickly; funny, the rest of me (including the mental piece) doesn't like that part either!
perhaps I willed this upon myself . . .

Monday, December 7, 2009

4.5 miles

there is snow on the road, and the wind has been whipping frozen particles from north to south, chilling me to the bone. what was a beautiful white carpet yesterday is now lumped in hollows and corners and scraped so diligently from my lawn that you might think I had asked someone to shovel the whiteness from my grass.
I saw not a single commuter-by-bike this morning on my way home from power camp, for which I felt great relief.
this is not good biking weather.

it hit me today that it might not be easy to get myself on a real bike these next couple weeks. the forecasts show clouds and snowflakes and temperatures that are good ages for college students. these are not the conditions in which I like to ride.
and see, I have to get out for at least a brief ride sometime in the next 24 days, so that I may end 2009 with a nice, cheery, round mileage number.
the day after thanksgiving brought me close to my milestone, but by the end of that ride I was so tired and cold that I had absolutely no desire to ride another 4.5 miles and hit it. a mere skip across the parking lot in contrast to the Big Annual Number, but there was just no way I wanted to do it. hey, I knew there would be plenty more opportunities to get out before the end of the year.

so I passed on the next day that offered upper thirties and partly cloudy skies.
and the one after that.
and even the one following that.
and now I find myself here: staring out the window at the sinisterly slick roads and the air that's so cold I can see minuscule ice crystals in their processes of formation. my nasal passages hurt just looking out there, and goose bumps run across my body at the thought of actually being out there.

I have 24 days left.
to ride 4.5 miles.
on dry pavement, under sunny skies and in (oh please) 40 degree air.
this is my present request this holiday season, just one beautiful day so I may complete my goal.
I think this is a reasonable request, which I will now convey to the weather gods above.

and you can place your own little vote on whether or not I will let the weather keep me from reaching that goal.
if only you could see my self-deprecating smirk.
yep, we all know me all too well.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

revolutionary math

a thought to be pondered:

during today's two-hour power camp spin class my legs made perfect circles over 12,000 times.

I think I've earned cake for dessert.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

superfood me

anyone who knows me knows that I prefer cookies to kale. and cake to broccoli. and candy to tofu.
I have never tried to pretend that I eat as well as I should.
I actually enjoy and eat many foods that are good for me, it's just that I supplement and sometimes replace healthy items with those composed primarily of refined sugars and fats. darn it, I have the biggest sweet tooth on earth.

last night was the Power Camp Nutrition Seminar. yep, can you see where this is headed?
first of all, there wasn't a whole lot of body fat in that room.
and they didn't serve us champagne and petit fours. not even cookies and punch.
try whole grain crackers, miniature cheese cubes, sliced fruit, and water.

and I am incorporating (taking in to my body) a new leaf. note, I am not turning over that new leaf, I am just adding it to me. I'm not quite ready to give up the sugar sprinkled side of the leaf for the completely healthy side.
yes, this was on my list of "intentions" last january, to fuel my body more effectively. and hey, it's still 2009, isn't it?

this is what hooked me.
the dietitian who spoke to us gave me an easy place to begin, and that is exactly what I needed.
she talked about a group of foods called superfoods, which are densely packed with nutrients. the list includes things like whole grains, lentils, salmon, sweet potatoes, kale (but I nixed that), spinach, beans, nuts and seeds, berries, citrus, kiwi, oatmeal.
the side of the leaf I'm incorporating is the one that says substitute some of these things for the preprocessed foods you usually gravitate to.
see, I am a lazy eater. I don't like to have to work too hard for my food: I need things that I can grab and munch on as I graze throughout my day. but I realize that the sugary, processed stuff I usually grab doesn't serve me well down the road. so I now have this plan to keep some of these superfood-things available so that I munch on them, instead.
this is my experiment. I am going to see if I have more energy, if I have less desire to crash mid-afternoon. I am giving these things a chance, because the dietitian threw a Socrates quote at us last night that finally got to me:
bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.
yes, I've been one of those ride to eat people, (bad me), instead of an eat to ride person, and I can finally handle the shame no longer.

I had a baked sweet potato with salt and pepper for lunch today, and it was darn good.
I've snacked on a few sunflower seeds and a little bit of trail mix (fruit and nuts, no m&m's). I'm thinking about having a banana later. or possibly half an orange.

I am not promising a miracle. I will still eat cake. but I will work on training my mind that cake is not a meal.

and as usual, I promise to keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

blue card people

do you know that feeling you get when you are with people who seem to be in some way superior to you? they drive a more expensive car than yours, they're wearing mink while you're in your North Face hoodie, their skin is clearer or smoother or younger . . . it's not necessarily that you're jealous, it's not even that you want what it is they have: it's just that you sometimes slip into that place of thinking you are, perhaps, just a little less than.

okay, fine, if that's never happened to you, you're done reading here: go start your own Superior Being Blog.
if you can relate, read on.

this year power camp divides us into 3 distinct yet eerily homogeneous groups: Sport, Expert, and Elite. these divisions are based on your Power To Weight ratio, as determined by J.R. during your pre-power camp VO2 sub max testing. the program is adjusted slightly for the different classifications: Sports have an extra day off (suggested schedule is 5x a week instead of the 6x for Experts and Elites), Sports often have fewer of the work efforts (such as 12 "power starts" instead of the 15 the other two groups do), and Elites often are told to work in a higher heart rate zone than either of the other two groups (such as 4A instead of 3B).
J.R. tells us this is all in our best interest, and to mess with his program is to potentially keep you from achieving your best results.

when I mentioned above that we were eerily homogeneous, I was speaking for the core of the camper group who are pretty (very) darn focused on achieving their best results. one doesn't sign up for power camp on a lark, and I dare say the majority of us are highly committed.
however, one of our weaknesses---across the board---is that we like to work hard. and here we are, this group of overachievers, being told that we are to limit ourselves to 12 when others are doing 15, or to stay in 3B when others are working in 4A . . . I'll let you just imagine what can happen.
they say one of the most difficult forms of discipline an athlete must practice is that of holding back.

I'm an Expert. ooh, yes, I say that with a gleam in my eye that remains while I roll them heavenward. I don't get to call myself an expert in much at all, so it provides a little humor in my life to be labeled one by J.R.
we all have little laminated Heartrate Zone Cards which we rubber band to our spin bike handlebars during class to ensure our awareness of exactly how fast our hearts should be beating at all times. these cards have always been part of class, and it's become just a standard piece of the power camp equipment.
until this year.
because you see, this year the powers that be decided that this new category, the Elites, should have a differently colored card. so us non-Elites have a standard white card, while the Elites have these incredibly special light blue cards.
so now you can look around the room and see who's better than you.
oops, I mean, see whose Power To Weight ratio is higher than yours.

I can take it. I don't really want to have to work harder. and I know I'm not as strong as these people. it's really okay. I am happy to be an Expert. I don't even want to be an Elite when I grow up.

I might not have a blue card, but I do have a tiara (that was my prize for only missing one day of Power Camp the entire first season). no one can be the best at everything, and sometimes we just have to make the most of what it is we are good at. I happen to be good at commitment, follow-through, dependability, accuracy, reliability, math, and a few other things.
and since one of those other things I'm extremely good at is sitting on the couch and eating cookies, I think I'm headed there soon. you should see my bookmark: it's this little blue card, with rows of numbers across it . . .