Tuesday, January 28, 2014

wherever I go, this must be the place

david byrne wrote the lyrics to a song I love, a song I sing all the time, a song that has somehow penetrated my soul and taken up residence there:  this must be the place.

he also rides a bicycle.

and has this to say, which is all you're going to get from me today:

cycling can be lonely, but in a good way.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

dog stars, bicycle stars

it's been a rough little while around our house, and I don't have a lot of oomph left over to come up with a brilliant post this week,
so I thought I'd search for someone else's fabulous quote about cycling to share with you.
well, I found one.
and it related perfectly to something that just entered my life and took up residence in my heart:  a book.
peter heller's the dog stars.
published in 2012, the book has been selected for book clubs, has become a bestseller, has been featured in plenty advertisements, but I've never felt drawn to it, didn't even know what it was about.  however, while picking up a requested book from the library a week or two ago, I saw a display of the dog stars, and thought, what the heck, I'll give it a shot.

I started reading it, then went to the back cover to see what in the world I was reading:  a post-apocolyptic novel set twenty years or so in the future.... not my typical fare.  but I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  so I kept reading it.
and soon I fell in love with it.
then I cried.
and kept reading.
there were no bicycles in it at all.
but a dog, an airplane, and a handful of crunchy characters.

I love this book.

the title is simply about a constellation, the possibility of naming your own constellations for those beings who matter in your life.

fast forward to today and my search for a meaningful cycling quote.  I'll put it below, and let you draw your own conclusions about why I chose it.  there are no hidden meanings, no puzzles to figure out, just a nice synchronicity between my thoughts and feelings, and the author's.  my quote is one of carl sagan's:

If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles. 

think of all those wheels we can draw up there in the night sky . . . and all the places they could go . . .

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

control of pain

one of our coaches likes to bring in tidbits of information about cycling, exercise, and nutrition.
he also likes to tell stories about his adventures, and we've heard all sorts of things from his riding a bike home---with numerous painkillers on board---from an emergency room visit, to assorted different crashes, to his bonking and occasional vomiting during cycling events.
he's got a great, self-deprecating sense of humor.
but last week he told us about an article he'd recently read that stated those of us who like high-intensity workouts like them because they provide for us a pain that we can control.

we humans experience a lot of pain in our lives.  physical pain, emotional pain.  although some of it may be in our control, most of it isn't.  a loved one dies, someone jumps and lands on our foot.  we slip and fall.  we break a bone, we break a heart.  we disappoint someone, we let our own self down.  we stub our toe or sprain an ankle.  pain happens.  and although we often have some warning, we often don't, and we have very little control over it all.

enter the hardass workout.
the workout where you can control just how much pain you suffer and for how long.

I'm not sure about the science behind this concept.  I'm not sure that we like our hardass workouts because they are situations where we can control our pain.

what I find more important through this process is that I learn that I can tolerate/manage/endure amounts of pain that I might not have thought possible.

I don't think I'm enduring the pain simply because it's under my control;  I think I'm enduring it to prove to myself that I'm stronger than I think.

because this is the gift I've received over the years.
this morning's workout was a tough one---named the "l'alpe d'huez climb" by our program's creator---and after it ended the coach came around, asking each person how it went.  my response was,
I just do what I'm asked to do.

and this is what I've learned through my years of cycling training:  I can do whatever I'm asked to do.
pain, tolerance, tedium, endurance, fatigue, everything, it's all manageable.
for me, it's not about controlling it, it's about learning that I can endure it.

but the greatest truth is probably best stated by arthur golden:

I don't think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

music world

every year one of our power camp coaches holds a music competition.  she invites everyone to submit a song, then she places them all on a playlist that she plays during class one day.  after listening to all the songs, everyone in class is asked to vote for their favorite song;   the top song wins a prize for the person who submitted it.
winning songs over the years have not always been the songs you'd expect.
one year the winner was barry white (my everything), and another year it was grace potter and the nocturnals singing paris (ooh la la) . . . one year it was jewel singing her morning song.
we as a group are completely unpredictable, and I've heard it's possible to bribe class members for their votes.  and remember, we start class weekday mornings at 5:10 am.  it's understood that we're all a little wacked.

this is submission week.  I have 5 more days to come up with a song and submit it.  and I'm stumped.
I don't listen to enough music, apparently.

so this morning I decided to cheat.  I sent an email to a friend who is a spin instructor in another state, asking her for her latest and greatest songs.  and she gave me a few ideas.  as did the internet, where I searched for popular spin and workout music.  hmmm.

I do love music.  I love the rhythms and harmonies, and I love both upbeat songs and those that are slow and heartfelt.    this morning in class the coach played ike and tina turner's "proud mary," the long version, a song I never loved and haven't heard in years and years . . . and it was great.  then came the phantom of the opera's theme song, and then some pop.  erasure was in there somewhere, and jack johnson, too.  it's all good, it's all wonderful, it's all terrific at distracting you from your discomfort.

and after it all, I've made my selection.  it's bright, fun, energetic, and has the best title in the world.
you can click on this link to hear my 5 am spin class song.  forget the love part, just sing the chorus.

again and again and again . . .
and then you'll know what it's like in our workout room every morning in the dark.

there's truly a song for everything, isn't there?