Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mindful Mule and Me

Yep, that’s my bike’s name – Mindful Mule. But really, it’s my name, too. I guess I named my bike after myself. It’s a good name, for both of us.

Mules tend to follow the same paths over and over again. Sometimes they can handle the load. But, they can also be stubborn for no particular reason.

Sometimes they just want to lie down and eat fresh veggies.

Mindful Mule knows the path well enough and tries to follow it – slow and steady and predictable – most of the time.

But, you have to remember that Mindful Mule is half horse, too. And sometimes he likes chasing the peloton around for a few laps. He can’t keep up for long, but just long enough to make the thoroughbreds a bit confused. “What’s this mule with the flannel roll strapped to his pack doing next to me!” they snort.

Mindful Mule is a work in progress. Mellow already, maybe, but not really mindful, fully. The Mindful part of the name is more of a goal, a reminder. ‘Cause when you’re a mule, it helps to keep your mind full – or… empty, rather.

Monday, March 22, 2010

blissing out on the road bikes

There’s not much more I really need to add to that title but basically the sun has been out and it’s been warm and I’ve been riding. And with that the hundred mile weekend has returned.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Her name was Lolo…

…she was a trackstar…
Photo: Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters

I’ve been watching the coverage from the World Indoor Track Championships from Doha, Qatar. Last night was the women’s 60-meter hurdles final. All eyes were focused on the Canadian “speedball” in the middle lane but emerging like a shadow from the far lane Lolo Jones ran away from the field in the second half of the sprint. It was a beautiful blowout of a race. That’s how you do it, baby. That’s a finish. You make me cry…

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Malibu Creek Trail Run

Maybe the best part of my day (or almost) was seeing snow on Brown Mountain on the way to the start.

Also, nice to see several deer grazing the meadow around the start area.

The sun was out for the start and mostly the whole race. Better than the rain that had been expected.

I had been worried about the creek crossing at the beginning of the course. The water was cold and way up the thighs but didn’t really bother me. It felt pretty good. It might have even helped to ice the legs and feet before the ascent. Wussed out and took off my shoes, though. Left the socks on, though, if that’s any consolation.

The climb up was steep at times but mostly runable. Great reward at the top - The Pacific! Cold wind coming off the ocean changed the mood for a little while. Could barely open my rolled fruit snack because I couldn’t feel/move my hands.

Ran out of water just before midway aid station. And again just before finish. Brought a 24+ ounce bottle. Maybe should have brought two. More aid stations or even a water jug between them could help.

Stomach cramps weren’t an issue finally in a race situation. I often get them at these events. Don’t know why. Too nervous maybe or trying harder. Every time I thought I felt a cramp coming on I just focused on complete breathing and they went away. Also visualized taking the form of Totally 80’s with her 7-speed freewheel and downtube shifters – light, simple, free – I’m not sure how I came to this but I liked it.

At the highpoint of elevation the wind died and the sun felt nice on my cold hands. Also at that point I knew things were gong well. All downhill from there. Plus I was singing the Veggie Burrito song which means I had a little hunger and my body was happy. If I had been wrecked I wouldn’t have had the energy to think about burritos. It goes like this: veggie burrito, veggie burrito, veggie burrito…

The descent was a little tricky due to lots of sticky mud. And since I don’t snug up my laces there were several sections that nearly pulled off my shoes.

The last few miles I was jamming. I saw a sign indicating 3.2 miles to the campground (start/finish) so I just floored it. It was nice to have energy left in the tank.

2h55m at the finish. I was happy to break 3 hours. Very satisfied. Actually, surprised with my performance.

Malibu Creek is a beautiful park (especially at this time of year). Really cool rock formations surrounded by my favorite native plant friends.

Made it back home in time to pass out on the couch in front of the Paris-Nice cycling coverage.

Friday, March 5, 2010

the truth about bicycling

Someone asked me recently if I’ve still been biking a lot. That’s the kind of question I get from people. It’s kind of a weird question, I think - unless it’s coming from another biker that understands the scale of my biking.

So when I was asked that, I tried to answer truthfully and say that actually I haven’t been biking that much lately. I’ve been really tired and just haven’t had the energy. I blamed it on getting old or maybe I’m still recovering from the holidays…

And then the questioner relaxes knowing that I can’t possibly justify hounding him about getting a bike and riding it somewhere, anywhere… to just replace a single car-mile… now he thinks he’s off the hook. Even Jonah has given up so we can all continue along merrily like we haven’t already fucked up the world. So, my activism failed that night. And I’m sorry.

The truth is, without realizing it, or intending to, I really pushed myself hard to finish off 2009 with high miles – the most of my life – a 50% increase from my second place year (2008.) And I might just be ever so slightly burned out. Not burned out on the bike, but just physically run down. So, I haven’t been riding that much.

Which is to say, I’m not on pace to set another record this year. However, I am on pace for an easy second. Not that pace really means anything at such an early month in the year. Things may change for better or for worse, of course.

But it doesn’t feel like I’ve been riding much, so that’s how I answer. It’s the truth from me and a lie to the questioner.