Reflections on a life

Last week, Monday, Columbus day, I rode with Charles. We went out from my house a little after 7AM. It was about 40 degrees.

The previous Saturday, we attended a memorial service for our friend, Tom Little who was killed by Taliban militants in Afghanistan in August while returning from performing an eye clinic in a remote area. Charles shared as a friend from the podium.

Needless to say, the service and Tom were still fresh on our minds as we rode today.

We rode up Derbyshire Rd. and So. Clarksville Rd. which is the first big hill I rode with Charles a couple of years ago when we first started riding together. I was remembering that and how intimidating it was for me at the time. You know how you are climbing a hill and encounter false peak after false peak. It's so discouraging. This hill was like this. Finally I thought, "I won't keep looking at how steep the hill is ahead or how much there is to go. I'll just look at Charles' wheel, and if it keeps turning, I'll keep pedaling. I'm on your wheel, Charles." And that's how I got through it.

When reviewing Tom Little's life at the service, we saw a man who's life for the past 30 years was committed to bringing some good to a region of the earth sorely in need of it. I can't begin to imagine the privation and struggle of it. Trying to mend fragile human life amidst so much destruction. His life spoke volumes without anyone having to say a word. The unspoken question to me was "Having seen this, now what are you going to do?"

I'm not going to pretend I could attempt something on the order of what Tom did. This is not to make an excuse, but his was a unique calling. His intelligence, capabilities, personality and faith all came together in a synergistic way to accomplish a remarkable work.

However we can all do something to make the world a better place. We all have a responsibility to use the resources given to us wisely and not solely for our own gain. This is a tall order and not easily accomplished.

It is an encouragement to see someone who has gone before us. If he has kept going through tough, seemingly impossible circumstances, we certainly can keep going in the same direction.

I'm on your wheel, Tom.

fun ride on mohawk-hudson bike path in Cohoes, NY

Today's ride was a little outing on the Mohawk-Hudson bike path from Cohoes to Colonie, NY and back with Mrs. MTBMan1. We brought a picnic lunch. It was great! Really classic, fall day. Warm in the sun. Cool in the shade. Unbeknownst to us there was a marathon foot race today from Schenectady to Albany on the path. The road was blocked with orange cones and we were afraid we wouldn't be allowed up to park at the path entrance but the police let us through. Apparently it was just the tail end of the race.
This section of the trail is especially beautiful in the autumn with a couple of "corridors" arched over with brilliantly colored trees. It's a favorite of ours this time of year.
We rode out about 4-1/2 miles and then back and ate our sandwiches but the yellow jackets came around and drove us out.
It was a refreshing and rejuventating time.

Here's a little video (our batteries ran out and our spares were bad too!)

A little fartlek

Speedplay. I like to do this. Nothing "serious". I might start out a ride as I did Friday with no training objective in mind except to get "some exercise" and enjoy the ride.

But I like to stretch my legs, if you will. Pump 'em. And if I'm not serious about doing a recovery ride, that's what I'll do.

Then when I get warmed up, I'll start hammering. Maybe not flat out maxxed out but getting the old heart rate up there around 85%.

Especially when I do my usual 1 hour 15 mile after work "Dunkin' Donut" route. Because I'm so used to sections that are good for sprinting, I'll usually fall into that if I'm not doing some specific training routine.

So Friday's ride was like that. The weather was great. I wore my RRW4L jersey.

I had a little trouble with shifting onto the small chainring. Need to adjust that before my next ride. Also I wiped but did not lube my chain after riding in the rain earlier in the week (shame!)

Tomorrow (Sunday) will do a ride with Mrs. MTBMan1 and then Monday AM with Charles.

Pushing 1500. Will I make 2000 this year?

Healthy life style or ... Obsession?

3 yrs ago when I started cycling seriously, I put in 4000 miles. The next year, 2000. This year I may not make it to 2000. What of it?
I think initially I expected to exercise enough to lose weight without changing my eating habits. Now that reality has set in I have accepted that that will not be the case.
Unless you are a professional, competitive athlete you will not be able to do that. You will have to eat less to lose weight.
So what's the other reason to ride a lot? The high. It feels really, really good to give it your all on several hours of riding. You get in the "zone" and it seems like you can go on forever. You are a machine with endorphins bathing your brain.
This is where people get into trouble ... with their health, their relationships. They exercise to the point of physical breakdown. Or their relationships go downhill for want of time spent tending to them.
So I guess I'm OK with doing 2000 miles or less per year. But I'm still going to have to reign in my eating habits!