How to know when you're recovered from an Ironman

How about when you feel like standing in front of the stove for an afternoon preparing food, just for the joy?

For the first week or so after a big build, big race, or anything alike, all that seems to cross the mind is a resounding "Eat!"  Too tired to figure out how.  Too cranky to figure out what.  Too spent to be creative.

Eventually, as recovery occurs creativity returns.  Once again there is interest in the what and the how, and today, I feel like cooking.

***

The guitar sits on a stand across from the couch.  Couch, remote control, six feet, then guitar.  When the miles climb and the intensity explodes, so does the distance from couch to guitar.  It just seems so far away.  The remote is right there, and who knows what to play.

Sure enough, a few days roll by and the mind wonders, "How does that song go again?"  8, 7, 6, 5, 4 feet & I can reach the guitar.  Today I can play.

Rest well.

Seek Up

Live at Luther College is by far one of my favourite DMB albums.  My buddy Joel & I took the bus down to A & B sound during the summer of grade nine and picked it off the shelf.  We brought it back to the house, put it in the the player, & listened to it in the back yard playing hacky sac.

It has now become the go too album for the drive to and from any race.

Seek Up on the Drive Down


****


The feeling that came when I looked back & Matt said, "You're doing great buddy, we're all in."

The feeling that came when I heard my name, looked around the corner, and saw Muddy.

The feeling that came when I gave my homestay parents, Ken & Marie a hug goodbye.


These are the feelings I remember, the highlight reel that will continue to play.


****

Seek Up on the Drive Home

Thank you for the highlight reel.


Rest well.

7 to go . . .

. . . and finding the flow.

Today was a good day, and in the wise words of Muddy "We'll wake up and do it all over again tomorrow."

Sometimes I think, "Really? Again tomorrow?"

Wake up, Kicking Horse, eat, roll over to the ever adventurous Crystal P and hop in.

"Weird, I think I actually feel alright."

Back home, eat, sleep, eat some more, and onto the hog.

Somehow when things turn bright in Victoria, it turns on a light in the legs.  Early in the season you may catch an occasional flicker.  "Was that it?  Did you see that?  I think the lights came on."

As that giant fireball becomes an evermore present presence, it has a way of flicking the switch, and eventually, the switch stays ON.

25.6, 26.2, 26.6, 26.7, 26.8, 27.1.  Now we're cooking with firepower!

Loops of the Waddling Dog are a classic here in Victoria.  Harness the power of the engines who have ridden here before!

Hog stays home and the 'flats are out for fun.

6:13, 6:08, "There must be a headwind," 5:47, 5:27. "Yeah, there was definitely a headwind.  Easy now tiger, settle in." 5:54. . .

Rest well.

wise words

He had been up sine 5:30, testing wax combinations, powders, and base preps.  He had pre skied the course frontward and back. He knew where he wanted race support giving splits.  He knew the start lists, our positions in line, and who we were each racing.

I'm pretty sure he had a good idea of where the cards would fall, but he had also taught us well. We were the players, and we would fight given any hand.

As he passed me my skis, there was an undeniable lack of urgent emergency, a stark contrast to what I felt.

"Don't you understand?" I would question silently in my own mind. "This, right now, this, this defines me.  This is not a time for smiles. It's not a time for fun."

His cheeks were bright red, flushed from being out in the cold.  He passed me my skis and said:

"Have fun Steve."

"Are you kidding me? Fun? You must have no idea, no idea at all."

I heard those same three words before every race we did as a team.  I heard them every time. I listened every time.  I heard, I listened, but I didn't understand. I didn't even really try to understand.

***

Eight years later I think I might.

Thank you Gord.

Rest well.

The Mountain

After days of snow.

I wake up, open the curtains, and see the sky; light blue, barely different from the snow shade on the mountainside.

The east face starts to wake as gold and brilliant white patches emerge on the summit. Gradually they descend, ledge by ledge, golden light and golden white.

I'm excited.

Now, closer to me a new face emerges. The mountain is alive.  I watch as the light descends and dances between the trees.

I must climb the mountain.


Rest well

Mouse Meat

Catching a mouse could be a great feat,

Especially if there has been no food to eat.

Isn't it nice of the mouse to give us their meat?



But the Tiger isn't satisfied with mouse meat.  He will starve.

The Tiger's eyes are set on Big Game, A Moose, 2 - 3 the size of the Tiger.



The Tiger has witnessed a kill.  He must keep practicing his own skill.

Eyes set on the Big Game.


Rest Well.

Tiger

Solitary Tiger, Superlative Hunter. 

Practiced skill, Perfected Patience. 

Tigers are Professional. 

Even with all that skill and patience, the Tiger still must learn how to hunt. Even then, he doesn't eat dinner every night.

The temperature has begun to fall. The sun follows, slowly lowering itself to the horizon.

Hungry Tiger.

Rest well.

Musical Mindset

Listen to the subtleties, the rhythm, the message, the music.

Feel it inside of You.  Become it.  Express it.

Ask yourSelf, "Does it resonate?  Do I feel it?  Do we connect?"


Pay attention to the subtleties and ask yourSelf.


As you feel the wave lift, stand up and ride that wave all the way to shore.

As you feel the music lift, stand up and ride that wave all the way to shore.


Choose music that lifts you and carries you to shore.


Pay attention to the subtleties of the music around you.


Rest well.

White Wolf

Then he arrived, the perfect pacer to climb the Heights.

Almost everyone who has climbed the Heights knows of or has heard of the legend.  He's chased many away, and encouraged more than a few sprints past.

I've always thought, "If I ever encounter a Mountain Lion face to face, I'll send out as much love as I have.  I'm not here to threaten.  I'm here as a friend."

As I approached, the White Wolf walked to the centre of the road and looked right into my eyes.  I remembered the plan.  "I'm here as a friend."

Happy Dog!  Friendly Dog!

And a perfect companion to the top of the climb.

Thanks for the smiles.



Rest well.

Tiger!

Red paint on the side of the road.  Drips.  Then another.

More.

A trail of blood running down the Gillespie climb.

That's weird.

Ravens in the background.

All alone.

Silence surrounds all but the breath.

A Tiger!

In the bush!

A Tiger!

Wait. Was that a Tiger?

Maybe a Cougar.

Pedal.

Is it wise to ride back that way?

Yes.

Ravens still there.  Still quiet.  Still breathing.

Next time Tiger.



Rest well.

Adventures with Jalapeño

Jalapeño's are very much fun to play with, but they can be dangerous.  Just ask the one currently hanging in our bike locker behind the building.

Treat them nicely, with caution and respect, and they will take on a ride to remember.  They'll carry you over rocks, between trees and through streams.  They'll add heat to any wet day, warming your core, tempting you with the thought of more.  Take them for granted however, and they may come back to haunt. . .

"I'll wash the chopping board in a moment.  It'll be ok . . "

"That's a funny sound.  It'll be ok. . . "

Pretty soon your lips might be burning.  Better yet, you're 20 miles up a logging road wondering if there's any way to fix a free hub on the go.

The good news is that it's mostly downhill.  There's also fresh water to drink, although I've heard milk is a better cure for the heat.  Good thing there's an extra pair of mitts.

Rest well.

I like risky buisiness

The goal is simple, go as fast as you can.

Pace yourself, heading out at a pace you know you can sustain.  Finish strong.  Finish fast.

Head out fast, knowing you can run this fast.  Finish fast.  Finish with nothing left.

In the first example the risk is that you head out too slowly.  Could you have gone faster today?

In the second example the risk is that you head out to fast.  Could you have gone faster today?

Do you really know how fast you can go today?

The game you choose to play is up to you.  It's your game.  Play it the way that suits your personality.  Either way it's risky business.

Rest well.

Rose Coloured Lenses

Siberian Tigers hunt in the rain, sleet, & snow.  Candy melts.  What's your disposition?

Some considerations for thriving through the winter on this beautiful Island in the Pacific:

Rose coloured lenses.  They protect your eyes from dirt and all kinds of things found in the wake of logging trucks along West Coast road. Rose colour is of particular importance.  As they say, "Change the way you see the world and the world itself changes."

Double Bootie.  Strengthening the glutes is what it's all about this time of year, but consider your toes.  Double bootie; one for the wind, one for the wet.

Tuck your gloves into your jacket.  Think plumbing on this one.  Water runs downhill and gloves seem to be waterproof in both directions.

Drink ginger tea.  Before, during, and after, always ginger tea.

Start with 3 bottles.  2 on the frame, & one hot water bottle in your back jersey pocket.  Please drink them and fill up along the way.

Give your bike love.  Use that goopy green lube on the chain.  It's way more likely to stick around hour after hour in the rain.

Fenders.  As uncool as they look, good ones will change your life.

Microwave your gloves 1/2 way.  Your hands will thank you.  That being said, the next person to heat up a coffee at the Shell station may be a little curious.

Swimming and riding in the rain are pretty much akin, once you're in it's all the same.

Rest well.


Sagittal Slice. Longitudinal Dice.

Just like that there's a new way to slice onions.

The number of flat tires repaired must be somewhat comparable to the number of onions diced in the past 10 years.  Neither task is more or less enjoyable.  They're both just part of the fun.  Both create an opportunity for excitement to come.  What roads lie ahead, and how might they smell?

It probably took well over 200 onions before the current method arrived.  Ends - off.  Down the longitudinal - 1/2 ed.  Knife under skin.  Peeled.  Sagittal slice.  Longitudinal Dice.  Done.

Tricks of the trade.

Jalapeno's rear wheel method.  Lowest gear.  Brake undone.  Quick release loosened.  Wheel off.  Shrapnel search.  Tire off to side.  Tube out.  Shrapnel search & removal.  Breath of air in new tube.  New tube in.  Tire on - lever points high.  Pump.  Assemble.  Spin.  Pedal.

What happens when that pesky valve stem bunches the tube creating a bulge in the tire right by the stem?  Tire, please fit in the grooves!

Release some air.  Push the stem in towards the tire.  In place.  Pump.  Pedal.

New trick of the trade learned today.

Rest well.

Back to the Bike and Kitchen Therapy.

One of my favourite aspects of riding is the alone time, the alone thinking time.  Thoughts roll in up the stretch and tumble out on the descent.  Some roll in fast, quickly sailing past, only to resurface on the next climb.  Others roll in, find fertile ground, and grow.

Today the consideration was once again, "Where does feeling good come from?"  Fast forward about 20miles along the rockiest of Rocky Pt. Road and a connection dawned.  

More time chopping, combining, and creating = more shared life with each carrot.

Time spent with the carrot before the meal leads to an appreciation of that carrot.  What are the subtleties of the carrot and how do they change as you chop, combine, & create?

New Years resolution #467:  Spend more time with each carrot.
New Years resolution #468:  Create fertile ground for healthy carrots to grow.

Rest Well.

Spirit Bay

Feeling good is a good thing.  It sounds obvious, but depending on your vantage point, it can be mind blowing.  Feeling good is good.  It is.

Reflection.  Observation.  What do we see looking back?  What do we see looking forward?  What can we see right now?

What feels good?  What brings us that true good feeling?  Where does it come from?  How was it created?

A simple "hello" wave.  A gesture.  An understood smile.  A common good feeling.

It was un prompted and occurred at about 35 miles an hour somewhere past East Sooke.  Thank you for the wave.  Thank you for the good feeling.

Rest well.


Why?

It is a question we have all asked time and time again.  We ask ourSelf, our friends, our family, our coach.  We ask anyone who may be listening.

Sometimes we may be given an answer.

Before every practice, Swim Master Neil Harvey would always ask, "Any questions other than why?"  Why would be a welcome question after practice, but by that time we usually knew the answer.

Why this part of the set?  Why this for warm up?  Why that rest interval there?  Why this rest interval here?  These are easy why's.

Then there are deeper why's.  Why am I here?  I'm here to train.  I'm training to race.  I'm racing to win.  But is that enough?  Is there more to racing than winning?

Perhaps.

Why else am I racing?  Why else am I training?

***

Racing can be a source of Anxiety.  It can be a source of Fear, Doubt, Pressure, and Confinement.

Racing can also be a source of Peace.  It can be a source of Courage, Beauty, Bliss, and Beyond.

Deep within a race is a special place.  It is a place we find our Self.  It is a place of ultimate Freedom.  Within this place we have absolute Freedom to control the pace. We understand the race.  This is a place where dreams come true.

Racing and training are pathways to Freedom.

Freedom is Why.

Rest well.

Pull


Muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and fascia do it just as the spokes on your wheels.  Break a spoke, and the tension becomes unbalanced.  Your wheel becomes untrue.

Balance your tension and you have equilibrium.

With thought, we alter tension and pressure, whether hydrolic or magnetic.

Let go of unnecessary pressure.  Balance the tension.  You now have freedom of movement.  You now have better ability to feel rhythm whether playing music, swimming, cycling or running.

Balance tension and feel rhythm.

Rest well.