I am constantly reminded that I am not in control of the weather. Earlier in the week the temperature was well into the mid 60’s. This morning it snowed. It seems that as soon as I get into a routine with riding and training for RAGBRAI, the weather has an identity crisis. I looked out the window this crisp, spring morning, and tried to think of a way to make an analogy out of this atmospheric change, and I came up with this. Weather is like a battle and we are the deer. Allow me to clarify. Think of the warm and cold weather like two opposing factions of a mighty battle, the warm holds it’s ground in the south while the cold finds refuge in the north, and Iowa is the no-man’s land. Each storm is a battle between these mighty foes, at times the warm holds the “front” line, while at other times the cold gains the high ground. The battles that result from these engagements can become quite fierce, with the blinding flash of the cannon that can be seen for miles and the resulting window-rattling boom that rolls over the prairie like a tsunami. Their bullets flood our rivers and sometimes dent our cars, and the smoke from their guns fills our skies to the point that the sun ceases to shine. We are at the mercy of the these two mighty forces and there is nothing we can do when the battle ensues but take cover. But when the battle is over, we dare to venture forth from our shelter to graze and find sustenance while we can, and we become oblivious when the battle does not rage. But when we hear the boom and see the flash, to cover we go, like little deer hiding in the woods. So all we can do is hope that the major engagements don’t come our way, but in the meantime; the battle continues.
I’m the next Tour de France Champion, in my head anyway. March 11, 2011
It seems like spring has finally arrived, and for good this time. So without hesitation I jumped on my bike as soon as I could, and headed out into the wind-swept farmland. I’ve tried to explain, in-depth and to my best ability, in previous posts the feeling of riding my bike after too much time away from the saddle. I will spare you the lengthy explanation of the flood of emotions that are coursing through my system after a ride, and try to write from a more philosophical point-of-view. Today it was rather windy out on the road, and I had set myself a goal to cover a route that took me straight into the wind and up a sizable hill (for Iowa anyway). Even though there were plenty of opportunities for me to turn around before the hill, and enjoy the nice tail-wind that awaited, I pushed on toward the top. In my mind I weighed the options of enjoying the tail-wind and turning around right away, which would be easier, but result in less satisfaction; or pushing on up the hill to achieve my goal and be rewarded with an even nicer tail-wind + down-hill. I did reach the top of the hill and was glad that I stuck it out to receive a larger reward. I think this scenario may be easily applied to life in general. Sometimes, in life, we think that if we just give up now then everything will be better, and it might be, for the short-term. If you hate your job you might want to quit and file unemployment, you’ll probably get paid more from the government (or tax payers), but what if you can’t find another job. If you quit while you’re down, it’s even harder to get back up than if you hadn’t quit in the first place. Sticking with it is usually harder at first, but has the biggest payoff. If you keep working hard at the job you hate, someday you might end up running the company, and making enough money to send your kids through college or take that trip to Europe you always wanted. Charging up the hill is never easy, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from cycling, it’s that mental tenacity is 99 percent of getting across the finish line. If you think you can get there, then you will. When I was standing on the pedals, pushing up that hill, my body was telling me no, but in my mind, I was the next Tour de France Champion.
BTW: The tail-wind was absolutely fantastic!