I’ve got some work to do.

We are now three weeks into the Year of Awesome and so far the year has been just that awesome.  Even the weather has been awesome, but not in the traditional sense of the word, I mean awesome in the fact that I can now say I’ve survived a polar vortex, whatever that is. I just know they are awesome.

So in an effort to keep up with my year awesome, I decided it was time to see if my cycling skills were as awesome as I remembered them being.  This year I’ve taken some time off the bike, not a lot mind you, but I’ve taken some time off.  It’s been nice, I’ve used my extra time to take up knitting, (not really), basket making (not really,) and have donated some of my time to the rescue of dust bunnies from being killed by brooms (it’s a very worthy cause as brooms kill more dust bunnies in one year than any other cause).

What should my return to serious cycling look like? I thought as I looked upon my bike locked in to the clutches of a trainer.  I fancy myself in pretty good shape so I decided take on one of the workouts I was doing while I was nearing peak form last season. I couldn’t have lost all that much fitness, I mean I’m walking a ton in my work for the dust bunnies and I have been riding at small amount.  This has to account for something right?

The workout I chose to do was a Sufferfest video.  I love these videos combinations of pro race footage, snarky onscreen comments, and good music make the hours fly by while on the trainer.   Which for those who have ridden trainers know this is no small feat.

I was barely through the warm up when I realized the grave error in my ways.  I mean I was still reading the workout instructions and my legs were already aching. Oh well I’m committed now soldier on there Danny Boy, Soldier on.

Before launching into the workout I had informed my wife and daughter that they might hear some “noises” coming from the trainer room.  My daughter describes these “noises” as puking sounds and she’ll often ask how many times I threw up during a workout.  While my family thinks these noises are of me vomiting, I like to think of the as grunts of awesomeness.

I was about 10 seconds in to the first interval when the first grunt of awesomeness exploded from my lips.  I was gasping for air, legs burning, sweat running down my face and I’d only being riding for 10 minutes. I had another 52 minutes of this to endure….AWESOME!!

IMG_1311

I stopped at minute 15 to adjust my bike’s seat.  Comfort is key after all when suffering.  I nearly bailed out at this point, but for some reason thoughts of my former glory forced me to once again throw my leg over the bar and climb aboard to resume the agony.

This workout features a 20 minute interval where that is does it’s best to mimic a hill climb.  Now in the summer I love a good hill, they are some of my favorite things as a cyclist.  Something about reaching me top makes me want to sing out like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.  Simulated indoor hills, however, stink.  You can climb and climb all day long and not end up at the top of the hill, No you end up exactly where you started. Not Awesome.

So I was about 4 minutes or so into my fake climb to nowhere when my water bottle escaped from my death clutch and landed just out of reach on the floor. Now I realize that during a race there is no stoping for a dropped bottle, but this wasn’t a race this was survival and survival dictates that one must be hydrated so I decided to retrieve the bottle as soon as the interval was over.  An agonizing 16 minutes later my throat was as dry as the Sahara and I was grunting awesomeness every 2 seconds.  I was miserable, but loving every second of it.

I got off the bike and headed out to fill up my bottle.  When I reached the kitchen, my wife and daughter both looked at me with strange looks.  I vaguely remember making conversation with them as I filled my bottle, but as it turns out instead of speaking intelligently I was merely mumbling and grunting loudly.  Henceforth the strange looks and the cause of my daughter’s next three nights of nightmare.

I don’t remember the second half of the workout.  All I remember is waking up on my bike as the credits rolled.  My lungs were burning and my legs felt as it they had just seen a very large man with a hammer.  A large smile spread across my face as I realized it was over.

It was in that moment I realized something very important.  If I want to improve as a cyclist I have work to do and for me that’s AWESOME.  Time to punch the clock.

God Bless.

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I find this funny

This video has really nothing to do with the purpose of this blog, but as a cyclist I find it to be hilarious. If you do not ride a bike it might just add to your confusion about those clad in spandex. Either way enjoy. (The only offensive part of the whole video is the title.)

http://youtu.be/GMCkuqL9IcM

I have another wonderful blog post in the works so stay tuned.

I love Spandex!!

I feel the need to admit that to the world.  I love spandex, well to be fair spandex and lycra blends.  I love the way it looks hanging on a clothes hanger, the way is feels in your hand, the way it fits when out riding your bike.  It is truly a gift from God.

However, I didn’t always like it.  In fact the first time I ever tried it on I thought myself a wee bit crazy.  I had made the decision to do a triathlon and part of the undertaking was to find the perfect set of shorts and a top that would allow me to complete the swim, bike and run.  I headed down to the local triathlon shop and asked what clothes were needed for such a race.  The walls of the shop were full of brightly colored jerseys and shorts made from exotic materials claiming compression and wicking properties.

The salesman led me to the wall of wonder and handed me a blue pair of shorts and a matching top.  He told me to go and try them on to see how they fit.  I walked over to the small changing room and tried on my first piece of spandex.

It was a struggle to get the stretchy material over my head.  The fibers unwilling to yield to my jelly donut filled frame.  As the top slowly made its way on, I became convinced that spandex is actually made from the skin of a very stretchy animal or some ugly deep sea fish.  Man could not make a material as stretchy and tight as spandex.  I also started to think that I would have to buy two tops that day.  The one I ripped while trying it on and the larger size that fit me.

After 10 minutes of struggle and a few size changes, I stood facing the dressing room mirror covered in blue spandex.  I was a Smurf with white arms.  My wife called from the store asking me to come outside so she could take a look at me.  Thinking I would be arrested for indecent exposure if I stepped out of the dressing room I declined.  I redressed in normal clothes and went to pay for my “triathlon outfit” as my wife called it.

Upon hearing the price for the pair of shorts and tank top I knew that spandex is made from an endangered species.  It is the only way the manufacturers could justify charging such a high price.  I walked out of the store with my new outfit in tow both embarrassed and proud at the same time.

I got home and stashed the outfit in my closet.  It’s sat in it’s bag taunting me for a few days.  I knew I would eventually have to wear it outside. The bag continued to taunt me until I finally mustered up enough courage to don the items and head outside for a bike ride.

I slowly dressed.  First putting on the shorts and then the top.  I approached the mirror and saw myself looking like a stuffed sausage.  Not only did I look like a stuffed sausage I felt like one.  Spandex leaves little to the imagination.  I walked outside to catcalls and quick glances from neighbors.  A few pictures were taken for blackmail purposes and soon enough I was riding my bike.

Embarrassing Spandex Photo

The Infamous Blackmail Photo (I'm the one bending over who looks like a s Smurf)

I rode fast that day.  Scared that if I stopped more ridicule would be cast my way, but as I rode I discovered spandex is the most wonderful thing ever invented.  It is better than gelled sugar, sports drinks and dare I say coffee.  The way the material moves with you and protects you chafe is amazing.  While wearing spandex, (harvested from deep sea fish), you feel like Superman.  My love affair started that day and continues even as I type this.

I have come a long way since that fateful day.  I am no longer embarrassed to walk outside clad in skin tight spandex.  I’ve even become comfortable enough to walk into a coffee shop and drink coffee while wearing the exotic material.  If formal wear was made from spandex I would wear a suit made from it to the opera.  It has become one my favorite materials.  I would love to discover the creature this material is harvested from and give it a big kiss.  After kissing the creature, I would skin it and make a new pair of shorts I’m that in love with spandex.

Religion is a lot like spandex.  At first it feels tight and constricting but then you realize it serves a purpose and your life is better with God in it.  It goes from something uncomfortable to something you take everywhere with you.  Give your faith enough time and one day you will wake up fully in love with God and in my case Spandex.