Monday, May 12, 2008


Today was a good day. I finally got back on the bike — and it felt good.

For nearly the past 11 months I've been riding a bike three or four days a week. And frankly, I was burned out and tired. Three weeks ago I was riding 30 to 50 miles a day to see if I could scrape up enough strength to do Honu (which I decided I'm not ready for). By the time we had our 15 mile time trial I was beat. And mentally I agreed whole-heartedly with Butch Cassidy when he said "the future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

So I put up my bike and worked on swimming and running for the past couple of weeks.

But today I thought it was time to get back out there. And what a good day. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and there was very little vog — you could actually see the horizon. I took it easy and just enjoyed the ride, listened to music and took pictures. I made my way out to the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery and felt so good that I rode the hill three times.

The first photo is Cemetery Hill. It doesn't look steep, but it is. It's probably so steep it doesn't do anything for you except build determination. See, you can actually see the horizon. Since the volcano blew a few weeks ago, there's been so much vog— volcanic fog — that it looks like we live in LA.

So, feeling pretty good, I cranked it pretty hard coming back, even into the head wind. I think the slowest I went up hill on the way back was just under 20 mph. I past a poor cyclist struggling up airport hill and felt sorry for them. I've been there. Tired and heading into a strong head wind and some show off zips by like he's going down hill. But my legs were fresh and I felt good.

The second photo is of a tree near the top of cemetery hill. By the way, why do cemeteries always have the best hills? When I was in high school, our cross country course was next to a cemetery. I hated that course. My father was buried there and I never could run well there. Fortunately, by my senior year they moved the course.

The last photo proves I can ride and take a photo, although it's probably not the safest thing to do. Yes, I was trying to take a photo of my shadow.

Lance Armstrong's book, "It's Not About the Bike, My Journey Back To Life," is one of my favorite books. In it Lance says, "What makes a great endurance athlete is the ability to absorb potenial embarrassment, and to suffer without complaint. I was discovering that if it was a matter of gritting my teeth, not caring how it looked, and outlasting everybody else, I won. It didn't seem to matter what sport it was--in a straight-ahead, long-distant race, I could beat anybody.
If it was a suffer-fest, I was good at it."

That's what I want to be able to say. "If it's a suffer-fest, I'm good at it." I'm just not there, yet. So, maybe Lance is right. Today wasn't about the bike, but about just getting out there and suffer without complaint.


Bruce Stewart said...

I am glad you are enjoying biking. For me here in Kaohsiung I am slowly getting back into it, too. I am not really concerned about my time or how far I go, but rather whether later that day or the next I can climb the stairs at home without any discomfort. Today I felt really good in spite of a few steep climbs yesterday.

BreeWee said...

Hands down this is my favorite post of yours yet! I LOVE it!

Vet cemetery hill is where I did a lot of my training for the "Beast". I know and love that little climb you are talking about...short and sweet!

I am so happy you are on the bike again. Are you sure no Honu for you????? Sounds to me like you got in the miles...but it totally is all in the mindset... if your brain is willing the body will follow.

I have a bike ride today, I should have joined you!


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