Finding Epic

Finding Epic.

Nana Korobi Ya Oki

I will get back to that in a few minutes. In the beginning as Kathy and I would ride pretty much every outing was an epic ride. I remember when we first hit our ten mile mark we danced around high fiving each other and every other cyclist on the trail. You would have thought we had won the Tour de France. And in doing so we took ourselves out to celebrate that night. And of course we had a weeklong rest before our next epic ride of 10.5 miles. No, I am not kidding. In the early days Kathy would only allow us to advance our rides by the distance to the next farthest stop sign, intersection or light pole. Eventually we made it to Winter Garden and on that first arrival we became fast friends with David Politowicz and Winter Garden Wheel Works (WGWW).

From there we got invited to participate in the Tour de Cure coming up in a few months. Holy Cow, here we were, a couple of hard core noodle riders getting invited to participate in a big organized cycling event, a big ride. That was what we needed to “train” for the next few months so we could ride the “race” as we called it because to us this was as close as we would ever deserve to participate in something even remotely akin to a bike race. So in our minds this was our “race.” Bigger point being is that every ride we took leading up to the “race” became our training rides; we were riding for a bigger goal. It was a goal that had us nervous for months but also had us riding with verve and determination. David and WGWW welcomed us into the fold of “real cyclist.”

The big ride happened and we slogged along for 60+ miles. I rode a 45-pound mountain bike (blue bike, Boris’s twin) and Kathy rode her 30+ pound hybrid cruiser. Nothing fancy but we had determination. And when it was done we were part of a club, we rode in a big ride. This was a RAAM victory for us.

Riding and life move along with their own separate energies and waxing and waning motivations. Attempts to swim against the current often leads to frustration, malaise and in it’s worst manifestation, injuries. Best to in a Buddhist sense, just be here now. Accept what is going on and instead of working against it realize and take advantage of what the universe is trying to teach at that specific moment.

I say all of the preceding because I recently had to plan my time off for 2013, all of it. So before doing so I looked at all of the rides and races I had to table this year and put them all up on the front burner. I planned race/ride dates in conjunction with travel times and after consulting with Kathy and getting her blessing committed all of my vacation time to finishing up all of the unfinished ride/race business for this year. This is my new epic.

Now my riding has a purpose and direction. Besides supporting Team Boris and protecting our founding mission of “The No Spandex Required Beginners Ride/WGWW 8AM Shop Ride) I will now be riding and training for next years rides/races.

Each can find an epic ride to work towards. For Kathy and I in the beginning it was working towards getting to the lake and back (can’t forget the back part). Then it became the Tour de Cure. After that I went off on my quest for my upcoming epics. Kathy has become redirected with life and her epic right now is keeping the wheels on her bus while she juggles all of the issues related to her mom and the Gainesville situation. But, here is where her little Buddha comes out. Instead of railing against it and harboring disappointment with the fact that her cycling is not where it used to be she just accepts that this is what the universe needs her to do now.

Sit for a moment and discover an epic for yourself. There are no small epic rides. Make a goal for yourself and ride to achieve it. You do not have to share it but you do have to feel it and live it. Remember, our first epics took place a half-mile at a time. Your epic does not have to be distance, it can be situational. Get out of the house on the weekend and go for a bike ride. If that is your epic then Team Boris will be there to help you achieve it. If you want to race a mountain bike 104 miles at 12,000 feet in Colorado then Team Boris will be there to help you achieve that also. Triathlon before your next birthday, we got folks here to help. If your epic is to ride 10 miles then sit at Axum and drink coffee before hitting the farmers market we are your bike team. Of course epics are personal things so if you want to do these things but want to keep it to yourself that is perfect and good also.

Nana Korobi Ya Oki: “Fall Down Seven, Get Up Eight.”

Peace and Bikes

Steve & Boris


Watching The Wheels Go Round And Round

So, I have been at this riding thing for over two years and poking away at the Team Boris concept for almost as long. We started riding for a few months before Team Boris was hatched and for most of the time and effort it has been heads down, all hands on deck and full speed ahead. This has served whatever undefined purpose I had pretty darn well. And for the most part still serves the team and me pretty darn well. It allows us to move the mission forward which up to this pint has been to ride our bikes back and forth, up and down in basically a straight line. By doing this we are blessed with the ability to tune out with miraculous ease all the things we were riding from and focus on all the things we are riding towards.

I have had in recent weeks both a blessing and a roadblock that has given me the opportunity to take a momentary break and do some looking inward. Besides all the soft, warm and gooey stuff I noted on the “inward” view there were also a few things that I noted that I needed to get clarity on. Clarity and prioritization.

Kathy has been my steadfast partner throughout this process even on the days she could not ride or the miles she chose to not ride she has always been in my corner rooting me on and continues to do so to this very moment (as she sleeps and I write). As all of you know, cause I write about it pretty frequently Kathy’s mom’s health has been in a pretty steady free-fall for about two years now. Some might remember our ill-fated trip to Provence to do a little cycling. Things did not work out entirely as planned. We did get to spend a few days in the south of France and did get to meet-up with Team Boris member Bill who came over to vacation with us but one day after our first small bike ride we were home bound to care for Kathy’s mom who ended up with a hospital admission.

After that there have been a few more episodes and Kathy has had to devote more time to being in Gainesville which has impacted her riding time immensely.

When I ride on the weekends she is away I am torn. I know I am needed to be here to take care of things but to tell the truth as I ride I do so with a sense of missing riding with Kathy and the thought of I should be doing more to help. Turns out there is nothing else to do other than keeping the house from burning down and preventing the cats from ordering thousands of dollars worth of cat-nip toys from

Life slips in and has a way of exerting it’s will upon situations no matter how much we effort we put into ignoring it. With the Gainesville situation being fluid and ever changing Kathy found herself again traveling north to help out every weekend for the months of April and May. Big demands, big exhaustion.

It was this period of time that presented me with my big fork in the road moment. It would be the first of many. I was entered to race the Leadville 50 and 100 trail MTB race but with what was going on with Kathy it would have been pure selfishness on my part to head off to Colorado to train for the three months leading up to the races. Leadville is a bike race and what Kathy is dealing with is real life. Done deal. I spoke with the Leadville folks and they graciously and compassionately granted me entre into next year’s races. Kindness. I was planning my racing/riding/event schedule for 2013 and decided to pretty much mirror my postponed 2012 season, nuff said.

Bringing things to the more here and now the past few weeks have been tough. I finally fulminated something last weekend that bonked me pretty darn hard but I could feel it coming on for a few weeks before that. Sleep has been very tough the last month or two. I work nights and usually sleep pretty well during the day but for a few weeks I have been getting by on 3-4 hours a day which made for sleepy weekends. This weekend found some nutty weather making claims of wild winds and some rain. Never saw the rain and I think the winds might have been less than advertised, oh-well. Saturday night had us visiting with family from out of town and ending up dealing with/discussing some long-standing and unresolved issues (like every family). Which is why I am up and writing this at 4:18 AM.

Now back to the subject of why we ride. Friendship, fitness, fun, competition and all the rest. We start with one thing getting us mounted up and turning cranks and after a few months and a few hundred miles we hear the siren song of something different. “Ride the hills,” “Ride the off-road trails,” “Race.” Pick one, all, some or none. It is just something has got to be stirring to get us up at 6 AM on a Saturday morning to ride a bike. There is a magical force that brings to the bike shop and encourages us to spend more on our next bike than we did on our first car (without guilt). Something has us putting on spandex. We get motivated and focused and we ride. We ride like maniacs some days and poke along smelling the roses other days. Some days we fall and break our wrists and have surgery but get right back on the bike as soon as the doctor says it is alright. We get motivated and we work ourselves nutty staying that way. But, sometimes through all of this we need to take a time out, step back and gain a little perspective.

Family is more important than a bike ride or race. If we ignore our bodies they will remind us we ignored them and will send clear messages. Time spent off the bike can give you the opportunity to take a mental and physical inventory and patch up what is needing patching and repair. It might surprise you what comes up when you decide to turn the volume down for a moment or two.

I love reading Selene Yeager and she rights of her race seasons and of her time off, sometimes months. She writes of flagging motivation and nagging injuries. She writes about being a mom and a wife and family and holidays. Her race bike will sit alone on the rollers while she does laundry and writes and trades her bike helmet for her wife/mom/daughter/friend/writer hat. She will write of missing her bike and of loathing her bike and after some time off she will write about loving her bike and her riding and her friends she rides with and all the rest. She lets us know that it is okay to take a day off.

Leadville is a race that will take me all of the next 10 months to prepare for. I have a coach I am working with and a pretty focused and demanding training schedule ahead of me. It is exactly this event and training that will direct my riding for the next almost year. It will mean some Saturdays I will be riding 100+ miles and other Saturdays I will be riding 40-50 miles. Also, on some Sundays I will be heading out to do mountain biking or hill repeats, whatever is on the training schedule. Everybody is welcomed to join me if you can tolerate the grunting, cursing and falling down.

The next year will be busy. I have my reasons for riding. We have friends and teammates who will be healing and getting back to the ride. There will be unforeseen things that will arise that we will handle as a team. There will be lots of fun and some great rides to take and hills to climb.

There will also be times when I get off the bike for a weekend and get some perspective and see where I have been and where I still need to go. I encourage you to do the same.

Peace and Bikes

Steve & Boris

The Weekend Wrap-Up

Hey Everybody,

The weather is absolutely amazing. The humidity started moving out near the back-end of the week and by the time the weekend heralded its arrival we stood on the precipice of super-duper. 

I was busy Saturday morning with a meeting that kept me tied up until late morning. Kathy and Judith stepped up to anchor the ride. This was a big commitment for Kathy who has been doubting her riding abilities and stamina since she started to lose riding days. Judith jumped in to give support and help. Thanks Judith. Word was folks met at the shop at around 8 and after a quick inventory of what folks were wanting to ride Kathy sent the lake group out while she waited for Judith to arrive. 

This weekend saw the return of Alona after recovering from her FDGG a few weeks ago. Hooray Alona is back. Alona and Maria made their way tot he lake and I am assuming from the lack of tragic Facebook posts and phone calls that all things went well. I am stoked that Maria joined our Saturday soiree and Alona is back in the saddle. 

I wrapped up my work meeting and made my way out to Winter Garden with the hopes of meeting up with everybody for a post ride Axum debrief. If not that then at least a chance to hang with Kathy and enjoy the amazing weather before heading home and starting the “Monkey Do” list. Here at Boris central Kathy calls my never-ending list of stuff I never ever get done my “Monkey Do” list, go figure.

I called Kathy’s cell phone a few times and after checking in with the shop I wandered over to Axum. I was figuring I would see folks returning or just riding up, no such luck. After I sat down Buddy from the shop’s morning rides sat down with me and just then Kathy called letting me know she was leaving Winter GArden and heading home. Darn. 

Buddy and I jibber jabbered for about a half hour before calling it a morning and heading off. This is the stuff I love about what we do. I have known Buddy in passing for about 3 years but this is the first time we ever got the chance to sit down and talk about stuff other than riding the trail and climbing hills. Great morning even if I did miss Kathy and the team.

Sunday Sunday Sunday:

Sleep has been one of those so sought but most elusive of experiences as of late. I am just not getting turned around from night shift to day shift like I used to and the recent vacations have served as triple whammies when it came to sleep. The universe has been aligned against me, until Saturday night. Boy-oh-boy the gods they did smile upon my slumbering head. I was up once sending off a Facebook post near 3 AM but after that it was “coma town” for yours truly. I was gone, out, zonked. That was until the alarm nudged me awake at 6:30. Honest to god this could have been a 12 hour sleep, no lie. Not so though. We made our way to the trail and decided on the way that if nobody showed we would head back home and get back to bed. Once we parked but before anybody showed up we changed that to a ride to Panera and back. That was it, we had a plan. Then Patty and Gary rolled in. All plans for a quick spin to Panera then home went away but it was great to see them. I love riding with Patty and Gary.

We gathered-up, geared-up and turned our tires north. The ride was zippy and fun. Patty was kind to us and did not beat us up too bad. We blew by Panera on the way out and as we approached the horse park/trail end Kathy decided to forgo the extra spur as she was still recovering from her Saturday outing. We pulled into the park and in a few minutes Gary and Patty rolled up. Great conversation and general good times ensued. On the way back Patty and Gary wanted to see the connection between the Seminole Wekiva trail and the Cross Seminole trail so we bounced over the bridge to Rinehart road and I gave them a rundown on the route out to Oviedo. When we do that the ride heads north of 60 miles and is just flat-out fun. There are plans to do an Oviedo ride and then breakfast at the Townhouse restaurant.

We made our way back and Kathy and I stopped at Panera while Patty and Gary headed back to the trail head after spending a few minutes tweaking brakes.

After 17 years together I have learned to keep Kathy fed and watered or things can get pretty ugly (for me). So we fed and watered Kathy for about 45 minutes and then started south towards home. A few yards out of Panera we ran into Mel and Gwen. Two great folks who although having never ridden with Team Boris have been on the periphery for over a year. I became friends with them during the Tour de Cure. Kathy gave ample warning that she was feeling puny and they still decided to poke along with us. We stopped at the fence art installation to read the cool stuff getting put up. After a couple of more miles they split off and headed back towards their car/home and We made our way to the trail head.

It did not take but a minute to realize I had the bouquet of a herd of goats (or cattle as David P. says). Man I stank. In the car, A/C on high and this one was int he books.

Great weekend, great rides, 

The weather is spectacular.

Peace and Bikes

Steve & Boris