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 Kitty-Amazon.com

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