29 December 2012

I am a sucker for inspirational quotes


And with each new year re-emerges those familiar questions to the self: Can I get back in shape ever again? Will I be a better person? Will I be fully present and tell those whom I love that I indeed love them? Will I finally sort through all the paper, old books, and old clothes around my house, thinning down to just two suitcases? Will I have no regrets, will my mistakes ache less, will I avoid hurting others, and will I once and for all free myself from the wasteful pages of facebook and twitter - regaining my ability to speak in full-sentences and complete paragraphs?

"The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare." ~ Basketball coach Bobby Knight.

Perhaps this one trait is what still attracts me to the sport of cycling and what brings out such admiration for all those who ride their hearts out at event rides. I applaud the evidence of hours spent in preparation and battle between the mind and body. I admire those who tackle a goal and not only dream but succeed.

I am grateful for the abilities of men like Dirk Friel and Jeremy Duerksen at Training Peaks, and other coaches, for the guidance they offer athletes, because to be quite honest, I am dreadful at giving or following any training regiment. I ride because I can cover a lot of ground quickly and I like the views, I zumba because I love to move to music, I swim because I like the change in gravity, I hike because I like the unknown, I yoga because it helps me with those first 12 steps out of bed in the morning.

I once tried to follow a set training plan - it told me when to ride and rest, when to lift and how. I was deep into February, following this boxed plan, and awoke to a glorious blue sky in Denver and perfect 57 degree weather. I looked at my training plan which demanded an indoor time trial at LT for 50 minutes, my heart sunk. Instead of going outside and following my spirit which desired to ride wherever the wind blew me for the next 3 hours - I did it. I did that damn LT test. Then, I never followed that training plan again. Done. That is a true story.

Yes I believe that training really works for the body, but for my mind, a set schedule is like making the creative writer in me write I must write in a straight line one-thousand times over, or making the artistic photographer in me stand in the same place all day. I go nuts! More baffling than anything else, is that others do not seem to understand this. They take the spirit right out of me with their talk of watts and exact start times and exact mileage needed at set speeds on set days.

I feel like an outcast in this sport of cycling. Heaven forbid I slip up and show signs of outward joy on a bike, especially when the day has not been deemed a recovery day. I wonder why I ever stopped rock climbing, mountaineering, kayaking or backcountry skiing. These are the sports of kind souls with extreme minds who push their bodies to great physical limits without drugs and without words of disapproval for not getting it done their way. They are the types that are just happy to see you alive at the end of the day. The way I see it, the only thing that matters is making it to the top and back safely and having a good story to share over the next meal or drink.

It takes much to succeed, it takes desire and preparation, and a love of doing it. So give me a Col or high mountain pass anytime over an indoor compu-trainer class. These are the places were my mind and body meet in a place where all cares leave and the only thought becomes, I can do this. I am here, I am free.

I rode my bicycle here!!!
And so did most of those people. Mt Baldy, Amgen Tour of California, a different type of scenic mountain top, California, 2012
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
 And way up here!!!!
I can ride forever in the Ossau Valley - French Pyrenees, 2012
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Ride my own bike, then watch the Pros do it. KOM on Col d' Aubisque, Tour de France, 2012
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
 Cruising the Cirque du Litor on the way to the Col du Soulor, Pyrenees, 2012   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Riding the road to the Tour de France mountain top finish at Peyregudes, 2012   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Up and over a mountain. Gliding down from the Col de la Marie Blanque, Pyrenees, 2012   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Breathtaking (in two ways), on the road to Cirque de Gavernie, France, 2012   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
I am riding way up there to those mountain peaks! Climbing the east side to the Col du Soulor, 2012
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Heaven on Earth. My favorite ride in the Pyrenees - the gateway to the Cirque du Litor, 2012   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Where I had my Birthday celebration lunch last summer! On the patio of the Brasserie Col d'Aubisque.   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
And with these guys !!!
Yup, I do my training on the roads with BMC. Out for a ride in Durango, Colorado, 2012   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Looking down at my ride, nearing the summit of Independence Pass, USA Pro Challenge, 2012   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
And how can I forget my ride up the Koppenberg and Kwaremont on my 10 Euro rental bike!
The Koppenberg in Belgium, 2012. What a ride!  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Getting it done .... any way I can.

I have NO idea what I will ride in 2013 .... but I won't be doing an indoor Lactate Threshold test on the first beautiful warm sunny day of 2013.

I fully support you in your New Year's resolution training plans, and once again offer this hefty list of event rides and races in Colorado in 2013. Why not take on a Gran Fondo, or an Etape du Tour, or a century ride while you're at it. It sure feels great when you cross the finish line, or reach the top of any col. Happy New Year!

Adendum: A friend sent me this note this morning (30 December 2012)
"In light of all the recent cycling scandal I am reminded of a William Blake quote.
 "No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings""

Update 01/01/13:  VeloNews offers this Design your own training plan for 2013 with free training program and calendar files from FasCat Coaching in Boulder, Colorado. Perhaps designing your own program will allow you to listen to your own mind and body, respond to spectacular or crummy weather, and adapt to family or work surprises. Real life stuff. Or speak with my good friend Sue Lloyd at Cycles Coaching, she will design a race or event training program for you, or simply answer your specific questions about your own plan with by the hour consultations. Sue knows better than to ask me if I'm going to compu-trainer class. No Sue, I'm going outside, thank you.