Monday, June 25, 2007

Looking for Green Grass on This Side

The alarm went off at 6:00 on Saturday morning, but laying there in bed I just couldn't rally up the enthusiasm to drive down into LA for yet another bike race. I'm sure the San Pedro Grand Prix was a nice event, with a water-front course and a bit of undulating topography, but a quick mental check-list of pros and cons came out heavily on the side of not going. Thing is, the items on that check-list have been the same all year, only this time my conclusion was different. Hmmm.

Summer's here and the time is right for...

...well, lots of stuff. In fact, stuff that's been sounding more and more appealing than training and racing.

Playing with kids more now that school's out. Brian and I have been talking about doing some ocean kayaking. Sheesh... we live two miles from the ocean and we hardly ever go play in it any more! Paddling up and down the coast sounds awesome!

Guitar Hero. Looks addicting. 70's and 80's music... yeah, that's a video game I could see playing with them.

Yard's a mess, and garden area sits 50% fallow.

Dates with wife.

Long discussed remodel. Gotta take the first steps.

Read!!! My piles of books and magazines are becoming a fire hazard! (Not to mention, my brain's turning to mush.)

Write User's Manual for really exciting computer simulation.

OK, scratch that last one... nobody from work ever reads my blog, so no sense in fibbing and suggesting that work sounds more appealing than riding!

The point is, the grass is starting to look a lot greener on the other side of the fence. I know, you're asking "what is this metaphorical other side of which you speak?" Well I'll tell ya. It's the side where the normal people live. You know, the normal middle-aged men who mow their tidy lawns on Sundays, and go boating on the lake, and watch baseball on TV in the afternoons. Guys who go to In-and-Out Burger and who eat dessert every night. The ones who stay up late and sleep in on the weekends. Men who have careers and are climbing the ladder.

Am I the only mid-40's obsessed cyclist who gets hit with an overwhelming this-is-not-normal feeling?

I knew it would hit sometime this year. It always does. Usually about now in fact. Knowing this, and wanting to conquer that deamon, my primary objective for the season was, well, to actually make it through the entire season. By that I mean staying fit and continuing to race 3-to-4 weekends a month.

It's now gut-check time.

So instead of racing Saturday, I set out to do an epic ride with the goal of reaching 15,000 feet of climbing, and stay within easy and tempting bail-out proximity of home. If I could reach the 15 kft, then I might be able to convince myself to continue on with the training and racing. On the other hand, if during the ride I rationalized that, say, 6,000 ft was enough, then I'd know I've cracked and maybe should give in.

Fortunately, I ran into Lindsay part way into the ride, and then later Cookie kept me company. They probably each wanted to climb harder, but I knew my only hope of making it would be to keep my pace moderate. Discipline--one of my many weaknesses--was also being tested along with commitment.

It took 7 hours, but I did reach the 15 kft goal and it rejuvenated me to an extent. The flood of endorphins probably helped too!

So I'll look forward. The race calendar is not terribly exciting for the rest of the year. Manhattan Beach and La Mirada are nice SoCal races. I'll miss Sisquoc since we'll be up north for Gina's 1/2 Ironman. Maybe we'll take more trips up there for some NorCal races. Perhaps find an out-of-state stage race or something new. Cascade would be fun, but that's during our narrow vacation window and the kids are wanking at the prospect of driving to Oregon. One possibility is Everest Challenge. I swore I'd never do that freak-show race, but that's really just because I knew it would crack me. It certainly fits the criteria of being something new. Plus, I am a freak... maybe I should just accept it!


wheatgerm said...


Rick "man of leisure" Vircavs said...

That's some Saturday ride. Sounds amazing and freaky at the same time.

Gary said...

Hmm, let me understand. You wake up on Saturday and decide to be a normal middle aged male rather than drive to a bike race. So you wake up, have your breakfast and coffee with the wife and kids and decide to go ride for 7 hours instead of mow the lawn!!! I love it. Invite me next time, will ya?

Gianni said...

I just took five days off riding, working and doing the "regular guy stuff".
For the first time all summer, my lawn was mowed before it went to seed.

And reading the entire sunday paper was nice and all.

But I can't wait to thrash myself @ C2K this weekend.

The gardening tips are great, I need to post a pic of my corn!

But the garlic got dug up I think by a possum ..., you just stick a clove into the ground?


Marco Fanelli said...

Wheatgerm- OK.

Rick- I googled you're quite a triathlete! My climbing ride doesn't even begin to compare to an ironman, or even a half ironman!

Gary-Everest here we come!!

Gianni-Yep, just bury some cloves. (Of course, it helps if the dirt is a little richer than typical clay.) That C2K ride sounds really fun. Maybe next year they'll put the Tollhouse climb in the CVC race...

Anonymous said...

The infamous burn-out eh? It's funny, I think it hit me at the race this past Sunday in Dominguez Hills that something isn't "totally normal" about racing/cycling...I even took a few moments to laugh under my breath as I sit in the registration line with all the other racing obsessed non normal freaks..thinking to myself "WoW, this is what burn out must feel like!" :-) OI!

Marco Fanelli said...

Maybe a bit of (mental) burn-out is unavoidable when you start racing the first weekend of Feb like we do here in California!