Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Would You Rather" drink beers in a van on race day?


In our family, we sometimes play the game "Would You Rather...?"  We just ask each other hypothetical questions like "would you rather be able to freeze time or be able to fly?"  It's a fun game with the kids.

I remember thinking about that game when I was running out of energy at the 25th mile of my first (and only) El Tour de Tucson race.  I was getting pretty tired, riding alone and I heard that song "Bicycle Race" by Queen.  It had been played a few times at the starting line and I had heard it along the route from car stereos cheering us on.

But this time, I looked up and saw that the song was coming out of an old brown Chevy Van with all of the doors open wide, parked under a tree.  There was a guy sitting on a lawn chair by himself, drinking a beer, with a cooler sitting next to him.  I am guessing he had more beers on ice in the cooler and some crushed empties lying on the floor in that van.  

I instantly played my own game of "Would You Rather...?" and quickly decided that yes, I would rather be that guy drinking beers listening to Queen, than the new Clydesdale huffing and puffing with 10 more miles to go.  I would have paid $100 just to trade places with him for 10 minutes.  But I lumbered along, got some encouragement from Cory, then Neighbor Ted who came along and I ended up beating my personal time goal. 

This is on my mind because I know that many triathletes out there (and many of my long-distance cycling friends) are just hooked on cycling.  They are basically endurance athletes that love the work, love the challenge of greater distances, and maybe even love the "suffering" that cyclists so often speak about.  I think that I am headed there, but I still get intimidated with the challenges of big hills and longer distances.  I have now twice ridden more than 30 miles...I need to get to a point where that is more of a constant distance and not some milestone rarity. 

I have not ridden much in the past three weeks, since El Tour.  I have been taking it easy, enjoying the achievement of a major goal for me.  A few short rides with the kids (which is ALWAYS awesome), a few rides with Crazy Jim and his new bike, a few solo short rides and a good medium ride with Neighbor Ted.  Sounds pretty frequent, but it really hasn't been much.

Work has been busy, just finishing up a project that should help our company to hit a major year-end goal...that makes the rest of the month pretty light for work.  Nice.

So...now what should I do?  My old lifestyle (no exercise) sure seems the easier road, but I worked pretty hard for El Tour and I don't want to go backwards.  I need to declare and find a new carrot to be chasing.  My health is good, muscles are stronger and weight has decreased.  Time to keep moving.  Yesterday, Crazy Jim and I agreed to do the 27-miler Tour of the Tucson Mountains in April and I will likely commit to the 66-miler for El Tour next November.

But first up, I think I will do the Casa Grande Century, a 35-miler on January 10th.  I have less than a month to get used to some longer distance so I don't start playing that "Would You Rather...?" game again.

Keep riding.

Big Clyde

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