Lately I have been taking enjoyment from some strange things, and by “strange,” I don’t mean stupidly riding around the snowless woods on a heavy ass fat bike or my born again lust for women wearing tube socks. Not that those things aren’t fun or incredibly freaking hot, it’s just not what I am referring to. Read on if ye care, if ye don’t… well… don’t.
ONE STRANGE THING
Watching the Tour de France. I know on digital paper that is not so strange, I am a cyclist and have watched and enjoyed the Tour in the past. However I am not a road racer, I’m not that crazy about riding on the road and view road cycling as sort of a necessary evil, like paying taxes, shaving and post-sex cuddling (I am joking Wifey, relax). I don’t care how light my road bike is, I don’t follow all the “rules” that roadies adhere to (yeah, those are mountain SPDs on my road bike) and I’m not into all that Rapha-ish, mid-ride espresso break posturing bullshit (despite my love of both riding and espresso). God, I hate that shit, play golf if you want to do that!
As far as Pro road cycling is concerned, I–like many–was left with an aging, diseased, off the strip Vegas hooker taste in my mouth after the whole Armstrong and U.S. Postal debacle. A long sigh and a mumbled “fuck it” was directed towards anything involving pavement, a Pro peloton and tires less than 32c wide. But time, like copious amounts of alcohol, stupidity, antidepressants, boredom and naivety, heals all wounds and once again I have been drawn to Le Tour.
My interest started returning with the onset of the Spring Classics, followed by the Strade Bianche and the always entertaining Giro d’Italia. Still, I didn’t think I could get into the Tour again. But, I have and I blame it on one person; Vincenzo Nibali. His willingness to attack and win stages while wearing yellow rather than just defend the jersey– as so many do–has been extremely entertaining, as has been watching his skills over Stage 5’s rain and mud covered cobbles, his descending and his overall climbing prowess. Chapeau Vincenzo! Thanks for rekindling my interest in the Tour.
EDIT: Sadly, in this day and age I DO feel the need to add the caveat that I fully expect in the coming weeks there will be a headline how Nibali was doped to the gills on some sort of new EPO or new drug concoction derived from a mixture of horse urine, cow placenta and the dusty remains of departed Italian cycling legends.
THE SECOND STRANGE THING
Running. I have NEVER been a runner. Even when I was forty pounds lighter and doing solo 24 hour and 100 mile mountain bike races, running felt incredibly foreign and painful to me. I have attempted it in the past but always ended up clutching my knees, hips or back in pain and feeling like a retarded, flailing goof. Yet here in the summer of 2014 I find myself running three to four times a week. Granted these runs have been inside on a treadmill, have been alternated with intervals of walking as I build my running muscles up, and have not exceeded five miles in length, but to paraphrase Bob Wiley “I’m a runner, I’m running!!”
The main reason for my running is the fact that B-Man is off school for the summer and is right on the cusp of being old enough and independent enough to stay a few hours by himself while I ride and NOT being able to do so. He’s also a bit old for a baby sitter and is involved in enough other things to make having him attend any sort of summer camp a bit much.
Yes, I could ride in the evening at times, but many days are spent running around the
football pitch soccer field with B (I still got it!) and many evenings are spent at the same pitch field for practices, or in this week’s case, a skills camp put on by some local coaches. While Wifey would/could take some of this on in the evening, I often do NOT feel like riding by 6 p.m. and also feel that it’s more than enough that Wifey busts her brain to provide for us and hanging out watching B do something he loves and gets better and better at every year is the least I can do. Not to mention I love, love, LOVE, watching him play and grow as a player AND I get a kick (no pun intended) out of spending a couple of hours of the day sweating my ass off running around with him!
But I digress… I have learned to look a running as a challenge. I have never been good at it, I will never be great at it, but I want to be good enough at it that I can run a 5k here and there with friends or family and in time strengthen the muscles that have long been ignored by years of constant cycling.
The best part is that I have actually seen progress, and with progress comes motivation and the want to keep improving. I normally run/walk three miles when I’m on the treadmill. I start by walking for a few minutes and then alternate minutes of running with one minute of walking. It started one for one, then went to two to three minutes of running and one minute of walking, until yesterday I finally ran, er JOGGED for a full five minutes at 6 miles per hour without stopping, a minor miracle in my world, that I was pretty proud of… until today when I ran for a full 18 minutes at 6 miles per hour. What, WHAT??? To say I was stoked would be an understatement (it’s the little things people).
With that accomplishment and seeing progress I am hoping that I can take the sideshow that is me running out-of-doors soon. I have not seen any results in weight loss yet, and I will never be a “real” runner (whatever that is) but the thing I have always loved about endurance sports is seeing the progress that comes from pushing further and further. The high that comes from pushing and seeing progress is awesome, whether it comes from training for and completing a 100 mile mountain bike race or running on the treadmill in the basement for three miles.
I am looking forward to running more as the summer progresses, building on the small successes I’ve had and maybe even think about finding a local 5K to run in the fall.
The coming three to four days will be rideless and most likely runless as me an the fam head home to Western PA to see family and check out Man City (CITEH!!) play A.C. Milan at Heinz Field. Should be awesome when it’s not sucking. Then next week I’ll have four to five days open to ride and do whatever I want. A vacation of sorts…. but since I don’t have a fucking job (other than being a douche, a dad and a husband) I don’t know what it’s a vacation from??? Fuck it, shit happens, it is what it is, when in Rome, robbing Peter to pay Paul, Marry had a little lamb, your ass is itchy, I’m an ass, I have gas, yada, yada, yada, etc., etc., etc.,..