September 4, 2012
This summer has been a battle with my competitive demons. My approach to training has always been “Push. Push harder. Only back off when you have to.” This has worked for me in the past, and I’ve got some pretty good results to show for it. But I have sometimes danced the line between being physically sharp, and burning out. When that happens, the joy is gone. Whether it was running, biking, blading, or skiing, I have been there more times than I care to remember.
Preparing for this ride, Velo the Lake 2012, 1050 miles in 10 1/2 days, has required some “push” from me. And now I realize that the Lake, and the roads around the Lake, will not be beaten. If I thought I would “power through” this ride, I was mistaken. A month ago I would have said I wanted to average 17 miles an hour. Today, I say I would like to truly enjoy the ride. I’ve got to change my way of thinking — I am NOT an endurance cyclist so much as a bicycling photo-journalist (my apologies to the real photo-journalists out there). My new mindset tells me to forget about pushing and challenging and riding harder and faster, and just relax and genuinely live this ride. My wonderful wife, Diane, has given me the gift of time to do this, and her incredibly loving support.
Labor Day weekend was a major test in preparing for my Velo the Lake 2012 ride. The challenge was to ride 300 miles in 3 days. If successful, it would be a major confidence-builder that I could complete the 1050 miles around Lake Superior in 10 1/2 days. The good news — from a conditioning POV, no problem, this is do-able. The not-so-good news — I tweaked a knee and cut the test short at 250 miles to save the knee. Yikes! A big scare, and now I’ve got to nurse the knee along for a few days.
Why do this at all? I’ve got to admit that it is a combination of challenging my inner negatives, and a desire to not let anyone down. September is Hunger Action Month, and the “Ride Against Hunger” is my way of trying to step beyond myself a bit, and bring value to those in need. Please consider giving your support to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. Donate to them at northernlakesfoodbank.org.