Sunday, November 23, 2014

A search for the limit.

Mostly just questions I ask myself, and some numbers:

How far can you push yourself before you break? When you think you break, did you really just brake? As I struggle to motivate myself to push harder in training, I cannot help but imagine how far I can actually push myself. Im pretty sure that at this point in my life, it is clear I will never be a true 'world class' athlete, or someone who makes a living off of a sport. That may sound grim and like I'm giving up, but I'm just trying to keep it real, I have every intent to continue to push myself and improve my own strength, pace, and skill.

My longest single day ride to date is 210 miles, about 140 paved and flatish, and 170+ mile days before and after (Pie Town day in TD.) Just 2 years ago I had never ridden a century. Bikepack racing has so many more factors than mileage, and time in the saddle for that matter. Terrain, climbing, sustainability, fuel and water supply, etc. I must sadly admit I have never raced a 24 hour race, but it is certainly on my list. Lets take it a step farther; do 48 hour races exist? What length of race must riders start to plan to sleep or camp? I haven't looked at specific names, mileages and times, but bikepack racers everywhere are pushing the envelope with sleep deprivation and impressive durability. With so many ultras* having nothing but bragging rights for prizes, what is motivating riders to push so hard?

Let's throw The Munga into the discussion. 1000k, $1,000,000, yes, One MILLION Dollar purse. I'm not saying I can win it, I may never have the opportunity to try with a $10,000 entry, but I am pretty sure that given another year of training with motivation, I could ride 1000k without sleeping. It is exciting to think about pedaling essentially continuous for that long, but I'm not convinced that would be the fastest tactic. Does the turtle or the rabbit win this race? Safety aside (yes riding 620+ miles non-stop could potentially cause some bodily harm) a few hours rest in between two triple+ centuries may be the solution, or maybe take two brief naps and split the race into double century segments.

With Cloudride 1000 as my current goal, I am trying to train as though it has a 6 figure podium payout, but I can't even wrap my head around that kind of money. My motivation is purely unfounded. I got into this stuff for the same reason we all did: we love to ride our bikes for a really long time, and we like to find our limits, and see how our limits stack up against those of others. My mind has just shifted from chasing double century weekends to double century days, back to back, (to back?) What about the triple century? On a road bike I can honestly say I think I could do one without too much struggle. Its not hard, all you need to do is pedal farther, right?

*Ultra: My definition: Multiple day, single stage race

Training plan, in a nutshell.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's a great day to stay alive!

November 19th, 2013. That's a day I'll never forget. Life changing to say the least.

I watched my best friend, co-worker, and employer fall 89 feet in tree work accident. Chris doesn't remember it, but hey, against all odds he is alive, and recovered, virtually 100%.

I could write about the saga; the sadness, the scariness, and the hardships endured by those close to the incident, but I'd rather stay positive. A mere 2 months after flirting with death, the invincible man was skiing. I have never met anyone with as much passion and drive. He did ski a few more times throughout the season, but due to both physical and cognitive limitations, for a guy who skis well over 100 days a year, it was basically a lost season.

By the time April rolled around, I was back to doing tree work, something I thought I would never do again. (Climbing is a labor of love, and if you don't love it, you won't do it for long.) I was over snow, ready for dirt. I was training hard for Tour Divide, and stoked on MTB season in general. Chris played along, but you could tell, he just wanted ski season again. All year we've talked about the count down to snow, often ending a sweaty 90 degree work day with, "I'm pretty sure it's gunna snow tomorrow." He's not bitching about the heat or summer, he's just genuinely psyched for snow and winter.

Before the accident he was no different. Aside from the drive for skiing, Chris's positive outlook on life is second to none. He posseses the rare ability to remain calm in situations where I would snap. We could be sideways to a gate in a nice yard, stuck with the truck and chipper, every wheel burried to the axle, you can tell he's not happy, but he won't lose his cool, it's not gunna help us get out anyway! Those positive vibes are usually contagious, and make for a lot of great times, on and off the job.

Instead of dwelling on the scariest thing I've ever seen, I am going to take the Treeman approach, and just  be thankful to be alive, and still have one of my best friends still here, to spend the day with. Life's too short to be mad, and sad, live everyday to the fullest. Getting so close to the edge is a reminder of how great life is.

If you've taken the time to read this, make today a positive one (make them all positive). Spread the word, November 19th is "A Great Day to Be Alive"

"Don't fall in the brook, eh!"