Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympic wrap-up

Today is the final day of the Vancouver Olympics and I'm still pretty jazzed about having been there. It was an amazing experience I will remember forever. I have always loved sports and admire the dedication, focus and inner drive the elite athlete possesses. Watching the U.S.-Canada hockey game today, you knew it wasn't about playing for a paycheck in the NHL. It was for a medal hanging on a ribbon...and none of them wanted to be the first loser and collect silver.

I rode 42 miles in 2 hours today. Now it was supposed to be a recovery day after yesterday's effort, but when I arrived at the start, I knew it would be work. Brad Earl, Richard Hogan and Mark DiTommaso are strong riders and they like pain...I just tolerate it. But, Brad reminded me, "That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger". I think he really believes it....

A rider joined us the last 10 miles of the day. She is a pro bicycle racer in her 20's named Allie. Did you catch that? She's earning a living racing a bicycle! Training camp, then racing in Europe and the Tour de France Feminin. She has dreams and I would love to see her succeed, just as some of the Olympic athletes I got to see.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Now this is FAST!!!

This is what I came to see! You just cannot appreciate the velocity these racers achieve until you are 8' away and they rip by @ 85mph. I have hit 56mph on my bicycle, which seemed fast at the time. But, imagine standing on I-5 and a motorcycle flies by you at 90mph a mere 3 steps away. The crowd at the Whistler Sliding Center all had the same expression the first time a competitor went by...quite simply, eyes wide open and saying WOW!!!!!

Most Olympic athletes have minimal fear and train years in obscurity for their chance at Olympic glory. If they win, they become national heroes and the purity of sport, dedication and sacrifice all becomes worth it in an instance. It is an amazing thing to see the unspoiled relief and shock they experience (think Simon Ammann, Switzerland, ski-jumping) as opposed to Kobe Bryant winning another title...and endorsements worth millions.

For years, I have wanted to attend the Games and vowed if close enough, I would go. This was an awesome experience and it motivates me for my quest in May. It needs to be for a cause bigger than me. Maybe not for national glory, but why not to benefit others less fortunate than myself?
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Need for Speed

Griff & I at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs

Our ride across the West will total approximately 1720 miles and the goal is to average 90 miles a day. That calculates to 19 days of riding...we have allowed 21 days total. Hey, this has an erie resemblance to the Tour De France which consists of 20 stages, 2200 miles and 2 rest days; now, admittedly the Tour is THE world's most difficult race, but as I watch this race every year, I have wondered what it would be like to do something similar on a much more tempered scale. I am determined to find out.

Now I have no illusions will be the toughest thing I've ever done. There will be some days I will want to throw my bike in the garbage. Some days I will prefer another massage to riding in the rain & crosswinds for 6 hours, but there will be some days wherein I will try to find a way to pay my mortgage doing this, if possible.

I need some inspiration to help with my training! I know, how about the Olympics? I'm leaving Saturday and staying with a friend who I rode a Livestrong ride with. He's an avid cyclist and lives near Vancouver, BC. I'll check out Luge & Skeleton-that should fulfill my need for speed.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Canada to Mexico

There will be four riders attempting this journey: John, Zach and a friend of Zach's who I have yet to meet. It has been decided we will ride from the Canadian border to Mexico east of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon; then likely riding east of the Sierras into Nevada and back into California ending in San Diego. The time commitment for a Pacific to Atlantic route was too much for all of us, so North to South it is! And that is still a legit ride across the country.

I hadn't said a word about my desire to ride across America when John dropped the idea last November. I told my wife, Karen, and without hesitating, she said, "let's do this". Immediately, I knew it was meant to be. Wow! about support.

John is an amazing guy in his mid 50's who is certifiably hyperactive. We have ridden around Crater Lake and to the coast, ski and snowboarded at Bachelor and Ashland, kayaked in the San Juans, snowshoed, backpacked and more. He has unlimited energy and we share a love of books. As a father, he has traveled the road ahead of me and I ask him questions about raising kids frequently...I think of him as my big brother.