Archive for the On the regular Category

Icky Kittens

Posted in On the regular on January 9, 2009 by bencycles

I haven’t posted in a bit. Got kinda tired of writing that my arm was still broke and then trying to come up with some philisophical reason for why that was OK…

But the damn thing seems to be working again. So I guess it’s time for an update. I started riding again this week. Not just on a stationary, but a real road. And it felt damn odd. If you’ve ever lived anywhere that gets cold in the winter, you probably have some idea. Like when you spend a month riding nothing but stationary bikes in the basement while February takes it’s sweet time turning to March and then when you get on the road, you wobble around all willy nilly cause your not used to your bike not being bolted to something fixed in position.

But that’s OK, I’ll take it. Sign me up. The arm gets a bit stiff afterwords and it’s still a bit hard to support my wieght on my cross bike. I’ve found the mtb is a little better because it’s a little more upright and the suspension actually relieves a lot of the jarring which still hurts a bit. But each time it gets a little better. I’m still pretty much just piss and vinegar though as my body dosn’t really do what it did before the wreck. I get worn out pretty fast. But since I know my abilities mentaly, it’s just a mattter of time and a bit of effort to get back. It’s not like I took 4 years off or anything. Oh wait, that was last year…

But seriously, I really believe breaking mental bariers in training is harder than  breaking physical bariers. If you tell yourself you can’t possibly go any faster, the last thing your mind wants to do is prove itself wrong. But if you can prove it wrong and break through into a level of suffering (er, I mean performance) you hadn’t thought possible, it clicks. And once those mental bariers have been overcome, they seem to stay that way. Then it’s just a matter of making your body catch up. I have rarely found it to be the other way around. I guess at some point you did have to be pretty fit to put yourself in that scenario, but once you do, it’s a lot easier to get it back later.

Ah, my sweet sweet soapbox. It’s all about who can crave the suffering the hardest…

So anyhoo, I hope to hit up a couple races starting about two weeks from now. I don’t intend to compete for a top finish or anything, just sweat a little and maybe try to get some form back.

Oh, the title? Icky Kittens? Pretty random actually, I had to call it something. Enjoy.


3 More Weeks

Posted in On the regular on December 23, 2008 by bencycles

Comparing ourselves to various animals is nothing new and I would bet any number of us have compared ourselves to different animals at different times. Having worked on a few ranches in TX, it’s hard not to compare myself to cattle when I feel my individualism has been stripped away.

Or having watched trout darting in and out of holes in mountain creeks while stream fishing in CO,  changing course so rapidly and so fluidly, I often try to emulate that when I’m riding a trail, or at least the state of mind when I’m racing. And I think the state of mind is one of the most important aspects of training and racing. So how do you keep that state of mind when you’re injured?

I sometimes think of bicycle racing as little more than a glamorized version of horse racing; just with people instead of animals. Though in reality,  we must be the less glamorous version of horse racing. Have you seen the crowds that show up at the Del Mar race track?

But what I’ve been wondering this morning is how the mental state of a horse would compare to my own mental state when it’s injured. Would the horse fair better; worse? I have more methods to communicate than a horse when I have a problem, being able to tell a doctor how I feel physically, and I can blog… I’d like to see a horse try to type this (he may spell better).

Competitive cycling is very consuming. Calling it a hobby is a bit of an insult. Losing it abruptly at the height of a season has definitely been  hard, weekends especially . It doesn’t really matter if there is a race or not. It has more to do with the time on my hands which feels directionless. With a full time job, family, house… there isn’t a ton “free time” on weekends anyway. But it’s enough. And because of the injury, it’s not like I can use the time to repair the retaining wall in the back yard or lay the flagstone patio I keep telling the Professor about. So with the loss of a defining daily ritual and no physical outlet for release,  I tend to get a little moody.  But at least it gives me the free time to contemplate the universal psychological parallels of horses and people.

My club, I mean arm….

Posted in On the regular on December 11, 2008 by bencycles

Just a little update on that left elbow iritation from a few weeks ago. Mainly, it’ s getting a lot better. I’ve started riding a bike on a stationary trainer in my garage. I can do about 30 minutes at a time. I’m not sure if it’s the pain in my arm or my loathing despise for riding a trainer (I swore I would never bring myself such misery again if I started racing again…), but either way, I do feel better after spinning a little.

There are some mellow B or C races coming up in January, and if I can support myself on the bike, I may giv’em a try. My form will be shit but who cares, I can blame my arm, maybe I could even race with my sling on so people would think I was totally bad-ass even though I came in last.  Yeah, that would be punk rock.

In the meantime, I’m glad I can touch my face with my left hand again, something I couldn’t even come close to a couple weeks ago. touching my shoulder is the next goal, but I’m still a couple brutal inches away. Oh wait, Ijust tried again after typing that last line and I can!!! woo hoo! I’ve been trying that for a week. Fucking hurt, though, but I’m there.


Posted in On the regular on November 14, 2008 by bencycles

Having missed the last 3 races, what with mechanicals, sickness, and the final mortal blow of food poisoning, I’ve now missed as many races as I’ve raced. This being the first week “back” so to speak, I have definately noticed a little decline in my high end. It’s there, it just dosn’t last long.

I blew off the first two weeks (fever followed by cold and bad cough) as tapering, only to be hit with the death blow of food poisoning from bad salami. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere but I haven’t found the punchline yet. That knocked out two races in one weekend. Plus I learned that when you have been coughing all week and have a sore throat, vomiting is less pleasant than usual. Rudys in New HavenAnyone remember putting iodine on cuts?

Lucky me, there’s two weeks time (one week now, I guess) ’till the next cross race, which turns out to be the district championships. Having dropped down to 6th in the overall, I’ll get to scrum a bit for the start. I still haven’t put a “cross race effort” in for severall weeks. Got the intensity up a bit this week, now just need the duration. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see how I respond this weekend out on the road.

that IS a fun hobby.

Posted in On the regular on November 7, 2008 by bencycles

A far cry from the conditions in SoCal.

I Shed a Tear

Posted in On the regular on October 24, 2008 by bencycles


Originally uploaded by Ben Love

When I see my daughter all dressed up. Again, more proof that absolute cuteness sways absolutely. She asked to wear the apron and then selected the Park pedal wrench, a good choice for swinging around the garage, I think.
Of course, Gordon at B and L had some advice for her: “Just be a mechanic for a few years, OK? Don’t become a lifer.” Sorta like that song, hmmm. “Papas don’t let your daughters grow up to be mechanics…” I think that’s how it gos.

Maybe this would help my technique.

Posted in On the regular with tags on October 8, 2008 by bencycles

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more about “Maybe this would help my technique.“, posted with vodpod