Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Dark is a great training buddy.

Published / by Tim

It is February. The annual Spring teaser is in full effect here in Oregon. It is wonderful being outside to work, play, train, write and enjoy the sun and its warmth. I feel that it’s time to start thinking seriously about the bike rides that I have planned.

It’s no big deal to jump on the bike and ride 20 miles. Almost anyone can do 20 miles. Besides being sore, they will probably manage to get out of bed the next day and not die. Running out and doing 60 miles (to me at least) is another story. Now that I have started the crazy talk about 100, or 130 or 170 mile rides, I think I better get serious about training.

I don’t see myself as an “athlete”. Bradley Wiggins is an athlete. Mark Cavendish is an athlete. I am a middle-aged dude who likes to ride his bike with his friends. Even though I’m not an “athlete” I’m a smart guy and from my experiences I’ve determined that this whole training thing is all about:


I have been riding outside since the middle of January and many times I have been riding in the dark. I have noticed, riding up hills that usually pose a struggle in the daylight, tend to be easier in the dark. It seems that not “seeing” the hill, makes climbing the hill easier. I would not say that riding in the dark makes me faster. Rather, my mind is less able to mess with the rest of my body when it is blind to what’s up ahead.

The mind is a powerful persuader. When my mind has “visual” data to share with my heart, lungs and legs, it’s skilled at convincing them that they are supposed to be completely whipped at the slightest hint of a hill. If the brain can’t actually “see” the hill, the other parts have a much easier time ignoring it’s whining and moaning. The trick is to be able to simulate the dark in my mind even when the sun is shining. If I can convince my brain not to see hills, I think my overall riding can improve greatly. I have to convince my brain and the rest of my body, there is no hill. It’s all an issue of mind over matter.

That being said, the first battle to win is simply showing up. Having an event on the horizon is a great motivator. My first event ride is April 28. The ride is the Monster Cookie Metric, sponsored by the Salem Bicycle Club. This ride begins and ends at the State Capitol mall and takes cyclists out through the countryside to the north. The turnaround is Champoeg State park. It is, by all accounts, a lovely 62 mile ride. The motivation that drives me is not just finishing the ride, but having the fitness to ride it happily and without fear of failure. Training will get me there.

Planning for the year.

Published / by Tim

Well… a couple readers asked about my bicycling plans for 2015. I always get a little nervous sharing long-term plans because it’s kind of like putting them in cement. So let me be clear, this is my tentative plan for the year.

The Monster Cookie Metric 60 miles

The Willamette Valley Scenic Byway 132 miles

Strawberry Century 100 miles

ALS ride 100 miles

Oregon Coast Bicycle route 360 miles

Grande Tour Scenic Bikeway 133 miles

Six BIG rides and some fund-raising  for a worthy cause… It really should be a good year if I can pull it all off…

In the mean time I have gently begun riding base miles. I am not totally compelled that putting in a ton of random miles will be of the greatest benefit to me. I actually think fewer quality miles with some other fitness work will do more to prepare me for these rides. I think I’ll have to do a separate post on that topic. The whys and wherefores….

I am excited to announce that I have a sponsorship for this year of riding. One of my all time favorite products is Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration mix. This year I am proud to be using and promoting Skratch Labs products and lifestyle. I am opting to move away from the widely accepted practice of using goo, gel and other super processed carbohydrate supplements and instead using real food, made at home from real ingredients. I have noticed that in the last year as I have begun to adopt this philosophy I have felt better on and off the bike. There will be more to come about Skratch Labs.

So, that’s the outline of the plan. It feels ambitious. It feels a little scary. I think it will push me and that will yield a good result. More on that  as we go…

Keep moving forward…

Published / by Tim / 1 Comment on Keep moving forward…

Welcome back.

This week I have been struggling with what to write in this space. My drafts have been clunky and blah and I have not found much inspiration in them. It’s been work to get words on the page. I guess sometimes you get what you get.

Applying a critical eye or falling asleep... Who knows?

I believe that when the writing gets hard it’s pretty important to keep at it. I’ve often taken breaks from writing when the going gets tough. One or two days turns into a week, turns into a month. I find that I must set aside 30 minutes (an arbitrary amount of time I chose) to write every day or I get lazy and sidetracked from making any forward progress.

As I write this, I’ve realized that this idea relates to almost everything I do. Writing, exercise, relationships, yard work, all requires a stick-to-it mentality and a time commitment on a regular basis or the quality of the outcome suffers. I’m certain that daily practice in the things that matter is a key to success.

I sometimes find myself sinking into, what a great friend called, a “jaded worldview”. It’s the debilitating view that everything is pointless, meaningless, and generally icky. It’s a dark and negative outlook that reeks with dark notes of vapid sarcasm. When I have a jaded worldview it limits my desire to practice the things I know help me move forward. To combat the jaded worldview I decided to adopt the practice of the “Disciplines of Heart” I read about on Michael Hyatt’s blog. If you are interested in “self-improvement”, Michael has a vast collection of good ideas.

The “Disciplines of Heart”: Reflection, Rest, Recreation and Relationships make sense to me because much of what I am doing to maintain sanity in life falls nicely under these categories. The disciplines simply help me focus on doing a few things really well. 

This blog is an output for the Reflection discipline. In my week of writing and contemplating the world, what comes out here is a reflection of sorts. The blog is also a form of Recreation.  The act of writing and noodling with words is fun. I believe it also plays a part in the Relationship discipline, in that, it’s a way to connect with you and learn together (although I think face to face relationships are the focus).

In the spirit of learning together, I thought I’d share the things I’m currently reading and listening to for my own self-improvement. This week I’m reading, Children and Other Wild Animals: Notes on badgers, otters, sons, hawks, daughters, dogs, bears, air, bobcats, fishers, mascots, Charles Darwin, newts, … tigers and various other zoological matters by Brian Doyle. I continue to listen to Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I’ve cut back on the number of books I have going at any given time in the hope of actually finishing books. It’s an effort to move from being a starter to also being a finisher. From time to time I may do a mid-week post reviewing these books, or albums or whatever catches my attention. 

I’m hoping your week is full of adventure. Leave a response to tell me what you do to combat the “jaded worldview”.

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