Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 269 Zamp

I just finished Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling follow-up to Seabisciut, Unbroken.

The life story of Louis Zamperini is an inspirational and mostly painful journey through the Olympics, WW II POW camps, forty-two days in a life-raft and a return to civilian life after the world thought he was "lost at sea."

He was relentlessly beat to a pulp by forces both human and spiritual. He paid a huge price physically and physiologically. He lived to suffer another day.

I, we, have no real measure of the suffering he endured. There is nothing in our modern society that comes within a mile of the torture Louie faced on a daily basis at the hands of the Japanese as a Pacific POW.

Every night as I poured through another chapter I would close the book amazed at how strong he was and conversely, how weak I am.

I would have quit. I would have taken the Steve McQueen route. I would have fought back even if it meant more beatings. I would have cried for mercy.

Interestingly, one of the traits of the successful endurance athlete is in the ability to withstand pain. To recognize it, accept it and move past it. Get to the next experience, even if that means enduring five minutes or five more miles of agony.

Louis was an Olympian. He ran a 4:16 mile. He was so good that in an Olympic trial, a group of competing athletes conspired to 'cut' him in the race, boxing him in and hacking his shins with super sharpened spikes. Bloodied but determined, Louis won the heat.

We talk about military personnel being keenly aware of the powerful combination of training, discipline and success on the battlefield. Be that battle on land, sea, air or an arena, field or gym.

I was pleased then to see in the book's epilogue, under the section entitled "Questions and topics for discussion' number four:

Do you think that Louie's athletic career helped prepare him for what he would face in war?

My answer is an unequivocal, yes. And vice-versa.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 268 at Waffle House

You know why I dislike Starbucks. (It has nothing to do with coffee), Home Depot (nothing to do with building material) and Microsoft (nothing to do with Windows 8).

They are all pretentious impostors moving their mugs, two-bys and DOS' across the Monopoly boards of our lives like 800 pound gorillas.

(If nothing else) The RCVman is a hero to the underdawg!

So please tell me how a $5 cup of burnt coffee enhances the quality of my decision to keep or sell Atlantic Avenue.

But this is not a rant on the sate of consumerism or capitalism. And as much as I cringe whenever Howard Schultz tries to moralize the destruction Amazon rain forests to increase coffee bean yields, I truly appreciate Bill Gates'  philanthropy. OK and HD sponsors race cars. Go Homer!

Every once in a blue moon (what the Italians call Ogni morte de Papa - Every death of a Pope) I stumble across a refreshing antithesis to this subsidized social slime. Therefore.....

Today's winner of the RCVman award for unpretentious value in the breakfast category….. goes to……

The Waffle House.

No big PR, no glitz, no hipness, no doublespeak, cleaver ad campaigns or mumbo-jumbo. No outright lies colored as puffery.

Just good, cheap food. Sure, you can get hash browns smothered, spiked, smoked or stacked but beneath all the options remain the basic fare brought to your table with a smile and a coffee ($1.65) refill. I also love it when they call me Hun.

I don't care if this is Southern fried low-brow. I am a breakfast guy. I like starting the day with some carbs and a cuppa joe in an industrial strength mug. And I like my eggs without hypocrisy thank ya'll very much. I even bought the Augusta Chronicle for a dollar today to pair with my pecan waffle.

And what do you suppose was the headline story?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 267 Savannah

Ya know, every once in a while, I get the feeling that I should dig a little deeper.

We explore this concept in training and racing often, but I am more in reference here to the day-to-day. The mundane. The routine.

And since you asked (thank you) I will offer an example.

Today.

Today was a challenge. Today was a test.

I was assigned the mission, provided the logistics, briefed and shown the drop site.

That was the easy part.

The real challenge came doing it on the fumes. Dead tired, sleepless since DC.

So I got to dig a little. Focus and concentrate on NOTHING BUT NOW. Use both hands, keep the radio off, find the smooth crown of the road, and keep it real for 2.5 hours.

There were times that I had to shake the cobwebs. Stretches where the practice faded switching to auto-pilot, and by mile 50 I was singing the "Give Me Six More Miles Baby Jesus" (in B).

But we made it. And this course rocks. Not too dramatic or demanding, no signature climbs, no postcard ops, just 56 honest, rolling wide open miles through rural Georgia and South Carolina.
All I am hoping the video will reflect.

If it manages to capture some of the effort put forth by the videographer, all the better.

Because I think we can all sometimes use a sharper shovel.

Pic is just before the swim start on the Savannah River.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

DAY 266 AT THE HALF

Halftime.

The Sea-Gull shoot is in the can. Great day for a metric century in Delmarva.

Never heard of it?

That trio of states comprised of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Delmarva.

Don't feel bad, it was a new one on me too.

Downloaded the media on the 150 mile jaunt back to Dulles, where I have 45 minutes to watch some of the Husky game at the Z9 gate.

It is a one score game just before the half.

After the 2hrs in the air, I have one more drive, from Atlanta to Augusta. I am hoping to get in by midnight and catch a few ZZZZZs prior to my 0530 start of the morning's event, the Augusta 70.3.

Cyler just got sacked, shit.

I can't say the trip so far has been without incident, because there has been a few 'unanticipated issues', but we have made it to the half, and were still in the game.

Let's play it out.

AND SHAQ JUST STRIPS THE BALL AND TAKES IT TO THE HOUSE!!!!! WE ARE TIED!!!!!!!

(time to board)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 265, 100 to go!

After a wonderful dinner with friends last night, another grease-fest for breakfast with sister Kathy and a 150 mile escape from DC, I ended up, once again at the water's edge, the right coast, Atlantic Ocean.

I am not going to go into the details, the debate that swirls around the difference between the Oceans, here, but I soon will. Because there were guys out there actually trying to surf these wind-blown, choppy, closed-out, white-caps they (I am sure) call waves. But I applaud their efforts.

After shooting some b-roll I drove another 80 or so miles back to the motel. Where I now sit with a small cheese pizza and a quart of Modelo, charging batteries and downloading media in preparation for tomorrow's main event. And judging from the expo and number of bikes on cars I saw coming and going on US 50, it should be a great day. They are even calling for sun and 80 degrees (after morning fog.)

I am going to my upgraded King bed early tonight because tomorrow is going to be a long one.

Sandwiched between the century ride (in Maryland) and half-iron tri (in Georgia and South Carolina) the Huskies open Pac-12 play against defending P12N Champions, the Stanford Cardinal. Whom I respect, but still hate. Unlike Oregon whom I hate with nothing but passion (although Mariotta is fucking good.)

Our true nature as a team, our chemistry, our attitude and the tenor for the remainder of the season rests on this game. It is, as they sat, HUGE.

And I am going to miss it.

Unless I luck out and finish filming early, navigate the 150 back to Dulles, and score some free wi-fi to watch on-line until departure time.

That would be cool. Woof!

Dawgs (call me Homer) 13, Trees 10.

One hundred days to go!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 264


Back in DC. Looks as if I have brought some moisture with me from Seattle as my sister tells me that these are the first rains in over two months. Hey, glad to help out, maybe the farmers in Central California will hire me for a rain dance. I am available (cash only and no barters.)

We visited our favorite greasy spoon this morning and got caught up on pertinent gossip, local, personal and International. Seems there is a lot to discuss on each.

I have done about as much as I can to prepare for the Sea-Gull Century on Saturday and the Augusta 70.3 on Sunday. Believe it or not, I have some margins built in, so excluding complete disaster I should be OK. Tired and weary, but OK. The obvious challenges, non film related, are getting lost on the 150 miles between Salisbury and Dulles and the flight being delayed or cancelled. I will tend to the former and allow the airlines to manage the later. Yo Frontier, check the oil.

The second leg, the 150 miles from Atlanta to Augusta will be a little different as I must balance my caffeine intake with the need to sleep immediately upon arrival at the motel. Fortunately, any errors here will merely result in the loss of sleep.

Weather is calling for 81 and sunny Saturday and 70 and partial clouds Sunday. Tells me this front is heading South-west.

Outside of human error, airline ineptitude or silly shows of stupidity the biggest question is, and always will be, the weather.

Shooting video of bicycle races can be a bit like baseball that way.

Sometimes you win, sometime you lose and sometimes you get rained out.

Nuke LaLoosh nailed that one. Remind me to tell you one day of my phone conversation with the real Crash Davis.

Pix: Top Kathy and me back at the Steak & Egg Cafe. Me and my Carona in Denver.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day 263

Two hour layovers are perfect for this. Sitting on the carpet by the power outlet. And since I get to DC very late, have to get the car and drive to my sister's condo (where she has promised a hot meal and cld beer), the time is ripe to:
KEEP THE STREAK ALIVE!

For those of you who have been following along these 263 consecutive blogging days, you know how vitally important this streak is to me. Not because I have a compelling story to tell, or have something dramatic to say, or even that I want to practice some craftsmanship towards continual improvement of the writing craft, but because…

I said on January first that I was going to make a blog post every day for the entirety of 2014.

For reasons that I find strangely empowering. I like the discipline. I like the challenge. I like making something out of nothing. Something in the way this moves me.

We did another, our third of eight, set of Super Eights this morning. They are hard. I gave my best effort keeping an alternating eye on the power meter and my heart rate monitor. They have a direct relationship. I felt good throughout the drill, but once out of shower, down highway and on-board ferry, things got a little weird.

I have been hearing strange noises inside my ears of late. Not the high pitched tintinitis, but a mid-range hum, like sitting beside the freeway for an hour. My vision seem to be fading as well. I am about half way through Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (soon to be a major picture) and had to adjust book distance several times from Seattle to Denver. At least I am not having to endure what Louie Zamperini did. This seems like a party by comparison.

Alright, I need to stretch some. Going to pack up and take a walk through this disaster of an airport. Oh, and speaking of which, have you flown Frontier? Tell me about this a la carte baggage stuff please. A regular fast-food airlines.

Belch. I'd rather swim with sharks.