Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 4.114 Don't Worry Baby

I am not sure I can adequately re-tell this trivial event that took place Monday. But I will try.

I was given the opportunity to replace a cancellation at UW Medicine. This was a follow-on to my ER visit the Friday before. I was to meet with the head Cardiologist and two fellows. It was for 0830, meaning I had to jump through a few fire hoops to get there.

Taking great pride in my ability to mix minimum cost with maximum efficiency here is how it worked, all this a testimony to the power of community.

Monday, 0430. I wake before the alarm and prep for spin class. 0530-0630 Rock and Roll in the saddle. I had announced to the group that we would be breaking with convention this one day only as I HAD to be aboard the 0705 ferry to Seattle. I 'take' a five minute shower and Gabi at the front desk has my coffee ready and like an expert aid station volunteer hands it off to me on the fly. We spill nary a drop of the hot drip. Speeding down the highway I make a field decision not to park at RGs and trot to the boat, but instead to park in the four hour spots much closer. I will probably get a parking ticket for this but I can't take the chance of missing the sailing and besides my right hamstring is cramping.

I meet Rob in the galley with two minutes to spare. Rob has offered to drop me off on his way to work. He is a hotshot at Amazon and shows up when he feels like it, a situation I am sure is a non-issue with Mr Bezos.

By the time I get into the examination room I am a little gassed. I am greeted by a nurse, a tech, a specialist and the fellow. THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME, wow. I tell my pathetic story and sit waiting for Dr. Stewart the head of Cardiology. He is a busy guy. As I wait the only magazine available is Glamour, so I pull out my iPhone to test the new earbuds.

First song up from shuffle play is the Beach Boys. I am listening to Don't Worry Baby, hearing vocals, harmony and stereo mix like never before. Please remember that I have heard this beautiful song maybe a million times since it was released in 1964. It is so pure and serene that I fall deep into a peaceful sleep (on the beach in the sunshine).

I am startled awake by the doctors, who are both smiling down at me as I sit and snooze, the gloriousness of the music still caressing my soul.

I felt stupid and embarrassed. But they smile and nod. I think they knew what was happening. I was in a totally relaxed state. Somewhere I haven't been in a LONG time.

I tell them my story. They refer to notes. We run some tests. I get referred to two other departments for further testing. I feel better already, and prepare for the return trip home and most likely to face the parking ticket music.

I have been gone for well over twice the parking limit. I have already concocted my story to tell the judge. (Went in for a routine check up and got admitted).

I get back to the truck.

No ticket.

I put the earbuds back in.

Don't Worry Baby everything will work out alright.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 4.113 We Shall See

We started a new era last night.

It is the same-old-stuff (SOS) but with a twist, or perhaps better, a new spin.

I took over the Wednesday night spin class at our local club, The Bainbridge Athletic Club. I had to juggle our schedule at the PB to do so, but I think it will prove to be a good move.

I wanted to start fresh with this new group so we immediately reviewed the basics, the whys and hows, ways and means. There is only so much anyone can say about indoor cycling without eventually either burning out on cliched rhetoric or tip-toeing into tangential terrain. I have done both. To excess.

But last night was different. It was good for me to refresh as well. I tried my best to entertain, a huge requirement for the evening classes, not so much for the 0530 die-hards who expect simple hard work, and to educate as any instructor can size up a group pretty quick with experience. It is like walking up to a race and determining your necessary effort based upon who else has showed up. I have called it advanced dialect body language.

It was also an interesting night because the local press was sending over a photog to support an article they are compiling about our community cycling scene. I had to hold in my gut for almost ten minutes.

With all this taking place in real time, the juices went on high-viscosity red-light alert. It was mandatory that I hook the group fast if this is going to last, I thought going into phase one.

Phase one requires the exchange of concepts to consider as the body goes into overdrive. It is perfect environment to train mind and body together, to let go, de-stress and get the spirit and soul to join the parade. It can be magical.

Some of those concepts include:

Aggressive engagement.
Having a plan.
Leveraging the power of the group and the strength of others.
Pursuing the awesome experience.
Taking 100% responsibility for effort.
The willingness to pay the price for dreams.
Never giving up.
Never procrastinating.

Among others.

It was a great night. I think the hook has been properly set.

We shall see next Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 4.112 Google it

Jack: The people that I deal with, they don’t care about your rules. All they care about is a result. My job is to stop them from accomplishing their objectives. I simply adapted. In answer to your question - am I above the law: no Sir, I am more than willing to be judged by the people you claim to represent; I will let them decide what price I should pay. But please, do not sit there with that smug look on your face and expect me to regret the decisions that I have made, because, Sir, the truth is I don’t.

There is our JBQ of today. Jack is on trial. He is being grilled by the hypocrisy of our system personified by a greasy, corrupt proxy for democracy known as a US Senator.

It is the malignant 'don't ask and don't tell' paradox of doing business in the age of terrorism. Jack gets results. He saves the world, or at least the US part of it, every season. How he gets these results is the issue. He bends the rules. He tortures. He finds and saves truth, justice and the American Way. He is the classic and tragic Greek hero in a modern setting. He is affected, has been hurt as mush as he has hurt, many times as result of the very actions he takes to protect the innocent. His pain is ours. We are lost and hopeless without him because we need his heroism, courage and commitment to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Without Bauer we don't have Jack.

Leading us directly into the repeating metaphor of our first week of Super Eights. It is like Season 10, Episode One. We are back and we have a score to settle with the terrorists who have kidnapped our fitness, holding our strength hostage and demanding an outrageous ransom.

The beauty lies in the simplicity. Go as hard as you can, 100% all out, for 30 seconds. Rest and recover as best you can for 90 seconds (that 1:3 golden ratio) and repeat 8 times.

I applaud the heroic participants in our session this morning. It takes balls. We break with convention. We go beyond. We do whatever it takes to accomplish our implausible objective.

The rewards are special. Without pressure you don't have diamonds. It HAS to be hard. You won't find these results anywhere else. Not on TV, not at Safeway not in an alley in Pioneer Square at midnight. If you Google search all the elements and rewards associated with this protocol; Speed, power, endurance, will, grit, focus, and the ability to truly appreciate and embrace these impossible profiles in courage…

You get Jack Bauer.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 4.111 Three Fingered Jack's

More nostalgic than relaxing, my quick tour of the 'old stomping grounds' Sunday brought back memories faster than my rented Chevy Avevo could climb at 8%.

I was on a video mission to capture the spectacular route connecting Marblemount with Mazama for indoor cycling entertainment. That is, after all, what I do, RCVman being a titular moniker for both this blog and my livelihood. More on that here.

This route, SR20 in the North Cascades, Washington, is usually closed this time of year due to avalanche danger and snow pack. Not anymore. I was amazed at the alarming lack of white. Worse, or rather in perfect logic, was the water level in the Methow River. We are talking LOW here. Alarmingly low.

My mission is one of fitness and fun. I film so you can see.

Currently in download, render, compression and color correction, the media captured Sunday should be stellar. I have sampled a few frames and it generally sizzles. There was very little traffic, a few Harley guys (who always wave as they pass), a small road rally, a handful of RVs and the obligatory locals doing chores. I passed three cyclists in a little under 80 miles.


So I now consider it to be my mission to show this awesome route to the world. Yo World, you need to see this. Or as Hollywood is fond of saying: Coming soon!

After the scheduled route shoot I took a break in Winthrop. Walking out and back on the planked sidewalk I remembered the many days and nights spent here. That was over 35 years ago. I was a local, working heavy construction on the Chief Joe Dam in Bridgeport, farming my little 15 acres on the river, playing drums in a C&W band called Stan Sheets and the Fabulous Playboys (more on THAT later) and trying to keep my marriage alive.

Three Fingered Jack's was, and still is, the featured gathering spot in the Valley. When anyone would visit from out of town or out of state, the first stop was Jacks. The beer was always cold (we drank Rainier in those days) and they built a tasty double-burger with local beef. I was carnivorous then, but I still remember. Fried onions. Dance hall music and 100 degrees of high chaparral just outside the swinging doors. We used to start days at Jacks and finish in Carlton, 30 miles downriver all on the Methow floating on inner tubes. We had one tube dedicated to beer, kept safely in a net submerged in the icy run-off water. There are a couple of rapids but for the most part it is floating and frolicking. We've done it in kayaks and canoes but by far the most fun was tubing.

And we had some fun.

Don't ask me about the marriage.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 4.110 The Streak is Over (long live the streak)

The streak is over. We made it 109 days. In legal parlance I will plead nolo contendere or perhaps the more simple, guilty with explanation.

I give you power to be judge and jury.

My case presented:

As the North Cascades Highway, SR20, one of the most scenic roads in the Evergreen State opened early this year due to man-created global warming (objection), and that I was officially "off" for the day, and that further, the sun was allegedly going to shine at a glorious Fahrenheit rate of 70 plus degrees, I decided to go video said highway.

After selling the plan to HQ they sent it down the hall to logistics. How the heck are we going get this in the can for the budgeted amount (zero)? AND be back in time for 0530 class in the morning?

Eyebrows raise and postures are adjusted as interest suddenly grows. I can almost hear the defense thinking 'this should be good.'

0430 wake up.
Park at RGs and trot to the 0520 boat, fully loaded in one backpack.
Walk to light rail station in Pioneer Square.
Catch train to Sea-Tac.
Pick up rental car.
Drive to Marblemount (118 miles).
Mount cams, connect to GPS, buy a coffee and hit record.
Shoot the 90 miles Marblemount to Mazama (see photo as Exibit A)
Shoot the 75 miles between Winthrop to Chelan.
Stop at the Subway.
Drive back to Sea-Tac via Stevens Pass in heavy Sunday traffic.
Take rail back to Pioneer Square station.
Walk to 2110 ferry.
Walk to RG'a and pick up ruck.
Drive home.

All that was almost five hundred miles, seventeen hours and sixty-six dollars and fifty-seven cents, including lunch.

So your honor, that is my story, sad but true, every word.

With the kind permission of the court I will make two posts tomorrow as repentative compensation, and solemnly vow never repeat my foolishness.

I smile when she says that having the streak snapped at 109 is punishment enough (the bloggers version of time served).

You may go.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 4.108 MOM it HURTS

OK, this:

"Suffering is necessary until you decide that suffering is unnecessary."

I have been using a variant of this in our indoor training for some time now. I have always liked the underlying magic of its simplicity.

Today we hammered out our weekly 90 minute set with a series of hill climbs. Considering the beautiful blue skies overhead and immediately outside, it was a wonder we had anybody riding inside at all.

But we got after it. I experimented with some new (old) tunes and the time passed about the way it always does. One second after another. With the kicker being that whatever mind-set we have at the time completely dictates the experience and its value. You may suffer if it is your definition or you may simply do what must be done and enjoy the ride and define your effort afterwords. Either way will all arrive at the top of the hill in a near proximity.

Did you have fun? Did it kill you? Were you present and aware of the compound changes taking place? Did you consider shooting the instructor?

You can suffer. Or not. It is up to you. It is very much like looking into the sun. It can be spectacular or blinding.

However (you knew there was going to be a however) I guarantee that if you transcend the suffering and look at effort, challenge and hard work as something other than an evil prank, your game will improve exponentially.

Or like we considered this morning, winning isn't the important part, the important part is taking pride in your progress no matter the pace.

These things take time.

Time is fleeting and the clock is running.

So you had better make it count.

Lose the suffering and embrace the opportunity of challenge. Witness the struggle lovingly and encourage continual improvement.

The unnecessary suffering will continue until you decide it is wasteful, counter productive and childish.

But Mom, it hurts.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 4.107 Don't worry

"Don't worry about what you don't know, worry about what you don't do."

This in reference to teaching. The context is that many of us wait until we feel adequately qualified or have the necessary credentials to share with others.

Everybody has the gift of uniqueness of experience. NOBODY has done all that you have, in the manner you have and with the resulting wisdom that you have.

One of the true beauties of social media is in the way we can communicate and share stories. If a small percentage of those stories is didactic, everybody wins. I have no idea what the codes look like in making this internet thing work, but I recognize the power of the medium. I can share stories, tales, anecdotes, victories, hopes, defeats, recipes and notes from the road. I find this as amazing as I find it awesome.

It doesn't matter what I know if I don't share. I do not have to be the greatest living blogger in America, knowing all there is to know about search engine optimization and advanced algorithms to share my thoughts, experiences and impossible schemes.

And yes a big part of this is therapeutic. I write because I wish to improve as much as I write to share. I get to outline thoughts and develop ideas. I get to journal. The content may not be a exciting as a Hollywood boiler plate, but nobody out there wears my running shoes.

Just me.

So I don't worry about what I don't know. I know what I don't know. I try every day to lower that incredible sum.

I do however, worry about what I don't do.

I pray to have the wisdom and courage to so do.