Thursday, September 27, 2012


In this morning's class we went to extremes. I asked for standing climbing levels which represented effort in the 85-92% range. I also asked for an objective, or more accurately, an as objective as possible, rating of each. They were to be "only" 60 seconds in duration, and we were going to repeat them somewhere between the opening of each "classic country rock" song and its twangy conclusion. We also added another variable, that being the caveat of perception. How hard does this gear feel right now as we add muscular fatigue, mix in chemical change, pour on cardio taxation, all with the passage of time. We recovered in a cursing gear at 120 rpm. For an hour. 

It was work. It challenged. It felt great with the interesting side benefit that the recoveries, in a respectable gear and at an very snappy frequency, seems by comparison, like a walk on the beach. How is that for progress? 

Individually I was very pleased with the effort as it was my seventh session in four days and I entered our orange spinning room with a touch of trepidation. All of you know the feeling: Not sure I can do this today. 

But we suit up, don game face and giver 'er a little hell. And you get to the start. You go. You bring the tools that get you here. You dance with the person who brought you. The two step is on, the fever is high, banjos are ringing' and endorphins fly. 

This alone creates it's own momentum as the question, the test, shifts anything but subtly, to one of duration. How long can I maintain the output? 

In the search for this answer we narrow our focus and hone our awareness. From the hour scheduled for the session, down to the 60 seconds of each hill repeat, to the very turn of every pedal rotation, every breath, every twitch of muscle fiber. The nano second of now. Here, powerful and relaxed, blood flow at an uncommonly high volume, temperatures regulated over a raging tributary of salt and water, in nuanced harmony with our place in the cosmos. Nothing else matters but this moment. This test, this challenge. 

Passing that test is victory. That is winning. It has nothing to do with time, another person, or one team scoring more than the another, or some orchestrated, made for TV championship. You give your best, work your butt off to improve, adapt, grow and change. You stay in the process, aware, awake and thankful for the opportunity to be here and compete. Regardless of outcome, you do your best. That, to me, defines a winner. 

Making the somewhat unorthodox segue from indoor cycling to college football, tonight after our Ferry to Bridge 14.08 time trial, my beloved University of Washington Huskies will take the field against the heavily favored Stanford Cardinal. Be all objective analysis, we should get slaughtered. They are bigger, faster, stronger, deeper. Last week they beat USC then the number 3 team in the country, while we beat a Portland State team that plays in a minor division. It could get ugly in a Jake Locker hurry.


Maybe each of the 22 Dawgs plays the game of their lives. They find some team mojo and suddenly the impossible looks 'do-able'. They start to think, 'we can do this', and work and play in the absence of fear, inspired to achieve a common, united group goal. They hit, they run, the block and they tackle. 60,000 people cheer wildly their every successful and hard earned yard. Miracles happen. Losing becomes winning. Success breeds success. Momentum is power. 

Again tonight we go to extremes. Let's make it happen, lads. 

Photo from Jake's final home game against UCLA in 2010, a 24-7 W for the good Dawgs. 

No comments: