Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 5.151. Secure your Load

On the move.

Out of the blue and into the black.

Two runs to the RV and big lifting done.

One day I will downscale to the bare minimum:




Setting up shop in new local. All for now.

Don't drop that computer Maynard, especially on your big toe.

Secure your load.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 5.150 Dammit

I did it again.


A new guy comes into my class. I meet and greet, make some fairly severe changes to his fit and advise him of his indoor cycling Miranda rights. We call it the standard disclaimer. It reads as follows:

No matter how hard we go, how long we go, at what intensity we ride or with what frequency we turn the pedals, you have the right AFTER TESTING AND MEASURING, to adjust your effort appropriately. It is traditionally at this time that I add two adjacent items to the mix, the obnoxious element and music. If at any time you must escape the protocol, you have the right to do so.

What I do not say, and because the regulars set the tone and lead by example, is that this is a no-nonsense high-performance one hundred miles an hour up-tempo focused effort at breakneck speed. We take no prisoners. We get it done. We rock and we rock hard. THERE IS NO TIME FOR IDLE CHATTER LADIES.

So at about the seventy-five minute point in the session, as I am sharing my thoughts on why so many events are won during the second third of the race, the new guy and his sponsor begin to get loud with their banter. They are laughing at something.

I don't care if Louis CK is in the room, we are here to work and if you are talking, or worse, laughing, you are not going hard enough. And you are being disrespectful. To me and to your classmates.

So I barked at 'em. Told them to stop or they could leave us to our work.

We finish the ninety minutes and warm down. After a nice shower I grab a cup of coffee and hit the road.

Where I feel horrible for allowing myself to berate a newbie for class disruption.

Does a drill sergeant getting in the face of a recruit and telling him how things are done around here feel likewise? Does a leader command and then waiver in commitment?

Maybe there is another way. A softer approach, less reactionary. BUT EQUALLY EFFECTIVE.

I haven't found it yet.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 5.149 A Nomad Again

I am officially nomadic.


I am moving this weekend from the beautiful cottage overlooking the shipping lanes of Puget Sound leaving the Seattle skyline behind.

I have been here, courtesy of two generous and supportive friends, since January.

It has been enriching and calming, a rejuvenating and restorative five months.

I am grateful for the experience and opportunity, as well as a touch melancholy about the departure. It is a crab leg like yin-yang.

If it was up to me I would stay here for the rest of my days, but it is not.

Today I begin the pack-up process.

Which isn't as bad as usual because I have downsized to such an extent that I can move everything here in about three pickup loads.

I am gonna miss this place.

I am moving back with my brother, his wife and my nephew. There are challenges there. We need to make real progress on several fronts. I hope I am up to the task.

Meanwhile I am negotiating with two sellers. One has a tiny parcel that would require significant prep and site work (expensive) and the other further out in a valley we ride through often. It is 5 acres of bliss. A place they call Big Valley.

The former I could financially handle on my own. The latter would require a partnership.

As we executed another inside ride last night, sharing these updates with my mates that could easily assist (I put up the down and use their good credit to finance the remaining amount, which I pay) the 'rider' surfaced: What happens if I default? If I die before the five (or ten) year term is completed?

In that scenario the partner would get the property and equity, as well as any improvements. A sweet deal with zero risk. Especially if that partner was a family member. Hummmmmmmmmm.

If I can pay the property forward and add to an existing family portfolio as a result, everybody wins.

And I don't have to move all this crap around anymore.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 5.148 I Run

I am running.

I love to run.

It has been a painful and difficult road back. I have lost much endurance and speed. Not to mention strength.

But that is OK. It is behind and I am moving forward.

I feel my pro-preceptors respond to every asphalt, gravel, grass and stone irregularity. My lungs are getting used once again to the demand.

My heart seems to be OK with it. At least it isn't sending SOS messages.

The sun is shining and I am sleeveless for the first time this year.

I like it. I feel strong today although I have logged double sessions every day this week. Yesterday was a killer with two high-intensity indoor spin sessions. I was weak and sore this morning and flirted with skipping the run because of this evenings ride.

But I pushed myself out the door and now I am running.

I hear birds, dogs and cars. A lot of cars. I wish they would all stay home in their garages and come out only when I am home.

I never worried about this when I lived across from the park. There was never a need. Now I run in the street and it bothers me.

I could drive to the park and run there, but that seems so hypocritical. The beauty of running is that all your need are some sneakers and the will to move. Driving to where you are going to run defeats the organic simplicity of it.

I could ride my bike there and call it a brick.



Creative solutions often appear when I run.

Pic is of RG and me at the finish of 1997 Boston Marathon. He did good that day, I just ran.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day 5.147 Six Days on the Road

This is DAY SIX.

Upon the advice of the University of Washington Cardiology Department of Psychiatry, I am refraining from alcohol for a period of time in order to determine if, or if not, a few beers or glasses of red wine are co-conspirators in plot to bring me down.

Let us be clear, this is no conspiracy. They (the medical staff) after a lengthy meeting last Friday, offered me a deal. They said that I could take two roads at this juncture.

The drug road. They would be more than happy to prescribe medication that, coupled with the two I am already ingesting on a daily basis, possibly help with the symptoms (insomnia, syncope, hypotension, light headedness, loss of balance, lack of energy, sarcopenia), or,

The test road. We, mostly me, could try to isolate possible triggers acting in conjunction with the meds and the AF condition that create the side effects.

I chose the latter.

They asked me if I could do it without support, solo, out there all alone.

I answered to the affirmative. They both looked at me askew. Are you sure?

I am.

Of course, quitting something I have been 'enjoying' since I was a junior in High School (1968) cold turkey, has its challenge. So I decided to up the ante and go balls out. The hard road is not easy street.

IF I am going to do this painful test I might as well add the other known personal enemy and sentence both to a stint in the cooler.

Meaning that bread is also off the daily regimen for the next three weeks.

The alcohol was suggested, the wheat, grains and starches, self imposed.

Here on the first few steps along that road, I can honestly say that I feel better. I am sleeping better, feeling healthier and, most importantly, committed to the process.

Additionally my weight after our super Super Eight set this morning was lower than it has been in three years, a positive reinforcement and reminder that the goal is continual improvement, not perfection.

After class en route to the shower, I spent several minutes looking at two recently posted flyers, one announcing a trail marathon in the Olympics and the other a local triathlon.

Six days on the road.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day 5.146 83 Problems

I REALLY like this one.

Instead the Buddha said, "I can't help you."

"What do you mean?"  said the astonished man.

"Everybody's got problems,"  said the Buddha. "In fact we've all got eighty-three problems, each one of us, eighty-three problems, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you work really hard on one of them, maybe you can fix it - but if you do another will pop up and take its place. For example, you're going to lose your loved ones eventually. And you are going to die someday. Now there is a problem and there is nothing you, or I or anyone else can do about it."

The man became furious. "I thought you were a great teacher!" he shouted. "I thought you could help me! What good is your teaching then?"

The Buddha said, "Well maybe it will help you with the eighty-fourth problem."

"The eighty-fourth problem" the man said. "What is the eighty-fourth problem?"

Said the Buddha, "You want to not have any problems."

Monday, May 25, 2015

Day 5. 145 Welcome Home

I like to do this:

Pick a random book, one that has already been read, or that is of intriguing subject matter, and select a page. Just flip it open, fan the pages and find a paragraph or sentence.

Read it.

See if it applies somehow.

This practice has become my personal horoscope. Virgos are a quick study anyway.

There is always something, some relevancy, a connection.

Sure sometimes I need to stretch a little, but more often than not, the practice provides a minor moment of WOW.

Of late this has been with pictures too. I will have an image in mind (we all know the complete randomness of THAT), and bingo, when I run through files in storage, there is the digital conniption.

I wish I could do this when editing. I 'see' what I want, but have to spend hours searching files to find it, and then it is never exactly what I envisioned I wanted.

This happened twice today.

I snagged a book from throw-away doom and put it on the kitchen counter. As I was mixing some rice, beans and onions for lunch I spotted the book and initiated the random flip protocol. Found this total gemstone:

…you must come the three realizations. First you must realize that life is fleeting. Next you must understand that you are already complete, worthy, whole. Finally you must see that you are your own refuge, your own sanctuary and your own salvation. (Buddhism, plain & simple, by Steve Hagen).

After that cosmic refresher (and lunch) I went back to work. I was thinking about a relevant image to accompany this profundity. A moment in time popped into my consciousness like one of those old flash bulbs that melt with volcanic magma upon use. I saw the gate and I saw the sentinels. I felt the symbolism.

The sentinels are guarding the gate. They are armed with the thorns of sleep. To pass one must know three things. There is a test. Upon completion you may pass.

Welcome home.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Day 5.144 Nothing

It was at it again last night.

So far the NAP (no alcohol period) now entering DAY THREE, hasn't provide much in the way of sleep benefits.

To be fair, I realize that these things don't happen, ahem, overnight, but the continuance of the wacko dreams is getting a little tiresome.

Last night was highly entertaining.

I swapped out the IPA and cheese sandwiches (per instructions) for grilled salmon, white pop corn with pepper flakes and Asiago, ice water with limes and four delicious apricots.

Made it through five episodes of Season Five, a fucking ass-kicker. Take down the POTUS Jack!

Gulped a melatonin and two Tums and went horizontal.

Usually this is when I become hyper aware of the imbalance and feel the irregularities. But I was calm, relaxed and ready for some serious REMs.

I don't quite remember the first part, but act two matched Jack's heroics to the T.

I woke (or went deeper) knowing that the timer was running and I had to……..

….get up, run around the house like I was being chased, fall down and make it appear that I was injured and unconscious, and then (this is the good part) document all this by taking a selfie and e-mailing it as proof that I was in compliance with both the rouse and its time. It HAD to be done by 0400.

After the fall (should have hired a stunt man) and the selfie I was fumbling with the 'send to' function on my pathetically decrepit iPhone. I was alert enough to know that I really didn't want to send it to a business contact or client so that meant sending it to myself. Good thinking, even for a sleepwalking zombie with fluorescent pink hair.

I stood and wondered if sending to self was protocol, sweat pouring from brow. Looking at the clock on the phone I saw that I had twenty seconds to decide.

I took one last snap (not liking the priors) and with one second remaining on the clock, sent it to myself.

Returning to the futon, exhausted but pleased, I thought to myself, 'you know that was all a dream, don't you? That you are now officially the biggest idiot on this, or perhaps any other planet? Possibly you should try sleep again.

I roll out of bed to start the day and remember the drama. I'll prove that this really happened. The self e-mail! Yes.

Patronizingly I delay the satisfaction and make coffee. I sit down and open my e-mail.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Day 5.143 This is That

Maybe I should be more serious. Perhaps my inept attempts at self depreciation in the human condition, my part anyway, are ways to cope with the gravity of the situation. Maybe I laugh at myself because if I didn't I would spend all my remaining days sobbing for my poor, poor pitiful self.

An altogether new sensation has appeared, centering in my chest, and causing a fairly high amount of discomfort. I will stop short of calling in pain, but it is real and it is here. And since I have never felt anything quite like this, it is concerting.

As in what now?

I took a Tylenol last night before hitting the futon and laid down hoping for the best. If that was the best I hate to think what second best might be.

It was also DAY ONE of the no alcohol test period. We agreed yesterday to test this before launching further into pharmaceutical experimentation. As much as I would love to rid or reduce the amount of current discomfort by any means, we need to test the obvious first.


I have been avoiding this for along time. You know the reasoning, the excuse, the deal. We have a beer after almost every workout. It is social, a bonding with the team. But I am kidding myself to think that I can down four seven percent (by volume) IPAs every night and sustain any semblance of good health, let alone get back to race shape. The road is long and windy enough.

So I cut a deal with the good doctors yesterday. We'll test for thirty days. No beer or wine (I quit hard liquor thirty years ago) and review the results on June 26, my next appointment.

Today is DAY TWO.

Some of the topics I wanted to present this morning in our ninety-minute spin session were, I think, a way to empower myself at the start of this effort. Self motivation, if you will. They were:

Doing the radical. You want big change you need to change big. Check.
Effort. This will take all I got. Period.
Making magic. That happens in the moment, not last week or in thirty days.
Respecting ourselves as we waddle through the mud.
Challenge. What a great opportunity for growth.

This, my dear friends, is that.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Day 5.142 What a punch line

The Cardiology department shipped me off to the Psychiatry department. We are in 'process of elimination' mode, searching again for what is causing these horrific symptoms. They think (and who am I to argue) that two areas can be comparatively easy are the two that surround my alarmingly regular anxiety dreams. They think (and who am I to debate) that stress, possible depression (here we go again) and/or a chemical imbalance is to blame for all this nocturnal trauma. I keep telling them that I think it is the medication but that always seems to fall on deaf ears. Maybe because it is an in exacting science and since every body will respond somewhat differently, we need a longer trail period in which to error.

So, yeah, OK.

The fellow starts in with the usual questioning and I kinda take it from there. I tell him all about my issues, in decent detail, trying my best to remain objective and non-emotional.


We get to the, ahem, heart of the matter when I segue to the dreams. The guy is straight as an arrow, he has yet to break even the slightest smile, because after all, this is important shit, no? But when I start to retell my dreams I can see he is amused. I mean, they ARE funny.

So I ham it a little. It is my stage, I am the main attraction, I know my audience and what the heck, I want to prove to him that I can be tough as nails. For reasons that might have something to do with my obsession for 24 and the book on tape I just finished, Lone Survivor. Maybe my dreams are an extenuation of my admitted weakness as compared to Jack and a Navy Seal.

By the time I hit the third dream, he is grinning and holding back a laugh. Now I got him. I tell him about the last one, the one where I need to reset the pacer password and user name in, like ten minutes, or the device will automatically shut down.

I pause.

He looks at me and asks, 'what happens then'?

I pause again, widening eyes directly at his.

And we both say simultaneously but with different pronouns,

I/You die.

We laugh.

What a punch line, eh?

I should send that one to Louis CK.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day 5.141 Magic


The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

(Please) take a closer look at that definition.

It ain't hocus-pocus, presto-chango tap of the wand.

It ain't about the mysterious nor the supernatural.

It ain't about illusion, smoke and mirrors or distraction.

I have been convinced that magic is available to us all, all the time. Even Muggles.

We witnessed and then rehearsed a little of it last night. And no, it had nothing to do with sex. 

We witnessed the magic of the moment. The eternal opportunity to become so fully connected and present that a enormously powerful dynamic is created.

A simple matter of aligning the body with the mind at high intensity. The result of this synchronicity almost always allows the inclusion of spirit.

And then you got it. Abracadabra.

Mind, body and spirit. Doing one thing. Doing that thing well, doing that thing with the sole purpose of engaging with a state of harmony and power, peace and satori.

The same magic that we find in practice we perfect in the show. BECAUSE THEY ARE THE SAME. What you do in practice preps us for the main event, be that an oratory, presentation, competition or recital. How we practice is how we play. Bike or bassoon, marathon or telethon.

There is magic in the moment.

Where else could it be?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Day 5.140 As Expected

Not as bad as I expected.

It was a long week off. After last Wednesday's THREE sessions, I was off to run and gun in the Southwest. Packing feather light, there was not only zero workout gear, but precious little time to get in one anyway.

Every athletically conscientious traveler knows this. It is one of the reasons we have franchise gyms. 24-hour fitness centers across the street from the Ramada, as example.

Making matters even worse are the Denny's, Burger Kings or Waffle Houses standing and beckoning between your room and the gym.

Let's see: French Slam or Stairmaster? Whopper with cheese or the squat rack? A pecan waffle or an hour of cardio?

Tough choices. Even for the most focused among us.

Missing a couple of sessions is no big deal in the big fitness scheme of things. But an entire week is.

Which is exactly how my week shook out. I was busier than the proverbial one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, up before dawn and home well after for five days. Coming and going was worth one each, with the net net being six days of nada. Muy male.

Making this morning's Super Eight set (#5) terse at the least and scary at best. I was nervous, an anxious state bolstered by last night's frustratingly real dreams of my pacemaker needing a new password and user name…..or else. A new TSA rule, I was informed, to keep terrorists from implanting IEDs where a pacer should go.


It is now 'tween time. One down and one to go. Tonight should be a piece of cake compared to this morning's level of outrageous intensity.

After another week of testing, we now know the value of consistency.

This is nothing new. The caveat being, that the better one's condition going in  - the better one's chances of getting it back.

All made easier with a bypass of the fast food joints and a little something of something. A run, a jog, a walk.

Without this, it will be worse than expected.

Please trust me. And pass the strawberries.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Day 5.139 I should be ashamed

I should be ashamed.

Maybe. You can be the judge (all rise).

Here is a re-cap of my day yesterday. While certainly not the longest day of my life, it covered some terrain, inflicted a degree of torture and met most criteria for challenge.

After Sunday's two shoots (Santa Fe Century and Hyde Park State Park Hillclimb) I went in search of honest Mexican food in Santa Fe. While I failed miserably on the food mission I was very successful on the cerveza one.

So I woke Monday with a headache. A real negra in the  modelo if you know what I mean.

Undeterred, I decided at 0630 that my time could be well spent, or better spent, shooting local B-roll. Better, I thought, clarity increasing with the throb decreasing, bite the bullet, drive to Taos, find a hill climb, shoot it, have lunch and start the return trip.

I drive the 70 miles to Taos, a town I have always wanted to visit, Google the best climbs, ask a native where it can be found, stop at Wal-Mart for an on-sale 64GB sd card, find the route, shoot its 17 miles up and back, have a shitty cheese and green pepper omelet and turn the Altima around to execute the 70 mile return leg.

I stop half way at a DQ for a dipped vanilla cone and turn on the radio for the first time. I am falling asleep despite the sugar, carbs and stunning vistas. I hear the same song for the eighty-seventh time in four days.

Back in SF, I really gotta pee. I also need to refill the tank. The head in the Allsup station is occupied. I drive next door to the Albertsons lot, open both doors and sit watering the asphalt with urine. I don't care.

I negotiate a reduction in rate and get a free day from Hertz. The driver takes me back to the train station asking along the way if there is a 'needle' in Seattle and about the weather. Poor kid.

I have an hour before the return to Albuquerque. I shop for a gift for Junior where I almost buy a $95 cowboy shirt. At 1615 the train rolls South. We get stopped about half-way because the Northbound train is barreling down on us from the other direction. There is only one track so we get the hell out of the way, losing twenty valuable minutes as a result of the near miss.

Ninety minutes later we hit Albuquerque and I scramble for some food. I find the pizza joint where I had a coffee four days prior and order a personal cheese pizza for five bucks. As I sit and sip another coffee I Google the schedule for the free airport shuttle. Leaves in four minutes. I tell the gal to pull the pizza from the over, put it in a box and give it to me. She does as instructed and I run across the street and catch the shuttle as it is pulling out. The driver looks at the pizza box and says nothing, torn, I guess, between enforcing the rules and wanting a slice.

I am at the SunPort with one hour before flight. They tell me that despite my card proving an electronic device in my chest that is highly sensitive to magnetic fields, I have to get scanned like everybody else. AH, NO I DON'T. He calls super, super looks at card and pats me down. I have escaped potential disaster (once again).

I hurry to gate wiping mozzarella from chin.

Winds are gusting out of the West. One bumpy flight. We land in Phoenix. Time to start the last leg strategy. I will have to sprint to catch the last light rail run to the ferry terminal. Or should I cab it, spend the $20 and be sure?

The flight is delayed.

I moan thinking of another night at the Jet and the $60 of double-dip pain.

We make it up in the air and arrive at Sea-Tac five minutes early. I still sprint to the train, deciding at the last minute to buy a ticket as insurance. They do not check tickets on the last run, normally.

The train stops half-way after informing us that this is the final stop and we can take a bus into Seattle should we desire. SHOULD WE DESIRE?

It is 1315 and the last ferry of the night leaves at 1335. I call Yellow. GET SOMEBODY HERE QUICK.

He is and we make it to the waterfront with a minute to spare. The cabbie is the beneficiary of the largest tip my cheap ass has squandered in the last, maybe five years. He gets ten bucks for running a red light to get me to the pier on-time.

I catch the boat.

Walk off with full backpack and trudge the two miles to RGs where my truck is waiting.

I drive home.

It is a little after two and I am bushwhacked. It has been a long day.

I watch two episodes of 24, Season Four, right where I left off, five days prior.

I am not ashamed at all.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Day 5.138 Taos & Out

New Mexico is a wrap. Ended the quick-turn trip with a visit to Taos, about 70 miles NE of Santa Fe. Searched and found a road to the Taos Ski Valley just North of town on route 150. About 16 miles of winding mountain road on tarmac in dire need of resurfacing. Along the way had a video first as a pair of big-horn sheep were in the middle of the road drinking from a pothole. I drove slowly right up to them, stopped and grabbed my iPhone to augment the video. They are seen to the left, not terribly aggravated by the Seattle RCV paparazzi.

Total running time of the up and back was right at one hour, and as I had to scramble back to Santa Fe, return the rental car (none the worse for wear despite almost 600 miles), catch the train to Albuquerque, then the bus to SunPort, I didn't have a chance to peak at the footage. Same with yesterdays successful summit of Hyde Park.

And that puts an official wrap on the trip. Despite the inclemencies on Friday & Saturday, yesterday's 100 miler, plus two beautiful hillclimbs, with a little luck (and a lot of hard work) all should return the meager investment with some juice on the side.

I brought all this home for under $800.

Ready to board in ABQ.

See ya tomorrow with some video.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 5.137 In the Books


I think this one is gonna be a keeper. From the download samples that I briefly reviewed, the video, image stabilization, color, contrast, location and talent will all combine for a nice little 4 hour, 100 miler.

Thank you Santa Fe for a beautiful day. Under blue skies cleansed by yesterday's showers and hail, the 30th annual Santa Fe Century is, as they say, in the can and in the books.

I am heading back out as the B camera downloads to shoot the Hyde Park Hillclimb. This will be my third attempt.

Hoping the third time is as charming as this morning.

And where ever you might be Cindy, happy 40th anniversary. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 5.136 Ari's Bed

Ariana's bed is so cozy.

Wait, that isn't the way to start.

The owner of the picabella adobe home I am staying in for the next two days, as arranged by Airbnb, belongs to a young lady by the name of Ariana. We haven't met as yet because she is an artist doing a show out of town. I am renting one of her bedrooms while in Santa Fe to shoot tomorrow's Grand Fondo.

Assuming that their 30th event takes place, because for the entirely of my stay in this magically historical village it has rotated between rain, hail and snow. Oh and we had some lightning last night just for the last remaining comparative to the many battles fought here.

It was a rough night in Ari's bed despite its comfort. I was battling some interesting new neuro-chestular (I just made that up - let's see if we can sneak it past the spellchecker police) issues, a SOS text at 0315, the aforementioned lightening with its bombastic counterpart and some strange comings and goings on the street. So I didn't sleep very well, nor very long.

The last intel from the Starbucks about a mile away (Ari's wifi is too weak for my ancient air-port) said there might be sun breaks early, so I was up 'n at 'em by 0600.

The sun breaks lasted about as long as I can hold 500 watts on the CompuTrainer.

I did manage some death-defying power slides racing back down Hyde Park where I was almost trapped by a blizzard at 8K.

I am back now at Ari's recharging batts and waiting for my 1500 meeting with the RD.

I might try a nap.

You know where.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Day 5.135 Santa Fe 1

Made it.

Truck, walk, ferry, walk, light rail, plane, taxi, walk, train, walk, rental car, walk.

And I am in Santa Fe.

It hasn't stopped raining since I landed. Drove to the top of Hyde Park State Park (near the summit of a famous hillclimb) to do some recon. Along the 15 miles, averaging about 7%, at approx 8,000 ft., it went from light rain to downpour, to hail and then to snow.

As they say in film world, not a good day to shoot.

I will be up at dawn's crack to try again.

I am going out for a burrito and a beer.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 5.134 So Should You

 "A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of the hidden powers and possibilities within himself."

THIS from James Allen's As a Man Thinketh.

I am out for Albuquerque and Santa Fe today. It used to be routine but now I am obsessing over my packing. Cameras (4) sd cards, mounts, cables, batteries and one change of clothes. Looks like it is going to be iffy for sunshine meaning I must have an iron-clad game plan in order to accomplish the video objectives. When a window opens I must scramble. Five alarms of code red.

Oh well, I have been out here in the edge for some time now. You would think I'd be used to it by now, but this trip, with all financial risk dangling from my neck like a Wall Street albatross, has me a touch concerned. I must be ready. Ready to search for an opening and then nail the opportunity.

Kind of like yesterday. An opportunity opened for my return to Wednesday night spin class. I took it. Then, an instructor asked for assistance due to illness, I took that too. Meaning I had three sessions. You know (perhaps) that in my return to serious training post pacemaker, that studio cycling has been my go-to activity. You also perhaps know that I am in a knock-down, drag-out, UFC with my racing weight. It has been creeping. In the wrong direction. I know the reason. So do you (perhaps), beer and bread. I cannot deny. And it needs to stop. I was pleased  to see yesterday's spinning trio show positive weight trending at the post effort weigh-in. 172>169>166. Six to go.

Six if I am serious. If not, then who cares? Who cares either way you might say, perhaps, noting astutely that everybody has their demons, why should we care about yours?

And you would be right. You have your own salvation to address. Still, I wish to be an ally. I want to aid and abet. If there is something, somewhere with which all the personal drama I so regularly journal helps, motivates, inspires or (perhaps) simply entertains, I am happy and rest fulfilled.

I have my mission statement as you do (see photo of counting). Seeking continual improvement is at the top of that list of objectives.

It is not only the Boy Scouts and Navy Seals that need to be ready. I do too.

And so should you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day 5.133 Spy vs Spy

Jack has just said an emotional good-bye to Tony and Michelle. They have conspired to fake his death to appease (trick) the Chinese and to satisfy the requirement to not involve the US Government. He is being the quintessential good solder by not selling out the same people who asked him to save their butts. In a provocative and powerful final scene ending Season Four, Jack calls ex President David Palmer to thank him for the honor of serving his country. Palmer returns the sentiment and acknowledges that Jack is now officially dead. As Sean Calloway's always appropriate and stirring score reaches a crescendo of emotional magnificence, Jack dons his aviator shades and walks down the train tracks into the sunrise. It is over. By losing everything he has won the day (every minute of the 24). He has saved a million civilian lives without creating an international incident and not forcing Presidential plausible denial as a seditious cover-up. He has done the dirty work for America.

It is without shame that I freely admit to you that I have learned more about some very important values from this show than from 50 years on the street.

Honor. Loyalty. Dedication. Team effort. Focus. Humility. Meaning. Passion, Friendship. Training. Grace under Fire. Culture. Politics. Corruption.

To name a few.

People keep telling me that if I like 24 (and I do) that I will love The Wire. They may be right but that misses the point. My point. I don't watch 24 for the entertainment, although that is one of its attractions, I am not in my second round of viewing every episode of every season because of the drama, although that is off the charts, nor am I into binge watching as a sport or major escape.

I watch because I relate to the characters and wish to reciprocate somehow. I want to be on their team. I want the challenge, the real time flash of life or death. I want a platform to test myself. Am I brave? Am I courageous? Will my number be called when a dirty, messy, ugly deed needs doing? How will I respond? Will I crumble under extreme pressure? Will I talk?

There are a warhead full of correlations between the crisp screen-writing that propels the 24 conflict between Jack and the bad guys and the way that we train and race. If Jack can keep at maximum for 24 hours, surely I can keep 85% for one.

Et cetera. Ad nasuem. Spy vs Spy.

And into Season Five we go.

I am off to Santa Fe tomorrow, final gear check and packing underway. I believe all the ducks to be in tight formation.

Going to get me some of those shades and walk right into the sun.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Day 5.132 Here we Go

Today is an opportunity of profound potential.

This day.

I can do whatever I wish with it. I have only one commitment, one scheduled responsibility, one entry to my day timer.

Must be Tuesday.

After sleeping in an extra hour, perusing the news, checking e-mails, texts, tags, messages while sipping day-old, double-boiled coffee, I settle into the directors chair.

Lights are on, cameras ready and action pending.

Let's get a little creative with this one, shall we? Take 5.132. From the top.

I have details to refine. The trip to Santa Fe doesn't have a lot of room for error. It isn't the norm. The travel fat has been cut. There are cabs, buses and a test run with Airbnb. I carry everything on my back. This HAS to work. It simply cannot rain on this parade.

I am also down to two weeks remaining in my current living situation. The gregarious owners of the incredibly cozy guest cottage need the space back for personal reasons. I have to find a new place to live.

Yesterday I looked at an off-island parcel for a ridiculously small amount. It has potential, but would require a small truck load of site work to even pull the RV onto it. So I made a counter ridiculous offer. The owner said let's talk in a week.

OK, says I.

Lastly, we are enjoying almost two weeks of non-symptomatic health. I have been able to execute double sessions almost every day over this period with minor and manageable side effects. Sleep has improved vastly, perhaps due to the melatonin. Half of me expects the other (running) shoe to drop at any minute. The other half screams encouragement.

It is up to me to choose which to hear, right?

I choose encouragement. I chose gratitude and I choose the creative.

This is an opportunity of profound potential. A footstrike about to tap tarmac.

Here we go. Keep runnin'.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 5.131 Hello Monday: Enough?

Hello Monday!

Let's get right to the chase. Easing into it is for middle managers. We haven't a moment to lose.

You know as well as I that there are times when our ability to stay focused, on point and with high intensity are tested. I witnessed this yesterday at about the 3/4 distance of my ride. I was out of gas, my back hurt and my water bottle was dry.

After a quick assessment the reality hit me like a semi at 55, THIS IS JUST LIKE RACING. I have been here before, I know these sensations. I know how to survive.

That experience and its progeny, confidence, create an altogether new challenge towards the success of this effort. The mastery of Now. What can I do RIGHT NOW to positively impact my session? What needs to be done? How do I auto-correct my output?

All these moment to moment decisions create the success or failure of wither the race, ride, test or training session. Leading to the theme du jour:


Further, because we are such inquiring animals, what IS motivation? And who (the heck) is responsible for it?

You may wish to lose a kilo of fat, desire to pilot a 10K bike or get a date with the head cheerleader, but the real question is this:


Motivation is the knowledge. Acting upon that knowledge is wisdom. One must commit to doing whatever it takes to push the agenda.

You absolutely must lost that 2.2 pounds, it is imperative that you ride THAT bike and the entire fate of the planet rests upon your getting to yes with that girl.

You motivation is you. YOU are responsible for it. You had better start to see EVERYTHING as 'most important'. That is the value of the now. Of the eternal this.

Mr. Monday, is that motivation enough?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Day 5.130 Santa Fe Oxy

It might be an oxymoron. Or not.

I suppose the meaning, as well as the outcome, is entirely up to me.

I leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico on Thursday. It is called a 'working vacation'. Rough translation is this: I need a couple of days off. Batteries need recharging and I would like some R&R out of town.

Now the interesting part: There is a commercial element involved. This will be the first RCV trip in the eight year tenure of the brand where I am solely responsible for all travel related expenses and production costs. If it rains - it's down the drain.

The risk involved with the new contract is 100% on me. In exchange for this is a substantial increase in my share of royalties upon sales. Therein lies the potential. I have already done the math. I know to the unit how many sales are necessary for return on investment. The math is easy if I return with nothing but a cold.

Doubling up, I am shooting one of the classic climbs in the area, the Sangre de Cristo the day before the Santa Fe Century, a hugely popular event drawing 8K annually. Between the two I should have some decent video.

Oh, the vacation part?

If I am able to manage my ability to stay present, relax and enjoy the place they call the Land of Enchantment while successfully capturing the rides, it will be a legitimate working vacation.

Oxymoron or not.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day 5.129 We made it Through

Miraculously we made it through. Our weekly 90 minutes spin set. I was seriously tempted to mash-up another theme set (being the week of Cinco de Mayo as well) but I resisted. Please remember that I am no big fan of 'cute'.

Regardless, the set (settling on the rock slump known as the Eighties), and the protocol demanding long stretches of standing effort, passed without incident or psychological trauma.

I even had the time to expand on a couple of important themes. Chief among them the three part formula for success (I hereby challenge Malcom Gladwell to disagree - after the 90).

1) KNOW YOUR MISSION. Why (tf) are you doing this?
2) COMMIT TO THE MISSION. No matter what.

Furthering the theme from earlier this week (Be THAT person, the search for authenticity, etc) is this little gem from Season Four (yes I am already there):

Jack is cornered in a sporting goods store in downtown LA. The bad guys, defense contractors caught selling arms to terrorists have detonated an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) bomb to cripple an eight block radius, have brought in their mercenary special-ops goons to get Jack and the hard evidence he has extradited from their computers. Jack is body guarding Paul, the same guy who wrote the finance program for the contractor and just happens to be Audrey's estranged husband. Jack has given his word to Audrey (the daughter of the Secretary of Defense and Jack's current lover) that he will protect Paul, cause he is a finance geek and not a field ops super hero. Jack has also enlisted the help of the two Middle Eastern brothers who own the gun shop. Jack tells them that he cannot guarantee their safety and gives them a brief of the day's events and the terrorists behind it. They buy in and Jack takes command of the hopeless last stand. They are out-numbered, out-gunned and out of options to save the city from nuclear holocaust. But Jack has out-smarted them by drawing them in to allow Tony and Edgar (yea Edgar) back at CPU to trace the fire fight via infra-red satellite imagery, get their twenty and deploy a CPU strike unit to save the day.

Are you getting all this?

Jack, Paul and the two brothers hold off the mercenaries as long as they can. The strike unit finds them, hits the ground running and gunning and kills the bad guys. Except one is only wounded and in his final desperate despicable act gets off a round that finds Paul as he steps in from of Jack to take the bullet.

Paul has gone out in a blaze of glory, made a final declaration of love for Audrey and proven his mettle and verve with Jack. Jack of course is already two steps ahead and knows that this will probably end his relationship, he not being new to the difficulty of his job and anything resembling anything normal in family matters.

But that is not my point.

As all this is playing out, the two brothers, having pledged their allegiance to Jack, as the face of America, look at each other, nod their heads and exchange a WTG bro moment.

Jack has inspired them to do something they thought they we incapable of.

Jack has allowed them to see a part of themselves previously dormant.

Jack has led them to a new understanding of courage and destiny. What a man must be.

They might re-tell their part in the drama using the same opener I did.

Miraculously we made it through.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Day 5.128 Smithy

We were talking about substance and style. Because it was my turn to speak, I added Ron McLarty as an author whom I admire. He was fresh in my mind because I recently finished listening to his "The Memory of Running" on audio CD. He has, I exchanged, an unassuming and clean stye, mixed with a knack for successful dialogue and observation. I finished the ten volume CD on top of Hurricane Ridge this morning.

The story is of Smithy Ide, who embarks on a cross country bike trip from Providence, RI to Venice, CA to claim his sister from a morgue. On his quest he runs into characters all having a story or two to share.

Smithy's quest brought back memories of the freedom and exhilaration I felt on my two trips up the coast from Playa del Rey, CA (a chip shot from Venice) and Bainbridge Island (a real island, not a Rhode) WA.

You know what being on a bike, riding every day, packing your sleeping gear on your back feels like? I heard Smithy ask no one in particular.

Yes. Yes I do Smithy. It is freedom, it has purpose, it is pure. But most important, it is authentic. There is nothing artificial. Your mission is to ride, taking in all the stimuli that only a bicycle provides, every day. And the melancholy of finally arriving is the sweetest sadness I have ever known.

As I drove back down the mountain I thought about that authenticity. Of making a video of it. Of trying to show and tell what it is like. Sometimes you have to go outside in the world to get inside your head. You have to physically exhaust the impurities and pollution our society spews. You have to sit on a beach, camp in the rain, ask questions and pin your faith, hope and trust on your sleeve.

You don't need to ask why this is.

You simply need to go.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 5.127 Be THAT person

You know those people in your life that have made an impact? Some, you might have noticed, are so powerful, connected, focused and charismatic that they have actually created change.

I was leading a small group in an exercise program last night. We were somewhere near the halfway point and I began to notice a slight shift in 'responsiveness'. We had been hammering away for thirty minutes and were now at a turning point.

You know the one.

Go or no go. Give or take. Do or die.

A conscious decision to engage that sinister sentry at the gate of change. All you need to do is say 'I am coming in', and without a password, you will be admitted to the utopia known as 'outside the comfort zone'.

And then the magic truly begins.

What happened last night was the rare reciprocal phenomenon that comes with team effort. The group wanted to go. They wanted change, they wanted challenge and they were all hungry for growth and improvement. They wanted the stage. The stage to do the heroic, to rise above the ordinary and discover the depth of their courage.

And they wanted to be led there. As all good mercenaries, students and soldiers do.

Give me the order.

Command me.

Take me to that place.

Almost at once we felt the power. Some looked around to see how others were reacting, some simply made a minor adjustment to their game face and carried on, all as I watched and smiled. Because I like this.

We had it. This is it. What we train for. The magic.

We ripped through the final thirty minutes in the rhapsodic light of purpose. We had discovered our meaning. We gave it up for each other, committed to the team effort. We were winning a 'good' war, playing our small part.

And just like that it was over.

The lightening was in the jar.

As we warmed down in the glow of success I thought about life changing situations and the people along this path that have inspired me. Maybe not to greatness, but certainly towards improvement.

I look around the room as we end our session, at the sweaty and vibrant faces that have shared the fleeting power of what we had accomplished. To you I owe the quality of my life.

I think that everyone we encounter could be that person. SHOULD BE ONE. A person who creates change. A person who challenges us to be our best. Someone to whom we can pledge loyalty, devotion and service.

As I turn out the light I know that this is the goal.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Day 5.126 Opportunity & Experience

Our Wednesday morning routine is an ass-kicker. There is, truthfully, no other way to put it. Here is the Super Eight protocol (please do not try this at home without supervision):

Warm up for 20 minutes.
All-out maximum 30 seconds.
Recover for 90 seconds.
Repeat 8 times.

In most civilized cultures, that is enough.

We take an extended ten minute break at 7(gear)/120 (cadence) and then do two more.

Because we can. And because I have the room for an hour. And because the 'typical' spin class is 60 minutes long.

Today I cut the hearty class practitioners a deal. Plea bargained a focused, super 50 minute effort in exchange for an early-out for good behavior. They took it without hesitation, every one.

As we were winding down with he standard cool-off, stretch and start of recovery, an interesting thought popped into my awareness as if part of the routine. It might have been the voice of accomplishment.

I repeated it to the group.

"I don't think there is anything I will do for the remainder of this day that will cause me to feel as alive as I do right now."

For that I am grateful.

For the opportunity and the experience.

Photo is from the BIG FIX 2006. An incredible experience and once-in-a-lefetime opportunity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day 5.125 To Carnegie Hall?

Following is a sampling of the narrative whose use I envision in matrimonial harmony with a video mash-up of archival RCV footage. It is either this or I play my ukelele for an hour.

Big dramatic baritone, slowly with pathos and passion:

There are always things to practice.

Because you want to improve.

You want to better your skills and up your speed.

You want to ride faster, longer, stronger.

You have demonstrated this to be something of value.

There is challenge, there is struggle and there is reward.

Big rewards.

Sometimes the rewards come as small and personal. Baby steps of continual improvement. One hill, one sprint, one result.

You will gladly pay that price.

Your commitment has been established. You want this. It is your dream. Your goal. The Holy Grail.

This is everything. It includes who you are and how you want to be remembered. This road, this hill, this climb, this day.

It's all here.

Practice as if this is your last dress rehearsal. You must be 100% confident that you are ready. Ready for your best.

You are a competitor. You race. Yourself. From start to finish. 10 minutes or a hundred miles. It's all the same. You are here and it is now.


Go hard.

Go with grace and go with passion.

Take it up. Ride it out. Let it pound in your legs. Enjoy the struggle and embrace the suffering. This is the beauty. You mixing it up with life in these spectacular surroundings.

Sure your could drive a car and get there faster. Sure you could open the throttle, burn some fuel and feel the wind on your face, but that isn't why you are here.

You are here for the ride. It is your body as motor, your soul and your eyes. It is all you. In this moment you are finally uniquely self-made, alone, beads of confidence falling like fire from your brow.

No other time exists, no other place counts. It is now. You are here and it is time.

There is flow. A zone. A cadence as vibrant as gold. More brilliant than a starry winter night. You have created this ethereal mix of time and space. It cannot exist without you nor you without it.

Magic. The thrill of movement. The majesty of motion.

We can't talk about it with others who have as yet to experience this phenomena. They will not undersatnd. The language is imprecise, crude, inadequate.

Someday they might. Hopefully they will.

That responsibility is yours.

You the ambassador to our sport.

Lead and they will follow.

An awesome responsibility.

The one you gladly accept.

The one you have waited for.

The art of practice comes in many colors. Find yours.

Put it into play.

CompuTrainer Real Course Video is all that.

And more.

The art of practice.



It's how you get to where you want to go.

It is the answer to the question.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Day 5.124 Up the River REM

Some very good news this beautiful spring morning. As I drove the pathetically few miles to the club (I should be riding my bike) for our weekly 0530 celebration of Mondays, the dream details came rushing back at me like a blitzing strong-side linebacker.

It was one of those vividly erotic moments when all the senses are involved. This is good for two reasons, one being the obvious, I slept well. This despite the violence of the final episode of Season Two. Jack, with the ballsy permission of Chase, used an emergency fire ax to remove the Cordelia Virus apparatus secured to Chase's wrist. It is such a powerful scene, followed two minutes later, after the success of Jack's heroics had again saved the States from an ugly viral catastrophe, by the close-up demonstration of Jack's humanity as he sat and sobbed to wrap the season. As I laid my weary bones to rest I thought about how meaningless and boring my life is compared to a CTU agent in field ops. I then slept.

I am leaving a house that I built. It has deep emotional meaning but I know I have to let it go and detach. I have to go. It is raining hard, pouring and flooding the streets. There are people in the house but I cannot completely identify them, others are coming in and I can't tell if I am hosting a party or a wake.  I step outside and the street is a river. It is sunrise, black, gray and blue. The river is white-capped, running hard downhill. I start to wade and realize that I have my bedroom slippers on and that they are soaked weighing me down as I struggle to keep head above water. I look upstream and backlit in the moon-set she is standing and watching. I start to swim upstream like a salmon returning home. She is a hundred yards away but I can see her aura and hear her soft voice, encouraging and supportive. I can feel the glow of her love. I have to get there. Whatever it takes. The water is now warm and sensual. I am swimming with grace and power towards her. I am almost there. I want her with every cell in my body.

The laughing iPhone shakes me awake. It is 0430. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Day 5.123 Yes, sir

In the never-ending battle to demonstrate the value of the first amendment as it applies to all forms of media, opinion and the combinations thereof, I humbly submit for your consideration our work over the last few weeks.

Almost without debate there has been recent news of greater importance, omens of significant progress with our global circumstance and headlines of shocking proportion and gross ramification. Headlines that so diminish the impact of our meager operation, news enough to humble the best, brightest and bravest.

I was thinking during one of our spin sessions this week, we rode every day, that although I aspire to be a leader, I am, in all reality, better as a follower. If you give me something to fight for which I can buy one-hundred percent into, I am a damn good soldier. I will take a bullet for you. Perhaps;

I am a better sergeant than colonel.
A better master chief than captain.
Better in field ops than behind a desk.
Better in the doing than the planning.
When it comes to how and what, I ask for the when and where.

I make a lot of mistakes. I stray from the book and take liberties with protocol. Right or wrong it is this freedom that defines me, and interestingly, my work. It is not perfect. Does it have to be?

In the genre that we pioneered a decade ago there sails a boat-load of new products. Techniques, technologies and some very talented people have given us an absolutely astonishing array of products with which to train on a bicycle indoors. Once the market share leaders we are now hanging on by cracked and yellowing teeth.

I found a solution Friday that offered a solid improvement, but the software to run the robust program to add GPS, graphs and maps in sync with video will require an upgrade to my entire system. Naturally.

So I must be brutally honest in my assessment (before another ante). Is our current product still able to compete on today's hi-tech battlefield? Will video of a spectacular route connecting Western and North Central Washington, a fledgling new ride in Kitsap County, a popular century ride in Salisbury, MD, all delivered on a thumb drive (or a download), branded with corporate logo, win this battle?

Will I fight for this artistic and commercial freedom and lead us to some small victory or surrender to the super powers-that-be, forever banished from this noble war?

I will fight. There is no surrender. Then you had better get stronger and smarter and commit to the plan. You had better do it with more focus and more speed. More of everything.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Day 5.122 This day, this ride

I tried to write a song sounding like Dylan.
It ended up sounding like me wanting to sound like Dylan.

I wanted to run like the wind,
Ride on a star and
shoot for the moon.
I never thought it would all end so soon.

This road on this day in this moment.
This road on this day in this moment.

I tried to write a song that sounded like me
To write it with hunger, happy and free.
I put to canvas all the hues demanded
embracing the journey, moving or stranded.

I want to run like the wind
Ride on a star and
shoot for the moon
I never thought I could get there so soon. 

This road on this day in this moment.
This road on this day in this moment.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 5.121 Like fear?

Is something keeping me from my goals?

Am I lazy?
Am I weak?
Am I stupid?
Am I addicted?
Am I chronically distracted?
Am I indigent?
Am I afraid?

Ah, fear. Fear of?


Ah, stress.

The good medical staff at UW Medicine wants me to undergo a thorough psychological  work-up to determine whether (or not) stress is playing a part in all this. Starts with a sleep-over in their posh honeymoon-is-over suite to eliminate the sleep apnea possibility. After that a chat with the staff shrink. Remember it was my PCP, my PAC actually, that initially suggested that with all the shit that has passed under my bridge I HAVE TO BE DEPRESSED.

I keep telling them I am NOT depressed but I got to thinking on my run today that I really don't know what that feels like.

Like fear?
Like a hangover?
Like AFib?
Like indigestion?
Like extreme sadness?
Like insomnia?
Like food poisoning?
Like a concussion?

Ah, brain trauma.

Been there too. Blurry vision and a constant high pitch ringing (around 3K kHz). Dizziness and syncope. I have leaned to manage it decently but when additional symptoms arise the combination is a monster.

Ah monsters.

Like Godzilla?
Like an Orc?
Like Hannibal Lecter?
Like fear?