Friday, July 31, 2015

Day 7.212 Progress is a Process

It has been said that progress is a process.

I wholeheartedly agree.

I offer two recent examples:

E1) Me. That recent article suggesting that repeated, long and steady, or high intensity workouts are bad for your heart has received much media play. Happily, much like the lions vs dentists debacle, there are two sides. But wait a minute, you know my stance here, I am a bona-fide vegetarian (I have returned to eating tuna of late, but that will probably end soon) and I choose a vegetable based diet for many reasons, foremost among them that I do not want to add to the pain and suffering of sentient beings by feeding them with growth hormones, raising them in cages lined with their own feces and killing them brutally simply to satisfy the modem bourgeoisie appetite. I'll eat spinach, thank you. But this one really hurts. So much so that I thought it appropriate to announce my services as a proxy for justice.  For the same amount that our dentist friend paid for his African hunt, I will visit his practice (under the guise of needing a root canal) and GO JACK BAUER ON THE SISTERFUCKER. Seriously, wire me 55 large and this piece of shit will never kill another animal, unless medical technology comes up with a hunt-by-braille scope. He will also be rendered unable to pass his demon seed forward. I don't want to kill the bastard but gouging his eyes out with a dental drill and castrating the moron with my surgically sharpened Swiss Army Knife, is something that would make me feel much better. I know Jack would agree.

E2) I am regaining my mojo. This was a good week. True, sleep is the last remaining post-pacer challenge, but I'll make the trade any day of the week, speed for sleep.

As a E2.2 footnote Junior is seeing the progress and process ratio play out as well. We just ran a PR 2 miler of 15:12, almost two minutes off prior best.

Sorry for the gritty departure in example one.

But I think you get the idea.

Don't kill lions and keep on keeping on.

This is a process.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 7.211 No


Is the short answer. Grrrrrrr.

The question was, Are endurance athletes hurting their hearts by repeatedly pushing beyond what is normal?

OMG. If ever there lived a headline that better demonstrates the 'call to fear'  tactic (so prevalent in today's fast food-esque, social media hype to 'look inside') I have yet to visit it.

It is cheap. misleading, sensationalistic and filled with weasel-wording innuendo. But you looked inside didn't you?

Of course you did - and so did I.

What I found was some data, a few stories, anecdotal research and a boat-load of fear mongering. Again.

We have seen this before. And I seriously dislike the model.

Upon further review (thank you NFL) we find the following glaring paucity of explainational depth, in JUST the header!

1) Define an endurance athlete.
2) How often is repeatedly?
3) What is normal?

The body of the piece is OK, presented with a relatively unbiased examination of the data and seemingly without a sales agenda.

Having lived through the procedures described, being an 'endurance athlete', and wanting to continue both my existence and experience, I offer this to those whose response was one of fear:

Fear not.

If you receive a modicum of value from your training, racing and testing, do not allow this propaganda to slow you down. Do what you love. Love what you do. Run hard, run long, ride hard and ride long. Race your ass off. Take it to the limit several more times.

We are ALL going to lose the final battle. We are ALL going to die. Many of us from heart related issues. Many are avoidable if attention is properly placed when choosing one's style of life.

I do not consider fear and sloth, laziness and apathy, obesity and diabetes elements of a high quality of life.

I am going to go, go hard and go long.

As long as I am able.

My body will tell me, as is the way of the natural and organic, when the time has come to back-off, slow down or take a break. Please do not expect me to use this crap as an excuse. Ain't gonna happen.

Look, I have a genetic code that puts me at-risk for atrial fibrillation. I have it, and it is chronic. I also have Bradycardia, the polar extreme of Tachycardia. Too SLOW a HR vice too fast.  The only time I feel OK is when I am training, can you guess why? I have undergone the invasive and the benign procedures. There is  pacemaker in my chest. I take medications. I am 63. I train every day, most days X2.

Comically, I hope everyone in my age group responds to this article by discontinuing their training and racing immediately. Sadly, I know that most will not especially those who I have been chasing for 25 years. I know their MOs, they race to win, they put the hammer down when caution is just as appropriate. They hate my guts for making them work so hard.

Additionally, I don't care. I have made it through six decades marching to my own set of drums. I have made plenty of mistakes. I have remorse, sure, and I wish I could take a mulligan or two. But I can't. If I drop dead tomorrow from myocardial infarction, or get flattened by a texting truck driver, who cares? Not me. I am gonna live this thing out at full volume, full throttle and with full experience. Not half-assed because I might stroke out by doing the very thing that gives me purpose and joy.

Here are my final thoughts:

1) Four percent of the US population has AFib.
2) On its own it is not life threatening.
3) The danger is in clotting and stroke.
4) Get a good diagnosis.
5) And by far the most important…..


The article thinks the answer is maybe.

The weak think the answer is yes.

My answer is no.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Day 7.210 What If

I was forwarded an interesting article this morning.

The back-story is largely paradoxical, what some call serendipitous. I will tell it here:

Since our return from the Nation's Capitol one week ago, I have been frequent and fervent in the attempt to regain whatever fitness was lost during the fantastic Eastern trip. I like to say, 'hitting it hard'.

Yesterday was particularly painful as my left piriformis and illiotibial band went on strike simultaneously in an effective display of solidarity. As I was training with Junior, examples of fortitude and focus are effective motivational tools.

So I shuffled along, trying to cushion each foot strike with as much balance and finesse as I could muster. The slightest irregular movement sent lightening bolts of sharp pain down the port side. I wanted to quit at 5K but managed to slug-out the scheduled 10.

At 1800 we staged the traditional Tuesday night cycling session in the PB.

Afterwards, knowing I needed rest and a quick recovery, I limited myself to a single episode of 24 (First Season) as wind-down routine. As a footnote, this is the third, and last, of my 'all nine seasons' of 24ing. At last I have become an expert at something.

I lay down and replay some of the day's highlights. I get cozy and comfortable with the warmth and wonder of this profound farce.

And then it starts. A sensation with which I am quite familiar. Chest pain.

This time featuring a dull inner left side ache accompanied with bouts of ice pick stabbing.

It'll go away I self diagnose. Like it usually does.

It doesn't.

I pop three antacids and think about Jack and his situation, the rock and hard place of protecting a presidential candidate while trying to rescue his kidnapped wife and doughtier. By comparison I have it easy, a 23 perhaps.

Minutes pass like hours and the pain worsens. OK, I'll talk.

I try again, in vain, to make sense of all this. I want to come to an understanding with it. Are we going to die? Will it be painful and slow? Are my affairs in order? Will anyone miss me? Would Jack approve?

In the dark I locate my Tylenol and fumble with the easy opening top. I look at the clock. I have one hour before wake up call for this mornings spin class.

Finally I get to sleep but the two phones chime their 0400 greetings in an eerie form of two-part harmony.

I spring up and sit in the darkness listening to the alarms and the beating of my heart.

Seems I am good-to-go.

After a particularly challenging indoor cycling set I get home, ready for a nap, and see the article.

And I wonder what if.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day 7.209 Seen by Few

Sometimes I find it comical, other times monumentally important.

Today is a maintenance day. I have cleaned my bike, replaced the rear tire, removed most of the grease/dirt mixture. Trixie looks like she is ready for her close up.

I am charging the new battery for the Shadow. It sits atop the workbench, waiting patiently as the electrolytes (acid) drain from their plastic tubes and into the black box.

The Shadow rests, equally patient, with fuses, wires, a harness and unconnected clamps dangling from both sides of the saddle like a cheap Rastafarian haircut.

I hope (just this side of prayer) that the new battery is wha is keeping her from that delightful mechanical purr (that produces almost 70 mpg.)

We have a 10K run in the park (flat as a lake) scheduled in 90 minutes. Tonight we are testing in the PowerBarn, our local indoor cycling dojo.

I am between the mechanical and the metaphysical. Cleaning and troubleshooting does this to me. Moving parts, lubrication, alignment, adjustment, tension, inertia, artificial power, momentum, internal combustion, positive and negative polarity, torque. The brilliance of the design, elegance of operation and joy of use.

This, of course, always humbles me. The wheel was invented more than 5,000 years ago. But in all that time we have yet to devise a way to keep them from failing. Tubes pop. Tires melt. Stems snap.

The metaphor is obvious.

It ain't perfect. Its good, its DAMN GOOD, but far from perfect.

This maintenance, the act of cleaning, restoring, caring for,  when done with interest and curiosity, focus and awareness…

…is fascinating.

It is therapeutic. It is liberating. It is wholly engrossing. It is a cathartic transformation from a dirty and chaotic apocalyptic nightmare to a magical sunset seen by few, and appreciated by fewer still.

I can't help but feeling that cleaning my bike, fixing my moto, washing my truck are all simple metaphors for my life.

I think keeping them clean and in good running order extends their lives.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Day 7.208 Complete Readiness

I am on my bike. The sun is high and warm. The Pacific Ocean relentlessly washes the beach more than a thousand feet below the twisty chip-sealed road on which I travel. There are few shoulders and seniors in Winnebagos come way too close.

I am riding North. Into a headwind, fiercer in legend than the reality of today. Yesterday was eighty coastal miles, a campsite on the beach, two bean burritos and a cheap beer to wash them down.

I am reading The Good Earth by campfire. Tomorrow's ride will include a substantial increase in elevation. We have reached that point in the trip where hills become mountains, where easy rides morph into monsters and granny gear is the norm. Cadence is slow, calories toasted fast.

Maybe I am a simpleton, easily amused, but I find this scenario absolutely peaceful, powerful and magical.

I love being out here.

Just me, my bike, camping gear, laptop, two water bottles and trusty Swiss Army knife.

Everything after that is gravy flavored icing on the cake. Seven-up flavored sliced bread.

Pressed with the question as to how we find happiness, with hand on bible I would say, this is that.

I so swear that this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

My first trip up the coast took 23 days, LA to Seattle. That was in 1993. Second trip took 21 days in 1996.

Meaning that it has been almost 20 years.

I am stand in complete readiness.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Day 7.207 Skidding Under Control

I am skidding out of control down a short, steep grade.

Somehow my chain has jumped the cog and has very securely wedged itself so tightly that the wheel has locked up. This is not good on a fixed gear bike.

The skid was so long and the friction so great that a six inch gash burned through the rubber exposing the inner tube. You know the smell.

I was pretty amazed that I ended upright without a drop of blood being spilled on the back roads of Kitsap County.

We were at mile 45 of a 60 miler.

Without tools the wedged chain was going nowhere, forcing a similar circumstance with my wheels, and hence my forward progress.

I told the guys to finish the ride, get the car and call me for my location. I was going to walk.

Reluctantly they agreed and sped off leaving me up that asphalt creek without a paddle.

I walked about a mile in my socks trying to avoid the small rocks and wondering if someone, anyone, might see an imbecile in cycling garb, WALKING and think he might need assistance, but no one stopped.

I made it to the gas station and bought a cup of coffee and an egg salad sandwich. How all that chicken got in my egg sandwich is a question that I will ponder after I figure out which one came first.

Had I have known about the chicken I would have bought an IPA and some jojos to complete the picnic fare.

The fleet is fading fast. The RV has a dead battery. The Honda quit with an electrical problem that has not responded to a jump or a charge, Little Miss Mirthy snapped a derailleur cable Friday, and now Trixie is in ER with the chain malfunction detailed above.

Truck still runs.

We may be skidding - but under control.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day 7.206 At 5,000 feet you can rest

The elevation is 5,240 feet above sea level.

That is formidable - but not impassible.

It represents challenge in the form of power requirement. You have to be able to turn the pedals to maintain forward progress. You have to have adequate muscle plus an efficient and effective cardio-vascular system to support the relentless ratio of work to rest, a ratio that happens every time we move clockwise around the bottom bracket hub.

We can stomp and over-accentuate the down phase, or we can find a smooth and efficient way to employ all 360 degrees. If you are a fan of pro cycling you see this play out, and saw it live this very morning from the French Alps, as riders struggle with the combination of speed, power, balance, cadence and breathing. Some find it standing, some seated. But they have all trained and readied themselves through solid, disciplined and dedicated regimens, that ratio of resistance to cadence, as well as power to weight, that provides the greatest return on spinning/climbibg investment.

Because that is why we race, is it not?

Not so much to determine who is fastest, because that is the outcome, but more to prove who's training was the most effective. DNA, doping and booster motors aside, the training is where champions are born. In the lab. In the gym. At the training center and out on the road.

I was again reminded, rather rudely, on Wednesday, after an entire week of tourism and business how demandingly difficult it is to reclaim what was once the physical fitness status-quo. It changes with age. It gets harder and harder to 'get it back'.

My legs were so fatigued after the two mid-week sessions upon our return that I almost needed assistance getting into bed.

This morning's 90 minutes felt more like 90 hours.

But I continue to glance upwards through all the sweat and tears, looking for a break in the clouds where I can see the mountain top.

It may be 5,000 feet or 15,000, I don't care.

The approach is the same. Do the work, enjoy the ride and take one rotation at a time. Most importantly...


You can rest at 5,240.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Day 7.205 You know what It

As painful as it is - it has to be done.

I just said that.

Completely out of context with our 'usual themes', of course, but relevant under the the 'never-the-less' heading.

The hardest, most terrifying, impossible and paralyzing situations are the ones that contain the greatest potential for growth. You know this.

You have to face the music. You must make the call. That conversation has to happen. We must climb the mountain. And not so much because it is there, more because we are here.

It could be the Alp d'Huez of social situations or the Death Ride of responsibility, or just a plain old nasty and gnarly hill, but we must attack as if our very lives depend upon it.

Because they do.

We are talking about living without regret. We re talking about self worth. We are talking about confidence. We are talking about the dynamics of joy and accomplishment. We are in a dialogue about quality.

None of this is given to us. We earn it. Truth be uncovered, they are the secrets to a happy and rewarding existence. Do what must be done.

Doing the things that require courage, steadfastness and unselfishness is what separates the heroic from the ho-hum, the exhilarating from the pedestrian and the titillating from the terrible.

Normal is (the new) terrible.

Pedestrian is the middle of the road.

Ho-hum is horrible.

We must vigilantly push onward. Go places well off the path of the safety and complacency of our comfort zones.

The relevancy is in scale.

Someone moving off the couch and into the gym is as bold and life changing a move as a jogger hitting mile 26 of their virgin marathon.

Do something epic. Something bold. Something you have always wanted to do - but concocted a convenient excuse for, one that was supposed to be temporary, but has now lasted most of your adult life. Lose the lie. Drop the dupe. Cut the crap.

Of course you can always say that you are too old for this or that, that this is kid stuff or that you're just not into stuff that raises you heart rate too much.

Dear ones, as painful as it may be, indeed as it is...

…It must be done.

And you know the it I refer to.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 7.204 Keep Going

Another session, another topic. We keep going.

It is a strange phenomenon associated with indoor cycling (and a myriad of other forms of training) that we deal with boredom (challenge, repetition, adaptation) better with distraction than without.

It is true.

Not all of us have the steely, steady-state, rock solid confidence of an Olympic athlete, which allows an almost zen like focus on the task at hand, be it turning pedals, twisting torsos or creating thrust in the form of explosive power. So we hide from the tediousness and requirement of total effort by turning up the music, mindlessly flipping pages in People magazine or watching Oprah commentate on social media.

It comes down to awareness. Energy flows where attention goes. This moment is the truth. What you do RIGHT NOW is who you are.

If you, if we are present, focused, aware and open, there are rewards here, from this very experience, that make winning the lottery look trivial.

Look, I know it hurts some, that it sometimes takes super human efforts, that it is duller that the watch the paint dry meditation.


Anybody, I repeat, ANYBODY can sit and turn pedals in an oval  while daydreaming of next years vacation as Taylor Swift reminds us of our vulnerabilities or ESPN replays NBA highlights.

It takes another level of commitment altogether to lose the volume, the catchy chorus and the high-definition super slow motion and keep your awareness connected to your body as it completes an altogether uncomfortable assignment.

We must stay connected. The mind must keep the faith and preach to the body choir that the end is near. It will pass. Just keep after it. Don't let go. Hang in there, Stay strong. Finish!

We do this in the most simple of ways. It is also the answer to how we accomplish anything. From music, to literature to creating movies to keeping fit.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Day 7.203 Rent it Forward

I stand in line waiting to pick up the rental car that I reserved an hour earlier. This completely due to circumstance.

It is so hot and muggy in Washington DC that I need to change my shirt after the 45 minute commute by Metro rail.

It is a cheap off-site second-tier operation offering me a sweetheart of a deal at $44 per day. I only need it for one day, although that day will see 600 miles of automotive abuse.

At last the RAC rep eyes me an invites me to his station. I offer him my driver's license and Amex along with the rehearsed "Decline everything and I'll bring it back full". I know this drill.

He is young, personable and most likely a college student working part time to help with tuition. As they all do, he stares into his computer screen and starts asking the same questions that I just provided on-line to make my reservation. This, of course, drives me crazy. When we get to the part where he asks me for an e-mail address, I let my irritation solo and we (the rest of the band) end the piece with head down, dejected and wanting blood.

I hear him ask for my social security number and as I raise my head to vehemently object I see that he is smiling on the verge of hilarity. He has me. We laugh.

I tell him that he has made my day and that I will pay his humor and mastery of the situation forward with my next car rental.

We now cannot stop laughing. I have been payed the fool once again and this time it is genuinely funny. Tired and frustrated travelers are staring at this pair of laughing loons.

We do a knuckle bump and I say thanks and good luck.

He does the same.

I hop in the blue RAV4 (shown above with backup car-cam) and speed out of the lot sill smiling.

I have no idea where I where I am going. National airport to Foggy Bottom. It can't be THAT tough. I'll get there.

And I don't care when.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 7.202 (!)

The shot at left is from a part of Virginia that I was routed through yesterday due to a road maintenance detour. As I sat and tried to remain calm (!) the scenery took my mood from one of minor irritation (!) to one of major appreciation.

We now sit in Dallas with a two hour layover. One more flight, one more taxi (because the light rail stops half-way to the ferry terminal after 0030), a boat ride and if my sister gets my truck to the appointed parking location (!) we might get to bed by 0230.

Those of you that are planning on attending my 0530 spin class in the morning best be ready for action.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Day 7.201 I like that

Another in a series of long days.

Such is the life of the very few members of our fraternity.

Out of the close to 6 billion people on the blue dot thee days, there are less than a handful that do what we do.

For good reason.

Several good reasons as a matter of fact.

I did capture my first black bear in video this morning. Mama and two cubs were passing in front of my camera just after the Atlantic turtle, a scurry of chipmunks and a heard of deer.

Five miles in to the 105 I thought this might be the day that makes all this worthwhile. Maybe. Time shall tell.

Skyline Dr in the Shenandoahs is spectacular. I know because at 0400 I awoke from a rather interesting dream (doesn't take much these days) to start the drive to Front Royal, VA where the route begins. Three hours later, with nary a drop of anticipated rain, I was on my way back to DC with raw HD video in the can.

So what if it took me another six hours to return the rental car, take the Metro, find the bus, walk until exhausted and hire a cab, who's counting?

I haven't yet started the download, and as tonight is our last one here, I may not have the time until our return. Sorry.

I need to eat and then I need to sleep.

It has been a long day.

In a series of long days.

And I like that.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 7.200 Dodgers Win

Terrific brunch before the Nationals/Dodgers game.

The omelet and orange juice were superb, the humidity at the game, insufferable.

Dodgers hammered out 15 hits en route to a 5-0 win before a sellout crowd on Star Wars Day.

Afterwards I had to scramble out to National to pick up a rental car because we flatted on Thursday in the turbo Beetle and putting 300 miles on a plugged tire, isn't the smartest thing we could do. Or so I was advised.

So I am set and in need of some pre-shoot ZZZZZZs.

A very finite window of weather opportunity means I need to be Southbound towards Front Royal, VA by 0500.

Advisory is for thunderstorms in the early afternoon. I need to shoot AT LEAST two hours of Skyline Dr. to have a punchers chance at returning some of the investment.

So wish me luck will ya?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 7.199 Afterburner

Another long day on the DC tourist circuit. Today we hit the Capitol tour, Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Air & Space.

One lunch, one dinner and ten hours well spent.

Tomorrow is a BBQ and the Nationals/Dodgers game.

I am off to the film Skyline Dr in VA on Monday.

Tuesday morning we are going back for the SI IMAX movie and flight sims before heading to National for the long flight home.

It was an educationally robust day of standing and walking, seeing and doing.

But we are now looking from the afterburner view.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 7.198 The Prologue

What is past is prologue.

Setting the stage for today.

So we may impact tomorrow.

We looked at the Bill of Rights today, atmospherically (hermetically) sealed under several layers of protective glass. Our special guide, a friend of my sister's, himself a published archival historian, had us at welcome. He was eloquent, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the volumes contained in the National Archives. We walked past thousands of binders containing documentation on almost every event that has ever impacted our nation, for the better or for the worse. Davis, Carmichael, Lennon, Jack Ruby, Gotti, Sirhan. You get the idea. The pace is an immense storage facility for everything.

Although it is available on-line here, there is something thrillingly special about holding a leather-bound diary written with a quill pen by the twelfth Vice President of the Unites States.

Richard, our guide, was especially versed on WWII and in particular Pearl Harbor.

I got to toss in the not-so-trivial fact of our Island's role in that drama, much to the appreciation of our host and his search for meaning. I have cut and pasted the following paragraph:  Bainbridge Island intercepted the 14th part about midnight (west coast time), and teletyped it on to Washington. The Army did the decryption of this part, which was in Japanese, and the services shared the distribution around the capital in accordance with usual practices. And linked the overall accounting here.

It was an exciting first day on the streets of DC. We were a touch lagged and dehydrated from the trip over, but a tasty Mexican lunch and a cup of bold coffee has me ready to go back for more tomorrow.

Did you know that the Magna Carta was signed in 1297?

It's all prologue.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 7.197 Streak is Alive

Barely. It wasn't easy but we hacked a connection in Foggy Bottom and this will represent, after a very long day of travel, after a sleepless night, with an attempted motel scam, on limited food, the continuation of the consecutive posting streak of the world famous RCVman.

We will overcome.

And boy am I tired. Which I should be after that opening sentence and 3,500 miles in coach.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 7.196 All Systems are Go

Super spinning session starts systems.

Nothing like a high-intensity spin set to jump start your day. I always say.

Opening tune was Mr Dylan's sublime Positively 4th Street. Here is a take by the JGB, should you have ever wondered what vocal sincerity sounds like.

I asked after Dire Straits's Calling Elvis, if they (Knopfler & Co) had ever covered Bob.

After some fairly deep googling, I found that MK produced Bob's 1979 Christian Folf-Rock LP, Slow Train Coming.

Here is a closer look at the sound. Guess who is picking lead?

So there ya go. Now you know.

I am all but wrapped on packing detail. This laptop always gets in last.

We are ready.

One more spin set this evening, a flyby to pick up Junior (shown above with the drone), park at RG's (also shown above), a ten minute walk to the boat, light rail to Sea-Tac, cheap motel and a 0445 wake up call will get us started.

I took a quick scan of weather and we might have to dodge some thunder storms. Front Royal, VA is showing 92 degrees and 50% chance of rain on Monday (scheduled shoot day). Got humidity?

We will make it work.

All systems are go.

Let the adventure begin.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 7.195 Packing. Parking & Pancakes

We are packing.

Off to DC tomorrow night after my evening HoM session.

Me and Junior.

We have scheduled tours of the Capitol and Library of Congress. We will visit the Smithsonian. We have tickets for Sunday's game between the Nationals and Dodgers (it is Star Wars night and kids get to run the bases after the contest). On Monday we are driving down to Front Royal, VA to shoot Skyline Dr., a ride reputed to be of world-class quality. We return late Tuesday night, I will get two hours sleep before my 0530 HoM class on Wednesday.

Oh, well.

It will be worth it.

I am a DC fan. Over the course of seven, maybe eight, trips, I find the vitality and energy of the District to be unique. It is as cosmo as it gets, a literal plethora of International delights await. 

We always get a kick of our favorite greasy spoon breakfast joint (three crepe-thin cakes and scrambled eggs for me) being next to the Bolivian Army Recruitment Center.

"What do you want to do after breakfast?"

"I dunno, join the Bolivian Army I guess."

Of course there is a down side. DC traffic makes LA's look anemic. With what few parking spots there are available, the automated machines are decipherable by no one short of a mechanical engineer. I have been ticketed more in my trips to DC than all the combined other states or districts. Guess they have a high overhead. DC is expensive.

I might be a wanted man. I am not 100% sure that I ever properly settled-up with the local judiciary. For all I know, compound interest may have me owing them more than I make in a year.

If they want to arrest me for an unpaid parking ticket, so be it.

Otherwise, we are ready to rock. I get to be a tourist and a tour guide simultaneously. We have six days to explore, one to shoot and two travel days.

With lots of public transportation between.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 7.194 Another Ton of Bricks

I have never been hit by a ton of bricks.

Although confident it would hurt some, I cannot empirically say that I know the suffering this meeting of brick and bone would bring.

I have never been hit by a bolt of lightning.

I imagine that would sting some too.

When the light bulbs shine on an AHA moment -  if the bricks don't getcha - the lightening will.

This happened to me last night.

It is the last episodes of Season Nine, 24, Live Another Day. It took me every one of the 24 hours after the dramatic conclusion of Season Eight, to recover from its spectacular, tear-jerking ending. If you are a 24 fan,  Chloe's command to "Shut it down," will always inspire.

Everything after that is gravy.

Except these quasi-cosmic stingers keep popping up, screaming for my attention.

You all know I spent most of the 90's on a (at the time) secret military facility in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is a jointly operated Navy Support Facility, Brits and US, thrust into the strategic spotlight immediately following 9-11. I know, I was there.

You probably don't know that in 1971 I had the good fortune to witness a stage play at the Little Fox Theatre in San Francisco. The play, by one of my heroes (literary and otherwise) Kern Kesey, was Cuckoo's Nest. The lead role of Randall Patrick McMurphy was expertly played by William Devane. RPM also happens to be one of my heroes, Devane is cast as President Heller in 24.

So imagine my delightful hallucination  (the bricks) when, in a most dramatic scene, my present favorite persona, Jack Bauer, is walking down a gilded hall in London with William Devane (RPM) and they are talking about extending the contract of the joint operation on Diego Garcia.

Lightning. Lights on. Another load of bricks. WHAMMMO.

Jack has evolved from McMurphy, morphed from Kesey, molded by Chief Broom. He has taken the best of their traits and morals and added a cause. RPM, by his own admission was incarcerated  for too much fuckin' and fightin'. Jack, on the other hand, is heading back to a Russian prison because of his integrity, devotion to duty and commitment to a cause. Where McMurphy simply wanted his own freedom back, Bauer wants freedom (and justice and accountability) for everyone.

A notion I feel Kesey would find greatness in.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Day 7.193 Time Heals

My hip is sore.

The left one.

I have been here before.

I know the pain.

It comes from overuse.

Let us take a closer examination, shall we?

ONE: Most, (I cannot in all humility say all), injuries of this sort come from one source. Miles. Miles, or kilometers if you like. They are a necessary component. You must run, and run long, and sometimes hard, to bring about this not-so-subtle reminder of the complimentary counterpart to exertion, rest. We need time to recover, for it is during this respite that the body goes into magic mode and heals, strengthens and instigates a recruiting mission to add numbers to the fight. To put boots on the ground. Make those muscles bigger sergeant.

So we should be happy that we are sore. You have earned it. Way to get to here. In his later years Bogey used to tell the make-up artists not to cover his facial wrinkles using the explanation that he had earned them and he didn't need to look like something or somebody that he was not.

TWO: I should know better by now. Inflammation happens. Whether you are riding or running, or both, tremendous pressure is managed in the anatomical area we call the core. Take your finger right now and find the bottom of your rib cage, now take another finger on your other hand and place it at mid thigh. See that area? that is your core. Big muscle transfer station in the center of town.

THREE: The answer is complex. They always are. As an athlete on a mission, you need to work. We ride early and run late. We are all undergoing muscle loss, known as sarcopenia. It takes longer to warm-up and to cool-down. We don't stretch enough. We don't get enough massage. And we charge through the china shop like Red Bulls of courage*. Folks, we need to be smarter. This is what they mean when they say that.

FOUR: I know why I do this to myself. It is because I want to feel like the effort I have been pouting forth is valid. That we are once again moving in the right direction. That there is a degree of urgency attached to this. To everything. Because there is.

FIVE: It is later that we think. It's what we do with the time remaining that heals these tiny wounds. Take that trip!

*  A new RCVman record for mixed metaphors!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Da 7.192 Do the Assignment

Without a doubt there are things that I would change.

Given the opportunity.

If only I could somehow go back and take a mulligan.

A chance at a do-over.

Try that one again.

But life, mostly, isn't like that, you get one shot. One attempt, one go at it.

Making every occasion and situation a magical opportunity for joy.

Or a nightmarish descent into dystopian hell.

I have had many such experiences. Of both varieties.

I have learned (not mastered) the art of letting go. I cannot change the events of the past.

But I can learn from them. Regrettably I still cringe with the memories of some.

What was I thinking?

One of them I will use today as a metaphor.

Sister Mary Winton was my fifth grade teacher. She was eighty and I was twelve. Catholic School in Southern California. It was 1964. I didn't like her much and she went out of her way to demonstrate her power to control me. It wasn't a fun year.

One day during art class she gave an assignment. I was in, shall we say, a rebellious mood so instead of doing the boring assignment (colored loops) I did what my wicked ego decided was the opposite.

I drew (almost) a perfect circle with a thick and bold black outline. I then 'colored' it with white. A black circle filed with white.

The assignment was to free form a page of scribbles and then fill the loops with color from our Crayola 64 boxes. Sixty-four colors to choose from. Wow.

I couldn't have gone further from her command. It was an overt act of utter disdain.

After an hour (remember this is fifth grade) she collected every one's 'work' and held up a few to critique for the class.

She didn't say this was going to happen and as she visually and then verbally graded each one, I started to slump further into my chair, knowing the special type of hell that awaited.

When she got to mine I saw the color in her face go from light brown to beet red in about five seconds. I may have made the sign of the cross.

She held it up for the class to see.

There were some laughs, some 'hummmmmms; and one or two wows.

She asked who's work it was (although I am sure she already knew).

I was second guessing my iconoclasm, well into my third Our Father, considering making a run for it.

Obviously no-one raised a hand. I was left with my perspiration and guilt.

It was a tense moment, one I will never forget. I had deliberately disobeyed an order, totally disregarding protocol, and, at the heart of the matter, disrespecting her and all that she represented. I could have chosen to defend my decision on artistic grounds but since my intention was a personal statement of non-conformity, I had no decently plausible grounds on which to state my pathetic case. It would take me another ten years to fully figure THAT one out.

I won't tell you what happened, suffice to say that when Mom found outt, the room temperature went from stuffy to stifling.

The lesson that day wasn't fully embraced for about twenty years.

When I became a teacher.

When my responsibility included giving orders, assigning protocols, leading by example and providing an atmosphere for the constructive use of our valuable time. There is discipline in all of that.

I was rude. I was disrespectful. I was the fool. And I was the loser. I was an immature brat (even at twelve).

So unless you are the teacher, the coach, squadron leader or captain….


Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 7.191 The Eagle & The Anchor

I don't really know if it is a great motivator or not, but this one always seems to vibrate in perfect pitch.

We have discussed it here before. It is a common theme.

So once again the only thing I have to add is personal experience in anecdotal form.

Maybe I will try to invent something completely original later today.

Till that joyous (and impossible) occasion, today's rehash mash is on mediocrity.

Not to be confused with moderation (you know my thoughts on THAT cancer), in this use, for our purposes today, mediocrity is the perp. Mediocrity is a hostile.  Armed and dangerous, shoot on sight.

It is average, not good, nowhere near great, but not a total failure either. It is the decent fielding second-baseman hitting .250. It is the QB going 10/20 with a TD and a pick. It is the middle of the pack. Half way between champion and he who carries the lantern.

Are you getting the idea? Which do you prefer? For the RCV record, I sincerely applaud the efforts and dedication of those who show up prepared, compete at their best, and finish what they started. I have no issues with this demographic. After all, I am one of them.

What do we do with this?, you might be asking.

We can pick something (preferably whatever you are doing this very moment) and do it the absolute best you can. You can become the best indoor cyclist in the world, today, simply by adding focus, determination, awareness and respect. One can add joy and compassion. We can have fun.

It has nothing to do with where you finish, your time or the number of others ahead or behind.

You can steep out of the mediocre.

We can all do something today that for a brief period of time sets us apart. We can win. We can taste victory. We can excel. We can be Champions. Pick something.

All we need to do is decide. Go or no-go. Fly away free or drop anchor.

Go is a sweet vibe.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 7.190 Adaptation

To adopt a more adept adaptation.

I am attempting to paint a conversational picture in the hope that some form of motivation ensues. After all, isn't the first step identifying the weakness?

We have finished 80 push-ups, in three different parks, connecting the planks by bike. It was a decent effort, especially in light of the three spin sessions I have put in and the stair repeats that Junior flawlessly executed yesterday.

We are in this thing together. Going on three weeks with all of July and August remaining. The idea is to bulk him up some in preparation for 13 year-old baseball next spring. That is the big picture.

He doesn't know it yet but the same strategies and tactics with which we better ourselves for one sport, is transferable to others. Many others. Any others in fact.

One cannot be too fit, too healthy, too strong or too fast. I have yet to hear an athlete complaining about having too much endurance.

"Dang all this explosive power anyway," are words that have been uttered by no-one, ever.

We have been talking about the ways and means to grow into a more capable athlete. We talk about the differences between myself, as example, and that other Lynch. They are unmistakable. So we isolate and practice our weakness in order to improve the whole. The running back that fumbles often is soon a grocery store clerk.

He has a good ethic, I watch closely as we grind out reps, climb hills and time ourselves in the mile. He is starting to get it. Cause and effect, response to challenge, proper form and attitude. Gratitude and humility.

We talk about positive physical change and how we can optimize it. We discuss the process. Rest, protein, hydration.

I ask him how he feels. He says good.

We continue.

If nothing else he will soon learn the value of consistency. We do this everyday.

It is called adaptation, I tell him, this process.

A process we should adopt.

And become adept.

At the adaptation.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day 7.189 IFS

Another hard workout this morning.

In a series of hard workouts.

Spanning many mornings.

I like early sessions. Not only for their jump-start value, but also as a way to ensure a double.

I am into doubles.

As in twice a day.

One early, recovery, one late(er).

If I had a gun to my head with the trigger-man demanding truth (or else), I would have to admit that I am trying to make up for lost time.  Maybe lost fitness is closer.

I really miss the good old days with the training intense and the distance daring.

There really is no other way to get in the miles necessary for an Ironman.

You have to go long. You have to go often. And you must recover quickly.

These days the doubles are proxy for IM training.

In my own world, one where I am coach, athlete, masseuse, cook, trainer, sponsor, physical therapist and spiritual advisor, I feel, we all feel, that progress is, despite the challenges and set-backs, being made. 

Largely due to my schedule.

I could easily do a single session per day and be fit and healthy. I might even be happy. pleased, entertained and satisfied.

But I will not win any races nor be able to shave without having to look away from the weak reflected visage resembling someone who will accept excuses as realities.

Let me make this clear.


If I had only…..
If there was…..
If I could……
If it would…..

Had another hard workout this morning.

The ands and buts were there.

But no ifs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Day 7.188 Illusions

Came across a new one this morning.

Faster than the speed of light I knew instinctively what it meant.

And I was embarrassed by the implication.

Even before I had time to process the spin files and search for an app that might soften its harsh reality, I stood before the judge and jury guilty as charged.

In the past I used to cringe with remorse, these days the time between stimulus and response can be counted in seconds instead of with a calendar.

Because there is a more nuanced flow? Because I forgive easier? Because I know that nobody really cares? Because I understand the process clearer? Or because I appreciate the importance of a joyful participation with the sorrows of life?

The correct answer is (as most always) all of the above.

It is much like the difference between exercise and training.

The former being a good thing, necessary and healthful. The latter taking the positive and fine tuning it with focus and purpose.

Focus with purpose.

Sure I want to be healthy and happy. But I also what to compete and excel. I want to challenge myself. That is what drives me more than a contented smile and a good night's sleep. My motivation is to keep the mojo in play as long as I am able.

And sometimes that means a growl and a sleepless night after the bumps and bruises on the trail of the buffalo.

I am greedy. I want both. I want it all.


With that as preface, here is the new one: Something called the Illusion of explanatory depth.

There exists the possibility that, according to this hypothesis, I may not be digging deep enough.

Or, as Richard Bach so eloquently ended his wonderfully philosophical tome Illusions with, "Everything above may be wrong."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 7.187 Shadow of the Former

I don't know if there will ever be a return to "regular schedule."

Seems everything these days, from cycling to music, it a completely new experience every time out. Truly we are unable to swim in the same flaming river twice.

Change is coming on fast.

Time has reduced me to a shadow of my former physical self as the mind falters and fades grasping for a rope, a ledge, anything with which to hold on to. The good news to this corporal carnage is that my spirit, my very soul, is soaring like never before.

It seems like this is a daily occurrence, dealing with decline, attention to atrophy, facing the truth that reality relentlessly reverberates.

Sometimes it hurts. Like sleeping in the dirt. Like climbing 9% grades, like painful recoveries and abbreviated warm-ups. Like the uncertainties that cause doubt, concern, fear. Is this something I will walk way from?

I am very pleased that my ability to feel compassion is finally on a level with my irritating trait of instant judgement. I practice daily the ritual of letting go, of seeing that my efforts will be rewarded with greater value when I accept and allow, instead of continuing my modus operandi of the precision tuning of delicate situations with a sledge hammer.

It has been a long strange trip. Thank you Robert Hunter.

As much as it felt like yesterday might be that terminus algebraically known as Point B,  the omega, it was simply another weird new challenge. I trust that because it didn't kill me I am stronger.

There will be no more regular. It is all new and exciting. There are no ordinary moments.

I am a shadow of the former.

Way better than casting no shadow at all.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Day 7.186 Jose out

Plan B consisted of a 5K run, 50 mile ride, camp with bombs bursting in air (zero sleep) another 50 mile ride and a three hour drive home slowed by holiday traffic.

I am one tired Jose.

I beg forgiveness and promise a full recap tomorrow.

Jose, out.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Day 7.185 The Wheels are Ready

If the Microsoft version of Google street view has images of where we are riding today and tomorrow, I will eat my helmet. Camping where wi-fi does not (and should not) exist. Seventy-five miles in and seventy-five back.

We will resume regular posting activities upon return late tomorrow afternoon.

Happy Fourth and go get 'em riders of Le Tour.

The wheels are ready.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Day 7.184 Smokin' Hot

It is smoking hot.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July.

Our dog is in constant pain from arthritis.

There are six fireworks stands just over the bridge. When I rode past this morning, their parking lots were all full.

I need to get out here.

Since my weekly Saturday 90 indoor indoor cycling session has been cancelled to allow greater participation for the club in the local parade, it is a perfect opportunity.

I am running, with my nephew, in the 36th annual BI Fun Run, a 5K, at 0915.

At noon we (maybe only me) will mount bikes to the truck, load camping gear and drive the 80 miles to Port Angeles.

We will park in the secure airport lot ($11/24hrs), un-load the bikes and gear, fill water bottles, lock truck and ride the 75 miles to the Lost Resort at Lake Ozette.

Where we (probably only I) will camp. Shown in the photo is my super-light, survival, one night, one season, summer kit. It weights less than six pounds.

Included is:
6x8 light duty tarp ($2.97)
two aluminum tent stakes (.97/ea)
light gauge nylon rope (.59)
inflatable pillow/blanket kit ($10 at Wal-Mart)
insect head mesh bag ($1.99)
two insect repellant bracelets (.59/ea)
tech shorts, T and flip-flops
I also carry bike tools, knife, lighter, flashlight and cell phone in, or on my bike.

At the hiker/biker campsite ($9.00) I fix the tarp to the picnic table and angle it to the stakes. Bag goes under tarp, mesh over head, bracelets on each wrist.

I know where to closest store to the camp-site is, so bringing in dinner and hydration beverages is easy. The camp store also serves breakfast and coffee for the morning.

It is 75 miles each way with about 3K of gain. Weather calls for 80-85.

Smokin' hot.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Day 7.183 Important, actually

As we officially move to the second half of the year, this just in:

There is a distinct possibility (better than 50/50) that I may soon be back among the rank and file.

The rank being PFC in the file labeled The Work Force.

I had a backdoor employment offer yesterday. It wasn't a formal interview, or even a response to a Craig's List ad, more like abbreviated conversation.

It happened in the locker room after the evening spin session.

We were talkin' about he new boat house for the local rowers.

Come to find out (from the abbreviated conversation) that construction is about to begin.

"So if you know of any High School kids that are looking for a summer job…"

Pause. I tighten the towel around waist and sheepishly, slowly and with as much humility as I can portray, raise my hand.

He looks at me askance.

Well, I worked the Columbia river dam circuit for ten years and then local construction before heading to greener artistic pastures in 1985 or thereabouts.


Yup. I can tell a nail gun from a double-barrel over and under from twenty feet.

And, if you hire my ass I will throw in, at absolutely no additional charge, a time lapse video of the entire project.  A chance you have but one opportunity with.

Yeah, well, OK. Sounds good.

Yeah. Cool.

OK, I'll see you later.

OK, thanks.

For several reasons this abbreviated conversation represents good news.

1) I would love to be involved with the project.
2) I love time lapse video.
3) It is local, a ten minute commute.
4) It would not impact my existing work schedule.
5) It offers a weekly paycheck.

Number 5 is especially enticing.

Important, actually.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 7.182 Decent Pix

Figuring it to be as advertised, I set my chronometer as documentation.

What a cute little post, I thought, to say that I changed phones, numbers and carriers in less than xxx minutes and xx seconds.

I should have known better.

Going from an iPhone to a Galaxy Android is bad enough, but that was easy compared to the failed process of trying to rid one's self of an AT&T contract.

OMG, WTF and SOD (Shit oh Dear) mashed thoroughly together.

Perhaps the slimiest bit of chancery ever to fly the capitalistic flag. There is no way to do it, and that is the way they like it.

I was on three times with the new carrier (something called Total Wireless - sold only at Wal-Mart) three each with phone reps and live chat support. Fortunately I got to pick my own hold music.

Nobody could figure it out. Finally in desperation I asked (patiently and innocently) if it might be easier (and quicker) to simply get a new number instead of trying to extrapolate the number that I have been paying AT&T $60 a month for for almost ten years.


OK, what do I need to do.

Go here, download this, open an account, set up, add minutes, call this number and you'll be good-to-go.

Are you sure?


So I go there, download that, open an account, get set up, add minutes, call their activation number and wait for confirmation.

I am still waiting,

Running clock is now at 13 hours, eleven minutes and five seconds.

They tell me that my new number will be 206.379.3608.

I have no idea when I will be able to answer.

So please keep trying.

At least it takes decent pictures. (Say OZ and KG after tonight's session in the PB with low lighting)