Category Archives: Life

Smooth asphalt and snapless legs

smoothrolling
Yesterday was one of those days. It seems like I am just one step behind in almost everything. Still, I wanted to get on the bicycle and by 5:30 p.m. I was spinning out of my drive. There was no real plan… other than not to push it.

My legs have been feeling heavy lately. I don’t know how else to explain it. There just isn’t any snap in them. When I go to put out any sustained effort I feel like I’m having to work extra to lift one leg and then the other. There isn’t the feeling of pushing up a hill. It is more a feeling of dragging myself over the top.

This must have something to do with fatigue. Not that I feel tired. I don’t. It is just that my muscles aren’t currently keeping up with my cardiorespritory  fitness. This happens sometimes when you have been putting out efforts. The work with your legs have helped build your breathing and heart rate. Often you find that then your legs rest and you come back stronger and before long the pendulum swings back the other way and you have all kinds of power in your legs, but not the stamina to keep up with them. It is an ever increasing stair step progress.

So, I figured what my body needed was an easy higher cadence spin. Climbing a big hill was not on the agenda. I decided to ride out of Greenville on Old Buncombe Road and then skirt along the base of the Paris Mountain back to home. It would avoid any major climbs, but would also send me through some pretty scenery.

My mood was melancholy. It matched the feeling of my legs. I spun along thinking through the various things I was needing to accomplish. The various challenges of day-to-day life were creating a puzzle in my mind. I wasn’t thinking of what I was doing on the bicycle at all.

Before long I noticed my cadence was picking up and so was the power. My thoughts must have been finding their ways down to my legs and I was trying to solve the puzzle with each pedal stroke. Realizing this I backed off and shifted back to my small ring.

Then the beauty of the day began to affect me. My melancholy mood became more sanguine. My legs followed… still there was no snap in them, but they felt less heavy. They were, well, feeling a bit more relaxed and happy.

It was then that I came upon the one power section along the route. It is named as a segment in Strava as the “Dreamland Climb.” It is a little punch of a climb averaging 7.6 percent over a short .2 mile. Of course, the average doesn’t give you the full story as there are several sections that exceed 16 percent.

I hit it about mid-cog in the big ring and felt I was starting to spin out in the flatter section and then felt the resistance as I then swung up in the higher grades toward the end. By the time I reached the top, I felt I was dragging the bike over the top. My legs reminded me that the snap wasn’t back.

Still, I spun my way home with a faint smile on my face. Even without snap in my legs, I had I found joy along the route. Not every ride has be a record breaking effort. Not every KOM has to be won. Often winning is coming home better ready to face what is before you because you let the pedals help solve the puzzles in your mind… you may even find that the puzzles themselves disappear.

A letter to my sons

King Solomon

Each day I write a letter to my two sons. The letters are my thoughts on verses from the book of Proverbs. You can follow along with a daily thought at @kingsolomonsays. Since a recent one has a cycling illustration, I thought I would post it here.

March 6, 2013

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. — Proverbs 3:5

My Sons,

The wise go forward in the reality of God undeterred by temporal perceptions.

Don’t get sucked in by what is happening around you. Keep your eyes on where you are going. If you do, you’ll come out alright.

There are two important things you learn when you mountain bike. 1) Keep your wheels rolling — it is better to roll over something than it is to brake and crash into it. 2) Look at where you want to go and not at what you want to avoid.

These things are very true. It is amazing what your bike will overcome if you just let it roll and don’t try to “pick your way over it.” However, that takes a lot of trust in your equipment and your balance!

The one I really want to focus on with this verse is the other rule. Look at where you want to go and not at what you want to avoid. I have lived this plenty of times on both the mountain bike and the road bike. The fact is your body wants to follow where you are looking.

So, if you are riding between rocks and trees, don’t look at the rocks and trees that you want to avoid. Look at the clear path laid  out in front of you. That path — no matter how small it looks — is your reality. It is a path because other people have ridden it before. It is passable.

When you take your eyes off the path and start looking at the rocks and trees you might avoid them, but your balance will be thrown off. Your wheel may stay on the path, but your handle will clip a branch. You might avoid the rock you were just looking to avoid, but then run smack into the next rock that you should be aware of.

Keep your eye on the path of life. For the Christian, that path is one that Jesus has already traveled. No matter what rocks and trees of life might be trying to get your attention. No matter how much you want to focus on them and try to solve them — keep your eye on the reality of the path.

Before you know it, you’ll be flying through technical descents with ease.

I love you very much.

Dad

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep calm and carry on

Needless to say, it has been another frustrating week when it comes to training. It isn’t just the weather and the lack of light. The primary issue is time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough of it. So, when I do get on the bike, I want to make the most of it.

Yesterday, that didn’t work out. I ran into some frustration ON the bike. However, I learned a lesson through it.

I rushed home in hopes of squeezing in my 1 x (3 min. PI with 3 min. RBI) workout before grabbing a quick bite to eat and heading out the door for an evening engagement. Things started out pretty well and the clock informed me that I would get in a solid hour of spinning. I settled in to get it done.

Keep Calm and Carry OnAs I neared the end of my 15 minute warmup, I started to ramp up the resistance. Then I shifted in a lower gear and moved the wattage up over 350 watts. At around 93 rpm I was feeling pretty good. Good vibes were starting to tingle my psyche.

The Garmin was showing a consistent pace of 93 to 94 rpm and I was watching it to keep it steady. Then suddenly the Garmin showed 0 on all the readouts. After about a second, which seemed much longer, the rpm and wattage appeared again. Hmmmmm, I wondered what caused that.

Then it happened again! I finished out that first interval with the readout coming and going. The only thing I could think of was that I was ruining my average wattage for the interval!

Once I started my Recover Between Interval section, I stopped the trainer and got off the check out the battery connections in my Quarq. It all seemed to be fine. Perhaps the rest of the session would okay.

Time now for the second Power Interval. The good vibes were gone. It wasn’t that I was finding the interval overly hard. It was that my mind was now distracted by the Garmin readout.

Sure enough, the glitch appeared again. It seemed to happen anytime I was pedaling for any consistent period of time above 350 watts. If I stayed below that, it didn’t seem to flake out on me.

I felt the frustration welling up in me. It isn’t just that by itself that caused it. It was more of the straw that broke the camel’s back deal. It was hard enough to find the time to get on the bike. NOW, I had to deal with issue while I was on it. I couldn’t escape!

Then I paused to consider the stupidity of my reaction. Just because my Garmin wasn’t recording my wattage doesn’t mean I wasn’t producing it. Just because my TrainingPeaks would record 235 watts for that first 3 minutes doesn’t mean that I wasn’t averaging over 350.

Why was I don’t this? Was it so I could record it somewhere or because I was wanting to improve my stamina in those hard efforts that come in a race? If it was the former, then I had reason to be frustrated. If it was the later (as it should be) then I was right on target.

So, going into the third interval, I put the Garmin out of my mind. Now it was just about the workout. I was still getting enough of a reading to know whether I was in the proper zone. Who cares if it didn’t record accurately in the database.

Interestingly, I started to have to pace myself a bit more in the fourth interval. The average wattage began to drop below 350 and, sure enough, the glitch disappeared. Most of the third and the final three intervals recorded just fine.

What was my lesson learned? Chill out, man! In a world of check lists, to do items and schedules, sometimes you need to remind yourself why you have the scheduling and management tools that you use. You have to be sure that you are using them and not the other way around.

Powermeters, cycling computers, heart rate monitors, etc., etc. are cool tools. They can be very helpful. However, if your ride is frustrating to you because your computer battery went dead and now you won’t know how many miles you rode… that computer just became more important than the bike to which it is connected.

Next time that happens to me I’m going to look at it as an opportunity and a reminder to focus even more on the enjoyment and love of the activity. If you ride your bike and your cycling computer doesn’t record it, did you ride? What a silly question.

Happy Birthday!

45 years and the best is yet to come

I start my 45th year today. Some would say I’ve passed over the hill and I’m on the way down. Well, that just means I have more momentum for the rest of my life!

God has been very good to me. I’m not an overly ambitious person, but it seems that I have gotten in God’s way and he has pulled me along in the current of his blessing. I don’t see it stopping now.

Happy Birthday!As I look back and see where I am and how I got here, I look forward to the future with excitement. Perhaps I have gotten beyond a mid-life crisis because I see more purpose for my life and more potential to accomplish meaningful things than ever before. It’s going to be great.

Someone stopped by my office yesterday to ask me about how I go about juggling the things I am involved in and how I went about developing my five-year plan. It was somewhat embarrassing because I don’t have a five-year plan. There was only one way I knew to describe it.

I have several five-year plans… I help to develop the plan for Worthwhile with my partners. I work with the team here at the BJU Alumni Association to lay out the plan to advance. I work with the other board members for I Do It For as we move forward with our plans for the foundation.

My personal plan then is to pour myself into those plans. I know if they are successful then I will be as well. Where do I see myself when I am fifty? I see myself valuing, motivating and informing alumni of Bob Jones University. I see myself helping to continue growing and holding Worthwhile accountable to my original vision. I see myself involved in helping a growing number of people passionate about the mission of I Do It For to go out and meet the needs of individuals.

Yes, I also see myself helping my daughter start in college and helping my sons both navigate their way through high school. It would be great to be done with that mortgage and be able to channel whatever God has blessed me with into being a bigger blessing. I’d like to see myself move beyond the “start-up” phase of my life into the “re-invest” phase.

Wow, I’ll only be fifty then. Each day that seems younger and younger. Maybe by the time I’m fifty-five I’ll talk the Beautiful Redhead to go on that Italian bicycle tour I secretly desire.

We’ll see what happens. My intention is just to do the next right thing on the right path. With God stepping before me, I have nothing to fear even if things seem to be in chaos. The right path always ends up at the right end. I know my ultimate end and it is beautiful!

Of course, I’m not too shy to ask for birthday presents from everyone. How about wishing me a Happy Birthday by giving a donation to the I Do It For Foundation? Look… it is easy… click here.

Not always what you say

Seems so small [link]” resonated with a good number of readers. I was talking with the Beautiful Redhead about the t-shirts for Lurtey’s last night. We talked about making them available for Todd’s friends at school. It raised an interesting question.

“But they aren’t doing a ride,” Annette questioned. “Don’t you think that people will question what the ride is?” Her mentioning this wasn’t the first time this came to my mind. It was one of the things that held me back in the first place.

I realize that it is more a matter of pride. It would make a lot more sense if the t-shirts said, “I Do It For ____” on the front instead of “I Ride For ____”. Should you hold back expressing a sentiment just because it isn’t perfect? I believe not.

IDIF t-shirt (back)

The purpose behind the t-shirts is the same. It is to cause people to stop… as they have on numerous occasions… and ask, “Who is Mike?” or “Who is Todd?” You then get an opportunity to draw attention to a brave person fighting a harsh battle. When you get to that point, it doesn’t matter whether it is “I Ride For ___”, “I Run For ___”, or “I Tri For ___”.

Yes, we will do all of those t-shirts as various I Do It For ___ projects get started. However, I do realize that we need to also create an “I Do It For ___” option. There are people who might not be able to do a ride, run or other active sport event. However, they do want to express solidarity with someone they love. They do want to perhaps help someone doing an active event.

The key for me is that the statement on the back of the shirt is always the same, “I am not a ribbon, a color, or a disease. I am a person. I have a name. Do it for me.”

Don’t wait until things are perfect. If you have something in your hand, use it. That exercise will help grow you to something better. In the mean time, you are helping someone. It’s not always what you say. It is that you said it at all.

Seems so small

Last night in church my daughter’s cell phone alerted her to a text. Of course, being the dad, I cut an eye over to her and reminded her to silence her phone. Afterward I asked her what the message was about. She told it me that it was a reply to a message started earlier by some friends concerning her school mate, Todd Lurtey.

I Ride for Todd

Todd is a young high school student fighting a rare form of cancer. The text in question was concerning some challenging news that the Lurtey’s had just learned. Todd’s aunt posted the following on a Facebook community page dedicated to supporting the family in this time of trial:

The doctors came back and said that Todd has an inoperable, highly aggressive tumor. There is no more course of treatment for him, so they removed all his tubes (including feeding) and released him to go home. Todd went to church this morning. Through the kindness of a friend, the family leaves tomorrow morning to go on a spontaneous trip to Florida for the week! Pray for precious family time for the Lurteys and strength for Todd for the week.

I must say that I read that message with sadness and also some guilt. You see, some time ago I had contacted the Lurtey’s wanting to show them a small level of encouragement. I had asked Brenda, Todd’s mother, for t-shirt sizes for the family. I was going to put Todd’s name on them and then deliver them along with some Low Cadence coffee.

She got back to me with the sizes and I asked a follow up question about whether to deliver them to her husband at work or do something else. In my defense, at that time I wasn’t sure if they were home or at a hospital somewhere. However, the bottom line is I didn’t follow up and the t-shirts and coffee were not delivered. It ended up on my “Oh, man, I’ve got to do that!” list.

Then last week the Beautiful Redhead signed up to take a meal to the family. The date she signed up for would be tomorrow.  I felt redeemed! I would deliver the shirts and coffee when we took the meal over to their home.

Then last night the text came. The Lurtey’s are in Florida. We won’t be taking the meal tomorrow.

It is a small thing. It is actually such a small thing that it almost seems embarrassing. T-shirts and coffee. It seems so insignificant compared to what the family is facing at this time. In their case, I think my heart would cry, “T-shirts? How is this going to change anything?”

Well, the fact is it won’t… it won’t change anything about Todd’s cancer. However, I don’t think the Lurtey’s are going to respond that way. To them those I Ride For Todd t-shirts will be a tangible reminder of a greater community of people who are praying for them and supporting them. Some of them they have never met, but those hearts still ache with them.

I learned a valuable lesson in this. Don’t wait to show your concern. If you are moved to give a hand of encouragement, don’t wait until a more opportune moment. Do it then… no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Your small act of kindness added to the acts of others becomes a mountain of solace for someone hurting.

Pray for Todd and his family. Pray specifically at this moment that their time together in Florida will have the glow of the divine around it. Pray that there will be a comfort and grace that will bring laughter to their hearts and each moment they have together will be moments of joy. That will be something that they can take with them into the days… months… years ahead.

Trapezius Muscle

My body is telling me something

This will be a short post today. I’m trying to stay off the keyboard and mouse as much as possible today. My body is trying to send me a message, and I plan to listen.

I have been working to get a website project done and it has taken much longer than I anticipated. The target for completion is Thursday (that is tomorrow!) and I have been spending as many spare moments as possible trying to get it finished. It means a lot of hours at the computer trying to figure out layouts, code and bugs.

Trapezius MuscleIt started to hit me Monday evening. It was just a twinge then, but when I woke up Tuesday morning it was full blown. There is a huge knot of stress in my trapezius muscle. While it sits at the top of the muscle just below my neck, when the Beautiful Redhead was trying to work on it this morning it sent pain shooting down to my shoulder blade all the way up to the behind my ear.

Did I pull the muscle? No. Did I bruise the muscle? No. I know exactly what it is. In a word, STRESS. More specifically, me not dealing well with the pressures that I’m facing right now.

This is the way my body talks to me to say, “Hey! Excuse me! You’ve got issues you need to deal with.” Sometimes it is I’ve procrastinated and now I’m about to pay the piper. Other times I have just committed to too much and though I’ve tried to stay on top of things, I’m just starting to get buried. Either way, the body is saying, “Come on, man! I’m here speaking for the brain. You need to get some of this stuff off your plate. Since you’re not listening to reason, we’re going to help slow you down a bit.”

Okay, okay, body. I hear you. Can you just give me until Friday? For better or for worse, I’ll have a few of the weights off. Maybe I’ll even take you for a bicycle ride today to help hold us over until then.

Oh, you would like that? Okay, I’ll see what I can do.

Hanging from the end of my list

Saturday was one of those days when you reach the end of your energy. The month of January was a great month. I got a lot accomplished and great progress was made in a number of aspects of my life. However, there was a price to pay.

God has been good to me with The Worthwhile Company. Though I started the company back in the mid-ninties, I really can’t take much credit for its current success. Probably one of the smartest things I did for its future was to sell a number of my shares to bring on a third partner who has helped revolutionize our company. That energy along with the wisdom of my other long-time partner has created a company that is fast becoming the leader in our industry and now has locations in two states.

The good news is that I am not that caught up in day-to-day operations. However, there are certain times of the year that call for more strategic decisions. There is also the matter of adding new employees and the decisions regarding who to bring into our family. That helps to describe January. Also, as any business owner will tell you, there is more to the “work” of ownership than the stuff you do in the office! You bear the risk of success or failure that affects the lives of over two-dozen people and their families.

That has been weighing on my mind and taking a portion of my time. Then I add to that the changes taking place for me in my position at the Bob Jones University Alumni Association.  It is an exciting time to be there because the board and administration of the school have put a renewed emphasis on the alumni. I get to be right there on the front line helping to set the strategy and then carrying it out.

However, it has certainly added to my responsibilities.  There are now a few more evening events to fit in. While before I could get out of the office during the day to get in a ride because of extra available hours, now there is so much going on during the work week that its not possible to find the opportunity. I can’t say I’m complaining. Things are happening that I’ve long to see happen. I’m excited!

Now we come to I Do It For Foundation. This is the part of my life that takes up all the “in between moments.” There are the emails, phone calls and social media conversations going on all the time. Organizing Team Low Cadence, working through the set up of the foundation, working through the creation of the web tools and promotional materials and making plans for the Run Bike Fun event in September.

Again, this is all wonderful! It has been great to see miraculous things happen over the last month. Wow, it has only been a month? I’m amazed at how far we have come in that time. However, moving so quickly has me feeling like a general advancing so fast that he is stretching his supply lines.

Personally I’m trying to spend time with my family. To make this happen, I have to be intentional. It is something I have to schedule into my day. The day is not done until I can check it off my to-do list.

I’m also doing a couple of web design projects. In the past, I’ve done these kinds of projects using coding techniques several years old. Now I realize that the web is just leaving me way behind. I have been forced to learn to use new tools. It means that it is taking much longer to finish the projects. The good news is that they will be much easier to maintain in the long run.

Oh yeah, and then there is my training. I am following the Time-Crunched Cyclist Plan. I am also doing some core work. Again, all of this goes on my to-do list.

So it was that late Saturday I climbed onto the trainer to carry out my Power Interval workout. I knew that even though I had been at it all day, I still had two items to complete when I got off. In my my I was thinking about the pictures I saw on Facebook during the day of friends riding their bicycles.

Racing starts off in February here. Here I was on the trainer doing a workout that would be no more than 90 minutes long. During that time I began to ask why I do this training. The other things I am doing are important. I can see a direct relationship between what I’m doing now and a positive result.

So I ask myself if it is worth it adding all of this stress to my life. How much more could I do if I didn’t have to take over 8 hours out of my week. I know that I only need about half of that to help my health.

What is going to happen when I toe the line for the first race of the season? There I will be in the middle of the race with snot hanging from my nose. I’ll be huffing along in oxygen debt as I watch the front of the pack disappear in the distance. I’ll ask myself at that point, “So, you thought this was going to be fun?”

Well, that may be true. However, there is something inside me that keeps me following the plan. Deep down inside it is about more than racing. Completing the plan is a competition of the will.

So, you may be wondering, “Why are you spending the time to type this?” Well, somehow I’ve got to get it out of me. This is not for you. It’s for me.

I’m ready for the next month.

Pedaling Nowhere

Logan Watts riding through Mexico

Logan Watts riding through Mexico

Several months ago, the CEO of The Worthwhile Company received a call from Logan Watts. Logan was (is) a rock star designer in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was calling to offer to sell his award winning company to Worthwhile.

While very happy to expand Worthwhile into North Carolina by building on the reputation of Logan and his company, BigNoise Interactive, I couldn’t help but wonder about Logan’s goal. He was successful and his company was in a position to move to a new level. What was he moving to with his life?

Over the next few months, Logan continued as an active part of the Worthwhile/Big Noise team. I had the opportunity to get to know Logan a little better. It gave me a few clues into his interests.

In one of my first meetings with him, I noticed he was wearing socks with a NORBA logo on them. I asked him if he enjoyed mountain biking. I got a definite affirmative and learned that Logan enjoyed escaping to the single track on his mountain bike.

That still didn’t explain his ultimate objective in selling his company to become an employee. I didn’t have the relationship with him to really delve into the question. It wasn’t until near the time he left on an extended sabbatical in November that I learned his intentions — at least for the short term.

What was driving Logan? Adventure

What was driving Logan? Adventure

Logan was headed to Mexico. Not only was he headed to Mexico, he was off to Mexico with a bicycle. Seems that what Logan needed in his life at this time was ADVENTURE. You can read his thoughts about it here.

Wow. While I am very, very happy with where I am in my life, I must admit that there is a romantic part of me that is drawn to Logan’s thought process. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do my own epic tour…

Until then, I’ll just enjoy Logan’s adventure as he pedals nowhere at pedalingnowhere.com.

Look closer to home

It is said that home is where the heart is. I guess that means where ever you put your heart is home. Then maybe it means if you find a home, your heart will rest there. Most likely both ideas are true.

Worthwhile on Trappe Door Jersey

Worthwhile is happy to sponsor the Trappe Door Cycling Team presented by Piedmont Orthopaedic Associates

In the midst of all the news about the admissions of “one whose name shall not be spoken” the ugly underbelly of professional cycling once again is exposed. Sure, many of us are hoping that it is an old, rotting carcass of a belly.  Regardless, it is back in the news and if you are a cyclist you probably can’t escape the question, “So, what do you think of….?”

Well, that home is getting a little uncomfortable. Let me encourage you to look somewhere other than the professional ranks to put a piece of your heart. I say a piece, because if its more than a piece of your heart caught up in cycling then we may need to have another conversation.

Look around you. Notice the cyclists of all shapes and sizes getting out on two wheels. Spring is just around the corner and though the professionals start their season earlier in the warmth of Australia, local road races will pop up in cities around the country within the next month.

Why not put your heart into…

Being a racer

It is fun. It is easy to get started. It can be very addicting!

Amateur racing is a tiered system. You come into the sport at a beginner level and can work your way up from there. All you have to do is go to USA Cycling and get a racing license. With that you are official.

Of course, it helps to ride your bike and learn the ways of riding in a group. Being a member of a club is a great way to make that happen. Here in Greenville the Greenville Spinners would be glad to welcome you into cycling and if you are so inclined, into the world of racing.

Being a sponsor

Clubs don’t just happen. Amateur racing teams don’t just happen. It takes passion, sweat and money to make it happen. Even if you aren’t into the sweating it out on the bike portion of racing. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the sweat of hard work.

Maybe you don’t have the time to be involved, but you have some extra cash in your marketing budget. Consider putting your logo on a team kit. You’ll earn some very appreciative spokespersons for your brand!

There are also ways to be a supporting sponsor. Teams often need services that you can provide in lieu of cash. I’ve been happy to sponsor teams for the last three years by offering web services. Not only has it been fun being able to help the team, I also scored a really cool cycling kit!

It pays to sponsor! I scored this awesome Trappe Door Cycling kit.

It pays to sponsor! I scored this awesome Trappe Door Cycling kit.

Being a fan

So, you have enjoyed being a fan of the professional scene. You’re jaded. You figure they are all crooks. You could be right. You could be wrong. However, let me encourage you to look a little closer to home.

Sure, local racing isn’t perfect — certainly not as beautiful as the professional peloton. It has its share of personalities you would rather ignore. Well, ignore them. Focus on that kid with the earnest look on his face. He probably doesn’t have the best equipment, but he wants to commit.

Be his fan. The world may never know his name. He may never sit on a couch for an interview with a national talk show host. However, he is many. He is the future of cycling.