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A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

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chasing dreams

In the Quiet Stillness

Yesterday was my precious Sunday practice. After 92 brutal kilometers of climbing, chasing, hair raising descending, and generally wallowing in the pain cave, I came home to collapse on my living room floor.

My nap yesterday gave me the precious chance to wake up early this morning. Up a whole hour before the sun, my mind took its time to slowly wake up to the day and to my existence. It’s funny how the world of dreams and the world of waking, and the world of society outside are all so different from each other. At once I am the same person in each of them, and yet I am very, very different.

This morning, in the quiet stillness of dawn, I am filled with an aching appreciation for all the people who have touched me in this life so far. There are those who I meet in my regular life, and there are those who I have never met, and there are those who I used to know well who have now, for the distance between us, faded into my memory of them. To all of you, regardless of where our paths put us now, at one time we crossed, and perhaps we will cross again, but even if that never happens, I want you know that you are with me in my heart.

When my own life becomes too heavy to bear, I think of those of you who believed in me and it gives me the strength to get up just one more time and to push on that one extra step. When I fear that my dreams are too big for my tiny existence, I remember when you refused to doubt me, and I choose to believe you instead of the nagging voices in my own psyche. And then, when the quiet of morning arrives and I have the freedom to look at all that I have done and all that I have yet to do, I remember you and I secretly hope that one day, when I’ve traveled this path that I’ve set out for myself, that you might be able to share in my victory.

So, to all of you*, thank you. I hope I can be worthy of everything you believed of me.


*Peggy, Lloyd, Secret anonymous blog-stalker, you’re in this too.

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It Can Be Yours

I was talking with my S.Pig this morning about bikes and things. It’s something that we love to do: just dream and gush about the new bike we tested, the new trail, the latest workout, the next race, this rider we met… We have many things in common but perhaps the greatest commonality that we share is a willingness to chase our dreams no matter how far they take us off the beaten path. Continue reading “It Can Be Yours”

Digging Deep and Things

Today’s practice was insanity. We rode our hill repeats loop course this morning — five loops of a ten kilometer course featuring a steep (15-17% grade) hill followed by a long, flowing, fast descent. This week I had ridden 170 kilometers leading up to practice and only forty of them were gentle. The rest were brutal hills through these beautiful mountains that I live in. I had done my best to recover, but rock climbing, trials practice and an impromptu plank competition (x2) had left me sore from top to bottom and the power necessary to climb the hill brought me well into my anaerobic zone. I was hurting.

Our theme was “each person leads one loop.” Five team mates meant five loops. The shop owner joined us this morning and watched our form and gave us all advice on posture, cadence, gears, pacing. It was real time and highly personal. I like that man more and more every time I meet him. I lead the second loop and focused hard on my breathing (exhale completely, open your chest) and my pacing. I wanted to make sure I could lead the group solidly through my entire loop even though I knew I was the weakest one on the climbs. When he came up through the ranks and rode next to me his only words were “that’s it, nice form!” I was exhilarated!

My thighs were on fire and I was sweating rivulets down my face and arms. It was dripping into my eyes and I was panting, my heart pounding as I finished the climbs of the second loop. I took a deep breath and headed into the descent quietly dreading the remaining three loops and wondering if I would even be able to complete them. The central hill is so steep that more than once I’ve gotten wobbly from exhaustion and my pace had slowed so much that I was afraid I would simply topple over. You’re pushing so hard into the pedals that even if you wanted to bail you’d be hard pressed to unweight them long enough to unclip.

We headed into the descent and this is where I seem to shine. Even though I reflexively tense up when I feel overwhelmed technically, and I find high speed descents on tight mountain passes to be very overwhelming, I have been focusing consistently on my technique. When I’m taking corners I check in with my whole body to see where I am on the bicycle: Where is my weight? Where is my focus? My hand position? Am I leaned in or upright? Do I extend my inside knee? How close does my line take me to the edge of my lane? Was I able to adjust mid turn? Could I have pedaled this corner? Braked later or lighter? In barely a month’s time I have gotten so much faster on my descents that my team mates are starting to have trouble keeping up. This is good.

And it is not just the corners that I’m taking faster. I seem to have an ability to fly on the flats that even the boys in my group don’t possess. I burn out faster than they do still, and if they try to sprint and over take me then I will most surely drop behind, but I don’t let up. I push it and I hold it. My eyes become fierce, my form light and compact. The world around me hums and blurs until there is just me and the road and perhaps the wheel I am chasing. It’s an intense and dangerous place to be in, but that is where the beast lives.

With the power of the beast I dropped frumps no less than three times today. I’m feeling very smug about it.

After pracitce Kamiya-san talked with me a bit about my form and my training and where I should put my focus. The man has incredible patience with me. He is just a spring of information and he just lets it flow whenever I ask. I love it.

Coming home I met with my neighbor, a former marine and sniper. We talked about the power of the human will. Apparently in the marines they teach their cadets that the power of will is strong enough to control the body and overcome any emotion. I don’t believe in overcoming emotions, though I know it is possible. As he was talking to me what I heard him say was

The human mind and the human heart is stronger than any circumstance you can find yourself in. If you want to be the champion hard enough, no one will be able to stop you.

As an old woman, or so the journalists who cover professional cycling would want me to believe I am, I am starting this journey at a serious disadvantage to the young’uns who have been nurtured and sculpted since puberty for their sport. Sports science would have me believe that it’s too late for me, that my body’s ability to produce power is already in decline, that my timer has run out and that I’ll never make it. But I don’t believe in science. I believe in myself. All I have to hang on to is this aching, burning desire to range free over the roads, chasing down my rivals and devouring them with the pure animalistic hunger that keeps my heart beating and my legs churning.

Today I learned that even though that may be all I have, it is really all I need.

始まります

ロードを買ってしまいました。

色はね、ホワイトブルー。かなり良いフレームで、かなり良いパーツ。
予算は、50ちょい。やっぱり50未満は無理でしたね。
ホイルは今使っているロルフビゴールアルファ。カーボンさえしなければ、もっと軽いホイルはないらしいです。

名前はもう決まりました。クッカブラ。男の子です。
ユーキャンの社長と色々相談してから買いましたね。予定より少し早かったが、やっぱりもう待てません。走りたいです。

やっぱり会う度に社長のことがどんどん気に入っていきます。自転車の相談したいと言ったら、すぐにサイズを計って、フレームも決めて、ハンドルとサドルのことを先に延ばしておきました。あまり説明しなくても希望はわかっていたようでした。信頼のできる人みたいですね。そんな感じがしました。

自転車が決まったら、大会と練習の相談もさせていただきました。こんなまじめにアドバイスを教わったことは初めてでした。私の自転車の目的をしっかりとわかって、適用な練習を教えて下さったのです。

こう走っていきます

日曜日:チーム練。週の一番強度の高い練習。最後までしっかりと走りきることに集中
月曜日:前日の疲れをとる日。体調によって、ゼロか、30分ぐらいかの軽いサイクリング
火曜日:週末にちゃんと練習ができるような身体を作る日。時間を決めて、しっかりとミドルで走ること
水曜日:仕事を優先にする日。自転車で通勤しても良いけど、移動だけで心拍がミドルまで上がらないように注意
木曜日:火曜日みたいにまた距離を走ってもいい
金曜日:気が向いたらゲールさんとのプレー練をしてもいい
土曜日:自由だけど、日曜日の練習を優先して、身体を疲れすぎないように注意

さらに意識をするべきことも教えて下さいました。始まったばかりの頃はだれでもモティベーションが高いが、しっかりと仕事、プライベートなことも安定していなければ、または怪我をしたりオバーワークを気をつけないと成長や成績の邪魔となります。

やっぱりユーキャンのチームに登録してよかったですね。これからもとてもお世話になります。

言われた通りに従って、しっかりと練習、そして生活のバランスに頑張りたいと思います。

読者の皆様、私はこれからですよ!期待していてください!


ENGLISH Continue reading “始まります”

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