Saturday, February 17, 2007

You Are Here

"[F]or the weather is the weather and a flat is a flat, and there’s nothing but wasted energy in whining. The bills are the bills and the boss is the boss, and I won’t change a thing by complaining. Instead I think of simple known things and find comfort in focusing… now, what's the best way to get myself home today…"--Iron Wil

I needed one additional piece of equipment on my ride this morning: electrical tape. Let me explain. I'll start at the beginning.

When Tejas was part of Mexico, Anglo empressarios doled out land grants for colonies and situated them higgledy piggledy all over the place. Their borders were rivers that flowed from northwest to southeast, dry riverbeds and arroyos that carried water only in season, trails etched into the earth by Native Americans or animal migration, and sometimes just a random line drawn by an Anglo in a big beaver hat. The roads then tended to wind their way around these boundaries so that it is a rarity to travel a country road in a straght line on a compass pount for long.

The result of all this obtuse history, decided more than 150 years ago by men who are memorized and then forgotten by Texas schoolchildren, is that your bike ride will subtly change direction every few miles or even every few hundred yards, but the 25 mile an hour, 35 degree wind will always be in your face.

At least it seemed that way this morning. It took two hours to claw the first 22 mies of the MS150 training ride this morning. Two hours in which the wind was either directly in your face or off your front quarter, as if mother nature wanted to cast you back to Houston and thence into the gulf. The barbed wire rattled and hummed like it was charged with electricity and the cedar trees and the pastures bowed ever lower to the prevailing gale. Throw in some hills--hills you had to peddle down to make headway into the wind--and it was immediately clear that I was not going to finish this ride in the time I thought. Head down, quads burning, neck aching, it went on and on and on. Single digits speeds on a computer that I wanted to obscure with electrical tape.

Odd thing about wind. Sometimes it seems like no matter where you turn, it's always in your face. Just about the time you get used to it, it gusts harder. Curse all you want, it won't listen. Wish for a trainer in a garage, and still, here you are. You can always search for an easier gear--and yet, easier is not always better. Where are you going? A course with hills, eh? Hmmm. What was it like last year? Cold, rainy and windy? Hmmm. So, is this weather really "bad?"

It's like one of those maps at the mall with the arrow: you are here. It doesn't matter if the department store your spouse needs is at the other end, and the smoothie stand your daughter needs is downstairs, and the chair you'd rather be sitting in is at home. You.Are.Here.

If you want to go home for a hot shower, or better still, if you want to go to a starting line at Wildflower or Ironman Wisconsin, it's no good trying to start somewhere you're not. You have to start where you are. Simple. No good trying to use what you haven't got. You can only use what you have.

I guess the trick is being where you're supposed to be, and bringing everything you've got. Today I was--all of me, where I was supposed to be.

We had great weather this morning.

Another odd thing about wind. Every once in a while, when you turn for home, you can fly.


stronger said...

Flying is fun but isn't much more rewarding to push through the headwinds?

Nice post.

Taconite Boy said...

Missed your call...very sick right now. Ewww Havent trained in 5 days....urrrr!

Will keep in touch

Nice post

TriBoomer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TriBoomer said...

TriBoomer said...
When asked if the weather on the course affected his performance he said, "I bring my own weather." -- Faris Al-Sultan, after winning the 2005 Ironman Hawaii World Championship.

Mother nature has a great way of putting us all in our place. "You are here,"... well said, Dog.

Stay tuned...

Veeg said...

Wow. This is some seriously powerful prose, bro. :)

TriJack said...

so easy to get suckered into believing you are starting from where someone else is (with respect to training), but it just doesn't work... thanks for the thoughts, as always...

Iron Pol said...

Whew! I thought it was only me.

Side bar: I drove through Texas heading to California, many moons ago. That wind to which you refer is no joke. I was in a car and felt like I was going to get blown into the Gulf.

ironjenny said...

What is it about oscilating wind? how come it doesn't go at our backs from all directions?