Monday, October 31, 2011


Coaching for the Georgia Chapter TNT cycle team has always been a rewarding experience, which is why I keep coming back to do it.  Obviously the cause it worthy, Neil Fleming and the other coaches, mentors, SAG persons, etc. go well above and beyond what people would think is 'normal'.  But... the people that actually sign up, raise the money, and get outside of their comfort zone but ultimately succeed, are the real payoff.

With only 3 or 4 weeks left before the winter team ships off to Tucson, the mileage for the GTR's have been creeping up.  Almost every week the new people on the team are doing the longest, hardest ride they've ever done.  And every week, they keep coming back, with smiles, good attitudes, and donation checks in their back pockets.  This week in particular, the GTR was a perfect storm of effing hard.  The parcours were little back roads in Gwinnett, Walton, Newton, and Rockdale counties, always going up or down, twisty enough that you really never had a tailwind (and exponentially increased your chances of getting off course) , and included many road surfaces that most people would just assume avoid, including 3.5k of not flat gravel road.

Judging by the number of participants that got SAGGED in, an outside observer might gather that this was the day that decimated the team.  But, if that observer had been in the parking lot as each of these people rode or drove in, they would have a very different opinion.  I know, I was there.  Everyone that came in was tired, dirty, beat, and in some cases bloody.  But none, not by a long shot, was broken.  It may be cliche, but it's true; what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, and the Tucson team got a hell of a lot stronger this weekend.

It makes me proud and just a bit humbled to associated with these people. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Looking for crew

Don't forget that the Georgia Chain Gang is still looking for a few more crew members to round out the team.  This isn't an easy gig, but it is very rewarding.  The crew is expected to do some fundraising OR cover their own expenses.  Remember, we're helping a charity, not running one!

Speaking of fundraising, I'm currently excepting any and all bike repair and maintenance work.  Nothing too big or small, my prices are likely cheaper than you'll find anywhere else, and all the cash goes to LLS.  The work is good, ask around.

If you've got any interest in either, reach out...


Earlier this week I tweeted that time is the most valuable commodity.  Everyone has heard of disposable income, we should think about disposable time.  We all have a certain amount of 'overhead' that can only be reduced by so much.  Some amount of time has to be set aside for sleep, eating, work, etc.  These are the type things that have to happen in real time, you can't save up 20 hours of sleep at once to use over 3 days, just doesn't work.  Other overhead can be budgeted a bit, stuff like cutting the grass, washing the car, etc.  And even farther down the list are things that you know need to get done, but don't really have a set schedule.  Stuff like fixing the stuck window, or getting new tires on your car.

All that 'stuff' above doesn't really define who we are.  Everyone has 'stuff' that has to be done.  I think what defines us is what we do with the balance of the time we have.  This is the time you can spend riding a bike, spending time with the family, reading a book, watching TV, or learning how to speak Dutch.  It's interesting to think about how to prioritize spending this time.  Look at it like currency, you've got a finite amount of available currency, how are you going to spend it?

I'm going down this rabbit hole because of an interview I heard this week with a photographer that survived a 12m fall (probably should have killed him), all the media coverage of Steve Jobs passing in the last couple of weeks, and where I am in my fundraising project with the Chain Gang.  Of all the quotes and soundbites about Jobs, the one that stuck in my head was this, which was from an interview done about 6 or 7 years ago, after he was first diagnosed; paraphrased...  

"At the beginning of every day, I think to myself, what am I going to do today and would I do that if this was my last day alive?  If you answer 'no' too many days in a row, it's probably time to do something different."

Now, this isn't some panacea for life, just something to think about.  I've got a lot of things that I'd 'like' to do, work on the honey do list, race CX, cultivate potential coaching work, play with photography more, and write blog posts.  But... I also have commitments that I've made, like coaching for TNT and raising money for RAAM.  

That means I've got to push the fundraising up from the middle of the consciousness to the top; always there, always moving forward.  Every minute that passes, is gone.  Time to start being more diligent about how they are used.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

been a while

The first couple weeks of October I had a bit of a funk going on.  It could have been the normal week or two off that I always take after 6 gap, except that I didn't do 6 gap this year.  I don't know what it was, just didn't feel like doing much riding, moped around a bit, and generally didn't get too much done.  Happily, I think it's over.  I'm actually writing a post, motivated to get out on the bike, and I've got a little (very) bit of fundraising promise brewing.

Been hitting the SS pretty hard lately, doing the Sat GTR's on it and this week working the hills around work at lunch.  I had gotten a little tired of the SS toward the end of September, probably just because I have been riding it so much this year.  A couple of weeks off of it, and then back on this week, has reminded me how much I love riding a SS.  I think that anyone who calls themselves a cyclist should give a SS a fair shake at some point in their life.  So many positives - easy to keep clean, no mechanical drama in bad weather or dirt roads, great training, and it's just cool.  I converted the LandShark MTB over to SS a couple of weeks ago.  Historically I don't do a lot of MTB riding, but I do enjoy it.  We'll see if the SS makes any difference on how much I do.

I met a friend for lunch last week to talk about some fundraising idea's.  She has just wrapped up a stint with a large, national charitable foundation and was able to give me some insight into how to run a successful fundraising campaign.   Out of the 6 or so good ideas she gave me I've moved on exactly 1.  But, it's looking pretty promising so far, and now that I'm over my funk, I'm planning on trying to work on 1 good lead or idea per week.  And of course work on bikes.  Bike work raised a fairly reasonable chunk in 2010... stick with what you know.

Anyone that knows me or has seen my equipment knows that my stuff is clean, neat, and works, but it isn't new or modern.  Ebay is my friend and retail is not.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  The strongest is likely the reality that I'm not willing to spend a large portion of what is a relatively modest disposable income on my hobby.  Another big reason is that at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how fast I am.  I don't do any racing (at least not much), don't get paid to ride the bike, it's just what I love to do.  Whether I'm first or last to the top of the hill or back to the parking lot just isn't that big of a deal.  But... RAAM changes that perspective a little.  Next year how fast I am will make an impact on how a team of 7 other riders and 14ish crew members place in an actual race.  So.. I've been thinking a little about equipment.  Now I'm not going to go out and buy a new bike or anything, but I have been trying to find ways to 'speed up' the bits I've got.
Likely the biggest impact I can make is a more aero wheelset and/or aero bars on one of the bikes.  At this point I'm not sure if each rider is taking 2 bikes or not.  If I only get 1 bike then the aero bars are out for sure, I might be OK with the bars on 1 bike but not on my only bike.  But, aero wheels I could justify.  Been doing a bit of reading lately and other than cost and at times crosswind situations, wheels in the 30mm+ range are just about a win-win slam dunk.  Thus is born project 'blue collar aero'.  I've been keeping a pretty steady eye on Ebay and craigslist for a good deal on some deep wheels.  Unfortunately I think everyone actually understands the value of aero wheels and there are the type of deals to be had on Ebay like you could find 10 years ago.  On the plus side, time spent on craigslist does have some redeeming comic value.  So for know, I may have my vintage Mavic Cosmic Equips (which at this time the rear is scattered all over my workbench in the garage) on one bike and the Open Pro's on the other.  But I'm still looking.