Here’s the short story, between now and middle of June my little family is moving to Denver Colorado.
Why Denver, CO? Great question…
My better half is starting pediatric residency as a rockstar doctor at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Orientation starts June 17th, and we are relocating!
Looking for Jobs, Houses and New Friends!
We head out this coming weekend to look at new houses. Somewhere in Denver proper as she needs to be within an easy ride to two different hospitals. I have a couple of job opportunities in mind but I would love to hear of any positions in the area that you think I’ll be interested in!
Foundry Cycles Auger Canti • Size 56cm • Raced one season
Mostly stock build but I’ll spell it out…
SRAM Red (2011) Shifters, rear derailleur
SRAM Force front derailluer
PAUL Mini Moto Brakes
FSA 42 Compact Wing Pro
FSA SLK Seatpost
Alex A23 rims to Formula Hubs
Tires: Clement PDX front, Michelin Mud2 rear
Lizard Skins DSP Tape
No saddle or pedals
*the brakes are setup moto right now, easily switched back but I didn’t want to rip up the tape just incase.
It’s that time of the year that I’m doing slower and longer miles, mostly by myself. Having lots of time to think through intervals and the long road in front of me I seem to reflect the most on the bike from January to March due to the speed and lack of companionship (my choice.)
Yesterday I struggled through my workout for many reasons. #1 As I’m getting towards the end of a couple blocks and haven’t had a threshold test so I’m stronger than where my zones are set. #2 The gearing on a cross bike with slicks is much different than a standard compact. It’s my own doing and I can fix both of these things. Regardless, the workout left me frustrated with finding the right gear and terrain for workouts.
Today I entered my 2.5 hour ride with a bit more optimism. Without any intervals to chase after I stopped looking at the Garmin page that listed watts and went off my Perceived Exertion scale that I have internally built in me from 15 years of cycling. I focused on pedaling strokes, enjoying jumping the potholes and digging deep into the turns.
Then I focused on shifting.
Shifting covers so many pieces of our lives. Often in cycling I find that I allow myself to sit in the gear I’m in. Maybe even falling behind the cadence I need to turn over my gear comfortable. Then there is the fear of the shift to a harder gear as it may be too hard. Maybe I’ll need to shift back? Maybe there will be a miss shift at the wrong moment or maybe it will show that I’m weak?
Shifting gears is as much about the mental feeling as it is the physical. Picking up your cadence and finding that you can push the new, harder, gear just as well as the easier. Your speed increases and often, especially off road, you find that it is easier to ride at this faster pace as momentum and speed is your friend.
Much of life is learning when to shift, when to push yourself, when to be happy with your pace or when to slow down. As I pedal around for the next couple months my thoughts will be focusing on the shift. Shifting the bike, shifting my mind and shifting how I live my life.
On this site, for some reason, I don’t talk enough about bike rides. About the act of riding my bike. The bliss, the happiness and the emotions or pain it puts through my body.
That’s why we all do this right? It isn’t about the new bike, or the fancy gadgets. It is about the feeling we have inside of us when we ride that new bike for the first time, when you dig in to that wide sweeping turn and accelerate through the corner. All with the motor of your own engine.
Lately, I have been riding one of my road bikes more, a Ridley Orion. The feel of a thoroughbred wanting to gallop from the line, pushing me to longer miles than the coach prescribed. The bike wanting to push further. Hugging the asphalt and yet the 700×23/25 tires buzzing efficiently under me.
As the weather gets cooler we all need motivation, so here is my deal.
I’ll work on telling my story of riding if you tell me yours.
In my previous post, I wrote rather sentimentally about my love of mountain biking as a way to check out from real life, if only for a short time. Unfortunately for us, mountain bike rides end. At some point, we all have to rejoin reality.
Part of my reality is working in a 9-to-5 office at a company that loves its business casual dress code. I love my job and, to be honest, I kind of love business casual clothes (pencil skirts! patent leather heels!), so that part of real life is pretty awesome. What I don’t like about returning to reality is that evidence of my out-of-work activities is usually conspicuously apparent (e.g. a 4-inch, blue bruise on the outside of my otherwise professional shins framed beautifully on top by the hem of a skirt and below by the aforementioned heels). When my co-workers and superiors notice the new marks on my body, my mountain bike and professional worlds collide. Despite being fiercely proud of what I do and how I spend my time, these moments always make me a little self-conscious, like an awkward pre-teen who’s the only non-adult at Take Your Daughter to Work Day.
Let me give you guys a real-life example:
I recently returned from a shred-cation (My friends and I created several names for our 4-day, Oregon mtn biking tour of awesomeness–”shred-cation”, “shred-venture”, and “shred camp”. I’m sure you can pick out the theme there.) and returned to work the next day wearing one of my favorite skirts. My outfit revealed some small bruises, a couple minor cuts on my arms, and one patch of peeling skin near my elbow. At some point in the day, I was catching up with a co-worker and at the same time applying some antibacterial ointment to the cuts and scrapes. I apologized for doing this while we were chatting, although I’m not sure he had even noticed. This leads him to ask why I had bruises and cuts. (He’s a new employee. The rest of the office is very familiar with my recreational activities.) When I explained my choice of vacation and the consequences of coming around a washed-out, sandy turn in the high Oregon desert too quickly, his response was something between apologies and disgust. It was an uncomfortable and awkward reaction…”I’m so sorry for you”, “Why do you do that?”, “Ugh”, and so on…. Mountain biking was obviously an activity that he had never tried or considered.
I quickly felt like I had to defend myself and my choices, not because I was doing anything wrong, but because of this other person’s complete lack of understanding or comprehension. I felt like I was trying to explain my choice of feminine hygiene products to a teenage boy, rather than my choice of leisure time activities to an adult co-worker. I don’t think my co-worker meant anything by his reaction. I think the idea was just new to him and he was trying to understand it. That didn’t make me feel any less embarrassed in the moment though.
These situations are not uncommon in my work life and I certainly don’t mind being “the cyclist” for my co-workers. It’s just that when my mountain bike world and my work world rub against each other, it creates a really uncomfortable friction. I don’t want to have to explain what I do in my free time. I dread these moments. Having to justify how I spend my time and the resulting consequences (bruises and cuts) takes away from my enjoyment of riding. It steals a little bit of that awesome post-ride glow. It also unfairly makes me feel a little less professional, like I’m not as suited to be in the office as my co-workers. While I know it’s not their intent to make me feel that way, the result is the same.
My co-workers don’t have to explain why they choose to tailgate at college football games every Saturday in the fall or go to the gym a couple times a week. Why do I need to explain and justify what I do for fun? Whatever the answer, this battle between my mountain biking and professional worlds makes the return to reality after a great weekend of riding just a little more disheartening.
I’m opening up the comments and want a good sound off. I’m not giving you any ideas or going to steer the conversation, I want candid thoughts. If you work/own a shop please state so. If you are a consumer that doesn’t go to a shop anymore because of not being able to find what makes a good shop, please say so.