In the eyes of others

Ive been thinking lately about the need to get my riding back on track, if for no other reason than I’m turning into a large mammal. As significant as that is, it’s really secondary to my bigger concern, it’s mostly for my mental health. I’ve definitely felt the impact of not riding in my state of mind. I haven’t had the lows I get in a big training cycle when I miss a ride, but I have been kind of “meh” about everything else. So no highs either, you know.

I did 20 minutes on the trainer the other night and it felt like a stage of Le tour when I was done, but it broke the ice, now is the time to get out there on the roads, and go like a real boy. I think I’ll do an hour or so today, nothing crazy and nothing off road other than the trails to get through places.

I read an essay yesterday where the author was discussing how he felt that real life begins after fifty. He made many cases for his stance, but a few things stuck with me over the others.

  1. You care less what other people think. This is one of the most concrete facts for me that I wish I could get my kids to understand and believe.
  2. There isn’t a point a where the tap turns off. Society would have us believe that we’re just done with life at 40 or whatever, and that after that you’re just waiting to die.

I’m 45 and from the neck up at least I feel better than I ever did. I understand things so much better now than I did when I was younger. The trick is to bring the body into line with the head, and then keep it there as long as possible. Certainly there is an inevitable decline, but as I’m not competing with anyone else (see 1. above), I only have to answer to myself. If I feel I’m working hard enough, and seeing the results I want, then I’m happy. It’s that simple.

My new boss is over 50, he made sure we all knew that on his first day. While he’s certainly kind of a knucklehead, he’s also a smart, vibrant guy. He seems very different from those were accustomed to, and I know that some of the younger leaner guys see him as out of touch and less “aggressive” than they think he should be, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s very much aware of what’s going on around him, he is simply unconcerned with their opinions. I’ve seen this several times before with leaders I’ve worked with, and I’ve come to realize that most of the time, they just don’t care what you think of their style. They’ve found what works for them, and as you don’t write their performance reviews, your opinion of their style is pretty low on the list of things they care about that day.

“They got gators” however on this particular ride, the rabbits were more dangerous.

I’d been wanting to ride at Fort Polk for a while now, but timing and transportation just hadn’t worked out until this last trip. My friend Patrick was there for a few weeks and he had brought his cross bike (a Trek Boone). He has been riding daily, and texted me to let me know he found a few cool gravel trails, and some fire roads that would be suitable for a good time, so I prepped up Zoe (my Kona). I had some really good Continental Cross Speeds on the bike all winter and they were getting a bit bare, so I swapped on the Gravel King SKs I’ve been sitting on for a few months (more on those later…), cleaned her up some, and changed out the mount for my ELEMNT to the “Out Front”.
We kicked off right in front of the billeting Patrick is staying in, so we were on pavement for the first few miles, then we picked up the gravel path that runs the length of post. There were some seriously fun swooping sections, switchbacks, a rail crossing, a couple of ponds, and plenty of shade to make the oppressive Louisiana humidity bearable. I broke off down a couple of the dirt roads, and I wish I had more time to ride those, they were really nice, smooth, hard pack, and fast. Overall it was a cool ride, though short. Next time I do it I’ll build in more time for the side roads, and a spin around the airfield to get some legit miles in.  See the Strava page here.
LA-Ride
As far as the Gravel Kings go, they are fantastic tires. All the supple side wall I had read about, and really good traction. Even on the asphalt, there was no buzz or hum, and they just felt like good road tires. I ran them at 40 psi with standard cross tubes in them (that I didn’t powder for whatever reason), though I’m looking forward to setting them up tubeless. I think honestly that once setup tubeless, they will make the bike almost perfect for the kind of random riding I do most.