Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Notes

This short interlude brought to you by writing a novel in the month of November…. done and done!

A quick recap of what happened in the month of November:

Karissa and I decided to pair up for ParaCycling Track Nationals about 2 weeks prior. It took us a week to get her bike up and running so we did a total of 2 track sessions before heading to LA and won 3 national titles. Boom!

Benjamin was there with his Team Pursuit squad and got to witness it all. He may or may not have said, "I'd be okay if you never did that again!" after the tandem match sprints.

I am now a Level 1 USA Cycling Coach! Completed the course a few weeks ago and am stoked for the personal and professional development it brings. I have spots available for those interested.

I wrote 41,000 words. My goal was 50,000 but I lost steam in LA. Now that I know what it takes, I'll attempt it again next year. I did develop some great new writing habits - like spending 2 hours a day in front of the computer without connectivity. I highly recommend it if you've ever toyed with the idea of writing a novel.

My dad came out for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately they didn't get to meet my world traveler fiancé but soon enough!

Been reading a ton again - now that I have my evenings back from writing (though not for long. I committed to finishing my memoir in 6 months)… "Mindset" by Carol Dweck is really good. My library queue has "Good to Great," "Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul," "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook," and "How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chasing Tandem Dreams

My palms are sweaty and I'm thankful for long fingered gloves. The aero bars on the tandem are slick and any added moisture could cause big problems. I don't want to risk it.

We take to the track, winding up our speed to gradually enter the banked track on the back straight. Although I've done countless revolutions on the LA Velodrome, being out on a tandem is new. And frightening. I'm not just responsible for my own well being, I now guide my stoker through space and time. She follows my movements and cues, pedaling through the turns and holding on for dear life.

I relax. The bike tracks smoothly through the turns.

I've got this, I tell myself. I know she'll feel my hesitation, my twitches, my fears. When I relax the bike goes in the straight line. We wind up our speed at the top of the track, and I push back the reality of how far we would fall if something went wrong. Down we dive, taking a straight line from corner 4 into corner 1. Our speed increases like a mac truck, legs pumping like pistons as we tick off laps. I dial us onto the sprinters line, not moving outside even as the turns pull the bike up track. The black line is the shortest distance around the track and I am determined to stick to it and not stray.

I smile the more we practice. Moments come more and more frequently where I feel like I'm on the bike by myself. Our movements are synched up. We are strongly pushing 300 pounds through the air, chasing lap times and dreams.

I love chasing dreams.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How did you spend your weekend?

Spent the day with Benjamin up at Buffalo Creek, CO on our 29" mountain bikes. It was one of those perfect late fall days, where you could get away with no knee warmers and slip down arm warmers. The trails cross three wild fire scars from 1996, 2000 and 2001. The area is slowly and I mean slowly, renewing itself.

We stopped at the top of one of the first climbs and he looked at me, one leg unclipped as he balanced on his bike. "I love being able to share this with you."

My heart soared. "And I with you."

I am so thankful for the moments we spend together.

While waiting for some uphill traffic I snapped this photo. I love me some Colorado blue sky!

The single track is fantastic. Nothing crazy technical, except for the one downhill run we took were we had to hike a bike more than we rode it. Thankfully we intercepted some downhillers that were finishing the section we had just hiked up and told us to turn around.

You could easily spend a weekend up here, playing on single track and exploring the area, figuring out which trails link up the best with others. Summed up in one word? Gratitude.