The business world lives by the adage that the numbers don’t lie. But what if that was really just a lie? What if the real truth is that the numbers are but lies? What if we stopped focusing on the quantities and totals? From a practical perspective, we will always need numbers in order to function in this world. But what if we let go of our attachment to them? Most cyclists absolutely love and live by numbers. Speed. Power. Maximal aerobic power (MAP). Heart rate. Distance. Time. Constantly chasing them. Using numbers to determine progress and also, very often, indirectly self-worth. Measurable results slavery. I remember when I trained and raced how my overall mood and well-being were affected by how I was riding, how I compared to others, how my performance measured up to my set goals. When I was riding well, life was good. My happiness dependant on external circumstances. I’d get on these highs when how I wanted things to be matched how they were. But since they were not based on something internal, there was always an underlying lingering anxiety. I could easily get upset when these out of my control, external circumstances didn’t go as planned. My ride numbers are really not all that impressive right now. Even if I’ve been having amazing ride feeling days lately. Fluidity. Souplesse. Effortlessness. A simple and very deep sense of well-being as my cycling body resurfaces. Feelings of health, focus, creativity and ease that spill into every single thing. Subtle. Powerful beyond measure. Numbers will never redeem you. Numbers will never be your salvation. True happiness is an inside job. Shift your focus inward. The numbers are but lies.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
I must admit that I really have been loving this hot sunny weather. Like leaved flora, the rays of light energizing my soul. The sunshine absorbed by my skin initiating some kind of chemical magic inside of me that invigorates my body and mind. Maybe it’s the natural vitamin D? Summer has always been my favorite season. Childhood memories of that deep relaxed post-bath feeling that I felt as a young child after a day spent outside on a hot day. The feel of my soft PJs on my clean fresh tanned skin. The sound of birds chirping right before dusk. The sweet smelling, light breeze from my open bedroom window. Falling asleep in pure peacefulness. Hot summer nights where the heat surprises you when you step outside. Still evenings spent with my friends endlessly practicing wheelies on our BMX bikes up our dead end street. Pedaling our bikes into the night day after day. So many summer memories. Bona fide freedom. So light and uncomplicated. One of the things that I like most about this summer heat is how it makes me unhurried. Sunday morning started out in a foggy haze, but the warm sun slowly burned through it. I rode out towards Memramcook, out to Beaumont. I hadn’t been there since last winter. And I had forgotten how peaceful that place is. Magical almost. Vast sunny blue skies. Gentle breeze. The view across the river. I love how taking in my surroundings from that point and moment made me feel so very small. Insignificant. In a good way. All the bullshit vanishing in an instant. Man, I love summer.
Friday, June 19, 2020
Eckhart Tolle calls it our “pain body”. Everyone has one. No exceptions. Surviving our childhood always means a certain accumulation of stuffed and buried difficult emotions. Without the maturity to fully understand and express our feelings, our survival mechanism is most often to close, to bottle up, in an attempt to contain and diffuse the uncomfortable emotional energy instead of letting it flow through as it arises. This negative energy remains inside of us even if we can’t always feel it. Trapped, it festers over time. As adults, sometimes even before, we eventually reach a breaking point. Ultimately, something always gives. If it doesn’t make us physically sick, it certainly leaves us emotionally unwell. Feeling buried, immobilized, frozen, we are left with 2 choices. The only 2 choices. Either we continue covering our painful wounds or we heal them. The day before June solstice, the official beginning of summer, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, may your inner existence be as bright, uncovered and serene as a calm summer evening. Happy summer solstice everyone. Nature’s yearly gift inviting us to uncover and heal.
Monday, June 15, 2020
In 1975, my parents bought me a Huffy Thunder Road. I vividly remember my dad assembling the bike in our kitchen as soon as we got home. Mesmerized by the new bike smell and the adventure potential of my new machine. Flat black painted frame. Fat knobby tires. A number plate. Gray with yellow pinstriped plastic fenders. And a thick long spongy black seat. It looked like a dirt bike. And it felt like one too every time I rode it. I was soooo stoked. I literally rode that bike into the ground. 45 years later, I wasn’t supposed to get a new bike. Then, I realized that I had only ridden my aero road bike a handful of times last year. It’s a thoroughbred race bike, and well, I don’t race anymore. Gravel has become my new road. Like a dog chained to a tree, it deserved a better life. It was time to let it go to a new owner who could bring out its full potential. And replace it with something more comfortable and versatile for the type of riding that I now do. Exploring roads less travelled. A bike with road geometry that can still handle dirt and even gravel roads comfortably. An endurance road bike. Clearance for wider tires, up to 35 mm. Meet Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2. Mechanical Ultegra. 32 mm gravel tires. Road pedals. We hit it off on the very first ride. To this day, every single time that I crack open a new bike box, that smell brings me back to our old kitchen and my dad building my new Huffy. I totally feel the beginning of a deep, long lasting relationship like I had with my Huffy Thunder Road.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
The way we were before. Before we started looking at what everyone else was doing. Before we started following someone else’s agenda. Before we started blindly being carried by the most popular script. Before we started trying to be normal. Before we started ignoring our intuition. Before we started trying to impress. Before we started losing ourselves trying to fit into society’s template. Before our view of the world became tarnished by what we heard and witnessed. As a straight white male, I feel like the last person to have an accurate opinion on prejudice, injustice and racism. I can’t begin to understand what it feels like to be treated differently simply because of who I am. White privilege is my everyday reality. I can’t change that. But I can speak up. I can show my support for equality. I can be part of the solution instead of the problem. Discrimination and hate are not innate. They are learned. Born innocent, we become what we are taught. Even if you can’t force others to change and unlearn hateful conceptualizations, you can certainly change your own self. Choose love. Every time. In every situation. Choose love not in an attempt to change the world. Choose love to change you. Because, the thing is that, you are the world. And once you let your light within shine bright, it will also shine on others. The revolution that needs to happen is within yourself. Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Matter. Human Beings. Equals. The way forward is by going back. Back to the way we were before.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
I had forgotten how peaceful Sunday morning rides can be. Lifeless flags hanging. Empty streets. So quiet. So serene. I used to ride early in the morning when my daughter was young. Now, my sleep requirements seems to have superseded my need to get out early. Or maybe I just like sleeping in now that I finally can? Sundays are almost always ride days, but I have usually only been getting out right before noon. This Sunday, awake around 7 am, feeling rested, I decide to head out early as the rest of the house slept. The snap of my cleats clicking into my pedals cuts through the early morning silence. Pedalling through the morning fog, the cold humidity makes my eyes water. Or maybe it’s tears of joy and appreciation being out there on my bike in that moment? About 20 minutes in, the sun dissolves the airborne smoky mist. My arm and leg warmers come off. In and out of the valley. The covered bridge. Rivers and wide open roads. Up to the empty church on the other side. The thinning cloud unwrapping the view around me. I used to ride to forget. Now I ride to remember. For some weird, unexplainable reason, remembering seems to help me forget. Purgative. Cathartic. The wind picks up after a few hours. Riding through clouds of expired dandelions, it already looks and feels like summer. It smells like summer too. 100k in before lunch. No wonder Sundays are my favorite day of the week. Happy World Bicycle Day !