I had several rides in Little Rock during April, including the Cardiac Classic http://www.arheart.com/cardiac-classic/ . I didn't ride well, chased Kevin Nelson around the route, he could have dropped me easily, but had mercy at the critical (and appropriate moments). Also there was the time spent listening to Lance Armstrong... https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=212&v=MD2KfhSB1Bw during his interview at the Arkansas Heart Hospital dinner the night before the classic... very motivating!
After these experiences I came home and got back on the road bike... after all, when I was sick in 2005 with three cancer surgeries, then chemo and radiation I first read Armstrong's book "Its Not About The Bike"... in many ways it got me out of bed when I was at my lowest; Armstrong's experiences motivated me to be climbing a fire escape staircase in the condo in which Lynnda and I were living, in Halifax. It was my first exercise in months... one step, one floor at a time. At first it was scary slow and exhausting, but soon enough I was able to climb all eight floors, and in two months I could climb and almost double step all the way... several times. After thirty-three treatments, feeling like crap, losing over forty pounds (that I never really had to lose), having burns on my neck, and in a dark mood... Armstrong's book got me through.
A few months later, I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself, and I re-read the book (by then we were back living in Oyster Pond... on Jeddore Harbour, Nova Scotia). The weather that April was clouding, raining, fogging, snowing, freezing and occasionally, sleeting (that's all of the cold, clouds, fog, rain, snow all mixed together). In our garage there on the Harbour were my bikes, and my two kayaks, just 100 or so meters from a very quiet road that had about twelve beautiful kilometers of no traffic highway... and ten meters to the salt water just in front of the house. The book challenged me to get back in the kayak, or on the bike... at first, the bike won! I couldn't ride the twelve kilometers out to the turn around at the end of the highway... never-mind both ways. Twice I hitched rides home. I had to make a plan!
Nothing then prepared me for what I would go though in the next ten years... leading up to the other day when Ron Allen announced that at 70 years of age, he would not only be doing "the Big Swim" from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island... also, now at 70 he announced he is going to do the Cabot Trail ride as a warm-up to the swim (have a look at www.givetolive.ca/bigswim/ and at www.givetolive.ca/bigride/
I will get back to Ron in a moment...
I found out that for every new project that I wanted to be involved in, I needed a plan... an exercise regimen that would prepare me for what ever was in the project. I had lots of little things to overcome... two left knee surgeries for my ACL and MCL; two open heart surgeries replacing first my natural bicuspid aortic valve and then my prosthesis when I wore it out; the three cancer surgeries, chemo and radiation; removal of my gall bladder and the loss of function of my thyroid and part of my right trapezius muscles... as I moved forward. Always though, there were motivating occurrences that overcame my personal inclination to 'quit'.
In many of the 'quitting' moments it was the book that got me going. During others it was individuals who I knew or read about that had far more issues to overcome than me. There is always someone else in far more desperate straits than me, and I now look for them to help me overcome mine, and at times to help them get over theirs. And then there was the brutal truth... I couldn't stand the thought of what people would think of me if in fact I quit, gave up. It would be pathetic, whimpering pathetic to not show up... so the plan gave me something to focus on... even if I didn't make every lap, training ride, climb or not drink that beer and/or tequila... I am planning to "SHOW UP"
So, between the Book, which I still read and a recent discussion with Lance Armstrong himself, I am again motivated to be training. I set up a schedule that will last through May of four 50km rides a week on the road bike with climbing intervals. I will be riding to perceived strain, having just passed my heart check-up I am comfortable extending myself during the rides, and looking at the heart rate post ride. I will ride Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Tuesday and Thursday I am doing weight training at our club and spinning on a stationary. I have set some weight goals and plan to ride at 150 pounds, down from the 160 set weight. In June I will up everything, except my weight, and I have some big climbs here that I am targeting prior to Cape Smokey... especially the highway to Mazamitla, which is at 2,500 meters... almost exactly the distance of the Cape Smokey ride... 98.5 km with an 800 meter climb... should be a blast, been on my bucket list since I moved here.
This week I am looking at riding the 100km Cape Smokey part of the Cabot Trail... that's what I registered. If I can get into shape, I plan to train myself into a push for the 300km around the trail during daylight which means I will have to re-register... nothing would make me happier than to do the entire ride between 5:30 AM and 9PM... several major climbs... but it would be a Bucket List ride for me.
Also motivating me to ride is my friend Ron Allen. I mentioned him above... Ron will be 70 soon enough, this year. Some of his story is here in Halifax Chronicle Herald newspaper article:
I figure that if Ron can find it in him to do the ride and raise more money for Give to Live and the research into ways we can avoid cancer in our lives using our food, exercise and attitude, so can I. And if he can do it at 70, clearly, I should do it at 67 because I know I can without too much effort. And if Ron rides it at 73 I will be riding it at 70 because, while I hope never to catch-up to him, I am not willing to let him drop me!
This is my plan going forward... I will post occasionally about how it is going... the weather here in Ajijic, Mexico is a little warm for training (in the 30's all week), so I am getting out early. The club part of my workouts is shear pleasure since it is a beautiful facility. Not consuming calorie rich but energy empty booze is not a big problem... although I am sure to have some good Tequila at the top of Smokey.