Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heading to Houston this next week for my 6month cancer check-in. Definitely a bit nervous as always, but for some reason a bit more so this time around. Good signs on the bike though. I'm halfway through Base 3 and managed this ride solo on the road today:
I was talking to a rider at the Tour of Hermann last week and told him I was still doing base miles...he thought it was a "little late", which was funny. My main goals for the year are in cyclocross, so I'm actually a bit early since I'm almost done with base 3. Also psyched on some mountain bike racing in May and June, but following that, will probably start thinking about cross a lot more. I can't wait to get the appointment next week done. Hopefully everything is still 'stable'.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tour of Hermann road race

So many good things to say about Jeff Yielding and his crew about putting on such a great event this past weekend. Last year I skipped the event after getting off to a late start and not racing much during the spring. This year, I knew I would not be in great shape for the road race, as almost all of my riding this year has been endurance-paced, but nonetheless, I was excited for the road race and too ride with my teammate Lawrence Simonson.

Saturday I knew I wasn't feeling that well and almost decided to stay home to build some trail and ride mountain bikes. But knowing that it was the last time the Tour of Hermann was happening, I opted to give it a go.

There were some really strong guys in the P/1/2 field, with some national-caliber guys being GC contenders. I've never done a road race where the pace seemed to be so dictated by just a few guys. As such, I felt pretty out of my element. Not so much physiologically, but more because I didn't really understand what was happening! I knew that the climbing was going to be hard in this race, but I don't think I was at all prepared for the amount of yo-yo type pacing. I guess I'm not that smart/experienced of a bike racer in that regard, as I thought a break with the really strong guys would form early and then the rest of the race would be steady-paced. I also thought there was about a 5% chance that I would be able to hang in such a breakaway, so therefore I was pretty much just hoping to ride a hard but somewhat steady 3 lap, 90mile race. What ended up happening was that the field pretty much stayed together during the first lap. After the Guttenberg climb at the beginning of lap 2, a break formed with most of the contenders present. There was no way I was making it, so I settled in for the next 60miles. Strangely, about half-way through the second lap we caught the break. The second half of that 2nd lap was either pretty hard 300+ watt riding or really easy 13-15mph. I guess I just stopped having fun at some point that lap. I never really felt bad but when it started to drizzle and looked like the rain might open up during the last few miles of lap 2, I started to seriously consider whether I would go out for the 3rd lap.

Road racing in the rain is just not something I'm interested in. Even though the probability was relatively low, when Lawrence told me he was going to call it after lap 2, my willingness to potentially seriously suffer for a possibly rainy lap 3 was just not there. So, I joined him in.

Here is my power data from lap 1:

Lap 2:

And a summary/power distribution of the entire 60-ish mile ride:

Many thanks to Jeff and crew for the awesome event! I can't wait to see what replaces the Tour of Hermann on the calendar!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Little talks

I often struggle with whether I should be writing about philosophical/life stuff on here. Originally this blog was created to talk about a stage of my treatment process beginning in 2008, three years after I initially got sick. It then evolved into a standard and probably boring bike racing blog. I hoped to get too busy in medical school to even think about writing on this blog, but I've found myself extremely repulsed and repelled by that particular option (i.e. getting too busy with medical school to stop thinking/feeling/writing/riding/racing). So now when I sit down to write, I try and strike a balance between writing about the realities of a 30-something-guy with a family who lives with cancer in his lungs and bone but also write about stuff that I really love, like bikes, bike racing, food, and occasionally movies/books/beer/music. The reality, I would argue, is that it forces one to confront a very real mortality. As I've learned at every doctor check-up and scan, hoping for the best but being truly prepared to hear the worst is the only legitimate strategy of forward progression. It makes me feel pretty damned scared, occasionally peaceful, slightly carefree, but always very human.

Anyway, I read this piece today and wanted to post. It's worth thinking about:

Top five regrets of the dying (
A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?