Sunday, July 26, 2009

Alone in my thoughts

I laid in bed on Saturday morning, pretending I was deciding between driving down to Colorado Springs to ride with the TNT group or whether to join the Denver team instead.

I think I had really decided the night before I was going to ride by myself as I watched the clock relentlessly move forward. I was awake at 4:00 am. I could have easily driven down to Colorado Springs. Soon that was no longer an option, I couldn't get down there in time. I repeated the process and soon the Denver ride was no longer an option.

I got up, got dressed, applied my sunscreen and headed out the door. I had no idea where I was headed. I was winging it.

I really wanted to be alone in my thoughts today. Wednesday morning, my wife's mother passed away at 4:45 in the morning.

This was the first of our parents to leave us. While her passing was not unexpected and in some ways a blessing as Sheri had been in considerable pain for a long time. Still....

I have a much harder time on the bike finding that place of nothingness, that I can reach when I run for a long time.

I craved that alone time. I had gone to my cave, to ponder, to wonder again.

I rode on looking for answers, looking for peace, looking for forgiveness.

Sheri passed away Wednesday morning surrounded by her three children She waited for one of her children to arrive. Her breathing was very labored, as she continued to fight.

Laura, Adam and I passed Rick(Sue's Brother) as he hurried to join Sue and Jim in ICU.

Sue said as soon as Rick arrived in the room, her breathing became shallow, peaceful. She probably drew ten more breaths and she was gone. She waited for all of her children, so she could be at peace, so they could be at peace...

Sheri and I were never close. Now she is gone. Where do I go with that?

I rode on, looking for an answer.

At times, I thought about the reason I am on the bike, why I choose to ride, who I ride for.

Thoughts of Brittany and Trista, Alyson and my other heroes, my angels, Kelly, Laiken, Melina are never far away.

I realized that today, I was riding for Sheri for the gifts she brought to my life. For that I can never say thank you enough for your daughter , for my children, for the hand print you have left on our hearts.

This is one of my favorite songs as it can apply to any relationship and the language of saying goodbye to those that have touched our lives.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TNT Group ride-Elephant Rock Metric Century course

TNT training ride on Saturday followed the Elephant Rock Metric Century ride course.

We did some pace line training. It is really cool if you can grab the wheel of the rider in front of you. Saves so much energy as you can draft is you stay close enough. Requires constant communication and trust with the people you are riding with. It is very powerful and also a bit unnerving. To do this correctly the front wheel of the bike you are riding should be right next to the rear wheel of the bike in front of you. This was our first pace line ride of the year so the gaps are a bit too far apart to get the benefit.

Rode up and down some rolling hills towards Palmer Lake.

Made sure that everyone was properly hydrated including Brian(Our sag wagging support :)

Andres got up after taking a nasty fall in the gravel. Andres is a board member for the Rocky Mountain chapter. Andres cut his leg, will have a good case of road rash, hurt his elbow and wrist on the fall. It is always unsettling to see a rider go down. Hope he is okay today.

We had our largest group ride of the season. 27 cyclists!

We have three cancer survivors riding on the team. One of the survivors is the Colorado Springs coach! Very cool to have them out providing additional inspiration to us.

The ride this week was not nearly as hard as last weeks ride. My legs did not feel very good again today. I had not been on my bike since Monday so I took it fairly easy today. My heart rate skyrocketed during the first climb of the day. I backed off the intensity and spent a lot more time trying to relax on the bike and spin at a higher cadence to try and keep my legs fresher.

I actually felt pretty good during the last climb of the day. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the top of Tomah Road and started to descend. I even managed to enjoy the descent. I remembered a tip my cycling coach from the 2003 season gave me and it really helped me feel like I had better control. Thanks, Gary!

2 weeks from Saturday is the Copper Triangle. 3 mountain passes, 78 miles and 5,900 feet of climbing.

9 weeks to the Moab Century and the encounter with the Big Nasty. 30 miles of climbing right out of the start....

I hope I will be ready. I am very nervous about the first part of the race. I have plenty of inspiration and reasons to ride. My heroes and my angels will pull me to the top.

For all of us involved in this fight to find a cure, the truth is that it will not happen soon enough.

I found out when I got home on Saturday that another angel had earned his wings. Please keep the Lindgren family in your thoughts and prayers.

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight".- Kahlil Gibran

My heart breaks again for some I don't know. The battle rages on.

For now I will continue to pedal. I wish I could do more...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering those we love

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has a remembrance ceremony last night at Washington Park.

It was a nice small gathering attended by about 50 people that came together to honor the lives of those that left us too soon.

They had a table where we could write something about our loved one on a banner that will be present at the Light the Night walks this fall.

I penned a short tribute to Kelly and also one for Laiken, hung a ribbon on the terrace and also wrote their names on a star.

The chaplain read the same poem he did at the Light the Night ceremony last fall which I really like and have posted it again.
And if I go,while you're still here...

Know that I live on, vibrating to a different measure
--behind a thin veil you cannot see through

You will not see me, so you must have faith.

I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
--both aware of each other.

Until then, live your life to its fullest.
And when you need me,

Just whisper my name in your heart,
...I will be there.

This is something I think about at times when I miss Kelly the most. I sometimes whisper her name in my heart and ask her to come be with me.

I just enjoyed the beauty of this park where I have run countless races, too many miles to track, a place that so many times I asked for Kelly to stay with me when I felt weak during a race or just wanted to have special time together.
I don't know how to explain it. I always felt so connected to Kelly when I ran. She was my running partner for so many years...

I reflected quietly on the gift this amazing young girl , young woman gave me.
The chaplain asked what would be the one word you would use to describe the person you are honoring tonight.
I could have picked many, courageous, inspirational, caring, grateful.
I decided on joyful.
Kelly lived her life joyfully, she chose her cancer, she chose life.
How many of us choose our lives, for all that it is and for all that it isn't?
If you aren't choosing your life, I hope you will choose your life like Kelly did.
Living joyfully! Imagine the possibilities...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thoughts on 7-11 Day

I drove down to Colorado Springs on Saturday to ride with the group of people that trains out of that area for the Moab Century ride on September 19, 2009.

It was an amazing day, great scenery, with some very challenging climbs. Coach Dale told me that some of the climbs we did today were harder than what the Big Nasty climb in Moab will be.

We started off doing a few miles on a bike trail before heading towards the west side of town.

I stopped and took this picture during the first really descent of the day. A lot of times when I ride I don't take the time to notice my surroundings.

A few climbs later and we headed towards Garden of the Gods. Pikes Peak is in the background which was the inspiration for America the Beautiful...

We started the climb up the Garden of the Gods road and were treated to some amazing scenery. The rock on the left of the photo seems to be suspended in mid air. Gorgeous.We continued down the road, enjoying some awesome scenery. I wish I could have taken more pictures. It was just amazing.

We headed off towards Seven Falls and Dale told us this next part of the ride would be a nice steady climb. He told me to go on ahead as he was going to do the ascent with Bonnie and Jetta. Just keep going up to you get to a dirt road and then you just turn around. Sounded easy enough.


Parts of this climb were so steep that I almost fell off my bike into a ditch. I could barely stay upright.

I saw a parking lot in the distance and hoped that this was where I would find the dirt road and be able to turn around. I was sorely disappointed as I passed the parking lot the road turned up into some steep switchbacks.

The sun was absolutely beating down mercilessly at this point. I looked at my Garmin watch and thought I could run faster than I am riding. I was mashing the pedals, not spinning. Oh my gosh this is hard. How much longer to the top? The hairpin turns continued and finally I saw what appeared to be another parking lot. Straight up for another quarter of a mile and I see a dirt path. I was at the top. HOORAY!!!

I got off my bike to wait for the others to join me and my legs were shaking. I felt like I was about to fall over my legs felt so rubbery.

I saw Coach Dale. Jetta and Bonnie had stopped at the parking lot by the waterfall at Seven Falls and he had rode up to join me.

We stopped and took a couple of pictures and started back down. Naturally the sun went behind a cloud. It was now cool, overcast. I would have given anything for that during the last three miles. Dale told us later that we had climbed 2,000 feet over the last 3 miles which is even steeper than the climb of the Big Nasty in Moab.

We were back down where Bonnie and Jetta has stopped in the blink of an eye. It was kind of a scary descent for me. The switchbacks are so sharp you have to be really careful not to overshoot and end up flying off the edge of the road or veering to far to the left into the path of a car coming up the other side.

Dale cajoled Bonnie and Jetta to finish the climb. Somewhat reluctantly, but being good sports they accepted the challenge. I decided to ride back up with them and off we went.

It was Deja Vu all over again as I struggled up the steepest switchback. I made it to the top in time to be able to snap a picture of Jetta and Bonnie as they launched up the road to the finish.
Back down we went towards the waterfall and being in tourist mode and wanting to capture the day, I stopped and took a picture. Gorgeous. I love waterfalls and the sound of water!

During the last part of the descent, it began to rain to add to the challenge as now the roads were wet making braking even more difficult.

We continued on our tour and headed off towards the Broadmoor Hotel where at a very busy intersection we watched a deer wait patiently at a 4 way stop sign where she safely crossed the road and scampered into the trees.

We continued past the historic Broadmoor East course, build by Donald Ross where Jack Nicklaus won the 1958 U.S. Amateur and arrived at the roundabout entrance to the famous Broadmoor Hotel where we were eyed suspiciously by the security guards.

We turned and headed back to the bike shop where we had started the ride from.

Total distance today was only 46.4 miles which included over 3,000 feet of climbing.

I began the day thinking about Megan Dickey and Patti Kaufman who both passed away on 7-11 day one year apart. Meagan in 2007 at the age of 13, Patti last year.

I remember during one stretch of a hard section of climbing, thinking of all the people I was riding for, why I am riding. How many times did I lean on Kelly to get me through a bad patch of running or get me to the top of a climb? I miss her so much and I cry for just a moment.

I am grateful that I can ride for her and keep her memory and my love for her alive. I am grateful for the love I feel for Laiken and the people that she has brought into my life, Shanya, Stacey, Donna, people I have not met, but people I care about. I am grateful that I can ride for Brittany, Trista, Mason, Brandan and my latest little hero, Alyson in the hopes that a cure for all cancers will be found someday soon.

Till that day, I will keep pedaling, keep running, for my heroes and for my angels.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thoughts on Thankful Thursday

Keegan directing which way to run!
Laura kneeling second from left.

I have been trying to set aside one day a week to focus on being thankful. Hence, Thankful Thursday.

I haven't quite got into the habit as I would like as I remembered at the end of the day it was Thankful Thursday.
Last Thursday, Laura received her coveted Irish Snug running shirt for completing her 10th run.

I had trouble finding a place to park and Laura asked Keegan where is Uncle? Keegan told her I was out running...
Laura ran with her cousin Kristin and the two Michelle's and Keegan and I took off together.
I had been looking forward all day to the Irish Snug run and spending some time with Keegan.
I am convinced that the baby jogger must have had a flat tire or been awfully low on air. The baby jogger seemed to have a mind of it's own. It just would not go in a straight line.
It was also very humid(38%), which is a lot for Colorado. I was just dripping during the run and I never sweat. I don't know how people can run that live in really humid climates.
I ran into one of my Team In Training friends(Katie) after the run. Katie and I ran the Georgetown 1/2 marathon together last August. It was literally the last good day of running I had last year. It was fun to catch up with her.
Laura and her friend Michelle and I had a good time visiting with each other after the run.
Thankful Thursday question of the day. What is your favorite place you have visited anywhere in the world?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July-4 Mile Liberty Run

After a one year hiatus, the 4th of July-4 Mile Liberty Run resumed.

This year's run had an interesting feature as it was touted as the first cupless running event in the nation.

No disposable running cups at the aid stations. Each runner was given a Hydrapouch at the start of the race. The Hydrapouch can be attached to your running shorts with a clip(well sort of) that you can easily(debatable) detach and reattach after filling your hydrapouch with water at the aid stations.

The hydrapouch concept promotes the concept of going green. No disposable cups to have to be thrown away.

We were giving a one minute demo on how to use the hydrapouch before the race, how easy it was to detach and reattach the pouch to your shorts and how to gracefully without breaking stride fill the pouch with water and run fluidly(pun intended) to the next stop.

Well, the demo didn't exactly unfold the same way in real time....

Laura selected a purple hydrapouch and I selected a sky blue model.

Laura ran back to the car to drop off her jacket before the race started and had her hydrapouch fall off her shorts and land in a mud puddle. Outrage #1.

After cleaning up her container, she reattached to her shorts only to have the clip completely fall off her hydrapouch. She ran back over to the tent to tel l them she had a defective pouch and was told to be more gentle in attaching/detaching the pouch and that is wasn't defective. Outrage #2.

With a little over two minutes to go Laura felt like her timing chip wasn't secure and the plastic tie had broken so she had to run back over to the registration area and pick up another plastic tie and reattach her timing chip to her shoe. Outrage #3.

She managed to get her chip secured in time and thankfully the race started without any more incidents.

I saw another person's hydrapouch fall to the ground within the first 20 seconds of the race. When there are no cups at the aid station, you don't want to lose the only way you can hydrate during the race.

I pulled my hydrapouch off of shorts and ran with it in my hand for the entire race. I didn't want to take any chances.

Laura's pouch fell off within the first half mile and she had to turn around to retrieve it. I saw one other forlorn looking pouch around the 1 mile mark. Wonder when that runner noticed it had been lost. No pouch, no water.

I got to the one mile mark in 9:01. Overall I was fairly happy with that. Fastest pace I have run in a long time and best of all, no glute/hamstring pain!

Aid station #1: I squeeze open my hydrapouch and try to fill it without stopping as shown in the demo. Managed to pour quite a bit of water on my shoe instead of in the container. Stopped at the next water container, came to a complete stop and filled my pouch. Off I went, not very fluid with the fluid.

At the 12:30 minute mark, I was passed by a double wide baby jogger. Oh well. Not the first time nor will it be the last time that will happen to me.

Washington Park is a beautiful place to run in. Lots of trees, lakes, flowers. I am enjoying this beautiful place to run.

Mile 2: 9:03, 18:04 overall.

Aid station is right at the 2 mile mark, didn't get quite as much water on my shoe this time.

Most people seem to be skipping the water stations. If everyone that was running were to stop, there would be quite a wait to fill the container.

Mile 3: 9:15 27:19 overall. This is the "hilliest" mile in the race. Washington Park is a pretty flat place to run, but it does have a few inclines during this stretch.

Aid Station #3-Took two attempts to fill up the hydrapouch. Took a couple of sips and poured the rest on top of my head.

Because of the 4 mile route, this is the 3rd time today on this exact same part of the course. Trying to pick up the pace, as much as I can, turn on the diagonal and it is off to the finish. I put on a burst of slow and get to the finish line.

Mile 4: 8:49, overall 36:08.

18:04 for first two miles

18:04 for last two miles.

That is even pacing. I couldn't do that again in a million tries.

They used to read the declaration of Independence in prior years by someone dressed in 1776 attire.

They didn't do that this year which was disappointing. I thought that was a neat part of the event.

I spoke to a mother after the race whose son was getting ready for his 3rd tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As we celebrate our freedom in this country, lets remember to honor those who have served and are serving following in the words of our forefathers, "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor".

Friday, July 3, 2009


Here is a picture I wore of Trista during the Blue River Century ride on the back of my Livestrong cycling jersey.

Her picture was a big hit during the ride.

"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell." -Lance Armstrong

Trista is fighting!!!