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Monday, December 31, 2007

No, New York is where I'd rather stay

Almost a pound of meatloaf with a porcini mushroom demi-glaze, an equal amount of garlic mashed potatoes and boiled carrots sautéed in butter and brown sugar. That’s an undisciplined bike racer’s off-season lunch and the nadir of a months-long devolution.

Maintaining fitness gained through the racing season was going so well, in September. The sun was out. The local group rides were still going strong. I had the stamina to take reckless flyers off the front of the pack. The dream of being competitive in road races during the 2008 season was alive and well.

The fitness slide started in October. I have some crazy teammates – or from another perspective, dedicated teammates – whose idea of a fun weekend ride is four hours long with 7000 feet of climbing. They got off their bikes looking like they could go another four hours. I barely had enough strength left to push down on the gas pedal so I could get home and take a nap. Those guys are road racers. My dream had died. Fifty minute crits, here I come again.

By mid-November I was hemorrhaging fitness. Just maintaining enough of a base for early season crits was becoming questionable. I was at the crossroads. One direction required discipline. The other only needed a rationalization that come January I can train really well and get it all back. My high school football coach once screamed at me, “I got more damn discipline in my little finger than you have in your whole body.” Truer words were never hollered.

In December… well I suppose I’ve painted enough of a picture.

I’ve really grown as a person this off-season -- I mean beside the extra inch around the waistline. Since college it's seemed to me that by middle age a man should have acquired the skill to superbly mix at least one cocktail. After years of testing I think this off-season marks the year that I can finally say I'm an expert at pouring that grandpa cocktail, The Manhattan. Blend two ounces of whiskey, a capful each of sweet and dry vermouth and three dashes of bitters (I skip the fruit, but a cherry or a lemon twist work nicely).

If my football coach could only see me now. I'm pretty sure he'd cite his little fingernail rather than his entire little finger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the deeper the valley, the higher the peaks? rest and retooling is good, I say. obviously you needed a break (physical and mental) to stay fresh and in love...