Sunday, December 30, 2012

Desperation or Inspiration?

I had some decisions last week that got me thinking about the difference between desperation and inspiration.  These weren't immense decisions but important enough that they effect things in the near future so they weren't trivial either.  In other words I wasn't just choosing tooth paste or a cable package.. know what I'm saying?  So I really thought about my 'intent' behind the choices in front of me.  I've learned that understanding 'intent' is the quickest way to understanding everything.  However, understanding this in principle is far easier than recognizing 'Intent' in the essence of things as they occur because outcomes are always effected by motivation going in.


There are many complexities around why all of this can be difficult but I think one of the reasons is that an inspiration to do something vs a desperation to do that very same thing can, at first glance, appear very similar to one another but they are not the same thing and will yield very different results.

The reason they appear the same is because desperation wants to embody the courage, honesty and  personal actualization of authentic inspiration but it can't.  I suppose the reasons for this would fill the almanac but regardless of this desperation is often presented as if it were genuine inspiration but it's not.

The challenge is recognizing the difference between inspiration and desperation within ourselves and in others but this doesn't just happen.  It takes reflection and focus to tell the difference because desperation can be a pretty good mocking bird.  Like an actor with great skill it can fool even the greatest of minds.  But at it's core desperation is a screenplay of emulation and imitation.  It is void of personal authenticity and confidence which are rare but are also the posts and beams of inspiration and why H.D.Thoreau said "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." 

Dec. 2012, on tracks toward Walden Pond, by DSL
Sooner or later even great actors are caught with their wigs off and makeup cases open.  It's an awkward and vulnerable moment where the gap between inspiration and desperation is revealed.  Come to think of it... it's bigger than a gap really, more like an ocean.  I know because I've felt it, more than I care to admit.  Everyone has.  But to those of us that actually care it's at these times when we decide to either work on being a better actor and give up another piece of our soul or we decide to find our own ocean of inspiration and then sail responsibly into it, to journey it, take on learning it, to improve, to share, to contribute and to give back.  Only inspiration yields such things.  It is "a melody softly soaring through my atmosphere...where soul meets body."

Peace and roll strong.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Arise from the haze

 Don't worry child, Swedish House Mafia

Arise from the haze.   This is my general feeling this morning as I sit here.  The holidays are hectic and crazy for everyone and I guess everyone is effected a little differently. This year they've been fun for me but have also felt like a massive training block of intensity work, less the fitness benefit.

And similarly to interval training I look forward to the holidays but for an athlete this isn't all that easy.  To be so un-regimented with food and frolic is to feel as though you are squandering all the hard work you've put into everything leading into them.   And the holidays are  a pretty long block of time too, to be so unstructured and such, you know?  I know for me that I lose a lot of fitness and focus during them and feel off kilter without the structure of knowing exactly what I'll be doing each day.

But, there's a time for everything I guess.  Relaxing and letting things slide for a little bit is okay, especially this time of year.  Maybe it's even good for you too, to an extent.  Like the video above 'don't worry child' ...there's a plan right around the corner.   So you just kinda have to get into a suck it up and buckle down mindset (like intervals) and know that you'll come out on the other side mentally ready...for the new year.

I have one more training session to get through on New Years Eve but I can see the light, after that its all about into 2013.

Peace and roll strong.

Friday, December 14, 2012

If you can't measure it, don't make it

Inman News is one of a couple different industry RE groups I check in with once in a while.  Yesterday I was watching a clip from a summit they held in NYC.  The speaker was CEO of a company selling new technology around lead generation.. blah.. blah.. blah...Their stuff wasn't all that great actually but in her talk she said something that really got my attention.  She said "Our motto is; If you can't measure it, don't build it'. 

The connotations for business are obvious.  You can't waste time, talent and resources on things where you can't see/measure improvement.  But this also has relevance in other areas of life outside of occupational stuff and I got to thinking about them.

I've said this in the past but one of my core appreciations is the function of  'improvement in a process'.  As much as I am a free thinking, outside the box kind of person I am also pretty structured and like to schedule a progression toward goals.  In this, I think the Inman speaker's motto (if you can't measure it, don't build it) is super relevant.

Another way of thinking about this would be a pattern of frequent evaluation.  In bike racing for instance, where dialed in training is everything,  having a consistent measure of index is critical.  In personal areas this would be equivalent to a consistent and honest assessment of fulfillment and happiness.  I think without these things we get off track and can get lost pretty fast.

The flip side of this is a process of squander, just throwing your energy about.  It's un-chanelled and will yield fireworks that get attention but serve no purpose and achieve nothing meaningful.  It's light but it's not real light so don't bother chasing it because when you get there it'll be gone.....know what I mean?

Having said this, I have to admit I have seen un-channeled energy succeed really big before but it's rare.  When it happens it's usually due to ungodly talent, sick timing or blind luck.  I've never had any of these things, sadly.

Peace and roll strong.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2013 Goals & Focus

Is it really mid December?  The days, weeks and months are just flying by way too fast.  This time of year I'm always shocked that another whole calendar has passed!  It's humbling and makes me appreciate the just keeps rolling on!  I think the perception of time is linear with our activity level and maintaining an appreciative mindset during all of it can be a moving target.   But hey, it's just one life here with ups and downs, with some victories and many mistakes.  Hopefully each new year is better than the last  but this doesn't just happen.  You have to plan for it, then dig really deep and go for it.

Nice architecture and mosaic in this video

Speaking of one life and going for it...I stumbled across Jake Keough's new web site this morning.  I've known Jake and the Keough family for many years.  We are all good friends and I've actually written about them a couple of times here on Jughead51 before.  They invited me to their house for Thanksgiving this year, which was an awesome gesture that I really appreciated so it was pretty cool this morning to see that Jake started his own site.  The thing I liked most about it is it's authenticity to Jake, the guy, the brother...and the racer.   Its totally his style and he's really transparent about his background, motivation and his goals.  I also really like the quote at the bottom of his 'about me' page...“Why tip toe through life, only to arrive safely at death?”
Walking a few weeks ago.
I set some goals recently....for my work, my personal life, my relationship with my kids and bike racing.  But I think I need to write them down so they are 'front of mind' at all times.  This is because one of the things that was important to me is lost already because I wasn't paying attention.

It happened the other night when a guy I barely know got into my cell phone and randomly sent messages to friends of mine which was totally and understandingly unappreciated and uncomfortable...not to mention totally creepy.  Having said that, my disappointment doesn't matter because ultimately we are all responsible for what happens to us (aside from health issues & stuff like that) and the fact is I could have avoided this situation if I had been more focused.   What seemed innocuous at the time (grabbing a bit to eat and a drink with a guy I've known a short time) wasn't!   It was a mistake and I am thoroughly disappointed with myself for letting it happen.  Lesson learned.

Back to goals...I'm going to write them down and keep them in my wallet.  I think we should never be too old to set new goals.  Goals are like mortar.  They set the construction stones for life. Without goals, life would crumble.

Peace and roll strong.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Smells like candy

I'm going to start this post with a quote that I posted on FB yesterday.  I think it sums me up in a lot of ways so I kinda want to save it in jughead51 before I somehow lose it and then I'll round out the rest of this post with some way cool equipment stuff.   Here's the quote.

"People think it's an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It's never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I'm doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn't that day. And tomorrow won't be either".  –The Batman

...So on Saturday Gilles called to tell me he had my 'winter' TIME bike built and ready to go.  'Huh?'  Yep, that's what I thought.  I mean yeah, I wasn't completely surprised by this because Gilles had mentioned that TIME would be sending me a bike to ride this winter but I was still jolted for a second.  I've never had a 'winter' bike before and it just seems sort of opulent.  But hey if there's a winter bike to be ridden, sign me up!  I'm pretty sure I can get used to it.

In actuality though, it makes a lot of sense to have an off season bike.  Winter is really hard on equipment so having a winter sled to train on during the sloppy conditions, especially in New England, is a good idea.  But it isn't cheap, so I'm feeling really fortunate to have such great support from Doug Knox at in Santa Barbara, CA working with Gilles here locally along with Husam at ATA Cycles in Concord and Tom Norton (and co.) to make all this happen.  There are a lot of moving parts coming together here so I'm just really amazed that these guys are able weave all of it together and they are great guys too; not just to be around but also because they are great at what what they do.  I learn something new every time I'm around them and that is so rare, you can't really even place a value on it.  So I'm beyond lucky.   In the meantime the Team 2013 ZXRS bike will be delivered in I'm looking forward to that too.   Pretty incredible.

Pictured above, the winter set up;

Bike; (TIME NXR Instinct)  w/ DuraAce shifting,  FSA cranks
Wheels; Corima Areo carbon clinchers (bomb proof and fast)
Pedal System; the new Time, expresso Pro.  Gilles said I'm the first rider in NE these.
Shoes: LAKE Custom Fit

So all in all, this doesn't suck.  It's actually pretty damn fantastic and  I feel super fortunate, appreciative and totally amplified for a great winter of riding and training with friends all over these here parts... and warmer spots too (perhaps AZ or SoCa) before racing in mid-March out west.  In the meantime, it smells like candy around here...Slurp!

Peace and roll strong.

Monday, December 3, 2012

NFL should follow Cycling

I'd bet that up until this weekend I was the only one of my friends who knew who Jovan Belcher was.  Now a lot of people know him because he's all over the news.  Jovan was the starting linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs that shot and killed the mother of their 3 month old daughter this weekend and then shot himself in front of his coaches at Arrowhead Stadium.  It's a horrible story and I was deeply dishearten to hear it.

I never met Jovan but he played for the University of Maine which is where I played as well.  And while my NFL experience was very brief (and many years ago) Jovan was the real deal. I think he was drafted late in the 10th round but still made the team and became a starter in his forth year.  Its a great story and to us UMaine guys he was a source of genuine pride that another one of our own was making a mark in the NFL.  So it was such a fucking bummer to hear about what happened.

It seemed off the mark too because from all reports Jovan was one of the good guys.  He was well liked, kept his nose clean, a team guy that worked hard and all that kind of stuff.  So on this level it was a real jolt.

But looking deeper into this I think there is way more to it.  Lets start with science and talk about something the fat cats at the helm of the NFL would much rather sweep under the carpet "concussions".   Playing linebacker is like running into a garage door 100 times a day.   Sometimes you lead with a shoulder but normally you have to lead with your head because your head is the scope through which a straight tackle is lined up & best delivered.  It works the best but the trade off is a high risk of concussion.   Ahh, forget I said 'high risk'.  If you play linebacker there is a 99% probability that you'll have a concussion or probably multiple concussions before you even get out of college.

Without getting too deep into it, one of the biggest effects of a concussion or multiple concussions, is depression and not just a case of the blues, we talking deep dark stuff and I have to think that this is what (at least in part, if not whole) led up to this tragedy with Jevon.

But like all things that might effect ticket sales and network contracts, the NFL will undoubtedly do its best to avoid talking about this or delay addressing it for as long as possible.....but I'd bet my right leg right now that depression, as a result concussions, will surface as the major contributing factor in Jevons horrible actions.

In the meantime I appreciate all that cycling is doing to clean up it's skeletons.  I think cycling is the only professional sport in the world that is moving forward in this way with transparency and in earnest.  I'm truly and authentically proud of this.  Our sport is leading the way and we should all be proud of it. 

Peace and roll strong!