Sunday, August 30, 2009

physical poverty

Flew into a Canadian airport. Hopped a ride. Drove through the city. Passed a sign counting down the days. 168 until the opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. A Bob Roll written article titled "The Beautiful Therapy of Bike Racing" rests in my lap.

"When I was a young person, you could not reach me. You couldn't communicate with me, reason with me, drown me out with freezing rain or run me over with a train to keep me from riding. Everyday the miles I rode reduced me to ashes and dust but I was relentlessly reconstituted overnight by a seething, white-hot rage on slow boil...

"I began my riding career as a block of cement. I finished as a brand-new baby boy, all soft and gooey. I needed the miles, I needed the pain, I needed the ruin to become a more reasonable man."

168 more days of Bob Roll-esque chiseling. 168 more days to answer, "What will I do with my talent?" 168 days made up of specific moments where I'll be asked - if by nobody but myself - "What am I doing this moment to get better?" 168 days to come back back from adversity and shine, shine, shine.

I need the miles. I need a recommitment to cultivating a more robust mental outlook, where adversity is not a brake but an engine pushing me forward. I need to get to the point where I blush just reminiscing about the suffering and striving, the fitness building and the form-topping coming. I can do this. This better start... now. Time has a way of not putting itself in reverse.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Life on the 'Farm

In New Zealand, we live up atop the Pisa Mountain Range at the Waiorau Snow Farm. Now, I'm on my way back to the U.S.A. Before I lift off over the Pacific, here are a couple of the pictures from the last days here.

Kristina Strandberg striding it out with a background that makes me think of skiing on the moon.

Chris Klebl putting the kilometers in. It's cool to share the trails here with athletes who overcome unique challenges everytime they hit the cordoroy.

Chemical soon-to-be-nighttime Sky above the Southern Alps.

Ahh, nothing like an underpowered ten passenger van with bald tires on snowy, curvy dirt roads. Makes getting to town a bit of an adventure. Also makes learning how to put on chains a necessity.

I"m off. First to Southern California for a couple days in the Santa Ynez Valley sun, then back home to the Pacific Northwest...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

South Island in Pictures

(Photo by Justin Wadsworth).

Every year, for the last eight years, I've made a southern trek to New Zealand's South Island to find some time on the magic white stuff. The training load during my days here always tilts a bit to the side of volume. As a coach of mine use to say, "There's a certain quality to quantity."

(Photo by Justin Wadsworth).

Since I'm down in the country of Murray Halberg, Peter Snell and Co. it might be apt to steal a line, or at least paraphrase, a thought of Arthur Lydiard's - from distance work comes speed. Speed training has been far from a focus so far this season. Still, the speed over the snow feels good.

Run to the Top... Ski to the Top...

(Photo by Torin.)

Living above the treeline atop a mountain, weather moves in easily at the Wairaou SnowFarm. And sometimes with a nasty disposition. Other days, it's just beautiful. With a combination of snowfences and sunshine, this counts as one of the latter.