Friday, July 15, 2011

A Lazy Man's Day

I guess you could call this a lazy man's day on the trail. Or pure fate. Or just plain and simple good Luck.

Today's goal was simply get to Carbondale, where I pick up the TransAm Trail tomorrow morning. Since it was only 55 miles, I got into town a little before 2:00, even with a great many stops to get something to drink and to get out of the sun. I was happy to find that the hotel I chose gives discounts to cross country bikers. Yippee. So without further ado, I was in my room with a pot of coffee brewing by the sink, and with the TV on.

Now let me back up for a minute and say that as a general life principle I hate violence. Abhor it. I don't read books or authors that include violence, don't play video games that include violence, don't watch movies that include any violence. That last one means that I almost never go to the movies and when people talk about them, I never know what they are talking about. Most people just look at me in disbelief when I tell them this, but that is who I am and a major part of my values.

Having said all that, I sheepishly admit that two of my favorite movies, and I own them both, are the Kill Bill series. Love the sword fighting, love the samurainess of the message, love the skill, persistence, and never-ending drive of Uma Thurmon's character. So what? When I turned on the TV today, they had just started playing all of the Kill Bill movies. She's got her Hattori Honzo sword and she's mightily pissed off. Bill has been put on alert. Ohhhh, this is going to be a good lazy man's afternoon of laying around watching TV. :-)

The temperatures here are on the rise again. It is supposed to be in the mid-90s through Tuesday and then go up to the upper-90s for 2-3 days after that. When the temperature is that high I just have no energy; there may be long stretches of rolling hills where I don't even have the legs to ride on the middle chainring, staying in the bottom 8 gears for mile after mile. It's not very fast, but at least it allows me to keep moving forward.

So how do you keep moving when it would be easier to throw in the towel? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said it well when he said "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."

Or that other one by someone I don't remember when he/she said something like "Our lives are shaped by our expectations, not by our accomplishments."

How do you keep moving forward? By having high expectations of yourself. Uma just got buried alive. She's starting to freak out as she hears each shovelful of dirt being thrown on the coffin. But we know she makes it out. How? By going back to the mental training and discipline she learned long before, by refusing to give up, and by having huge expectations of herself.

So that's it: Training, discipline, both physical and mental, and having an expectation of success. Training takes discipline. Discipline is fine tuned and honed with training, and persisting, maybe even stepping it up, even when you aren't currently seeing improvement. Never wavering high expectations are maintained through discipline. These three are like three strands of a tight weave — possibly weak one by one, but solid as steel when woven together.

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