Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Net'n & fight'n

North Bend, WA
Thursday, October 19, 2006

The rain continues to fall. It’s rather incessant really. What to do? Of course there are broader uses to the training I’ve received than just as it applies to cycling. Specifically in regard to the rain, it is useful to have a general background in yoga. For those unfamiliar with various practices of yoga, a common teaching is the importance of centering yourself amongst your surroundings. In doing so you become oblivious to what’s going on around you, and given the circumstance that most find themselves in while in Washington’s stunning arctic rainforest (stuck in the rain and cold), the ability to transport your mind to the glee of the warm ‘n sunny days of old is convenient… Much to my regret, yoga is yet to work for me…
So I figure that if you can’t get out of the rain, you might as well get in it. The best way to do this is to go fishing. Yesterday a friend of mine and I went over the mountains to a saltwater lake in eastern Washington. In fly fishing you get a tube ‘n fins and jump into the lake to cast and paddle around (I find that it’s easiest to catch fish when you also act like them). It rained pretty good, not as bad as west of the mountains, but more than not. It wasn’t so cold either, I mean, you didn’t have to wear 6 layers or anything, 4 worked just fine for me. It turned out that the fish were rather elusive, but not elusive enough for the wily fisherman who is I… we ended up catching 4 fish altogether. For competitive reasons and lack of sportsmanship I’ve chosen not to disclose the allocation of fish caught between the two of us… but I can assure you that it was not even… Of course that’s beside the point. One fish however, was significantly more important than the rest:
Before catching this fish, I had tied two hooks to my line, a practice that even the most traditional fisherman use on a daily basis (of course my friend only used one, he’s a bit more modern. I like to respect the fish; it’s too easy to catch fish when you’ve got just one). I managed to get the hooks tangled fairly well, so I casted near my buddy so that he could grab the line and pull the hooks up to fix ‘em. While he was pulling the line up he said “wouldn’t it be funny if you hooked a fish right now (while he’s got the line in his hand)?” I said “yeah, it’d be just like the old days (referring to Ernest Hemingway’s book the old man and the sea, where the old dude catches a swordfish with a fishing line in his bare hands).” As luck would have it, the line hooks a fish right then. To make a long story short, I finally reel the fish in and he wants a picture with it (yes, it is the fish). So he hands me his camera and I take a picture. I place the camera in my net on the tube. The fish is rather aggressive in his net so he wants to put the fish in my net. At the moment I was more concerned that my fish was going to be freed than his camera was going to go for a swim and I stick my net out to receive the fish forgetting that the camera was in it. In my lapse of recollection the camera goes for a swim and the fish goes into my net… The camera will last for 30 minutes underwater, so hopefully it got a couple good pictures from 100 feet below before it died…end of story.
Today was a new day though. Not new in the sense that the rain lingers, but new in the sense that the clouds were a lighter shade of grey- which is saying a lot. I rode over to the gym for another session of yoga and misguided UFC (ultimate fighting champion) personal trainer. Yoga went swell, but then I did round two with the guy who’s supposed to be aiding me in the intricacies of weight lifting. He had better ideas though; evidently I am destined to become a prize fighter instead. We did a couple “full body drills” followed by a couple rounds of boxing. The stuff isn’t so bad though. I guess it’ll be good for core strength, coordination and balance. I’ve just gotta convince him that perhaps we ought to take a little time out so he can show me how to do the leg exercises. It’ll be hard ‘cause he’s convinced that weights are the root of all evil. The funny thing about these workouts is that with the combination of time in the gym and on the bike the total workout time is 4 and a half hours. I might be a prize fighter when we get done with this. I’ll enter in the 140 pound class. The opponent will be like 4 foot 2.