CROSS TRAINING AND HUMILITY
With the road and Mt bike season at an end and cyclocross racing in full swing it is time to broaden out my workouts. The body and quality of life really do suffer from the constant repetition of bike riding and racing. With that in mind and the rather unique demands of Cyclocross (X) racing I decided it is time to insert a little variety in my workout routine. I’m talking about completely different activities like weight lifting, rock climbing, swimming, running, X Fit, hang gliding, fine cooking, counseling, meditation, cross stitch – wait wait, I have gone too far. What I am after is anything that might make my body better and more well rounded for life and my biking. The alternative activities might even help with several medical issues that I have been struggling with over the last couple years – who knows, maybe.
So, for the last couple of weeks I have been including some hiking, swimming and a bunch of calisthenics/stretching exercises 2-4 times a week and all too soon, I’ll add cross country skiing. So many “crosses” to bear.
I like the idea of swimming – working on the upper body and it is easy on this old body. We have a great hot springs pool in Glenwood Springs about 10 miles down valley from my home in Carbondale. Starting out with competing in my school days and later in the early Tri movement I have enjoyed a lot of swimming. While not being a really good swimmer I have certainly put in a lot of hours/laps in the pools and lakes. So I decided to get a season pass at the massive 125 year old Hot Springs Pool.
The first few times at the pool I enjoyed bouncing around, soaking in the great soothing heat and swimming a few laps in the cooler lap swimming area. I couldn’t believe how slow I was. But, after a couple of weeks I was getting the technique back and getting stronger - adaptation in action.
There are a lot of lessons in life – some are of immediate value and others I have to learn over and over again. Before we moved to Colorado I was the fast old guy in Iowa. Here I am just one of the old guys. There are lots of old fast guys in this area. And most of the folks don’t know or care about my history or place in Iowa. This perspective is a rather humbling experience. I‘ll have to ride and race and see what happens – to find my place in the Roaring Forks Valley. “Life lesson” in humility - learned? I doubt it.
Back to the pool. A couple of days ago I jump into the pool feeling pretty good about the progress I’ve made with my stroke and muscle adaptation. We have six lap lanes and there was only one other guy swimming in the middle and I got in next to him in the “slower lane”. He had a decent stroke and a nice steady pace and I felt really good to be able to swim at the same speed. I’m making progress and feeling good. Soon a 50 something skin and bones woman jumped in the “slowest lane” on the other side of me and off she goes. In no time I am offered up another large slice of humble pie. The lanes are 100 feet long and she was able to swim two lengths to my one and apparently with so little effort. If we were swimming partners – she’d be out of the pool, showered off, sitting poolside eating bonbons and reading the newspaper with a coffee while I was still struggling with the plan.
The good part. I am learning to do what I can with life and to enjoy the process of doing it. And I suppose there are still many slices of the pie – with my name ….