I slept in after I fought the sheet I sometimes covered up with, tossing and turning and blaming it for its hot grip. After ignoring my three alarms I periodically rolled out of sleep to check the time on my phone. At 8am there was a text that finally got my ass in gear. It was a friend telling me that the venue for an event I and a handful of couriers want to host our national courier race at is booked on one of the dates, but the owner wants to meet me tomorrow, he can ask and possibly get them to open up the date for us. Time to man up.
Why did I put off the practice?
I jumped on my bike cause I had to leave the hard scene I associated last night's sleep with. It's interesting when you work for yourself because in my line of work I gauge it on how much riding I do. Lately, whatever I can encourage forward with our event during the day is accomplished with emailing in between deliveries or collecting wait time or randomly running into the other couriers at a building's bike rack or the cafe. Midday I took a delivery into the comptroller guaranteeing wait time. I handed the documents to the clerk and excused myself to the bathroom. Leaving the stall, I awkwardly ran into one of the state workers who had been on the team I was in touch with in securing street closures for our courier race. I say awkward because it was obvious my stomach was angry for the Lone Stars I drank the night before, cans that accompanied the cafe work for the courier race I pounded out till I was tipsy and out of dollar bills. He received an email that morning which simply stated our resignation from the downtown course due to lack of funds. Bathroom run with the expanded reality of more than I thought getting flushed down the drain…
Finally at 3:30 I rode through the city like I rarely get to. Out to Chicon in and straight thru to Barton Hills after a drop and pickup from a handoff downtown. More waited downtown afterwards and I raced the clock like I imagine I was an orchestra conductor- Perfect timing at a rate that brings so much together but just as quickly gone.
Done with the bike and home.
Leaving my computer open with chat windows open is never a good idea when you should be doing something else especially before your class you have no plan for and you HAVENT EVEN PRACTICED YOGA. Ok. I jump on my mat and immediately get hit up. It's my friend asking about yoga. She's coming. Cool. close the chat box and get this class started. I move for 5 minutes and then instinctively get up and watch 30 minutes of the Thai yoga class Camilla taught us in Yoga Life I have saved on my laptop. I bring that to class. My friend comes to class 8 minutes early and is the only one.
"Private lesson?" "We'll see. some people usually show up right when class starts.
By the time we start moving there are 9 people there. Definitely one of the bigger classes I've had in a while. Six of them are there in a pair. I work with my friend that chatted me earlier and she got the benefit of being the demoee as I guided everyone through both being the giver and the receiver. Lucky star. She was on her back for almost an hour as we worked on the legs and hips doing some helicopter, splits and swooshing.
We hung out afterwards and she told me the week before she had an ovarian cycst burst and there is a tumor on her ovary that she has to have removed. The last week kept her off her bike too, an outlet of movement. She said her intention that night was to relax. We might have gotten her a little closer to it :) The swooshing made her feel like all the negative energy she had was being pulled out of her.
I came home and practiced. It felt great. Night practice after a day like today has all the same elements- I collapse all over my mat but I'm sticking to this fantastic life of mine.
I know when the sweat box has sucked all the life lessons out of my body and I barely catch a glance as the water mark rapidly dissipates to vapor.
My mind, like melted wax, attempts to reform in the hours after the sun moves on to terrorize other places. Heat has penetrated everything, though, down to the core. My memory struggles to put it all back together into anything coherent. I keep a sticky note on my mirror in my bathroom reminding myself I'm not a burn victim.
Consecutive days of pedaling over the blistering asphalt moving documents, food, chihuahuas or my body across a finish line has a tendency to burn simple yet effective life lessons into my day to day experience:
1. Don't die. 2. Hurry up and wait. 3. Be the cooling element.
The one cooling element in my life has been suffering lately from overuse and lack of flow- Barton Springs. The water has even gotten murky. It's usual crystal clear water has been cloudy and in some places the bottom is not visible.
The 2011 Cat 1/2 edition of Tulsa Tough was everything a Wooly Mammoth looks for in a race weekend:
Tradition: I knew of all three races offered over the weekend, my best chances at a result were on Friday night. I love me a technical course and a loud, cheering crowd on city streets is more intoxicating than the suds consumed by the tifosi all weekend. I focused all my energies into bringing home a result on the atmosphere that best suited my abilities, as is the Wooly tradition. As if the course and the pace were not enough to surmount, the best way to cross the line is to not know if you really survived or are merely projecting an image to your consciousness while your soul is wandering in the space between life and death that can only be described as….
Ultra: It was all gonna stay together. Twenty minutes in I rolled off the front for a few. I had plans to make a last minute ditch but the opportunity to blaze around the crowd-lined course and get some live stream time for Wooly's sponsors was too tempting early on. The ultraness of the race became apparent as the sun set. Protective Indian Spirits cloaked as storm clouds began to blanket the perimeter of the course and plan a timely attack. Race promoters cut the race short in the hopes of out foxing the looming storm by slicing off five laps. Two laps to go the lightning strike and quickly answered thunder crack was intro to fat rain drops. Half a lap later, going into the last lap, the skies opened and the noise level externally was on full blast from every source. The crowd seemed amplified. The race announcer (who was amplified) began the chant, "One to GO! One to GO! One to GO!" No longer were we the flying, confident, semipro athletes our logo laced lycra advertised us to be. We were a pack of panicky kids being forced to take an unwanted ice skating lesson. The levels internally were tranquil, tho. Every pedal stroke seemed like the last option at ground touching earth. At every turn more of the peloton washed away in the quiet of the storm as it swallowed most of its victims whole, bike and rider, to appease its appetite. I crossed the line 6th. It was death, no? The rain gods had more in store for this Wooly to complete the cycle of….
Romance: Sound Pony is the cyclist's bar in Tulsa. Saturday's race course goes right past it and it is a great place to catch all the action flying through and then watch the rest of the moves on the big screen strategically placed out front. The dance floor that night may have seen the likes of cyclists, some still in lycra and helmet, laying down moves only pro romancers are capable of. The romance became too much with one lucky Tulsa resident and the storm that, again, moved in by the Wooly supporting Indian Spirits till 5am could be a cliche comparison…
this is the only way to keep up with things these days: an SOS email I sent a friend. Some of it may make sense and if you're close to me you know what it's all about, but I think that might only be three people and they are tired of hearing it, I'm sure.
Gonna go build up a bike now. Hopefully I have all the parts...
Tulsa was last weekend. Friday nite storming to 6th, Saturday Soundpony dance party extending the night till almost sunrise and Sunday Crybaby Hill. What a great time. Now, I'm gonna hang up the race wheels (not as long this time) and throw some parties.
I am in need of your assistance if you are up for it.
We are throwing a Tour de France launch party with Mellow Johnny's on July 2nd. The party will include an "uphill" team time trial in the spirit of le Tour. I got the State of Texas to donate one of the parking garages across the street from the Comptrollers Office at 17th and San Jacinto. At the top there is a perfect view of the Capitol on one side and the UT stadium on the other. It should be a lot of fun and each team will have one or two riders handicapped with a non-race bike that we will provide them with. This is to keep things fun and not too serious and hopefully attendees will include a wide demographic of cyclists and everyone will have a shot at winning.
Back at Mellow Johnny's, we will have a podium ceremony, food and beverages and the first stage of the Tour will be screening.
This is where I need your help. We have a "maybe" from ____ for food but it didn't sound promising. I am nervous that if I am not proactive then I will be scrambling at the last minute to cater food for 250 people that are expected to show up and support our fundraiser. Because this is a fundraiser, we are trying to get food donated but if we have to pay for it then we will. At this point we have only the little bit of money we raised at the first NACCC fundraiser minus filing fees we've paid the city for street closures. The hunt for title sponsors is on full throttle but nothing yet. I'm only mildly discouraged at this point but looking ahead and planning for the best.
Would you be willing to ask Roberto from _____ to help provide food for our party? if not, could you do an email (re)introduction so I can ask. We've met before and I am pretty sure he remembers me but I am hoping that riding in on your coattails will strike a more personal chord with him and at this point I need to start hearing some "yes's" before I auction off one of my chihuahuas to get this party supplied.
Thanks my man and I hope all is well. Also, if you have any ideas for a podium ceremony al a Tour, please drop it on a note you shout back at me with, I'll probably love it and make it happen.
I'll leave you with this story of something that happened to me yesterday:
I had just left Bird's on 6th, tightening up the Euro mullet and walked past a bum passed out on the sidewalk near the corner at Waller. I didn't see the rise and fall of his chest to signify breathing so I turned back and was like,
"Hey! Are you OK?"
"Huh? yea." He crackled almost inaudibly.
"Well will you get off the ground and sit at the bench so I believe you?"
That's when I noticed dried blood on the side of his face. He started to get up and I continued, "Do you want me to call an ambulance for you?"
"Will you?" What a waste, I think I may have thought. But still I pulled my phone out and dialed. EMS asked me some questions and I relayed the questions and was informed that he had had a seizure. I felt mildly ashamed at my first thoughts but glad I stopped to help out.
Within minutes EMS, AFD and APD were on the scene. I didn't know if I was needed anymore so I started to walk on the perimeter of this now "save a life" scene. An officer looked over and asked if I was the one who called and I said yea. I explained what happened and she just nodded. AFD were talking to him about his seizures and just as I was about to leave someone called my name. I looked over and it was Mason O'Neal. He had rubber gloves on and he gave a quick fist punch and then moved in to help this guy out.
For some reason I felt real good then. I thought of you, man. I'm real happy for you and I hope to get a chance to visit when things settle down.
before my restorative yoga class at Mellow Johnny's, I clear the space and get a little practice in for myself. Yesterday was no different. Batman busied himself with checking out all the latest lint on the floor while I opened up the body after a day of deliveries that simulated hill repeats and stop/starts.
step into lunge back foot moves in, drop the heel, straighten the front leg
Parsvottanasana. five breaths and I know where to go next:
back foot lifts: standing splits.
I got my hands on the ground and my lifted heel kicks up:
handstand and I start counting breaths. I almost always hold my breath in a handstand cause its too hard to do anything else. this time, i just float, listen as the labored inhale seeps out as the exhale is an afterthought. and this is playing in my head space:
Finally I come down and over the blare of my headphones I hear the distant sound of applause.
My longest handstand to date had an audience and they saw the whole thing. Not only that, they applauded my effort. I look over to see
Batman, my 5lb Chihuahau, walking in my direction. He sat quietly the entire time i floated and soon as I came down shook the effort to sit still, causing his collar and tags to clank together and sound like applause. He walked over bashfully wanting to congratulate me with a wag of his tail, which for his size means his whole bottom half sways back and forth, and a lick.
I feel like sometimes I know exactly what's missing and I focus all my energy on it as a lacking...
O man, to be vulnerable in the presence of that unattainable is worth losing over and over again. If patterns represent the grooves we've carved in our brains, I'm walking down an old path. Or possibly I've seen scenery like this somewhere and I've made a connection to sometime long ago that takes me back or threw me again off track.
But beyond knowing is a concentration of every experience I've tried to horde, garnish or strengthen myself with. Tho it always seems with so much effort, at the center, it's just me. I smell my skin and see myself at age 9 and I see myself going head first, heart abandoned into my purpose everytime. For the record, i still have not a clue what that purpose is exactly. Sometimes, I'm... Most of the time.... Always I think it's love and then I think, "what a lovely idea." and I'm only willing to work at something long enough before it's apparent I need to move on.
But as every path revisited (hopefully whatever dead end you hit last time is a simple obstacle this time around)- the tracks we make become part of the scenery. And if I stand here for just a bit-