2016 Tatanka

2016 Tatanka
2016 Tatanka Startline Photo Credit: Randy Ericksen

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A lesson on how to have a perfect day

Commute home on the Salsa Beargrease ending with a beautiful South Dakota sunset.
Many of us outdoor types consider a perfect day starting with a good cup of coffee, watching the sun rise between the trees of a rolling hill meadow, watching the wildlife slowly walking towards its next nibble of grass, smiling while greeting a friendly person in crossing paths, watching the flow of a river rushing over rocks, maybe having a moment of tranquility while listening the sounds surrounding you, or even time to think just think, enjoying a feeling of freedom, spending time outside enjoying a gentle breeze brush your face, sweating while burning some unneeded calories, or even just having the time to let it all go, feeling the stress of your day leaving your body.  All these moments during a day orchestrate what might just be something each of us would consider to be ‘perfect’.

First tracks on morning commute on freshly fallen snow.
My perfection starts and ends with the simplicity of riding my bike to and from work.  I’m a year round bike commuter.  During my daily commutes I experience many of these simple moments that when all strung together create what you might consider the perfect day.  My favorite moment is when I let go of all the things going on around me I feel the stress leaving my body and I just feel free!  Moments like this happen often so I would have to admit I’m addicted to recreating the experience.
If you commute by bike today, you know what I’m talking about but if you do not I challenge you to give it a try.  ‘Adventures by Bike’ don’t have to take you on a mountain trail but can be made up of simple rides around town or even to your place of work.

Salsa Warbird afternoon commute home lean.
Salsa Warbird morning commute stop.
A subzero commute home adding weight to the beard.
Here is a short list of the benefits of commuting by bike:
·       Exercise – I burn over 1200 calories a day commuting and get an hour and half of cardio.
·       Clearing mind – Focus on the simplicity of riding.
·       Prepping for day – This can be your time to gear up for work or to decompress from the  busy day.
·       Scenery - Enjoy being outside and all the beauty surrounding you.
·       Feeling of freedom - Let go, just ride.
·       Peaceful – Just you and your bike no other worries.
·       Reflective – This is your time to Think no interruptions.
·       Stress reduction – Just by being active you reduce stress.
·       Good for the environment – I have changed the oil in my car once in the last two years.
·       No traffic Jams – Ride around all of it or pick flexible routes that avoid the busy areas.
·       Live longer – Studies show cyclist live longer.
·       Fewer medical expenses – Fewer sick days and overall health improves just by cycling a few hours a week.

Here are some things you are going to want to know to get started:
·       Bike - Pick a bike that can handle diverse terrain like a touring bike, fat bike, cyclocross bike or mountain bike you never know what you might encounter on your route and these type of bikes allow for a lot of diversification in your daily routes.
·       Gear – Helmet, fenders, lights, backpack, tool repair kit with tube, multi tool, patch kit, tire levers and mini pump.
·       Clothing – Clothing is seasonal and this will take some practice so I would recommend over dressing to start by adding layers.  Jacket, jersey, base layer, etc., shoe covers and always carry a rain jacket just in case the forecast changes.  Pack extra’s on days with varying start and finish temps.
·       Route – Pre plan your routes to and from work.  Maybe pre ride your route on the weekend to make sure everything flows the way you intended and so you get a feel for the time needed to complete the route (you don’t want to be late to anything).  I like to have several routes laid out so I can mix things up day to day but also so I can enjoy more of the nicer days.  You also plan a training for your commute home.
·       Weather – Always look at the forecast for the day so you wear the proper clothing but also to plan your route and amount of time needed to get to and from work.
·       Storage – Make sure you have a safe secure place to store your bike at work.  If you have to leave it outside, make sure you have a nice lock to keep your bike safe.

Riding my bike to work all year round has changed my life.  I find myself searching every day for pieces of perfection.  And no matter what the day throws my way I always find perfection on my bike!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In Search of Inspiration


Trans Iowa v.11 Checkpoint #1 - Photo Credit: Jason Boucher
I believe we all hunger for Inspiration.  My proof is Social Media.  We watch each other every day liking pictures of someone doing something we only wish we could do.  I figure this is why Instagram and Facebook are so popular.  Me, I try to find Inspiration from the individual people that touch my life.  I would say I started looking for inspirational nuggets at a very early age. 

The first time I can remember being truly inspired was when I was eight. One of the neighbor kids would fly by my house on his skateboard and from the very first time he flew by I knew I needed to learn how to skateboard just like him!  

Part of the reason I'm where I'm at today is the inspiration of many others in my life. People like Mike Dunlap RAAM Qualifier.  He inspired me to enjoy riding my bike forever, long hard controlled riding.  We would be done and Mike would always go for another 80 miles.  He does all the riding because he loves it. 

I'm sure anyone that follows JayP finds inspiration because he knows no bounds.  He has proven us as individuals have no limits, we can do anything and go anywhere.  If you ever have read any of JayP's blogs, you know you have no limits but your own mind.

Even riding with your local leisurely club, you find examples of inspiration.  The local Sioux Falls club has regular donut-run rides. The really cool part is they all meet early and ride 30 mile to have a Zebra donut from Centerville, SD.  They work together as a group down and back even though they are all of different abilities.  Watching the teamwork and patience is impressive plus they all have an amazing time!

There is nothing like the energy of a new cyclist.  When you take that new energy and put it with a work ethic that likes to push themselves to be better, you have something truly amazing.  I experience this each and every ride I do with my local race team.  They push, encourage, and support me.  They are part of my bike family.  Their energy inspires me to want to go harder and faster.

Several years ago, I was on an early spring 40 mile ride with my friends Joe Stiller and Dean Kusler.  They were both kicking my butt!  If I have to be honest, I don't like being dropped on rides, who does? :-)  I asked both Joe and Dean what they had been doing over the winter for riding.  Joe said spinning inside and riding his fat bike outside as much as possible.  Dean said he was just bike commuting to work every day. That day changed my life indefinitely.  I always took winter pretty easy thinking I needed too but they both inspired me to change how I looked training and riding my bike.  The next winter I started bike commuting to work and training outside as much as the icy conditions will allow.  I no longer look at temperature as a barrier.  I look at the temperature as an opportunity to test gear and my mental toughness.

The source of most my cycling inspiration has been my best friend Joe Stiller. Together we have done the Triple Bypass and Leadville events. Joe inspired me to do my first gravel race, snow race, winter training, ultra-racing, riding centuries, counting centuries I do in a year, ride 200+ miles and to ride my first 10,000 mile year.  Joe has done what really good friends should do; he has helped me discover my fullest potential and inner confidence.  He's still working on me even today. ;-)

Joe and I after the 2015 Leadville Silver Rush 50 - Photo Credit: Tina Stiller
Together Joe and I will compete in the 2017 Race across the Divide.  I turn 50 that year so I wanted to celebrate 50 years of life by doing something epic.  My moment of inspiration came to me three years ago while watching "Ride The Divide" a movie about the longest mountain bike route in the world traversing over 2700 miles along the Rocky Mountains from Banff, Canada to the Mexican border.  One thing to note is the thought of doing this event terrifies me but I love thinking into the future and the all the prepping I will be doing to do this amazing journey.  

Remember, we are all family, we all share things that inspire others.  I guess what I'm trying to say is surround yourself with inspirational people and feed off their drive! I always will.