Friday, January 30, 2009

All along the road...

There are very few single acts of courage, confidence and conviction that I have witnessed personally but along the road to Lake San Antonio, I met a man named James.

James stood at the bottom of the hill. He waited and waited until he was ready and held his left arm out high imploring any cars that might approach to stop.

He steps into the street and slowly takes another step and then another.

James is 70 maybe 75 years old and he is moving VERY slowly but with extreme purpose.

He is determines to get to the other side.

I watch this and wonder why James is alone – shouldn’t he have someone with him.

A frail older man can get hurt and may need help.

I stop pedaling and put my bike down on the sidewalk.

I say Good Morning and I ask James if he could use some help and he says yes.

“How can I help?” – I ask.

Can you get me to the left side of the road where the road slopes off.

I say sure and he takes my arm at my elbow and we walk VERY slowly to the edge of the street. I ask him why he is out here by himself and he says he is “getting some exercise” and I laugh and say "Yeah, me too."

We learn each others names – say goodbye and I pedal off.

James goes back to his walk – slowly – purposely and with ultimate conviction…stepping to feel the road where it slopes off to the edge of the street…

Confirming his position without his eyes but with his white cane – tapping from left to right and back again.

Riding and running outside our usual routes can be SO amazing and this last week I had a chance to really experience this.

Running at 6am on the San Francisco bay with the sun streaks starting to break the darkness lighting the bridge - only runners get to see the bridge like this.

Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Headlands - great road and views.



Climbing Mount Tam from Mill Valley and ending up on one of the most PERFECT roads I have ever ridden. Giant redwoods and coastal views with very few cars.

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Riding from Paso Robles to Lake San Antonio and back (ok – back should have been MUCH shorter but I miscalculated – 5:00 total and only 65 miles - that includes 7,000 feet of climbing) and getting to check out the Wildflower course.

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Riding to the top of Figueroa Mountain outside of Solvang from sea level to over 3400’ with a LOT of grades over 15%.

Figueroa Mountain Road, Solvang, CA

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At the base of the climb…


Wow – that is a long way up…


The day started at 37 degrees and I am half way to the top and it’s getting really warm…


At the top over 3,000 feet and 1:20 minutes of straight climbing with most of it standing in my bail out gear.




This past week was really something incredible…

I worked a bunch...and got to train in some very cool places.

Hopefully everyone gets to experience something truly different in their training...

It reminds us there is more to it than just numbers...

and maybe along the way meet someone like James.

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