Monthly Archives: October 2013

It’s not about me

Life, it’s not about me

I know it’s not about me

I am but an extra in the grand movie of life

 

Yet it is so easy to believe it is all about me

They raised the taxes just to irritate me

They freed the criminal because I thought he was guilty

 

Maybe it is all about me

Maybe I’m the victim of some strange reality tv show

They could explain the people on the road just to test me

 

No, it’s not about me

And I’m afraid it’s not about you

Fortunately I believe I know who it is about, do you?

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Two Faced

Politicians drown in opulence

While constituents beg for scraps on street corners

 

Executives make a living eating lunch

While teachers live in poverty

 

The vocal minority beg for Christian values

While hiding from everything that Christ taught

 

The world gone right is the world gone wrong

Socialism is the enemy but capitalism continues to destroy

 

Look how far we have come

Look how we have put a fresh face on the age old issues

 

Slavery rebranded as freedom

Sold to the masses as minimum wage employment

 

Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed

All we have learnt from history is how to make it look better

 

It seems that real change can only come from those in power

Yet it is those in power that need change the most

 

So the rest of us are left to learn how not to care

As the two faced few, dictate society under the guise of freedom

 

Home (In Your Kingdom) – Song

There are so many reasons why I’ve been less active recently than before. Busy life, rehabbing my strained hamstring, a 2nd puppy, but one of the big reasons is that a lot of my creative ideas of late have either quickly evolved into potential songs, or even short stories. Somehow there is a clear, yet indescribable line or division in my mind between what I consider one of my poems & what should be a song. If it is something that I think should be a song, well it has to become a song before it goes up here. I’ve started & at least lyrically written 5 or 6 songs of the last couple of months. It is a fun process, but the process to get it to a place that it is blog ready is slow, because I have this whole life thing you know?

So anyway, onto the subject at hand. I wrote this song really rather quickly. I was messing around on the guitar one day, liked the grove that I had come up with, the next time I was in my office, I picked up the guitar & wrote the song. Then my annoyingly slow recording process began. I say slow, its comfortably less than 2 days to record & mix a song, it’s just split into 1 or 2 hour slots of time.

The song is the story of a man & his spiritual journey. The man starts his journey when he is lost, questioning the meaning of life yet something inside him tells him there is more. He begins his relationship with God, receives redemption, realizes how blessed he is & then moves into a time of learning & growth. When he comes through this period he realizes that he is truly home, in God’s Kingdom. This is such an amazing transformation & a great place for him to be, he starts to ask God to show him some others who are in the same place he used to be & to allow him to help them to find the gift that he has received.

 

Here are the lyrics:

 

Wont’ you come & show me

Show me how to get home

Lord I’ve been lonely

Lord God I’ve been lonely for far too long

And then you saved me

Brought me out of that misery

 

Lord you gave me

Everything a man could ever want

Lord you gave me

Everything a man could ever need

My wife & family

And forgiveness beyond my wildest dreams

 

And now I’m home Lord

Home in your Kingdom where I belong

Yes I’m home Lord

In your Kingdom where I belong

Now won’t you help me

To find some others who are lost along the way?

 

Lord won’t you save them?

Save them & show them how to get home

Lord God they’re lonely

Lonely & broken along that road

Lord won’t you save them?

Lord & bring them all back home.

 

 

 

 

Putting On Socks

Of all the things I like to take for granted

Like walking quickly

Like driving comfortably

Like standing up, or sitting down

The one thing I have really never considered

Is putting on socks

 

Such a mundane and normal task

Almost meaningless and empty

Yet when the freedom

To put on your socks and shoes is removed

I somehow feel like less of a man

Stinking hamstring, we were such great allies

 

Until last night,

Last night when you decided you needed a break

Literally a break

A brief flash of agony

A dull ominous, threatening ache followed

And now we wrestle with the future, and putting on socks.

 

 

Oh happy happy joy joy, I’ll be seeing a lot of medical folks for the next couple of weeks after my hamstring went out playing softball last night. There’s a first time for everything, but some things I could quite happily skip. I hope your Monday was more comfortable than mine.

 

Hotter n Hell 2013

Ok, so I wrote this about a month ago & then forgot to post it, so here is my account of a very long bike ride. Strange side note, I’ve not go on by bike since that day, I need to rectify that soon!

 

August 24 2013 I rode 102 miles on my bicycle in the name of , well, it seemed like a good idea at the time J

 

I had intended to write about this before, but apparently I keep forgetting.

 

The event is the Hotter n Hell 100, it is held annually in Wichita Falls, TX. It is the largest organized bike ride in the USA & if there is a bigger one anywhere else in the world, well, let me know because I want to go.

The day started early, my alarm went off at 03:30, I didn’t sleep particularly well the night before, partly because I hadn’t slept well the entire month of August & partly because I never sleep well when I know I have to get up early & go somewhere, it’s a really annoying trait that I have no control over.

The drive from my house to the ride was exactly 100 miles & completely uneventful. They had reworked the check in process from when I rode previously in 2010 & it was quick & smooth. I was back in my car at 0600 trying to eat cold spaghetti for breakfast, not easy but it was a good choice!

The official number of entrants in this year’s ride was 11,196. Over eleven thousand people on bikes, I told you it was big. Like the check in, they reworked the start & it was much more efficient than when I rode the 100 km ride in 2010. They had the riders divided by distance & for the 100 milers estimated ride time. They then held each wave a few minutes so that when it was time to go, you could actually ride instead of walking with the bike for 10 minutes like I had to in 2010.

After the pleasantly smooth start I got comfortable & tagged on the back of a line or riders working their way through the crowd.  This went well for about 7 miles until I saw the first wreck of the day. Some poor guy looked in a bad way on his side. Cops & paramedics were in attendance & everyone was very respectful 7 responsible getting around it. Unfortunately this decimated the line I was on & so I was making my own way for a while. Somewhere at around 20 miles I latch onto the back of a couple of guys & over the next 18 miles that turned into quite the line, we were averaging around 25 mph which made for some great progress.

Prior to the ride I was more than a little concern about my ability to complete the full 100 miles, my preparation had been ok, but not as good as I had intended. So when at 30 miles in I felt stronger than I ever have on one of these rides I was pretty happy.

The group I was riding with kept going strong, unfortunately at around mile 38 after we had made the turn back east, I couldn’t hold the pace anymore. We were headed very slightly uphill & had a wind coming at us out of the southeast, it wasn’t by much, maybe 1 mph but they started to slowly pull away from me. I could have stepped on the pedals & kept up for a while, but this was mile 38 of 102, this was not about keeping up, even if their draft made riding easier, this was about leg preservation for the task ahead.

I took my first rest stop at around 55 miles in, which is the longest I’ve gone without a break. I was out of liquids at this point & also needed to stretch my legs. The rest stop was great, well stocked with food & drinks, iced watermelon is especially good on a bike ride. The folks manning the rest stop were really friendly too, its little things like that that can really make a difference to your ride experience.

Soon it was time to get going again, the sun was coming up strong, but it wasn’t too hot (yet). The next 20 miles were fairly uneventful, I should have written this closer to the ride so I could have been more details. I do recall that my left knee was painfully stiff when I started pedaling again, fortunately that was only brief. By my next stop at 75 miles I really felt like I was on a long ride, I felt good, but the thought of another 27 miles, or more importantly, 2 hours more riding, was a little daunting.

I left the pleasant shade of the rest stop & headed out again, by mile 80 I was feeling pretty tired, the heat was getting up there and I could not get comfortable on my bike anymore.  Pushing on, but fidgeting on the bike so much that I kept losing momentum. I decided to stop at the next rest stop just to get my head right. I forced myself to drink some pickle juice too, I can’t stand the stuff but it is supposed to be the best thing for cramps which I felt starting to creep in. I hated it, but it did the job. I set out once more determined just to survive to the end.

By this time in the day the sun was high & hot, my speed was dropping & I was doing constant calculations in my mind as to how much more time I had to ride base don various average speed scenarios. You could say that I was ready to be done. One of the most difficult points was at 90 miles, you would think that would have been a good milestone, but realizing that I’d gone 90 miles & there were still 12 to go was rough. The ride is supposed to be 100 miles, but I had researched it in advance & from what I saw I actually thought it was going to be 103.

By mile 95 I was running on instinct alone, my legs were shredded & I was so hot, it felt like my neck was swelling. I knew I could finish the ride, but it was going to be hell doing it, there was no way I was about to quit though. I had gone straight through the last rest stop, not wanting to delay finishing any more. However at mile 96 was the final rest stop, I decided to stop just to try & cool off. They had some paper towels that were being stored in ice water, I grabbed a few, put them on my head & around my neck.  I only stopped for 5 minutes, but they were 5 of the smarted minutes of my life.

I set back out for the final 6 miles & I felt like a new man, my core temp must have gone through the roof because having cooled off I was flying again. I could barely get up to 15mph before I stopped, now I was up over 20 again. It was going great, I was flying towards the finish & then while we were going up a bridge on the highway to get into downtown, my chain dropped. I had to get off to free it up again, ordinarily I can do it on the move, but this was uphill & 100 miles into the ride, my brain was going slow. So that sucked, but it could have been worse. I quickly got going again & then finally crossed the finishing line, completely & utterly exhausted.

The finish line area is crazy. Once you cross the line you are given you medal, there are photographers there & a mass of people trying to sell you things. Food vendors beers stands all kinds of things, you can make a day of it if you want to. Personally all I wanted to do was get back to my car, I didn’t want to eat, I certainly didn’t want a beer & I didn’t want to be around people anymore. Once I got back to the care, I put the bike up, did some stretching & then sat in glorious air conditioning drinking my recovery drink. When I called my wife to let her know I was still alive, my speech was so slurred she could have been forgiven for thinking I’d been drinking the whole time, not bike riding. After 20+ minutes of cooling off, gathering myself & deciding if I was ready to eat or not (I wasn’t), I headed home, 100 more miles, this time in the car, but still, when are they going to invent teleportation?

All in all it was a great event, I met the challenge I set myself, crossed this off the bucket list & although it was monstrously difficult towards the end, I really enjoyed myself. Will I ride it again next year? That depends on how my cycling season goes. I will never ride this again in the condition I was this year, which is pretty good condition! I will only attempt 100 miles again if I have really prepared for it & if I am confident of finishing in 5.5 hours or less. It is not the distance that got to me so much as the amount of time it took to do it. I didn’t need anything to give me anymore respect for pro cyclists than I already have, but the notion that they would do that ride, literally twice as fast as I did, then be able to hit a sprint finish at speed that I can only get close to on a downhill with a tail wind, really just blows my mind. It’s probably a good thing I move freight for a living, not ride a bike.

 

 

Full stats from the Hotter N Hell 100. Without doubt the most difficult physical undertaking for a single day in my life.

Distance: 102.04 mi
Total Time: 6:26:00
Moving Time: 5:43:49
Avg Moving Speed: 17.8 mph
Max Speed: 32.0 mph
Avg Speed: 15.9 mph

Calories: 3,266 C
Avg HR: 153 bpm
Max HR: 172 bpm

Elevation Gain: 1,385 ft
Elevation Loss: 1,375 ft
Min Elevation: 881 ft
Max Elevation: 1,199 ft

Avg Temperature: 87.8 °F
Min Temperature: 68.0 °F
Max Temperature: 114.8 °F – pretty sure this is not accurate, it just felt like it, my Garmin must have felt the same way I did

 

HHH Start

 

HHH Elev HHH HR HHH temp HHH timing 2 HHH Timing