Archive for September, 2011

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man – Heraclitus

Comparisons are inevitable.  Our mind feels the need to understand the difference between our results, our toys, our love lives and those we know or used to know and our adjusted expectation.  Despite our certainty of the juxtaposition, we always bring our own bias and an objective comparison is rare.

Cut jagged by emotion, how we connect the dots is at best jaded and at worst horribly flawed.

Every time we enter the river it is new – we are new as well.  With this opportunity you can recreate yourself, events and relationships or by understanding that the same holds true for others, you can begin each conversation, perhaps each interaction, anew.

Life has been all about having more fun.  The adventure this weekend was remarkably close, yet…

To that end, Elaine and I raced the Urban Assault Ride in Charlotte this past weekend.

Here’s how it works: You and your teammate set out on a city-wide quest for ‘checkpoints’ on your favorite two-wheeled machine.  At each checkpoint, you drop your bikes and complete a funky/adventurous obstacle course, then you remount bike and hit the streets for more.

The goal is to complete all the checkpoints in the shortest amount of time. You choose your own route and checkpoint order. This means that the most clever are often the victors.

Our friend Doug Ruwe, an Urban Assault veteran, laid out our course for us and gave us the skinny as to how to make this work.  And, this was amazingly helpful until we missed the very first turn and then improvised the rest of the day – leveraging the previously aforementioned advice.

Elaine and I laughed through the first miscue and followed a small group to the first stop.  This is where she jumped on the handlebars as we cruised around the parking lot on a BMX bike grabbing two flags and collecting our ‘bead’ for our necklace to prove that we made stop #1.

Note to self – a cyclocross bike would have been slightly better than a road bike for some of the terrain.

Stop #2 came after a winding trip through some of the nicest neighborhoods in Charlotte.  At the Mint I donned a large pair of hiking boots with a piece of inner tube attached to both and used my ‘slingshot’ to fling old shoes at Elaine, standing in a hula hoop, about 30 feet away.  Her job was to catch them in a basket.  The first one made it about 5 feet; however, the second hit her straight in the chest at Mach V.  It knocked her out of the hoop, but, no kidding, she didn’t even complain.  Ahhh…after adjusting to launch them up in the air, she quickly caught two.  Upon collecting bead #2 we were off.

Stacking blocks on a sledding disk preceded the big wheel course.  The big wheels are serious fun and this should have lasted much longer.  Three wheel skids through each turn and a final spin out at the finish had everyone roaring.  Four beads down and one to go.

Seriously lost for a few blocks downtown, we finally found the art museum for the mystery stop and then we hauled it out to Ray’s Splash Planet.  We went here last as we were expecting to have to dive in to the pool and retrieve beer.  Instead, we arrived and saw a field with about 6 cones arranged in a row and an ambulance in the parking lot.  Yeah, seriously, a guy had just broken his shoulder minutes before we arrived.  Perhaps we should have paid attention.

This photo may help, but the idea is that one person holds on to the handles on the wheel, while the second lifts the legs and you create a human wheelbarrow.

Elaine held the wheel while I tried to lift her which is remarkably difficult to do both at the same time.  We switched places and she tried to lift my goon size legs, but at least she figured out that to keep balance you have to grab both legs together at the same time.  Before switching yet again, she reminded me that she needed to crash on her left side – not the right hip.  We quickly got rolling and headed to the first cone and 180 degree turn.  After dodging three or four cones, just two from the end, we rolled into a deep pothole hidden by the grass and the wheel stopped.  Unfortunately, Elaine did not and we drove her left shoulder into the ground.  We both rolled and tumbled.

It was immediately obvious that she was seriously hurt.  It was also obvious that this girl is tough.  I waved over the EMT tending to the previous victim and we got her into the ambulance.  A giant logistic nightmare ensued to get her to the hospital with the bikes and me to the truck to collect her insurance card and such to meet her at the hospital.

Seven hours later (literally seven hours later) we left with the diagnosis of a fractured left humerus (the bone between shoulder and elbow) at her lesser tuberosity.  No, it was not funny.

Describing the whole experience, at least ten times, to the various medical staff, she smiled each time and said it was fun and that she would do it again.  So would I.  Next time we want more fun and lesser tuberosity.

Perspective

per·spec·tive noun /pərˈspektiv/

The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point

a perspective

  • A picture drawn in such a way, esp. one appearing to enlarge or extend the actual space, or to give the effect of distance
  • The relation of two figures in the same plane, such that pairs of corresponding points lie on concurrent lines, and corresponding lines meet in collinear points
  • A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view
  • True understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion
    • – we must keep a sense of perspective about what he’s done

The past two months have been amazing for gaining a proper perspective of and for my life.  Many friends have asked, “where have you been?”  The truth is, I have been on vacation from old habits, serious training, DELTA TriathlonIOSDT, and my blog.  But, I have been present – present in the moment.

It has been a very long time since I have slept in on Saturday, fully enjoyed the company of someone I love, and thought about someone besides myself.  I am much looking forward to Ray Lamontagne reminding us to Be Here Now with Elaine and my sons.

Looking at oneself is very cathartic; yet, impossible without a reflective view.  I highly recommend occasionally stepping back from all of the things which consume your time and attention and make sure this is where you really want to be. Enlist someone you trust – as I do Elaine – to tell you the truth.  With this and some internal calisthenics, I have rebalanced and reloaded for the next phase of my life.  I have found a moment of clarity.