1,000 Miles in 75 Days: Patience, Pedaling and Persistence

The Long and Unwinding, Hilly Road
The Long, Unwinding, Hilly Road… to Lovely Manor, Texas

    Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

-Calvin Coolidge

     1,000 miles:  that’s how far my GPS app Strava tells me that I have bicycled in 2016 as of March 15.  Not too shabby, if you ask me.  If you’ve been reading this blog since the beginning (if you haven’t, you really ought to!), you know my first words were 3,000 miles.  That is the distance I estimated biking in 2015.  (Truth be told it was probably closer to 3,500, but that was pre-Strava.)  So with 20% of the year gone, I’ve already achieved 25% of my goal of 4,000.  At this pace, I will reach 5,000 miles.  Whatever number I reach, I’m on track (so to speak) to bike pretty damn far for me.

You might be asking yourself, “Why?”  Sometimes I do too.  Why not?  Because I can?  It’s a challenge?  Fun?  For health and fitness?  A bet with a buddy?  Stress reduction?  For a good cause like the Hill Country Ride for AIDS?  To impress the ladeez?  Well, all of the above are true.  (Although I can tell you the last reason is not working yet.)

Certainly it’s a big investment of time and energy.  Since I’m still car-free so far, if I want to go anywhere, I may as well bike.  The bus is good for long hauls when I don’t have the energy or want to show up sweaty, or in the cold and rain, but it’s really slow.  So am I, but sometimes I can beat it with all the stops, transfers and waiting.  I’m still basically just a commuter who’s adding miles especially on the weekend warrior mileage thrown in.  Yet I persist.  And while I often pay for my mileage in pain and suffering, it’s a very good feeling to be persistent.

Energy and persistence conquer all things.

-Benjamin Franklin?

A Dude and Julie
Julie’s Hill Country Ride for AIDS jersey says: Easy on the Eyes, Hell on the Thighs!

There’s Persistence, and Then There’s Laurence

A Dude keeps on pedaling, but let me tell you about an even awesomer example of persistence.  At the latest HCRA Joy Ride, I met Laurence.  He:  has a Ph.d. in creative education, worked with people with autism, made a documentary of one amazing virtually-blind autistic artist, is a long-time tennis player (71 years, to be exact — with a buncha titles and trophies to his name too), has been married 56 years (to the same woman!), and is a representative for Shaklee nutrition, to which he credits alot of his vitality and longevity.  A friend told me the next day that she and her husband are members of his fan club!

After sharing some snacks and dropping some knowledge on myself and fellow rider Julie, he waited for me after the ride for a nature break and we rode to his tennis center.  There, he was received like Bjorn Borg.  Here’s a shot of Laurence and A Dude:

Laurence and A Dude.jpg
Two persistent S.O.B.’s (Seriously on Bikes)

Another interesting fact about Laurence:  He also happens to be an octogenarian (that’s 80 years old to you non-Latin scholars).  Each of the last four years of the HCRA he’s gone 70 miles.  This year, he hopes to bike 90 miles.  Did I mention he’s had a double hip replacement?  What?!  Are you freakin’ kidding me? you may be shouting at A Dude’s blog.  Yes, you read that correctly.  At 80 years young, he will be biking 90 miles in 10 hours with bionic hips and a Shaklee shake.  This guy obviously invented the recipe for Awesome Sauce.  Or maybe he’s the replacement actor for The Most Interesting Man in the World.

This is one reason A Dude has a blog:  to meet cool people and tell my tens of readers about them.

The art of love is largely the art of persistence.

-Albert Ellis

HCRA Joy Ride #3

My training for this event continues — or should I say persists — with mostly 100 mile weeks.  Saturday’s ride was 43.5 miles total, with 28 of that being the actual group event to lovely Manor, Texas.  Most of it was on the very enjoyable Southern Walnut Creek Trail.  It was one of those beautiful mornings after a rain — crisp cool temperature, clean air and bright sunlight.  To not be out on a bike or walk or something would have been criminal.  But the trail does not lend itself to chats, so it was an opportunity to pedal in silence for the most part.  For a while I accompanied another team member who had not been out on a bike all year.  While the rider did well and once back in form will likely ride right by me, on this day it was nice for me to see my training has paid off and to have the chance to be supportive.

After parting ways with Laurence at the tennis center, I found I had a slow leak.  I had followed him up the narrow, ascending shoulder of Airport Boulevard, which he fearlessly took despite it basically being a highway.  So I limped on over to one of my long-time bike shops, The Peddler.  I replaced the flat myself and verified there wasn’t anything wrong with one of the nice guys in the shop.  I’d just been unlucky after just riding through some debris.  Later in the week I went to Yellow Bike Project and spent several hours thoroughly cleaning up the mud my bike had accrued and got a new chain.  Now my Fuji Silhouette rides like buttah.  Mmm, butter…

HCRA Joy Ride #3 mid-way pic.jpg
Some Hill Country Ride for AIDS Joy Riders at the top of the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. Some of us kept going to Manor, Texas and back.  Because it’s Manor, Texas, so the back part is key.

Leading up to the HCRA, I hope to build strength, speed and stamina and also raise the requisite $500+.  To donate, email me at ADudeABikes AT gmail.

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience.

Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.

-Hal Borland

P.S.  This blog has 1,000 words.

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