A hiccup over running a hick over

By Christopher Cudworth

28681777Yesterday a black SUV-Jeeplike thingy came within 10 inches of striking me on the bike. The buzz was clearly intentional as the engine was also roaring with acceleration as the vehicle passed. 

I get the whole “hate cyclists” thing. I really do. There are times when I get angry at where cyclists choose to ride on the road. But rather than run them down, I want to get out and help them better understand how to ride single file on busy, narrow roads. It’s not hard. 

At the same time we all wish people better knew how to separate hazards while driving on the road. This scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles illustrates the worst case scenario.That moment when Steve Martin realizes they really are driving the “wrong way” is classic. Not only are they going the wrong way, they completely fail to separate hazards on the road! In fact they pile right between two trucks. 

The scary thing about that clip is that it isn’t far from the truth with many people. Rather than think ahead to an approaching situation they bear down on and barrel through expecting the “other guy” to make room. The ability to separate hazards seems to have been forgotten since Driver’s Ed class. 

Either people just don’t care how they drive, or think they know better how to drive, or they use the road as their personal palette for expression of all sorts of emotions. 

Primal scream

It’s no small truth the fear poor driving decisions can create. When the SUV-Jeep Like Thingy buzzed me I screamed obscenities aloud. The aggression was disturbing. But not surprising. 

Because I’ve seen it so many times before. The Cultural Divide. That space between liberal society where resources are shared and the segment that believes “I’ve got mine so get out of the way” has gotten broader and wider. 

There are reasons. Cyclists and runners and swimmers tend to be an urban or suburban bunch. Not necessarily liberal, mind you, other than the fact that they believe sharing the road is generally a good thing. 

But just try riding your bike on rural roads where pickup trucks rule and people don’t really want to see your lycra kit with pretty patterns on it. Never mind the shaved legs and all.  It’s a Cultural Divide. 

Other worlds

Gander_HuntingWhich is why it’s quite interesting for a cyclist and runner and swimmer like me to step into a store like Gander Mountain where the Cultural Divide would appear to be on full display. 

Now for some background: I grew up as a hick kid. There’s still a lot of hick in me to this day. It has been swept over to the liberal side in the sense that I’m a birder and an environmentalist. I’m only a casual fisherman these days, and not anti-hunting. By my roots come from fishing, hunting and knocking around the woods getting dirty. 

All that backwoods stuff kept my worldview rather earthy all the way through my teens. My parents were farmers and I grew up kicking shit around a barn in Upstate New York.

When we moved to Illinois I still went to school with farm kids at a little high school in the cornfields. Yet many of my classmates were also from wealthy families recently moved to the country from the city of Chicago. And one day while standing there in the middle of the football field waiting for my turn to do the long jump, one of my track teammates walked up to me and said this: “Cudworth, you’re a hayseed.” 

And in many ways, he was right. I still preferred knocking around the woods to experimenting with the urban habits of some of my classmates, which notably included powerful bongs and street drugs. Here’s the funny truth: I was a hick athlete who didn’t want to try any of that stuff.  

Didn’t even have my first beer until I was a junior in high school. Can still recall the harsh rip of cold Stroh’s beer going down my throat. Then another. Then we were running around outside stupid and drunk as kids will do. 

But it didn’t make me any smarter. Or sophisticated. 

Sense of wonder

Great horned owl, acrylic on board. 11" X 14". 2013.

Great horned owl painting by Christopher Cudworth, acrylic on board. 11″ X 14″. 2013.

As the years went by my hickdom transmogrified. In college I still spent hours hiking the backwoods of Decorah, Iowa. Those wild hills were so beautiful and mysterious I began to write about them as well as paint the wildlife I saw day in and day out. That’s where I built on my sense of wonder at nature. 

So I was still a hick of sorts. 

That brand of hickdom has not entirely left my soul. I still love the outdoors. Camping. Riding trails. Running fields. 

The country brand

However I’m not a hick in the sense that I love country music, dress in camouflage and drive a pickup. That seems to be the message of how to behave when you shop at Gander Mountain.

To me that all feels like affectation. It has nothing to do with any of the experiences I had on the farm growing up. When I went fishing with my brothers in the Susquehanna River near Bainbridge, we sang Beatles songs to each other. Even a song snippet from the Revolver album was enough to make us smile. 

Though we spent hours in the field, none of my birding buddies ever liked country music. In fact my best mentor in the field was a biology teacher with a sophisticated grasp of music and a beautiful voice. He sang in church, a fact I did not learn until his funeral. Then it made me cry. Most of what I learned from him in the field, other than new bird species, was a great library of dirty jokes. 

Hick factors

So I suppose there’s a real gap of sorts when it comes to interests and tastes. And perhaps there’s more than one kind of hick in this world. Or hayseed. Whatever you want to call it. I’m one still. I admit it. 

I still find it disturbing to go shopping at Gander Mountain and be subjected to that brand of music that seems so regressively dim-witted. The twang and harangue, you might call it, rife with that ugly brand of false patriotism that confuses God and country so easily. As far as I’m concerned, America is only exceptional in one way: a segment of our population has always fought for individual equality in terms of race, gender and orientation. To me that’s the purpose of the Constitution and all it’s Amendments, plain and simple. 

One cannot make generalisms about whether that’s true with Gander Mountain customers or night. Fishing and hunting obviously attract diversity. Outdoor sports are enjoyed by blacks and Asians and Indians and other Indians as well. 

It does make me wonder; if country music and camouflage seem to be the dog-whistle hallmarks for outdoor sports like hunting and fishing, what is the music and symbol for those of us in the more urban sports of running, riding and swimming? 

No better symbols

8-devil-guy-crazy-tour-de-france-fansMy companion noted that we’re no better than anyone else when it comes to cloying self-identification. “We have our ovals and logos just like everyone else.”

She’s right. We proclaim our identities one way or another. 

Which probably doesn’t help the road wars any. When it comes to identities, the human race is always measuring each other up as “the other” in an attempt to grab some social advantage. Some argue that’s the entire enterprise of politics. Those who succeed in getting elected artfully pit one group of people against another to earn votes. They leave the divides intact in time for the next election. Then they add more fuel to the fire. That’s how America got where it is today. We’ve allowed ourselves to be duped into fighting with each other while the politicians and wealthy oligarchs gobble up the money. 

It has made the world a much harsher place. 

Humanity

One wonders however, if at that moment when a driver actually or accidentally strikes a cyclist or pedestrian out of aggression, if there isn’t at least some shock of recognition and hiccup of humanity that runs through them after they’ve just run over another human being. 

The blood is just like their own. The limbs. The exposed bone. The lurching breaths and pain. The ambulance and the lights and the gathering crowd. This is it. You’ve done it now. The anger makes no sense even after the point is made. Suddenly The Other is one and the same. 

And any other viewpoint is a crying shame. 

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Running around the sport of golf

By Christopher Cudworth

Sue and Chris on golf courseA friend of mine once said to me, “I love golf, but I hate golfers.”

When asked what he meant by that, he explained that the sanctimoniousness of golfers was what bothered him. 

In case you need a definition of that word, here it is:  sanctimonious; holier-than-thou: making an exaggerated show of holiness or moral superiority.

As a person with a lifelong affiliation with golf thanks to a father who absolutely loved the game, I grew up around golf courses and golfers and agree there can be a certain trifling reverence for golf that perhaps it does not deserve.

I lived next to the Meadia Heights Golf Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania from the ages of 5-12. Of course I wound up golf caddying at a very early age. It was horrid. What joy is there in lugging the bag of a golfer around a hot golf course? The money was good I guess, but to me it always felt like four hours of hell. Listening to golfers mutter about their previous shot or the upcoming attempt to hit the ball near the hole never fascinated me. It was only when the movie Caddyshack came out that most of us who suffered through caddying and hated it felt vindicated in any way. This exchange alone describes everything you need to know about caddying. 

Carl Spackler: So I jump ship in Hong Kong and I make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas.

Angie D’Annunzio: A looper?

Carl Spackler: A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

Caddy cred

As this story indicates, it was a caddy’s job to guide the golfer in all those respects. Later in life I even took to a business journal and defended the caddy for Tiger Woods who took credit for some of his success. Pro golfers shouted the caddy down, but it is hard to argue that there was not some relationship between the discipline the caddy brought to his craft considering the lack of titles Woods won after he cut the caddy from his employ. There’s more to golf than hitting the ball, it seems. Yes, we all know how pro golfers spend time on the range and handle pressure. But that’s their job. Dissing someone who helps you do it better is no way to show true character. 

Something in me always bristled at the sense of entitlement shown by so many golfers. Some golfers barely acknowledged their caddies during the rounds I carried. In the caddy house it was always known who amongst the club members were “good guys” and who were not. The dour, red-faced jerk who could barely look you in the eye might have been a profound success in business, but that didn’t change our attitude towards him on the golf course. Of course some of that might have been anxiety borne from being a poor golfer. No one likes to admit that.

Golf cheaters

To avoid the shame and save face some golfers even resort to cheating. One of my former bosses was a great cheater. He fudged his scores and could be seen using the foot wedge to get out of tight spots when his errants shots wound up in the rough or worse. We all had to bite our tongues while filling out the scorecard. His 8s magically transformed into a 6 on a regular basis. He was petulantly defensive in other areas of his life as well. Which proves that golf often is a masterful reflection of one’s true character.

It was amusing but distracting to play with players who got so angry at their game they lost control. During one outing with some other businessmen we were treated to a constant stream of blue language by a man who owned a local printing company. His cursing took off like a flock of birds after every shot he hit. After a while one of the other players in our foursome drifted over to my side and said, “Printing must be a tough business.” 

Golfing social

Golf is a social game, I will grant you that. With no real degree of physical effort involved, other than swinging the club and walking back and forth to the cart or from hole to hole, players are free to banter and jest if they feel like it. Many drink or smoke or flirt with the cart girls if they can. 

Women golfers have had to struggle for respect in the predominantly male sport of golf. Recently one of the leading golf magazines featured only its second woman on its cover. She was the hot wife of a pro golfer, not an actual player. So sexism rules supreme in the sport of golf. Even pro women golfers must consistently deal with the emphasis of looks over ability. Cute blonde golfers with nice legs, short skirts and perky breasts get plenty of TV coverage. So there’s even a racial tinge to the enterprise of women’s golf. 

Running around like golfers

Contrast all this with the evolving premise of the sport of running, where fully half the participants in major marathons and other running events are women. Sure, there’s still fascination with looks in all sorts of sports, but the equality that comes with the “open road” and getting your ass visibly kicked has taught plenty of men to respect their female counterparts in endurance sports. 

There are other factors of equality as well. The daily involvement in running has a far lower economic threshold than does golf, where equipment, course fees and other costs make it prohibitive to participate. 

Indeed, golf as a sport in America is somewhat hurting right now, at least at the local level. There are so many golf courses and not enough people willing to play them all. Course fees are high as a rule, averaging $36 for a round of 18 holes according to Golfsmith.com. Even Dick’s Sporting goods recently released the entourage of golf professionals hired to staff their golf equipment departments. The demand simply wasn’t there. 

That’s not to say that the sport of running is cheap, either. Entry fees even for 5K races now top $30 on a regular basis. Half marathons, marathons and ultra-distance events cost even more, often topping $100. Triathlons can cost hundreds of dollars. 

But that’s only if you choose to compete in races or events. Millions of men and women run or ride without participating in paid events. That’s the biggest difference between a sport like golf and an activity like running. Even a day at the golf range costs you money, and it’s not much fun chipping golf balls around a local park. In many places it is discouraged due to the divots and the possibility of striking a resident with an errant golf ball. 

Fore!

Liability and litigiousness of that nature has evolved to the point where runners are no longer welcome on either public or private courses. The way golf courses figure it, there is enough risk that paying customers will get hit by wayward golf balls. Why accept the risk that some runner could get hit when they haven’t even paid to be on the course? 

The risks of getting hit by bad golf shots are genuine because frankly, most people who play golf are actually pretty bad at it. Here’s a video just to make you laugh, a kid practicing his golf swing ricochets a shot off a tree and hits himself. 

It has made me sad over the years to lose the opportunity to go running on golf courses. There are very few courses that allow runners to run on their property. I learned to run long distances on that golf course in Pennsylvania where I grew up. One of my neighbors used the course to train for his long-distance running career in which he competed for Penn State and ran a 4:04 mile. 

Running courses

In high school and college our cross country meets were often held on golf courses. For years the national Division III cross country championships were held on a golf course in Wheaton, Illinois. Sure, the turf got a little torn up, mostly in areas dominated by rough, but the real damage to golf courses was always slight. 

Running down a fairway in light training flats or competing in running spikes on short grass is one of the most liberating sensations you can find in running. Crossing firm turf with a bit of give is a bit like running on an all-weather track. 

And perhaps you’re not even aware there is such a thing as Speed Golf? That’s right. There are leagues and everything. Check it out. 

Golf hazards

There are hazards to running on a golf course. I was training once on a golf course near my place in Paoli, Pennsylvania at twilight. Buzzing along on 400 meter intervals run from tee to green, I failed to see a red rope strung in front of an approaching green. My thighs hit the rope at 5:00 pace and I flipped like a button on a string pulled tight. Lying there (writhing actually) on the cool grass made me feel like I’d landed in another world. 

For a long time after college it was hard to relax while playing golf because there were so many associations with competing in meets on golf courses. My mind would go back to a race recollection and I’d be distracted for the next shot.

When I was running in golf course meets there were distractions as well. At one point during a four-mile cross country race against the University of Northern Iowa, I had grabbed the lead and was rounding a corner next to a pond. Up popped a bird known as a phalarope. As an avid birder I was so tempted to slow or stop to identify the species, which I had potentially never seen before. My desire to win the race won out over the goal of adding a new species to my life list. But it was a tossup for a second or two. And I did win the race, the only time I took a victory in college cross country. 

Improving with age?

Sue swingsAs I’ve aged my running abilities have waned a bit. My golf game however, has improved. I now shoot in the mid to high 80s on a regular basis. That’s a little better than bogey golf most days. I don’t play very often, probably 3-4 times a year. So each round is a treat. Most recently my companion and I played a pretty little golf course called Lost Nation out by Dixon, Illinois. She wore a cute little golf skirt and has a very nice swing. We had fun, then had beers and chicken wraps on the deck overlooking the first tee. 

The next morning we took a run from the cabin where we were staying and snuck out onto the golf course. Morning dew still covered the fairways and the mower guys were out buzzing the greens. We stuck to the edges of the fairway and cut across the rough, putting in three miles on the course where we’d played golf the night before. “This is wonderful,” she told me. 

My legs appreciated the soft turf. I thought back to all the times I’d run on the golf course over the years, and how I grew up wandering free and wild, sometimes chasing deer through the woods next to the course. Those feelings were such a contrast to the idea of lugging someone else’s golf bag around the course while they groused about their golf game. Perhaps that is why I still run around the sport of golf rather than take it so seriously. 

The New Golf? 

One thing golfers can thank runners for: golfing footwear is immensely improved thanks to technologies borrowed from running shoes and cycling. Golf shoes used to be little more than wing tips with cleats attached. Now golf shoes have carbon fiber soles, curved footbeds, arch support and countless other features that make better shoes for golfing. 

I have read several articles recently suggesting that running, cycling or triathlon could turn out to be the “new golf” when it comes to building connections and networking in the business world. 

That remains to be seen. It’s pretty tough to converse in any depth when you’re cycling on a windy day. It doesn’t get much better in a triathlon either. We must assume that most of the socializing and networking takes place in association with these sports rather than during the actually running, riding and swimming that takes place. 

It’s an evolving world, for sure. Let’s all go play around. 

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Running at the speed of light, or something like that, according to Strava

By Christopher Cudworth

My last run on Strava provides proof of the incredible results I've gotten from recent training.

My last run on Strava provides proof of the incredible results I’ve gotten from recent training.

I just ran 126 miles in 9 minutes and 35 seconds.

That’s an average of 4 seconds per mile.

That puts me around the world in about 14 minutes on a 354 foot elevation gain. 

Getting faster

I bet you did not know I had that kind of speed, did you? In fact I’m thinking of calling up Usain Bolt to challenge him to a 100 meter race. At the rate of 4 seconds per mile I think I can leave him pretty much in the dust. 

The training

Of course you might ask how I got this fast. Well, it took some work, I’ll tell you. Months in the weight room for starters. I also did some deep knee bends and some burpees. Those always made me faster. Just ask any junior high gym teacher. 

Changes in Diet

I also changed my diet a little bit. Mostly that involved a few more packs of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. That seems to have helped a bit. Thanks to my new diet my former training pace of 9 minutes per mile is now improved to 9 minutes per 126 miles. And that rocks. 

Secret Formula

Maybe it all started with that mix of Gatorade and Accelerade I accidentally created earlier this summer. With a water bottle half full of Accelerade, I dumped a bit of Gatorade in there and man was that must have been a powerful bit of drinkee-poo. Because look at me now. 

The Right Gear

The only problem with running as fast as I do now is keeping my clothes on, In fact by the time I finished the last few miles of my 126 mile run at just over 4 seconds per mile, I would up completely naked. Clothes just dissipate in that kind of wind, and your skin stretches a little. So it’s important to use lotion when you’re all done to help your epidermis snap back into shape.

Fortunately people can’t even see you when you’re moving several hundred miles an hour. Makes you feel like a real superhero. 

Agility and Speed

Another problem running at that pace is how to avoid running into things. You have to learn to look ahead a little, like an entire county at a time. You have to know the terrain pretty well overall, and stay off the main roads because some motorists just freak when they figure out there’s someone actually running much faster than they can drive. It upsets the whole power balance of the road hierarchy, you see. How can drivers claim to be King and Queen of the roads when their precious vehicles are outmatched by someone hurtling by them on foot?

God Forbid I should ever ride my bike that fast. Their heads would explode in jealously and rage. 

Cross Training

In truth I am considering the idea of applying my newfound speed in a cross country trip by bike. If I can double my speed by using a bike that would put me at 2 seconds per mile. At that rate I could cross the country in a oretty decent time. Indiana and Ohio would not seem so boring.

Perhaps I can even afford to lose a second or so per mile by carrying packages or delivering drugs. Might as well make money with all this speed. 

Increased Volume

Anyhoo, I hope you’re impressed with the results of my training this past few months. Obviously at these speeds my training volume has had to increase quite a bit. I’m now running 1000 miles a week, which means quite a few pairs of running shoes have bitten the dust these last few months. Fortunately because of my forefoot strike and rapid cadence I can essentially wear the cheap shoes that cost less than $100. 

Yes, it goes to prove that a few tweaks in diet, training and raw speed can work wonders. I’m planning to do a duathlon this coming weekend. I hope to finish in under a minute. That should win my age group. I might even have a shot at the overall. And at my age, that’s saying something. 

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Running and riding in the crack between the worlds

By Christopher Cudworth

Crack Between the WorldsIn my early 20s I stumbled into reading The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. If you have not read the books, which include The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge; A Separate Reality; and Journey to Ixtlanthen here’s a quick primer on what they are about. 

1. A man becomes an “apprentice” to a demanding shaman

2. His experiences immediately begin to shift his conception of life and material existence

3. He discovers the notion of multiple realities

4. He almost loses his mind several times out of fear

5. He vacillates between how he is called to live and his capability to conceive it

That’s a dry take on a series of books that seriously mess with your mind. The whole idea that there are multiple realities becomes tempting to believe. In fact you believe it while you are reading it. When you step away from the books, the world feels funny. You wonder if you know what you think you know. 

There are people who question the verity of research that led to the writing of Castaneda’s work. He owns a Ph.D. thanks to his research, but some wonder if it all wasn’t the product of an amazing and active imagination. 

While reading those books back in the early 1980s, I was also running 80-100 miles a week on a regular basis. My goal was to become the best runner possible. It felt a bit like entering a separate reality. 

SkiesLooking back now, I realize it all could have been done a bit differently. There was no reason to run full time as I tried to do. My true ability did not really merit that level of commitment for a year. Yet you have to understand the psychology of both the period and of the person to know why people do such things.

Perhaps the one thing I needed to do was get that whole serious running thing out of my system. It was a catharsis of sorts, and it had its successes.

Now when I run it is possible to cover some of the same ground I did back then and review the memory of what it was like to race at top speed across the same ground. In some respects it feels like an entirely different person did those things. In other respects I can still feel the tension of having someone tracking in my footsteps at 5:00 pace. The fear and joy mix freely in those moments, much like they do in the books by Carlos Castaneda. 

It is therefore true to some extent that those of us who run and ride do live in a separate reality. We are our own shaman on this trek through pain, suffering and exhilaration. We breathe deeply like a yoga student. We move through sun and fog and rain and heat, cold and snow and wind and darkness. All are paths to transcendence if we allow them to be, and are purposeful, with intent, and willing to learn from the experience. 

Now that I’ve added cycling and to some extent swimming to the litany of workouts, there are even more moments where it is possible to flirt with the crack between the worlds, that place where enlightenment suddenly opens up, or we confront our fears. 

Just this weekend on a descent on a winding road through the hills west of Madison, Wisconsin, I confronted all my fears in a single second. Flying downhill at 40 miles per hour, the tension between control and freedom was nearly broken. My bike tires shuddered on the rough road, recalling the difficult moment when bike wobble took me down on a similar road 20 miles west in Dodgeville. 

Pulling out of that turn with knees clamped to the center bar was like facing mortality in all its forms. That night while sleeping in our tent I awoke to the keen sense that a real risk had been faced down. I’d used good judgment yes. At the same time that shuddering moment was meant to tell me something. I lay there in the tent mining that memory for its significance.

Smooth WaterThere is no dishonor in accepting your latent mortality. Perhaps it is true that to truly live it pays to understand what it means to come close to death. After all, once you’re dead it lasts a really long time. As the years go by this separate reality takes on more significance. We understand, if we are wise, that there is a tomorrow, but not forever. Or else we understand that there is a forever, but we hope it’s not tomorrow. 

Those are tricky philosophical questions. Maybe you don’t spend your time thinking about these things. 

But I went to bed last night asking for some insight from the cosmos and this is what popped into my brain at 4:30 in the morning. “Make a happy proclamation about something weak.”

There is great understanding that comes from understanding and embracing our weaknesses. That is what the apprentice learned from The Teachings of Don Juan. You cannot call the proper strength to your aid unless you know where you are the weakest. Some people enlist those strengths from outside their being. Others submerge, delving into their own emotions and the creature they have become in order to imagine a new being. The one you must become. The one calling you from outside your own reality. It can be so hard to discern, even harder to trust. Some of us enlist our friends or other guides to help us on that journey. It is both our own and that we share. The interface. The crack between the worlds. 

SwimmersWhat an amazing principle for us to embrace in our running, riding and swimming. Sometimes it’s not your strength that holds you in place and opens new realities. Often it is that crack between the worlds where your weaknesses threaten to bring you down that gives you the greatest enlightenment. That moment when you’re just about out of pedal power at the reach of a long climb, yet you persist from within and the habits of thought and all that you think you are seem to dissolve.

Or that moment when you round the corner on the last of a hard set of intervals and you’re not just willing yourself to run, you’re moving through pain and yet it vanishes. Or that swimmer entering a lake where there are no lanes, just buoys and the sun on the back. You move in the crack between two worlds. 

It’s where we exist. It is also where we cease to exist, and become something else entirely. It can be hard to come back to reality once you’ve known that world. 

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Announcing the Not So Official We Run and Ride Fall Racing Series

By Christopher Cudworth

Due to the fact that We Run and Ride has made so much money from this blog we feel guilty to the core, we will be sponsoring a brand new racing series for all those who Run, Ride or Swim. 

All entry fees to these races will be waived to the extreme largesse of the sponsors, which are absent. The only criteria for entry is that you have to put up with the conditions and terms of the race as named and certified. 

So here goes. Go ahead and choose your favorite. 

August 16, 2014

The No Saddle Criterium Race Series

All entrants must remove their bike saddle for this series of bike races to be held in a really ugly industrial park with no traffic control. Bike racers may use duct tape to cover the top of the seat stem, and neoprene wetsuits are legal to prevent punctures of the sphincter. Other than that, have fun standing up on the pedals for 30-minutes plus. 

August 17, 2014

The Freeze Your Knees Lake Michigan Swim

Due to the Polar Vortex in the Midwest, the waters of Lake Michigan never warmed up this year. This year’s one-time Freeze Your Knees event will feature the opportunity to swim in 60-degree water without a wetsuit. It is recommended that you wade in up to your knees like most non-committal swimmers and stand there for a while deciding whether it’s really worth getting your crotch wet in water so cold. Then shake your hands in the water, walk back up the beach and lay in the last bits of summer sun, thinking better of the whole enterprise. That’s how most sane people approach swimming in the lake this summer. 

August 23, 2014

The I Don’t Have $65 to Spare Bandit Half Marathon

In celebration of the fact that the 1% have effectively made off with most of the wealth in North America, this race will allow you to bounce checks, overdraft your debit card or pass along phoney money as the entry fees. Then you can line up guilt-free without a number or race chip and flip the bird to the official photographer if you actually make it to the finish line. 

August 24, 2014

The Ferguson Missouri Militarized SWAT Force Cyclefest

There’s nothing like running a gauntlet to make your racing a bit more exciting. This first-time event features the opportunity to ride your bike through squadrons of heavily armed police. The official race tee shirt will feature the slogan, “Fuck the Pigs” with a raised middle finger emblazoned over a star. Good luck trying to finish this one without being slammed to the ground, handcuffed and hauled off in a paddy wagon. They may run over your bike with a tank for good measure. So be sure to leave your Pinarello Dogma at home. 

August 25-29 2014

The All Iowa Ultra Ultra Ultra Ultra Ultra Ultra Ultra Ultra Ultra Ultra Cornstalk Marathon

Short of a few soybean fields, the state of Iowa is pretty much corn from border to border. This four-day race will feature the opportunity to see a lot of corn. Did we say you’d see a lot of corn? Because you will. And then more corn. So much corn you’ll hallucinate corn and then dream about corn on top of that. And when you’re done with hundreds of miles of running through corn, the race will serve you scads of sugary foods made with high fructose corn syrup courtesy of ADM Corn Sweeteners in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

There you have it. This year’s first round of fun races sponsored by We Run and Ride. We hope you enjoy these events because we went to tons of trouble to organize them. Sorry the tee shirts are so cheap. We bought them at the sales rack at Michaels Arts and Crafts, where everything that isn’t discounted is also on sale, but only if you buy them one at a time at 40% off. And don’t forget your coupon or they’ll have to scan one at the counter. 

But we digress. Get out there and race. In the corn. 

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But seriously, F*** Cyclists

By Christopher Cudworth

So my friend Monte sent me a link to a video, now taken down at Deadspin.com, of a confrontation between a bulked up angry man and a group of cyclists who apparently did something to annoy the man while driving. 

Except there seemed to a whole lot more going on with the angry man than a simple disturbance in his journey by car from here to here. He seemed to be seriously fucking angry at the entire idea of cyclists using the road at all. 

The video lasted about 7 minutes with the man yelling, even standing nose to nose with one of the cyclists who stood over his bike without budging. Even in the face of coarse attempts at intimidation, the cyclists admirably held their ground and asked questions about why the guy was so mad. 

But the video was not the entire story of this confrontation or its documentation on the Internet. There were comments to be made in the section below the video. And one of the very first comments read this way: 

Fuck Cyclists

There was an affirmation of this sentiment by another viewer as well.

But Seriously Fuck CyclistsIt took a bit to reach some sort of explanatory level of rebuttal, led by this commentary by another angry guy who at least gave a reason for his disgust with cyclists. 

Fuck Cyclists TooAt long last there appeared the voice of a cyclists issuing a rebuttal that not all cyclists behave badly. Here is what he said. 

RebuttalSo the landscape is clear enough. Some people hate cyclists on principle. Others hate cyclists for running stop signs and other offenses. And cyclists either use common sense or they don’t while riding on the roads. It’s that simple. 

This debate reminds me of a sign on a hilly road commonly used on group rides and such. The sign reads: CYCLISTS USE CAUTION. 

DSCN2206That sign appeals to both drivers and riders, doesn’t it? 

Of course you could change the sign to fit the attitudes of angry drivers by putting a bit of invective at the beginning. Then it would read. FUCKING CYCLISTS USE CAUTION. 

Or this: CYCLISTS USE FUCKING CAUTION. 

Or this simplest version, preferred by those too impatient to consider any other version, which would simply read: FUCK CYCLISTS.

The original road side really tells the right story. Cyclists who don’t use caution will find themselves in dangerous situations. They also piss off a lot of drivers. 

But people who refuse to use caution while driving their vehicles are far more dangerous to the health and well-being of others, not just cyclists. They whole mantra ‘FUCK CYCLISTS’ actually expresses a much deeper societal anger issue because that kind of anger comes from a different place than inconvenience. It seems to come from a general dissatisfaction with anything that stands in your way. 

The same sort of sentiment drives adverse political debate. It easily turns into FUCK LIBERALS or FUCK CONSERVATIVES. 

That type of anger is readily pointed at anyone that doesn’t seem to agree with your point of view or your station / position in life.

That anger turns into FUCK WOMEN or FUCK BLACKS or FUCK WHITES or FUCK MEXICANS or FUCK FOREIGNERS. 

At some point it’s all just FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. This or that. 

Which show you don’t have the self respect or responsibility to function in civil society. 

IMG_7142But Seriously, F*** Cyclists who don’t obey the law, or at least use judgment out in traffic. Running stop signs with traffic present? Dangerous and stupid. Cutting in front of oncoming traffic without sufficient margin? Idiotic. Riding in groups without letting traffic get around you? Arrogant, selfish and illegal. 

You know the fucking rules of the road. Use them. Otherwise the angry yelling guy is right. The woman shrieking out the window at you to ride on the bike path is right. The stupid kids who yell when they buzz within a foot of your bikes? They’re all right if you don’t behave with conscience. 

Of course you can do all that and still run into Mr. Angrypants whose whole worldview is based on ideologies like Fuck Cyclists. There’s little you can do about them. They’re not angry at you specifically. They’re angry at themselves for some reason. They just drive around looking for people to yell at that give them a reason to feel like they’re superior in some way. 

Cyclists are a handy target for that kind of anger. Those of us who lived through the first waves of the running boom can tell you it used to be ugly out there. It’s gotten better the last 30 years or so. People have gotten used to runners on the roads. Now they pretty much ignore us. 

But cycling has only recently surged in popularity. The angry and disenfranchised soul abhors the notion of popularity because it excludes them, turns them into The Other. That’s not right or true, but it feels that way to some. 

It’s all worse because we dress so weird. So un-American really. At least that’s how it appears. 

There’s a road where none of this happens somewhere. A road where drivers appreciate the art of separating hazards and are not blaming cyclists for making them slow down for 10 seconds, or for being late to their next appointment. 

But that road is still down the road a ways. Or perhaps it’s just one of those mirages caused by summer heat that makes it look like there’s a cool lake floating above the road surface. 

Let’s ride ahead and see. And hope it’s not just a mirage. 

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Robin Williams and the 50 Bikes

By Christopher Cudworth

631859670_origWhen Lance Armstrong was at the peak of his success winning the Tour de France seven times, he reportedly hung out with all sorts of A-List types including Robin Williams. An avid cyclist, Williams owned 50 or more bikes including some sweet Treks funneled through the tier-one connections he held with Lance Armstrong.

Like Jay Leno with his car collection or any other star able to afford symbols of their passion, Robin Williams’ penchant for bikes was nothing but a fantasy for the rest of us. It’s easy to envy such largesse because it’s easy to flip through a Bicycling magazine bike review edition and pine for the new bikes. My personal wish is for a bamboo frame Calfee someday. They just seem so fascinating. What would it be like to ride?

Because that’s the weird part about cycling. It’s not just about the bike, as Lance once wrote. Ultimately it’s all about the ride. Because for better or worse, we all have relationships with our bikes. Some of us own a bunch. Some of us own just one. In either case, we make the best of it.

It’s easy to see that true satisfaction doesn’t come from the bikes we own. It comes from the ride. The companionship. The difficulty. The fitness. The fun we have with our riding buddies.

Williams must have been one interesting cycling companion. His intelligence and humor would have made even the longest, potentially boring ride into an education on the human spirit. His irreverence surely would have been entertaining at times.

My favorite running and riding companions are those that like to riff on a subject for a while. The challenge of maintaining a running commentary, preferably humorous if possible, can make the miles go by quite merrily.

But it is often said that the best humor comes from dark places. In many ways the funniest jokes we share with each other call up the tragedy of existence as well. When something bad happens and someone cracks a joke about it, we shrug our shoulders at times and say, “What, too soon?”

If tragedy + time  = comedy, then what are we to say about Robin Williams? He was able to irreverently joke about all manner of things. His comedy routines dealing with sex were bitingly funny. If that sort of thing offended you, well tough luck. Robin Williams found it funny to laugh at shit that happens, or could.

The fact that he had depression and was bipolar was likely no small factor in that ability to find the merit of dark comedy. Having depression requires real work to feel normal in any way. Mental illness produces pain as real as riding up a 12% grade against a forceful headwind. There are mornings and noons and evenings where nothing feels right. And then it can be hard to get to sleep. Just as hard to wake up.

Then imagine doing the work that Robin Williams did. Entering into the characters he created onscreen required even more emotional work. His ability to convey pathos, like the psychologist he played in Good Will Hunting, was impressive and comprehensive. He gave himself to the roles he played. It earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. So well deserved.

So perhaps we can understand how fun it must have been for Robin Williams to afford the bikes he loved. Coming home to 50 bikes must have been interesting. Which one to ride today? Were there favorites? Of course there must have been. There always seems to be one bike that takes you farther or fastest. Wherever you want to go. Need to go. Have to go.

It’s not just about the bike though. Remember that. It’s about the ride. Robin Williams had one helluva ride. And he took us along with him.

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Sometimes it’s really hard to trust a good old American flag

By Christopher Cudworth

FlagAt the start of a long run or ride, it’s always helpful to know which way the wind is blowing. As a matter of practice, it pays to know where there are flags to study wind direction.

If the flags are standing straight out from the flagpole, you can be fairly sure of the wind direction. But don’t get too cocky.

The wind is notably fickle. Even in relatively open territory, there are factors that can make the wind turn or change in an instant.

Wind me over

Great cyclists like Eddie Merckx cared not about wind direction for any other reason than it made them tougher, better cyclists to ride into the wind. Here in Illinois we call the wind an “Illinois hill.” It’s relatively flat here but there’s often plenty of wind. So you get a workout comparable to pedaling uphill.

The wind is also known to change directions here in profound ways. Toward evening the wind will often come from the west but change to the east as temps from Lake Michigan shift the wind direction. That means trouble when you’ve ridden 20 miles west into the wind hoping for a tailwind on the return trip. Then the wind shifts and you find yourself pedaling into a stiff and often cool breeze coming back. That type of wind tends to be relentless, not gusty. Although one is not much better than the other.

Running into the wind

Running in a stiff wind can be frustrating and difficult as well. It’s not quite so easy in a 6-mile run to enjoy the advantages of wind in one direction. A 3-mile out and back course demands that you spend a long time fighting the wind.

Some days you just wish the wind direction would stay consistent. How many times have you gone for a ride or a run and felt like the wind changed to blow in your face all 10 miles of the run, or 40 miles on the bike? Even a tailwind can feel like a headwind in certain conditions. It gets so frustrating.

A flag can’t be trusted

So I’ve learned not to completely trust even the good old American flag when it comes to reading wind direction. Wind swirls around objects like houses and the wind direction in the open may not match the direction it seems to indicate in town.

Wind speed can pick up out in the open as well. With less resistance from trees or buildings the wind can nail you hard.

Seasonal winds can be particularly fickle. In March when the weather changes radically within a single day, it is possible to be running or riding along in 60-degree temps and relative calm only to finish in 45-degree chilly winds that seem to erupt from nowhere.

This past winter we experienced in the Midwest what meteorologists label the Polar Vortex. That is, cold air from north of Canada poured down the Great Lakes region like water in a drain pipe. We froze while much of the rest of North America enjoyed a relatively mild winter.

Our changing climate

UPDATED USP_A1FI Temp Projections_Mar19Globally, temperatures continue to climb. This year’s month of June was one of the hottest climatological months on record. Despite what a small fraction of ideological doubters and deniers want the world to believe, global warming is real. The winds of change really are blowing.

That means even some of our so-called dependable wind patterns could be altered or changed. Even the Gulf Stream is at risk if ocean temps rise. That could spell trouble for climate in northern Europe, for example.

None of this is all that easy to predict for the future.  Some of this depends on how much carbon we continue pumping into the atmosphere. Yet the signs of global temperature alteration toward a warmer global climate are there to see. Average global temps have been climbing consistently for more than a century. We can see which way the winds of climate change are blowing.

Those who don’t outright deny global climate change have ironically suggested that its benefits could outweigh its risks. One must admire their facile methods, but that’s one of those tarsnakes that could take us down.

Painting by Christopher Cudworth

Painting by Christopher Cudworth

Blowing smoke

Some of the most aggressive deniers of climate change exist here in America. We have politicians and businesspeople with interests vested in carbon industries, especially oil and coal. They don’t want anyone messing with their potential profits or business models. As far as they’re concerned, the current status quo is not only sufficient but a desirable model of practice for the near future and beyond. So they invest in denial “science” and trumpet the carefully scripted contradictory models their chosen scientists deliver on cue.

But the wind of change is blowing hard in one direction right now and has been for 80 years or more. We all know it could yet shift, there is no doubt. It often does. The problem with the current trend is that anthropogenic impact on the climate is a relatively new and persistent thing. There are fluctuations as you’d expect in any climate system, yet the temps continue their straight-line climb toward levels where ice caps will melt, oceans will rise and agriculture could become a desperate attempt to cling to life.

Blown away by time

The human perception of time is so painfully limited. We’re used to thinking in terms of decades or years when it comes to policy shifts. A significant percentage of the American population doesn’t even believe in science that tells us the earth is billions of years old. Their time-scope is limited to something like 4-10,000 years, or 100,000 years at the most. It’s no wonder they cannot conceive the issues with anthropogenic climate change.

We study the earth’s history and evolution to learn about human origins and the climate that sustains us. But when people can’t conceive of the natural origins for life on earth they cannot either conceive of factors that may be aberrations in those natural life cycles. So they deny it is possible on grounds that it contradicts their worldview either on spiritual or economic grounds. How ironic that such strange bedfellows should be the contradicting factor in grasping our true circumstance and what to do about it?

In truth the sudden rise in global temperatures is profoundly concerning. The hot winds blowing now are a grave threat to our current state of existence. One would think that religious people who view the world through the lens of original sin would get the idea that human beings have soiled the atmosphere. And one would also think that leading business people with billions invested in energy interests would embrace a model of moderating pollutants so that their products do not destroy the very markets upon which they depend. Instead we find people who seem interested only in denying that the winds of change are blowing at all. They seem to figure only God or The Market can determine such things. Some seem to think those two factors are one and the same and spend the rest of their time calling other people bad names.

Political winds

Right now we stand at a point in history where people are fond of branding anyone who questions the status quo of consumerism and American economic aggression “un-American” or “anti-American.” They label the issue of climate change only a “liberal” concern. Which is a pretty sick way of manipulating truth for political gain and personal profit. It’s as if the proponents of the carbon-based industries and their spokespeople like Rush Limbaugh want to control the wind itself for their own profits. But of course wind energy is just one of the many alternatives to carbon-based industries now causing climate change.

In any case, the winds of change are blowing and shifting whether climate change deniers want to admit it or not.

american-flag-on-the-moon

Man on the moon and the winds of conspiracy

One thinks of the flag those astronauts planted on the moon all those years ago. The American flag sticks out straight as if there were an eternal wind blowing it straight and true. Of course that is an illusion. There is no atmosphere on the moon. No oxygen to sustain the human race or to blow the American flag into its proud, straight position.

Of course there are even people who do not believe astronauts ever landed on the moon. They believe the whole moon trip thing was a fake because to them it smacks of government conspiracy or somesuch. Conspiracy theories are a direct result of a patent distrust that people in power cannot be trusted. That helps explain why there are vigilante militias standing on the southern borders of the United States, and racist groups hiding in the hills of Idaho, and Congressman who outright state that their one goal in life is to make their political opposition a one-term President.

The fickle winds

It’s hard in a climate of patent distrust like that to help people sort out truth from fiction. That’s especially true with accusations of media bias from both sides. Conservatives say the liberals or making the political flag blow one direction while liberals conduct their own blow back. Add in the Tea Party and Libertarians, Ralph Nader and Sarah Palin and the flag gets a little worn out, tattered and torn from all the hot air tearing at it.

Those of us who run and ride know that the wind really is a fickle thing. The changing winds, be they real or political, can hit you from all sides at times.

Yet we want so badly to believe that the flags we check for wind direction can be trusted. We want to think that a headwind going out is going to be a tailwind coming back. But often that ain’t true.

The hard lesson we learn from all this is that it pays not to count on the wind too much for help. You can neither blame it for slowing you down or take credit for the speed it gives you. There is air pressure and wind resistance even when there is no measurable wind blowing at all. That is the human condition.

It simple pays not to think of the wind as either your friend or your enemy. You still have to cover the miles and get things done no matter which direction the wind is blowing.

But it might pay to learn that you can’t always trust the flag to tell you what to do. It can only tell you so much about the real direction you should be going.

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From We Run and Ride to The Right Kind of Pride

By Christopher Cudworth

CoverFrontToday’s blog represents the 555th blog post or so on this website. It goes without saying this is a labor of love, and your readership is appreciated.

We Run and Ride started with a discussion with my friend Monte Wehrkamp who has been a correspondence partner and good friend for more than 15 years. We had both taken up cycling a bit more seriously and he told me, “You should start a blog about this.”

At the time I was thick into caregiving for my late wife Linda Cudworth, whose cancer survivorship lasted 8 great years from 2005 through 2013. During the last two years of her life I blogged about our experiences as a family through the Lotsahelpinghands.com website we used for our caregiving communications.

The blogs were not just a record of our daily existence. They covered the philosophy, inspiration and raw grit it sometimes took to get through treatments and side effects and job losses and insurance issues and surgeries, family needs and all the funny things as well that can happen along the way.

Now those blogs have been folded into a book I’ve published titled The Right Kind of Pride: A Chronicle of Character, Caregiving and Community. 

What follows is an excerpt of one of the blogs titled The Rules. It’s a fitting sample for WRAR because it deals with the so-called “Rules” of cycling as outlined at Velominati.com.

I hope you’ll check out my new book on Amazon.com. It’s only $20.00 (on sale at $18.00 currently!) and I’m told by those who’ve read it that it is both inspiring and entertaining as well as informative.

Again, thanks for your readership of this blog, and please consider purchase of The Right Kind of Pride. It talks much about the parallels between the perseverance of athletics and that of life. Here’s the excerpt:

The Rules

Monday, August 8, 2011, 10:15 AM

Some cycling friends and I enjoy a web site/blog called velominati.com. Basically the site is a humorous take on the “rules” of cycling; how to dress, ride and act. We kid each other about how tough we can be, which is the primary focus of the rules, in a humorous sort of way, along with how to properly maintain your cycling tan lines. A little warning: If you choose to visit the site there are some bad words used to reinforce the rules so be prepared.

So that sets the stage for today’s blog.

Saturday morning my little group was scheduled for a ride, but it was raining quite hard at 5:30 a.m. One of my riding partners has always been willing to ride in the rain once you’re out there, but is not a fan of “going out” into the rain from a dry house. Unfortunately the Velominati Rules think differently. And I must abide by the Rules.

Circumstantially, the crew had been planning to ride to Lake Geneva on Sunday, the next day. So Saturday’s ride was not so important as it usually is. But with Linda’s health in rough shape the last four days I elected not to join them on the trip to Wisconsin because it is generally an all-day affair.

So I definitely wanted to ride Saturday morning and jumped on my bike and headed out into the pouring rain at 6 a.m. Because, according to the Rules, that would make me a cycling Hardass. (oops, a bad word slipped in there…)

The rain lasted about an hour. I was wet as a seal by then and felt like one too. Rather than being miserable it was fun to ride with rooster tails of wetness shooting up from both front and back tires. I was also fabulously alone out there on Saturday morning. Rode up over Campton Hills and down the other side of that glacial hill and headed west for a while. Somewhere out past 47 the rain stopped. Then so did I, to pull off the rather hot rain jacket and dry off in the wind.

It got me to thinking. Being a hardass is not easy, but it can be fun. Of course it can also create problems. It’s fine to be tough and there are many situations in life where you must be tough to survive. I’m sure you can name a few. There’s also a fine line between being a hardass for the fun of it and being hardnosed simply because you’re selfish. I was a little of both this weekend.

One of the key challenges in life if you are a person of faith is when to trust God (people will tell you…always) and when to take initiative on your own (which we also must do.) How do you separate the two?

Where it gets really tricky is when to be strong and when to be sensitive. How do you forge on without being callous and how do you be considerate without being weak, or giving in, when perhaps you shouldn’t back off for the betterment of all involved. Most of all, how do you know when and how to hold up your end of the bargain?

When caregiving a cancer patient, these questions get carved in bold relief. Sometimes I fail miserably by pushing when I shouldn’t push or caving when I shouldn’t cave. Nothing reminds you of your flaws more than caring for someone else. I mean that in both the physical and emotional sense of the word.

Hopefully my Linda can forgive me these flaws and we can help her recover a bit the next two weeks. That first treatment each chemo cycle (pun intended) is like climbing the Chemo Alpe du Huez, an uphill battle fall the way. 5 days of 18% grade in the driving rain of fatigue and nausea, you might say.

She is the ultimate Hardass. And I need to remember that.

Maybe we need to write down our own set of rules for reference when times get tough. Hopefully we can laugh a little along the way. And work on our tan lines.

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Appreciating the extreme sides of running and riding

By Christopher Cudworth

We connect to the world in unusual interfaces.

Extreme efforts are the tarsnake of running and riding.

The extremes of running and riding are a tarsnake of sorts. We’re so often careful to avoid dangerous situations while running and riding and we take measures like wearing helmets, signaling our direction and running against traffic to protect ourselves against calamity.

Yet the notion of engaging in an extreme workout or race, testing our very capacity to endure and survive, still has a strange draw. Some of us don’t feel real unless we’re pushing ourselves to the limit. That is the tarsnake of extreme pursuits.

Extremely dry

As a runner for 40 years, I’ve been in situations where extreme was a very good description for the activities of the day. As a sophomore in high school I ran a 30-mile Walkathon with friends. Okay, that’s not that radical. But there was no water on the entire route because the volunteers running the event were expecting walkers, not runners that day. Past 15 miles the running got difficult. At 20 it got downright hard. At 25 I finally begged a Coke from a woman on a front porch and by 30 miles the extreme effort required me to push on my thighs just to get up some stadium stairs at Northern Illinois University where the Walkathon was scheduled to finish.

Yet the next day I turned out for track practice and ran intervals. A little sore, mind you. But that’s what you do when you’re into your sport in an extreme way.

Extremely high 

In college our cross country team traveled out west to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone area to train. Toward the end of the week we decided to run from Jenny Lake up to Lake Solitude and back. The mountainous trail rose 3000 feet in elevation, from 6000 to 9000 feet. We had only been training in the mountains for four days. But the group of us took off running uphill, dodging horses and even a few moose as we went. At the lake we stuck our toes in the water but were carrying none with us, so the temptations were tantalizing. But warnings about giardia kept us from drinking. So down we ran again. The thighs began to ache. Tongues were parched. Yet all of us sooner or later made it back to camp. And that was an extremely interesting and tough day.

Extremely wet

After college I trained with a group of talented distance runners out East in Paoli, Pennsylvania. Four of us decided to run 3 hours+ on a Sunday morning in January. It was a warm winter and the temps were in the high 40s when we started. But then it began to rain. And rain. And rain. For three hours we kept rolling, telling jokes and covering miles as we logged the time running. Soaked through and by all rights chilled, we did not seem to notice the rain as time went by. Our body heat kept us going.

Extreme pedaling

Of course that night I slept and slept. That was a lot of calories to burn.

Cycling produces similarly extreme conditions at times. Sometimes they are far worse than anything you experience when running. Getting caught in the rain on a bike is even tougher if you’re not equipped with clothes to protect you from the effects of wind chill. I know that well, because one February day I took off on the road bike in 60-degree temps only to have a cold front sweep through with cold mist to boot. That 20-mile ride turned into a survival pedal all the way back home. It was damn cold. And extreme. There have been many such rides since. Extremely hilly. Extremely hot. Extremely bad roads. Extremely fast.

But all were fun. And maybe a little stupid.

Because that’s the nature of extreme running and riding. There’s always a little stupid thrown in for good measure. Because it takes some stupid to feel like fun.

And that, in a nutshell, is the philosophy of extreme sports.

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