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Old 07-03-06, 11:52 PM   #1
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Overcoming Negative Thinking (Take Two)

Since the server seems to have lost my other post, I'll try again:

I did a ride today that reinforced for me that cycling is 50% physical, and 90% mental. I had to work VERY hard to overcome some stinkin' thinkin' to reach my goal.

On July 5, 1943, my parents were married -- he at 19, and she at 17. In a couple of days they will celebrate 63 years of marriage and a life full of challenges, setbacks, and victories. I wanted to do something to honor their remarkable marraige, so I decided a while ago I'd "ride their anniversary" today.

I've done one metric century before, back in October, when I rode my own age and then kept going to complete the metric. I achieved this on a mountain bike with knobbie tires, partly because I didn't know any better and didn't know how hard it would be.

Since then, I've done a few long rides (for me) of 35-50 miles, but for the most part, I've been content to ride 10, 20, maybe 25 miles at a clip. So I worried that I wouldn't be able to complete my goal.

The negative thinking started turning up the volume last night, when I began tossing and turning, rather than sleeping. Somehow I managed to screw up the coffee machine and while it did make the coffee automatically ahead of time, it was brewed at 3 in the morning and cold when I finally woke up -- had to be microwaved.

And of course my Negative Thinking caused me to oversleep. I had wanted to be at my starting point at 7:30 or 8:00, but I didn't even wake up until 9:00. Then NT ("Negative Thinking") helped me stall and distract myself, by reading posts on BF, for instance, and misplacing my wallet, for another. It was *this close* to convincing me to do it another day.

But I forced myself to get dressed and mount the bike on the rack and drive over to Coronado, the site of my original metric. I wanted to return to "the scene of the crime" partly to find out if the second one would be any easier.

I started riding after eating a banana and drinking some water, and reminded myself not to go too fast and to remember to enjoy myself (and I really had to consciously do that!). My route was a series of laps around the island (peninsula, actually) that were about 5.9 miles in length. That meant ten laps plus a little something more.

NT immediately began reminding me of how boring this route would be (even though it goes past the bay on one side, the ocean on another, and a golf course on a third). NT also helped me become aware that I'd been riding "for some time" and had only gone 2 or 3 miles. Let's see, that's not very much, huh?

So the first thing I did was make a deal with NT. Let's go for 36 miles, just six laps, as a minimum, and if I want to quit then, so be it. But quit the negative thinking until then! And surprisingly, NT settled down. I sort of felt that if i got to 36, I wouldn't want to "waste" all of them, so I'd press on, and once i got into the forties, I'd be so close I'd keep going. I hoped NT didn't think of that.

The ride began unfolding pretty well for a while. It's completely flat roads, and the winds were gentle, so that was working for me, but there really isn't even anywhere to coast, so it's constant pedalling almost like a single speed.

Around thirty miles things started to hurt. A knee, a thigh, my butt a little bit, and my back. NT sort of woke up and started taunting me. "Do you REALLY think you're going to ride another 30 miles feeling like this???"

"Yes," I answered. "I've set a goal, and unless I get doored, right hooked, or squirreled, I'm going to complete my goal. My parents didn't quit when it got tough, and I'm not going to either.

I had feared the heat and humidity, but the temps were in the mid-70's and were quite pleasant. That said, I couldn't stop sweating and was growing very irritated at the sweat pouring down my face and over my glasses. I'm getting a sweat band IMMEDATELY!

The laps began blending into one another. In the beginning, i was taking a short 2-minute break after each lap to drink ice-cold water courtesy of a Greek restaurant. I stopped at one point for a banana, and at another for a store-bought muffin and a Sobe. Mmmm!

Then something weird happened. I began thinking out loud if I could EXCEED the sixty three mile goal. I even considered somehow hanging on until I reached 82, my dad's age. The last three laps were tough but interesting, I didn't stop between laps, i just kept going and going and going. Nothing really hurt except my back, and that wasn't too bad.

I decided to 'pause' at 63, put the bike back on the car, come home, get a little food and/or rest, and then take the bike out again for another 19 miles. Well, this time, PT didn't overcome NT. I got home, very proud of having reached my original goal, and collapsed on the couch, shattered. My body quickly sort of closed up shop, stiffened, and there was NO way I could ride anymore.

But, by acknowledging my negative thinking, and deliberately turning it around with postive thinking, I reached my goal. Perhaps i could have gone further if I'd stayed where I was, but that's immaterial. I maintain now that it is quite challenging (at least, for me!) to do a metric century alone, using a six mile loop as the basis for the ride. I knew it would be tough, and I wanted to do it that way any way, sort of just because. Hard to explain.

I also think that perhaps I'm not quite cut out for these long distance rides very much. The 10, 20, and 30 milers have much more fun appeal. (Or, is that my NT talking again?).

Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I salute you, I am humbled by your achievement, and I love you very, very much!!!
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Old 07-04-06, 12:33 AM   #2
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Next time you decide to do a ride like that- Carrying a passenger in NT, let us know beforehand and we'll start sending the vibes over the ether to chase it away. I know it won't work that well, but the thought that you will have the other forum members behind you should help you.

Well done on the ride but you should have asked for help. I for one feel a bit put out that you no longer regard us as your riding buddies.
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Old 07-04-06, 03:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
So the first thing I did was make a deal with NT.
Gary,

You know that song, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia?" Don't make deals, just "deal" with the opportunity at hand. I tell this to my staff all the time when there is a challenge, or challenging person. I call them "ministry opportunities." It changes the perspective in how we approach and solve an issue at hand. Opportunities are possitive. NT and other hassles which distract and divert your attention are negative and not worth bothering with. I'm glad you overcame NT and honored your parents in such a positive way. Good work!
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Old 07-04-06, 05:55 AM   #4
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You should go on TV and put Dr. Wayne Dyer out of business!

Now, if I could just get a dose of your positive thinking to get me out on my bike this am!
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Old 07-04-06, 07:54 AM   #5
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DG - Interesting observations about ride motivation. I just posted that I completed my first century, and unlike allowing the NT, for the last week I could visualize completing the ride. Even at the end when I got pretty tough I knew I could do it because I had seen myself do it.
Glad you busted out of the NT mode and completed what you had set out to do!
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Old 07-04-06, 08:10 AM   #6
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Gary,

Congrats on hitting your goal for the day. It is amazing how pervasive that old NT can get on any day. You fought the good fight and beat it. I have a long ride planned for today and it is raining like crazy so have to start with the PT and all the reasons why it is important to keep on the program, how much better I'll feel after I'm done, how rain is just "flying water" etc. etc.
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Old 07-04-06, 08:27 AM   #7
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Why focus on NT when you have so many choices. There is reverse thinking, converse thinking, obverse thinking, and many more. You could chose one of them where time goes backwards and struggle with the idea that you aren't making progress. If you were a true artist you could do what we specialize in here in hypoxic Colorado: non-thinking.

motto: start slow, then ease off
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Old 07-04-06, 08:39 AM   #8
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Gary,
Congratulations.....part of your success is inescapable inheritance and role-modeling from your mom and dad...in their perseverence through trials to make their 63rd (!!) anniversary they no doubt encountered the same destructive voices-- and overcame them. It's never the bike (as Someone said); it's the 90% head atop the bike (as Someone else has said).

Like Stapfam, I'm miffed. You shoulda told the BF crowd about your upcoming challenging ride. We would never have let you put up with NT. Can't tell you how much better long rides are with company--even virtual company. The butt hurts less, you can joke about the hills with someone, distract yourself with conversation, or just hear somebody else wheeze up some climb. Helps you stay positive.

Anyway, nothing succeeds like success.....so why not plan a 40 or so miler for the not-to-distant future. Make that 40 miler something you do every few weeks till it becomes regular and-- predictably commonplace. Then maybe up it again. Like climbing stairs.....or incrementally, one trial at a time, getting to your 63rd anniversary.

Anyway, kudos on overcoming the hardest thing, which isn't tired legs, sore back, whole body weariness--it's those damned bad thoughts. Maybe cycling is just a cover for all us aging guys...its the killing NT that we're really after.
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Old 07-04-06, 09:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital
Let's go for 36 miles, just six laps,
To me, any ride that involves "laps" is bad for overcoming negative thinking because, at the end of every lap, you have to make a conscious decision whether or not to start another.
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Old 07-04-06, 09:41 AM   #10
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Congrats on your success Gary. A little positive thinking and you succeeded your goal.
As a thought could you find another route that is out and back rather than doing laps? That way your NT can take over when you reach the turnaround point and you can let him think he has acheived something over you as your ride home. Kind of a win-win for you and your NT riding partner.
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Old 07-04-06, 10:12 AM   #11
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Just a clarification;

I did announce to BF beforehand that I was going to do this ride, on the thread on Long Rides for the 4th of July. No one picked up on it, and i was secretly glad, because then if I didn't make it, no one would know! But, notice even there that my NT was fully operational, as I said...

"I'm considering "riding my parents anniversary" sometime this weekend. On July 5th, they will celebrate their 63rd anniversary -- and yes, they are still bickering!

But it's quite an achievement, and I think this might be a good way to honor them and it. Then again, if the weather remains so freakin' hot, I might not get it done."


And I DID bring BR-ers with me on the ride. I thought about y'all the time, egging me on, telling me not to quit, etc. Even thought about pie but couldn't find any!

As for doing laps, I knew that would make it harder, and that's kind of why I chose to do them. It's like taking on that big hill that you could avoid, but you want to conquer. i wanted to conquer even boredom!

Anyway, I'm VERY stiff this morning, and my back is killing me. Guess I'll take a recovery ride!
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Old 07-04-06, 10:30 AM   #12
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That was a great read. Congratulations!!!!!! Yes you are correct 90% mental. It does prove however, the power of Positive Thinking
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Old 07-04-06, 12:32 PM   #13
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Nice post! I couldn't help but wonder what life was like for a 17 and 19 year old couple just married. They must of had many challenges during their life that were a struggle between NT and PT. Like most couples, I'd guess they had to strike many deals to make it through some of them. At times, the days, weeks, and months must have seemed like they'd drag on forever. Yet, there were probably times when life gave tham a break and they could rest and enjoy. Sounds to me like your ride may have been more of a tribute to your parents than you originally thought it would be. What a splendid way to celebrate their marriage.
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Old 07-04-06, 12:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
I started riding after eating a banana and drinking some water, and reminded myself not to go too fast and to remember to enjoy myself (and I really had to consciously do that!). My route was a series of laps around the island (peninsula, actually) that were about 5.9 miles in length. That meant ten laps plus a little something more.
You want 63 miles? Go to Boulevard and ride back. It's mostly downhill. And it has CHOCOLATE! Maybe the best in the world.

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Old 07-04-06, 02:20 PM   #15
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You want 63 miles? Go to Boulevard and ride back. It's mostly downhill. And it has CHOCOLATE! Maybe the best in the world.

Wisteria Candy Cottage
Funny you mention that. I was doing my recovery ride today, and got to thinking about maybe trying Old Highway 8 (or is it 80?) one of these days. I've still not ridden out "in the country" because I'm afeered of hills.
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Old 07-04-06, 02:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88
Nice post! I couldn't help but wonder what life was like for a 17 and 19 year old couple just married. They must of had many challenges during their life that were a struggle between NT and PT. Like most couples, I'd guess they had to strike many deals to make it through some of them. At times, the days, weeks, and months must have seen like they'd drag on forever. Yet, there were probably times when life gave tham a break and they could rest and enjoy. Sounds to me like your ride may have been more of a tribute to your parents than you originally thought it would be. What a splendid way to celebrate their marriage.
You know, I didn't mention any of this in my OP, because I was tired and worn out, but this is exactly the kinds of thoughts that went through my mind during the ride. The ride became sort of a metaphor for their marraige. And when I would think about quitting, I'd think about them -- they didn't quit, and I'd keep pedalling.

I'd also remember an old zen thing: right foot, left foot, breathe. Repeat.
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Old 07-04-06, 02:26 PM   #17
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fear not the hills: what goes up, must come down...WHEEEEE !!
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Old 07-04-06, 02:37 PM   #18
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Gary,

I fight NT every day. I think I am just wired that way. Fortunately, I manage to fight through it most of the time. Congratulations on your ride and especially your reason for doing it in the first place!
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Old 07-04-06, 02:51 PM   #19
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We read ride reports all the time about overcoming adversity, and I'm blow away by what cyclists can face and overcome out on the road or trail.

But, in my opinion, this is one of the better ride reports I've ever read, because the barriers thrown up in front of Gary were of his own making. And, let's face it, as "Pogo" famously said, "We have met the enemy, and they is us."

The whole, "plan and long ride and then toss and turn all night and then get up late syndrome" happens to me all the time. And, if I go so far as to lay out my riding gear the night before in hopes of a quicker start in the morning, I either wake up to a flat tire, or don't wake up at all.

So, at the urging of my long suffering wife, I never make specific plans or goals the night before a ride. I just get a general idea in my head, then hit the sack. And, if I feel like sleeping an hour or two later than I planned, I do it without guilt. The rides always go better that way. Winter presents a time limit for centuries, but if I get a late start and "only" do 80 miles, that's OK too.

The main thing that stops me on long rides is repetative loops. Nothing kills my buzz like seeing the same scenery over and over. 50 miles is excruciating on a 13 mile loop I sometimes ride, but an out- and-back century is pretty easy. My dream is to do 150 miles in a straight route. I can imagine covering long distances in that manner would be pretty easy to deal with, emotionally.

Anyway, good ride Gar, and smart that you shut it down after 63 miles. Hey, you rode a metric century! That's good enough!

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Old 07-04-06, 03:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
Funny you mention that. I was doing my recovery ride today, and got to thinking about maybe trying Old Highway 8 (or is it 80?) one of these days. I've still not ridden out "in the country" because I'm afeered of hills.
Get a ladyfriend to drive you up there and just go down. What gal could resist the tale of a secret chocolate paradise hidden in the mountains. She can bring the chocolates back.

You might want to wait till September or October though. I've been there when it was above 100 and below freezing. It's probably in the above 100 mode right now.
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Old 07-04-06, 03:15 PM   #21
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Great post. I'm guessing a lot of the composing of the post was done throughout the ride-creating motivation for finishing in style. Please offer our congratulations to your parents as well. Their story in itself I'm sure is remarkable. Continue to tell them how much you appreciate them.......

Your body adjusts to the type/length of riding that you normally do. It's only natural to experience discomfort when you go longer than what you normally do. There are some "growing pains" associated with doing longer rides but they dissipate over time. It's just something you have to work your way through.

You did very well in breaking the ride down into smaller rides-a very smart move there. Plus you aptly rewarded yourself with the muffin and Sobe (do we have those on the East Coast??) after a certain point. Carry those ideas forward as you progress along with your riding journey.
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Old 07-04-06, 05:22 PM   #22
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Congratulations on overcoming the negatives and reaching your goal. I'm very glad that I don't think as much as you. That has to make this and many things much more difficult. And I've finally learned from living with my wife who has the same affliction, there's no getting around it.
For whatever reason you chose to do laps, set them aside next time you go for a long ride. I believe you'll find it much easier to overcome the urge to stop and you'll also get the benefit of seeing more places.
Way to go! Keep it up.
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Old 07-05-06, 03:15 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Paulie
My dream is to do 150 miles in a straight route. I can imagine covering long distances in that manner would be pretty easy to deal with, emotionally.
BP,

Would this be "150" very flat "miles in a straight route?" Or something else all together? In any event I'd fly to CA to cheer you on.
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Old 07-05-06, 03:46 AM   #24
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BP, Would this be "150" very flat "miles in a straight route?" Or something else all together? In any event I'd fly to CA to cheer you on.
Predominately flat, with some rolling hills. Maybe start well north of Santa Barbara, and end up in Malibu. Ride along the coast, with tail wind in the afternoon. I've done unsupported 120 mile rides (60 out and back) and it was pretty easy...since my coastal route is mostly flat. 150 miles going one way would be doable, I think, especially if I had support.

Somewhere in this 170 mile range...

http://maps.yahoo.com/dd_result?newa...ca&tcountry=us


I'd love to work up to a double century, but I'd never get it in during daylight hours, given my average speed which is between 12 and 15, not counting stops. An overall average of 10 MPH would mean a 20 hour ride, and I hate riding in the dark!

Of course, this should be a 50+ group ride for charity, with everybody flown in from around the globe to participate, and financial compensation for work lost!
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Old 07-05-06, 03:50 AM   #25
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BP,

How is it that you are up at 2:46 a.m. PDT? I start on my sermon this early each morning. Are you writing something good, I hope? Or are you distracted by BF-50+, just as I am?
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Bob
Dreaming about riding in NH's summertime!

Visit my websites:
FreeWheelSpa.com orpastorbobnlnh.com
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