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Old 09-15-07, 05:26 PM   #1
timmyquest
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Thanks BF

Many of you have been valuable to me these past few days, to say the least. Sorry for annoying the forums with my self pitty. The best advice i've gotten was to go for a ride. A good friend of mine told me the other day that i should write. I didn't have the motivation, until i got on my bike.

Read if you wish...




Empirical studies have shown that healthy individuals are the worst assessors of themselves. In fact, the only people who seem to show some accuracy in rating themselves in various personality traits & abilities are those suffering from depression. This in itself is a bit depressing if you think about it; those who hate themselves are the only ones that really know themselves.


Consciously or not, we tell ourselves that we are things we are not, we convince ourselves that we do things that we do not, that we are smarter then we are, more in touch with people then we are; the list goes on. This sets us up for something pretty ****ty. We put ourselves on the edge of a cliff, and when we slip we fall hard. What we need is a little bit of humility every now and then to bring us back down to earth.


That is where the magic of cycling comes in. There are few things in life that can bring you back to earth like climbing a hill on a bike. Your legs are screaming for you to quit, your heart is about to pop out of your chest, your lungs are burning with each breath, yet you go…you pump and with each pump you advance and for a brief moment in your life there isn’t anything else to think about. It’s you, you’re legs, and the approaching crest of a hill. All you can hear is your breath, your heart, the cranking of the chain and a voice inside telling you to keep going. When you get to the top, you look back and think “that wasn’t bad, I should do it again”. You’re conflicted though, because despite what you tell yourself you’re in a world of hurt. Your bike and a hill has just stripped you down to the core and humiliated the **** out of you. Yet you did it, you overcame, and you ride ahead.


Today I rode up such a hill, it’s not very steep but it’s long and it kills me, every time. Shortly after I was thinking of the recent drama in my life and riding on a flat stretch of road into a slight headwind. At that moment the bike wasn’t allowing me to escape, my head was filled with the real world and as a result my mind was there and not on my bike. I blinked, and looked at the computer on my bike and it told me that I was going 26…on flat road, into a headwind. Not fast for many, but fast to me, absurdly fast for me. Like most healthy individuals, I likely over rate my cycling ability, but even I wouldn’t assert that I could sustain 26mph on flat road into a headwind. I did though, I was doing it, fueled by emotion and distracted from my bike. I had an epiphany. Just before the hill I was pondering the idea of humility and our inability to assess who we really are. Yet here I was doing something I tell myself I can’t do.


What are we to make of this? Greg Lemond (famous American cyclist in the 80’s) was once asked during the prime of his career, and I’m paraphrasing here, “How much easier is it to climb [hills] now then when your career started”. His response was that it never gets easier, you merely go faster. We’re always going to encounter things in life that bring us down, but that humility is good for us. As Greg said, it never gets easy but we get better at dealing with the climb back to the top.


The goal is to not let the hills define you; rather, the definition is found within the climb. Do you stop halfway up and turn around? Do you take a break once you reach the crest? Or do you ride forward?


I’ve recently come to the trough of a hill so tall--so steep--that a part of me wants to go back. I must ride on though. Some of us beat ourselves up over things we can’t control. Some of us bring others down to cope with our own insecurities. Some of us try and medicate ourselves to ease the pain of life. We fear the fall, which is normal but we have to face it.


The funny thing about climbing hills on your bike, after you recover from the hill, you feel stronger. Your legs are warm, your breathing is steady, it can be zen. There is a certain hill in Bull Valley near where I live, Valley Hill road. For Illinois standards, it’s a good climb. 180 feet straight up it seems over the course of .2 miles. For two years I avoided it, last summer I said screw it and took my climb. I thought I was going to die. By the end of the summer I frequently went there to do it 4 or 5 times over and over. I can tell you, it never got easier, but it made me stronger; mentally, physically. What’s more, that hill has never looked so small to me.


I preach a lot but have a hard time practicing. Luckily, I have my bike. I medicate myself with endorphins I suppose. Like I already described about myself, Lance Armstrong rode as often as he could when he was dealing with cancer because the pain was an escape of sorts. It forces you to focus on the task at hand and in the meantime everything else is forgotten (to be sure though, he now says the pain on a bike is nothing compared to the pain of cancer). When I get on my bike, I am free of all the bull****; the family feuds, the stress of school, ex-girlfriends, and general failures. But I have to acknowledge that it doesn’t make them go away and when I’m done climbing hills on my bike, I must go climb the hills of life.


So what’s my point? There are two. First, don’t make fun of my Lycra…you envy it, and you know it. The bigger point is that we need to make ourselves vulnerable every once and a while, we need to be humiliated. I’ve been avoiding it, personally; trying to avoid certain falls, ignoring others…for years. I think it may be because of this that I’ve lost something I loved, maybe something that never existed in the first place…who knows, doesn’t matter. You can’t change the past so there is no sense on dwelling and you can’t avoid hills that crop up along the way. All you can do is to ride on. I’m trying…
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Old 09-15-07, 05:31 PM   #2
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Baybuh, keep ridin'. Trust Vega. ((hugs)) Endorphins are good. Self-destructive behaviour is bad. <serious Vega look>

[Note: For some reason, I looked in on Foo yesterday and today. Now I know why. ]
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Old 09-15-07, 05:43 PM   #3
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That brought a tear to my eye. I don't know what you're going through but I feel for you.
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Old 09-15-07, 05:54 PM   #4
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There you go! You are going to be just fine. It isn't the flats and the descents that define us - it is the hills.

Probably my faster ride ever was 9-11-01. I was working 40 miles away at the time it was very real for all of us - just look out a window. Just to burn off the rage I got on my bike and went in excess of 25 MPH on a rails to trails path with a mountain bike for two hours. I hope I never duplicate those feelings again.
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Old 09-15-07, 06:19 PM   #5
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That brought a tear to my eye.

Sorry
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Old 09-15-07, 06:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing that, Timmy. You might consider saving that - not just for yourself, but also for a possible future psychology paper. It's very insightful and good writing.
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Old 09-15-07, 06:46 PM   #7
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TQ, one thing you need to understand about Foo: never regret what you post. This is a very forgiving lot. Serious. And for that I am grateful.

But you also need to understand that things posted here make people laugh, cry, feel anger, feel joy, and basically send folks through all the usual human range of emotions, intentionally or not.

The point is: we are a Foo-fambly. And we're all here for each other. Bring your problems/issues/tragedies/triumphs/joys. We will all share that with you. I know that Foo has done that for me. I loves and trusts me my Foo. I might not be here otherwise, and that's the honest truth. You should come to Foo, and trust Foo, too. Foo is good medicine.
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Old 09-15-07, 07:40 PM   #8
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Thank your sharing your experience with us TQ. Amongst the great heroes and idol-worship we have in cycling, it's easy to forget that most us are are mere mortals. We aren't perfect, we all make mistakes at one point or another, and most importantly of all, we have feelings. We are not machines.

Dealing with loss,grief and pain is a perfectly natural part of life. Somehow in western-culture, we've lost sight of balance and seem to think that life should be rosey, pretty and full of happiness all the time. But there are also down sides as well; trials and tribulations in life that determine what kind of character we have. Many people let life beat them down and live the rest of their life in a shadowy ghost shell of their former selves (BDG's grocery-clerk comes to mind). Others take these events as opportunities to strengthen themselves and strive to reach ever greater heights.

You're one of these achievers. Keep on believing in yourself. Keep on riding, putting one foot in front of the other; that's progress. Never ever give up! Eventually this translates to progress in other areas of your life as well, your health, your career, your relationships. Keep it up!!!
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Old 09-15-07, 08:02 PM   #9
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Thank your sharing your experience with us TQ. Amongst the great heroes and idol-worship we have in cycling, it's easy to forget that most us are are mere mortals. We aren't perfect, we all make mistakes at one point or another, and most importantly of all, we have feelings. We are not machines.

Dealing with loss,grief and pain is a perfectly natural part of life. Somehow in western-culture, we've lost sight of balance and seem to think that life should be rosey, pretty and full of happiness all the time. But there are also down sides as well; trials and tribulations in life that determine what kind of character we have. Many people let life beat them down and live the rest of their life in a shadowy ghost shell of their former selves (BDG's grocery-clerk comes to mind). Others take these events as opportunities to strengthen themselves and strive to reach ever greater heights.

You're one of these achievers. Keep on believing in yourself. Keep on riding, putting one foot in front of the other; that's progress. Never ever give up! Eventually this translates to progress in other areas of your life as well, your health, your career, your relationships. Keep it up!!!
Yeah, and besides....you are yet to meet your baby mamma. So pick yer self up, dust yer self off, get out there and get busy.
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Old 09-15-07, 11:24 PM   #10
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I hope your post is true. It seems some people have left foo. Maybe they just go bored.
I think that happens sometimes. I suspect that others who are used to "internet spats" being unforgivable (as they are most other places) leave when they feel they've offended other Foosters. It's sad because I've seen very few situations that are beyond forgivness here, so long as regret for the offending action is shown. If they had just given everyone a chance to cool off and then sincerely apologized, there would have been no reason to leave.
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Old 09-15-07, 11:29 PM   #11
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UR Ghey
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Old 09-16-07, 08:06 AM   #12
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UR Ghey


If only. Life would probably be a little easier.
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Old 09-16-07, 09:00 AM   #13
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This whole breakup gig is a great diet. Somehow i've lost 8lbs in the past 7 days.
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Old 09-16-07, 09:28 AM   #14
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It's not the break up, lay off the colon blow!
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Old 09-16-07, 12:06 PM   #15
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It's not the break up, lay off the colon blow!


Perhaps...
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Old 09-16-07, 04:19 PM   #16
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Timmy, I think you're on your way to break free from this and be happy again. Glad to hear it
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Old 09-16-07, 05:31 PM   #17
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We'll see...

Everyone keeps telling me to move on beyond her, she's not even sure if that's what she wants and i certainly want her back. I'm not spineless (completely) and i have an ego, and i have pride, so i'm not going to wait around while she goes out and "figures herself out"...but i'm not going to just give up on a 7 year relationship over this.
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Old 09-17-07, 04:01 PM   #18
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So Meghan introduced me to Kings of Leon a few months ago. I found out they were gonna be in Iowa City and was going to drive to DeKalb and pick her up to take her (if it came to that).

I had decided to decline my friend when he asked if i wanted to go, then i realized how lame that was...

Here's to a good concert hopefully. Maybe i'll meet some birds.
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Old 09-18-07, 07:31 AM   #19
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Well done. I would save it in case the server crashes.
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Old 09-18-07, 07:39 AM   #20
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First, don’t make fun of my Lycra…you envy it, and you know it.


That's the best thing ever to eminate from your keyboard.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:52 AM   #21
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That's the best thing ever to eminate from your keyboard.


I may be in Illinois on the 29th...
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Old 09-18-07, 10:01 AM   #22
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so i'm not going to wait around while she goes out and "figures herself out"...
The second best thing ever to eminate from your keyboard....

.... Only to be spoiled by this one....

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Originally Posted by timmyquestagain
but i'm not going to just give up on a 7 year relationship over this.
Time. That's what it takes, man. Spending that time pining or scheming to get her back while she's 'figuring herself out' is best spent on more fun and profitable endeavors.


PS - Get back to McHenry County on the 29th. We'll teach you bibles full of truth man!*

*Line stolen from ...Say Anything.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:03 AM   #23
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The second best thing ever to eminate from your keyboard....

.... Only to be spoiled by this one....



Time. That's what it takes, man. Spending that time pining or scheming to get her back while she's 'figuring herself out' is best spent on more fun and profitable endeavors.
Well, i just talked to Miss December, we both agreed we needed to hang out. So uhh, you know.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:39 AM   #24
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Good luck, TQ. It takes a lot of courage to write something like this because it involves facing up to a lot of truths. I hope this is both cathartic and healing for you.

And to extend your metaphor a bit, I've always found that I can't ride "with" someone when I'm climbing a hill. That has to be done at my own speed and mine alone. You can't wait for someone to match your pace or your rhythm. Some things we go through alone (though you'll always find someone here to talk to about it afterwards). Don't wait around for someone else to decide how quickly you climb that hill.
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