Birthday Reflection: 31 (2012)

Last Friday I turned 31. I spent some of the day reflecting on where I had been in the last year and where Hailey and I seem to be going in the not-so-distant future. When I turned 30 I wrote this and gave myself six goals to accomplish by the time I turn 35.

One year down, four to go. Let’s see how I’m doing.

  1. Become a Father—Check. In two months my daughter should take her first breath. Hailey has been a champ during pregnancy. It’s kinda funny how people keep reminding us that we are in for a big change. And it’s not so much the words spoken that make me laugh, but the tone that is used (like Hailey hasn’t been slowly growing a person inside her for the last 7+ months, but all of a sudden has a belly that hiccups, punches and kicks). It’s as if we haven’t been thinking, planning, praying and hoping for this for years. We know it will be different. We know we won’t sleep. The new normal is coming fast and I’m terrified. Terrified and excited all at the same time.
  2. Get back to (and maintain) a healthy weight—Still have work to do. Last year I wrote, “I’ve been told that a healthy weight is within 5-10 lbs of what you weighed when you graduated high school-I need to drop 20 lbs.” I came back from Malawi as heavy as I had been in a long time, started riding and going to the gym routinely, and dropped 10 lbs pretty quick. I still sit 20 lbs heavier than what I weighed 13 years ago.
  3. Publish a Book—Ha, had a lot of thoughts but WAY LESS time to write than I did last year. Still a goal, but seems as far fetched as #6 below.
  4. Go to a game at Wrigley Field—Check (well, almost). My pops and I are heading out to the mid-west next weekend. The Padres are in town the same weekend as the Indy 500.
  5. Go to the Indy 500 with my dad—Check (almost again). See above. Dad’s turning 60 in
    birthday bike ride

    June this year. Having a bit of an eary celebration by returning to his roots.

  6. Cycle across a country—hahahahahaha. Still a dream. First I’ll have to get to the point
    where I’m riding multiple times a week again. Baby steps, right? In fact, looking at these goals has convinced me it’s time for a birthday ride…

Three out of six in just over a year isn’t bad, but I’ve got a ton of work to do (on top of being a pastor, learning to be a dad, etc…it should be easy right?).

 

Cycling Diary #1

So, I’m almost done reading David Byrne’s, Bicycle Diaries, and (though I have mixed feelings about the book) it has got me thinking about all the things I see and think while on the road. Though my posts about cycling may seem like nothing more than pointless ramblings (who am I kidding, this could be a description for much of my writing), I’d like to think that my time on the bike provides perspective in two ways. First, as Byrne has reminded me, one gains a unique view on the world when seeing it from a bike. Secondly, the gift of time on a bike provides much time for reflection.

Yesterday, I got on the train with my buddy Juan and headed for San Juan Capistrano with the intention of riding 70+ miles back to San Diego. Our train was set to leave at 8:10 and, due to a broken down train in front of us, by 8:45 we had made it about 8 miles up the coast. A train ride that should have taken just over an hour took well over two. We would inch forward for a few miles and then stop. It was a sick cycle and we soon were joking we could have ridden our bikes north and beaten the train. Fortunately we had all day, so our frustration was insignificant compared to the people who actually had to be somewhere. We heard many complaints and I couldn’t help but think of how many people in other parts of the world use trains for their primary form of transportation. Why is mass transit so poor in Southern California? Why are we so obsessed with cars?

The biggest surprise of the train trip was seeing a buck (male deer for all of you who never drive east of the 5 or north of L.A.) in a canyon in Sorrento Valley. I have seen deer crossing signs around Torrey Pines State Park, have always laughed at them and never thought that they were actually valid. I think we saw one of the five that actually still live in San Diego, but lets continue to develop overly developed land, build more freeways and sell more cars…

As we got closer to our destination, all of the fuel I had consumed for the upcoming ride began to take its natural movement, but it’s okay Juan convinced me we’d be there soon so I should wait to use the restroom until we stop. After all, I might get stuck in the head while at the train station in San Juan and be forced to ride 100+ miles instead of just 70. Let’s just say that I learned that the only thing worse than having to go to the bathroom while in public is having to do so while wearing a cycling bib. At least I walked into the restaurant wearing my helmet. Protection is a must in uncharted territory.

After close to three hours we were finally on the road, so we thought. I had a flat, already. After another ten minutes we were on our way. Juan thought he knew our route, and to his credit he had mapped it out on mapmyride.com. But mapmyride didn’t tell us that there was construction and that the bike path was torn into a mix of gravel and ragged rubble. Two miles, less than ten minutes later, PSHHHHHHHHHH, another flat. Juan’s bike this time. We pulled off the road, I went and scouted out the route while he began to repair his tire. Unfortunately his flat, wasn’t so simple. A rock had put a hole in his tire about an inch long. Our quick 70 miles quickly became tour de suck. Juan did his best impression of Macgyver, stuffed a dollar bill in the tire around the hole and, 7 miles later, we found a bike shop. Finally tire was fixed, now, NOW we would be on our way.

For the most part the rest of our ride went rather smoothly. Other than getting a bit lost, it was relatively uneventful. We took turns pulling, met up with a few others who hopped on and we were flying. It was a fairly fast paced ride and my legs are feeling it today.

The contrast between riding through San Onofre & Camp Pendaleton and through the more crowded areas (San Clemente, Oceanside, Del Mar, etc.) was fascinating. On my bike I often find myself observing how it seems that the simple act of driving a car makes people think that they are the most important person in the world. Honking horns, running stop signs and just having the general sense that the direction they are going is more important than where the other is headed (I am just as guilty of this as the next person…). Its as if the car is an amplifier for the human condition of self-centeredness. I’d like to think that my time on the bike has helped me to be more aware of this, but then again I still find myself yelling at cars who nearly hit me almost every time I’m on the road (as if one of us owns it or something). I think things like, “stay out of the bike lane and I’ll stay out of the car lane!” or “don’t these drivers know, as a cyclist, I have the same rights as they do?” (read up on it, it’s true). Truth be told, we all need to calm down, recognize and respect those with whom we share the road.