The Camino: 12/16/2009
First of all let me apologies for the long delay with updates on my blog. It has been difficult to find a workable computer and quite frankly the time that it takes to make an entry. With biking most of the daylight hours, and by the time we reach a Pilgrim Albergue, shower, eat and rest, it leaves little time for much else. But right now is seems like I have some extra time ,due to a snow storm that is forcing us to stay an extra day in the quaint town of Carrion de los Condes about half way on the Camino. That´s right you better believe it I am at the half way point. This journey so far has been so amazing that I almost don,t have enough superlatives to describe it. Spain is truly an incredible country. The Spaniards are very friendly especially along The Camino and are always looking to help you out and wishing you buen camino. It must be part of the national pride here .The Camino, that I have biked through has brought me through much of the rural beauty of this country which is dotted with medieval towns and villages and unbelievable mountains that alone would satisfy anyone visiting Spain. But in addition, the city,s like Pamplona, logrono,and Burgos have offered their large majestic Cathedrals with precious works of art ,and fine local cuisine, (I am a major Jamon Iberico fan now) . I won´t tell you that it´s been all fun, food, wine and culture. This has been the most challenging physical feat of my life. The riding is realy physical and pretty long in the seat most of the day. Most every day we are climbing mountains and even at days end we may have to realy push hard up to the top of some summit before we are finished. Somehow I´m able to complete each day, and the feeling of accomplishment is amazing. Ellery and Levi my riding buddies are a constant inspiration and I remain in awe of what they have accomplished so far. I have only been doing this bike thing for a few months, yesterday they celebrated their 8th month on bikes. AMAZING ! I am keeping my eye on the prize first at the end of The Camino in Santiago where we will have Christmas with Annette and Julian and lastly in Porto the real finish line . Keep the good energy and thoughts coming.
Peace to all
THE TRAINING 11/24/2009
It think that the word “training” was invented by a Serbian. This soft joke has become a common word for me on a daily basis. As the summer season came to an end, and fall presented itself in all of it’s glory, the bike riding has become much more serious and dangerous! Wild turkeys everywhere! Don’t the big birds know what holiday is just a week away? Blocking the roads with no fear of a speeding bicycle is not a good sign. There are several guys dressed in orange milling around, shouldn’t they be hiding and not out in the open strutting their stuff? Anyway, I need to get into shape before I even think of cycling a mountain between France and Spain. In preparation for this ride, I decided to get a professional to help, so I hire a personal trainer at our local gym Willy’s, her name is Dr. Judy, and she was great at getting me started with the right strength training program and a schedule for riding my bike for the next 12 weeks.
Great I’m on my way! When our two Serbian employees, the Harhaji brothers, Boris and Igor, get wind of what I’m doing, they are quite excited. You have to understand that these two guy have a strong passion for the art of training. Almost every day they are TRAINING! Be it a swim across the pond, lifting weights that they found at the swap shop, or riding bikes, they somehow fit it into their busy day. While riding alongside the brothers, with their eastern European discipline for “training”, I begin to see a huge difference between riding my bike and training for a bike trip. Like I see the difference between a seared sea scallop or a seared piece of meat, and the searing pain in the thighs and gluts when riding a bike up one of the beautiful Truro hills. I must say that all of this training is made easier when you are doing it with others. Inspiration from Boris and Igor has certainly pushed my inner discipline to a new level, and so I can’t help but think of them when I am ‘training”.
It becomes more exciting and the challenges seem easier to meet with others along for the ride. Part of the reason that I’m doing this ride is due to the Idiots. I probably wouldn’t even think of going it solo. What could be better than a ride across Spain and Portugal with Ellery and Levi? I know that they will keep me laughing for sure, and as far as inspiration and challenge, I think they have that covered pretty well too. There is another thing about training that I didn’t mention and that’s time. Ok, so preparing to ride your bike about 650 miles does take a little inner discipline, but did I mention how much time one has to set aside in the day to train. Riding to the restaurant was one thing, a half hour or 45 minutes. Riding for thirty or forty miles takes several hours. How do working folks fit it in to a busy day? My answer has been getting up before the crack of dawn and so far that has been fine. I figure that will probably be the schedule when we’re riding The Camino anyway, so I should be all set when the Spanish sun shows it’s face peeking over the Pyrenees mountains. That will probably be the part of the ride that will be the most challenging physically. But does it have to be the first day? No one said that I have to ride the whole Camino. As long as you get to Santiago de Campostella by noon for mass it shouldn’t matter if you walk, ride a horse, or a bike. For that matter why not a combination of all three? The trip promises to be an adventure of a lifetime, with lots of laughs (and not too many aches and pains) till we reach the finish line in Porto. With the huge group of family and friends gathering in Portugal, New Year’s eve is going to be some party.
How I Became An Idiot 11/03/2009
And so it begins” As I recall, it was mid June of this past summer. On a strange whim I decided to ride my bike from my home in Truro center to Adrian’s Restaurant where I usually spend most of the spring, summer and fall hours of life. The ride is about a 6 miles straight shot, 35 minutes from door to door. This bike riding continued for a several days, and It felt great getting started in the early morning hours, not much traffic, to deal with except an occasional Pain D’ Avignon delivery truck screaming past me a bit too close for comfort , but heck I always ride with a helmet. I felt super energized arriving at work full of the wind and the early Cape dew on my face, great stress reliever if I say so. It was my favorite son Julian who started talking about an E-mail from “The Idiots “prodding him to join them in Turkey for the remaining part of the epic 10,000 mile bike trip that started in April from far away Russia. “If I don’t get an internship or a real job (as we all know waiting on tables in the family restaurant is never a real job) by the end of the summer I’m going”. How this all translated into me, and not my son joining The Idiots is the real mystery in the story. Perhaps it was in the stars and that’s why I started riding to work this past June, anyway Julian got the internship in DC. and Adrian got an Idea that sometimes one just has to act on what they feel is meant to be, sort of! Ellery’s Mom Susan mentioned that the Idiots were going to ride through northern Spain on The Camino de Santiago and on to the finish line in Porto. I got really excited when she mentioned this. Two years ago the not yet Idiots and Nate walked the very same Camino, I so wanted to join them. But being the responsible and reasonable person that I am it was no contest. I was to teach in Cambridge that fall, and that was the extent of my Camino that year. But this time was different. Why not join The Idiots! I can do this heck, I’m already riding 6 miles a day and I’m only 53, 54 by the time I meet up with Ellery and Levi in Saint Jean Pied de Port France in December. And besides ,The Camino is Religious Pilgrimage what about all those years in Catholic school, surly that has to be worth some special connection or indulgence. “ And so it begins”