There is good reason for my absence. 2010 will go down, so far, as one of the busiest, if not the busiest years of my life. Words cannot express what has happened to my life with the birth of my son, Zeke Bowen Holmes on July 1, 2010. While one of the busiest it will definitely go down as one of the best. My wife Cyndi and I, now 8 months later, cannot imagine life without him. It is truly almost as if our lives together before him have been erased to some degree. Although we have cherished and do cherish our lives together we definitely find a greater energy through the life of our son. Energy, well that’s a whole different topic in many ways but the energy I speak of is something from within. Another reason I write is to ensure you that the other kind of energy, which I like to burn through cycling, is soon to return to my posts. I believe fitness to be one of the most important things in the world and I want to be an encouragement for others to embrace this type of lifestyle. If I, as goofy as I am, can ascend mountain passes or ride 220 miles to the beach in one day on my bicycle, hopefully you will realize that you too can find a healthier way. You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, or Thomas Whitley when it comes to cycling, but I think it is important that we all take care of our bodies with some level of physical fitness! Cycling 2011 is upon us so stay tuned!
Many people may think cycling is as simple as getting out on your bike and hitting the highway. To strip it down to the bare essentials this is correct, but for safety sake there is more to it than that. All have probably seen, at some point in time, the sign “Share the Road.” Yes, these are in place to make motorists aware of cyclists, but the fact that someone was gracious enough to get those out on the highways demands that as cyclists we are to do our part in “sharing the roads.” Some of this video is dedicated to how cyclists should share the road. Other parts touch on cycling etiquette within the peloton. This is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to add your comments, rules, or etiquette that we may have missed.
Today my grandmother, Mrs. Lillian Holmes, passed away. Even after Ninety-Four years it is still painful to lose a loved one. She cared so much for me and meant so much to me, more than she will ever know. My grandmother was a true servant and one of the sweetest people I have ever known, and I am not being biased. She was blessed to live a long life of relatively good health and sound mind. I was able to gain wisdom and knowledge from her even in these last days. I could tell story after story about my grandmother, but for the sake of time I will not begin to tell those here. I will keep them in my heart always, so if you ever want to hear one just ask and I’ll share one with you. Ironically, my sermon preparation this week comes from Acts 9 and the story of Tabitha (Dorcus). Through the power of Christ Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. The sermon is not really geared toward this scene, rather it will take a look at the lives impacted by the life of Tabitha, the widows and those who would believe in the Lord, for she was a true servant. Today, this message has become more real to me. In the event of death, life is reflected upon, not just the life of the loved one that has passed, but your life. In the event of my grandmother’s death, I am thinking much about her life and the lives she impacted. My life was impacted much by my grandmother and we were very close. I look at my life and think about what type of impact I am making on others. Life is abruptly impacted by death, no matter how long one has suffered or how long loved ones have had to prepare for death. Death disrupts the comfort of normal, routine life, but death must not have the final say. For those of us left to grieve will find in us the opportunity to reflect upon a life lived and a life being lived. It is my hope that I may be able to continue to reflect upon my grandmother’s life and learn to apply the impacting principles of a true servant (Mrs. Lillian Davis Holmes).
I love you Granny.
This past Saturday I made a trip to the mountains on my own. Training by yourself can be a hard thing to do, but sometimes it is your only choice. I have been cycling for many years and when I was on my best form a long, winding ascent was my playground. That was years ago and now I find myself with new priorities (work, school, family, and more family on the way). This has left me a bit out of shape, but I am determined to get even better than I once was. The problem is that I find myself in a “race against the clock.” I am not getting any younger and even more I am most likely on the downward slope of my physical prime. The only way I know to combat my “race against the clock” is to “race against the clock!” It was fortunate that I used my timer on my bike computer to record my ascents on many climbs (normally I’m not that organized). This past weekend I started my “race against the clock,” my ascent to the cyclist I once was. I have much improving to do in order to surpass the times recorded at least five years ago. I documented my last ride (before and after) where the clock was both friend and foe. The tip of the day is to ride, whether by yourself or with others. If you have been riding without purpose and want to get better begin documenting your rides (who, what, why, when, where, time, how you felt, weather, hydration, and anything else you may find worthy of documenting). If you don’t have a flip, write it down.
The Milestone, a stone marker on the side of a road to show distances. The milestone was originally used in the Roman Empire on the Appian Way. Today we often use the term to denote major or exciting accomplishments such as a baby’s first step. In less than a week I have witnessed and been a part of two milestones. No, these are not my milestones but they are my good friend Thomas Whitley’s. In cycling there are many things to experience and accomplish, many of which have to do with suffering. Most of the time the reward far outweighs the suffering and I believe this has been Thomas’ experience this week. In less than a week he has ascended a mountain and ridden his longest ride of 41 miles. Yesterday was the 41 mile ride and there was no lack of suffering. The wind was steady at 10 mph and gusting up to 20 mph. Ninety percent of the three-hour ride was directly into the head of this stiff wind, but at the end of the day my friend had reached a milestone and I was glad to be there. The less significant (less significant than Thomas’ milestone) topic of the day was doping. Cycling is a sport that has taken a major hit over the last few years because of doping. The performance enhancing drug EPO has caused a “fall from grace” for many and even the death of some. Authorities have found that cyclists will do many different things to introduce this drug into their blood, from direct injection to blood transfusions from another that has injected the drug. With all of the grand tours (The Giro, The Tour de France, The Vuelta A Espana) ahead of us for 2010 it is good for all to be reminded that any performance enhancing drugs have NO place in cycling! Thomas and I proved today that we do not participate in doping and there are many other ways to get stronger on the bike, like embracing the headwind. If you have a bike… ride it!
Today, inspired by my good friend Thomas Whitley, I begin to blog. It just happens to be Easter as well. Coincidence? “I don’t think so!” Because it is Easter I got a new “Flip Video” camera, not really, that just happens to be what I am telling people. The camera is small enough to fit into my pocket, yet large enough to shoot those big jobs such as my baby being born in July. Since it is Easter and since I wanted to figure out my camera I shot a “happy Easter” video for my friends. The reason I want to blog is because Thomas and I will begin video documenting our bike rides. We just want to be able to fulfill people’s yearning for cycling documentaries. These will be coming soon so don’t do anything drastic like buy a bicycle until you see how much suffering is truly involved in cycling. So just start out with shaving your legs, arms, and so on, or not. And if you have a bicycle… ride it!