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Wednesday Gravel

For the past couple of months Wednesday evening has meant gravel Wednesday evening. Earlier this summer I built up a Twin Six/Handsome Cycles Speedy Devil, Singlespeed gravel grinder. It’s been a tremendous change in pace from the typical road training. In my short couple months experience I can conclude that gravel roads have almost zero traffic, tougher climbs and much better scenery than any paved roads, at least in Southern Minnesota.

With the season winding down I decided to change gears again and took the gravel grinder down to the new mountain bike trail in town. The trail is a very basic 1 mile loop with no significant hills and the only obstacles are a few log piles and what seems to be endless twists and turns. It’s definitely not the toughest riding you’ll find but on a rigid steel singlespeed with 700×32 tires it turned out to be quite the challenge. I actually went down 3 times. Twice my front tire washed out on leaf covered turns and the other time I did a complete superman after getting wide on a corner and plowing into a log. No doubt about it, it was a good time.

I find that it’s good to mix up the regular routine and to try different things. I wouldn’t ever want to building a training program around the off road CX ride but it was definitely a challenge and helped me build new skills. And much to my surprise, I snagged an off-road KOM on a SSCX!

Happy trails

 

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The Sportscentric Sportsciety we live in

Ahh yes, Sunday night. The last few waking hours before Monday morning when I am thrust back into the sportscentric sportsciety. When I was just a young lad sports were my life. I could tell you how many home runs Kirby Puckett had hit this season, how many touchdowns  Jerry Rice had caught, the number of goals Wayne Gretzky had scored the night before and the number of assists John Stockton needed for the season record. I loved sports, the only thing I loved more than watching them was playing them.

Once I got into college I kind of stopped following sports (with exception to Maverick hockey). They were still neat and all but the joy of watching a football game just wasn’t there. When I got my first job the office was always buzzing on Monday mornings with talk of Sunday’s big games. In order to fit in I did what any other guy would do, when in Rome…I watched most college football games on Saturdays, NFL games on Sundays, baseball when it was on and basketball and hockey during the playoffs. This went on for a few years until one day my brain just clicked. Maybe it clicked in the wrong way but it definitely clicked. What am I doing with my life? Sports?!?!? I’m sitting on a couch watching grown men crash into each other, what is wrong with me? Where did I go wrong? Obviously I had a lot of questions running through my mind and really no answers.

I’ve been pretty much sports free for around two years now and couldn’t be happier. Now don’t get me wrong, I still play sports, I still think kids should be playing sports as much as possible but watching sports? Come on! No longer do I coast into an October Saturday with a bag of chips ready to watch the Gophers take on some other Big 10 team and then follow it up with a disappointing Viking’s performance on Sunday. Now I use my time to actually do something. Something that will  make a difference to myself or my community.

So far this weekend I’ve been on two cycling adventures, took the dogs for a walk, did some trail maintenance at the local MTB trail, mowed the lawn, a few loads of laundry, learned a few new songs on the guitar, cooked my wife dinner and probably a few other things that I don’t remember at this time. I’m exhausted. This is a typical weekend for me, I don’t have time for sports and I don’t even have kids or real weekend responsibilities!

Let me predict the future, on Monday morning I’m going to stroll into work and Bob (made up co-worker) is going to come up to me and ask how my weekend was. Something like this:

Bob: Hey Dustin, How was the weekend?

Dustin: It was really good, didn’t do much but it was good. How about you.

Bob: It sucked, the sharks (substitute any other sports team) lost again.

Dustin: Dang, did you do anything else?

Bob: Watched the Dragons play on Saturday, that was a waste of time.

Dustin: Bummer man, maybe they score more goals next week. See ya!

~ I promise you, this conversation will happen with at least 10 different people tomorrow.

So here’s the first thing I ask myself, Bob purposely wasted his entire weekend in front of a TV and didn’t even enjoy it?

As a society  many experts scratch their heads wondering why divorce rates are so high, why children are less interested in math and science, why crime is up, etc… What if instead of watching sports all weekend Bob would have taken his kids to the park, the zoo, a road trip, etc… What if Bob would have went on a mini vacation with his wife? There are countless things Bob could have done but instead he chose to sit in front of a TV being miserable. What is it that people get from sports? When I was a kid it was a desire to be like the athletes on TV. I wanted to hit the home runs or kick the goals. Do adults still have that desire? Are millions of adults in the world still striving to be someone they never will be? Don’t even get me started on the whole financial aspects of sports ~ Billionaires taking money from the middle class to pay millionaires and then use public funding to build stadiums. Pfft!

If you’re reading my blog I’m guessing you might not be a big sports person. Regardless, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are considering watching a sports game, ask yourself, is there something better I could do? Maybe spend some time with your family, write a letter to a friend, pick up some trash in the park or maybe just go skip rocks at the lake.