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The CRAZY cycle

Posted in Running, triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2015 by runmyssierun

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I signed up for this book club but it’s also sort of a bible study thingy. The group was assigned to review a Christian oriented book based on the foundation of love and respect as per scripture in the bible.  On page 5, I knew I was already sold on the teachings because it had an illustration of the “crazy cycle” and I immediately correlated it with my crazy cycling!!!

And although I’ve already missed the first two meetings and can tell I’ll be missing the third as well, it’s plain as day what the book is trying to tell us about the differences between boys and girls but I can also use it to tell me a bit more about how I view the world and how the world views me and how differently we all see each other.

PERCEPTION

This was my key vocabulary word for the year.

For Christmas this last year, Santa got me a GoPro. I knew immediately that I was now not only going to be able to share my words with you but also my POV and clarify perception. I was going to attach that camera to my bike, my head, my hands my belly and/or any where I could attach it to so that you – the audience – could witness with your own eyes what I see in my trainings and events. Unfortch, I’ve only had one event this year and haven’t been able to use my GoPro much at all. And even though I’m pretty well known for my selfies, it is rare that I actually take a selfie with just me in it. Most of my “selfies” are with groups of people that I workout with and are posted during or after trainings and events. So naturally, training on my own has been out of most public eye.

Funny how perception works. Because I’m no longer publicly posting my workouts for the world to see, it seems like I’m not working out at all. True, I haven’t participated in events but my workouts have been consistent and tough enough for Dr. Martin to say “You’re pretty banged up now. This is not an injury to take lightly. If you continue this way, you’re likely to end up sitting out for a long period of time.”

Now on my second week with the Martin family chiropractors, I’ve been kneaded, twisted, turned, popped, cracked, ART’d and Graston’d by three of the four Martin family doctors. Never having any experience at a chiropractor’s office (other than a car wreck from about 15 years ago), I was both scared and skeptical. The thought of someone telling me to relax while they yank my head off my shoulders as echoes off crackling bones bounce around inside the confines of my head is not cool. I kept imagining my head being popped off with a snap and then how is my headless self supposed to get to the front office to tend to my co-pay and pick up my son at school afterwards?

I’m trusting that their time line with me is spot on because I’d like to push myself harder. My injury is odd in that I feel fine, stronger than ever, rested, my cardio is okay, and my weight is about 11 pounds heavier than last year but that’s from the kidney infection that I’m fighting already and the additional muscle mass since I had not been doing strength and weight training before.  The only time I actually FEEL my injury is when I do that aka ballet turnout. It’s not my hip flexor but my hip rotator that is aggravated. This is frustrating because I FEEL like I can do a good workout but Doc says no running and no strength training until we get the spine aligned properly so it reduces the stretch in my hip and equalizes.

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A few days ago, I did a really awesome bike ride on Zwift, my new indoor bike training program. 30 miles at about 20 miles per hour. Two days later, I couldn’t settle into my saddle. My hip felt like it had popped out and did only 16 miles at about 15 miles per hour. What happened from one day to the next?

Doc says that I irritated it and inflamed it too much. I didn’t give it enough rest with my trainings and therapy all week. Well, that’s what I get for feeling better, eh? It’s very frustrating!! But ok, ok… I’ll listen and behave.

I had wanted to do the 100 mile ride this morning for CADD = Cyclists Against Drunk Drivers. I didn’t though. I behaved and I have the big picture in my mind. This was a ride that I really wanted to be a part of. It had meaning. It was our community taking a stand against the all too common bad behavior that had been stealing and hurting the lives of my cycling friends.

The event was organized by Bicycle World and had asked Eddie Arguelles’s wife, Monette, to say a few words. She posted this:

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I’m telling you… she’s honestly one of the strongest women I’ve ever met.

The winds were really strong this morning so deep in my heart I know I did the right thing for myself to stay in. Cycling is tough enough at the distance and speed that I wanted to be at now. Add in 20-some mile per hour wind gusts and it can become dangerous, really dangerous for my recovery.. but I really did want to be there even if just in support.

I woke up this morning at 3am with lots on my mind. By 6:30 a.m., I had figured out all the solutions to mankind’s problems. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had my coffee so I forgot all those solutions already. So all I really figured out was my schedule and my list of things to do this week. I know, everybody else meal preps on weekends… I schedule prep. Ya, it’s that crazy.

By chance, the owner of the gym that I had gone to surfing classes at contacted me after reading on an earlier post on facebook that I was hurt. She offered to change me to another class, TRX and Rowing, both classes have upper body focus on strengthening so that I could rest my hip area and not have to give up my workouts. Ever so thankful, I naively jumped head first into TRX and as expected, my weakness was blatantly visible. I was shaking more on those dang ropes than Elvis’ hips in the 1960s! I survived the class blushing, out of breath, exhausted and with noodle arms. I was beyond pathetic. No seriously, I was.

Don’t know what TRX is? Here’s a video of what we did.

So combining the TRX and rowing class with the Surfset..

And my Zwift Cycling… I think I’m doing pretty damn good for being injured.

In fact, I’ve been winning some pretty awesome jerseys on a consistent basis. Not meaning to sound like a braggart about it but just trying to keep myself accountable to my past coaches and teammates that the promise to continue is still alive and well in me and although the thought has entered my head to quit, I’m still here.

On Wednesday, the community will gather again to remember those we’ve lost on two wheels. The annual ghost bike ride will definitely be one that I CANNOT MISS OUT ON.

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I apologize if it’s bad to end on such a sour note, but after all the tremendous progress we’ve made as a community towards health and fitness and sharing the road … I was disheartened to learn that Mr. Garza’s case STILL HAS NOT BEEN ADDRESSED CORRECTLY. Must every horrific cycling death in the Rio Grande Valley need an entourage of concerned cyclists and news reporters to flood the courtrooms to address their cases properly?

Last year, road construction on North 281 prohibited the ghost ride course from including Mr. Garza’s bicycle on the route. this year, we have a similar issue. However, I’d like to ask that prayers be sent to the Garza family as a year has already come and gone and very very few have heard of how Mr. Israel Garza was hit and killed while riding his commuter bike by an intoxicated driver. If you don’t know about this story, maybe we all need to start asking about that white ghost bike on the West side of 281 north of Edinburg by Red Gate.  As per my last conversation with the Garza family, the driver still had not even been arraigned.

Israel Garza was killed while he was riding his commuter bike on North 281 (I-69) by an intoxicated driver.

Israel Garza was killed while he was riding his commuter bike on North 281 (I-69) by an intoxicated driver.

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What’s the right thing to say?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2014 by runmyssierun
Funeral visitation for John Zess will be at Rudy Garza Funeral Home. They are located at 1702 E. Harrison Avenue in Harlingen, TX 78550. Visitation will be on Saturday, September 13 from 12noon – 9pm. A private viewing for the family will be on Friday

Funeral visitation for John Zess will be at Rudy Garza Funeral Home. They are located at 1702 E. Harrison Avenue in Harlingen, TX 78550. Visitation will be on Saturday, September 13 from 12noon – 9pm. A private viewing for the family will be on Friday

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“You’re the first person I thought to call,” he said. (I won’t disclose his name)

I had some serious thought provoking conversations regarding the safety of cyclists in South Texas. A close friend of John Zess called me this morning. Clearly he was having a tough time dealing with the loss of his cycling buddy of many years. He admitted bursting out into a loud cry shortly before he called. He knew I had just recently experienced those exact same feelings not too long ago with Eddie Arguelles’ tragic cycling death.

“People don’t understand until it happens to them,” he said while his normally booming, strong voice cracked with emotion.

And he is so right. People really DON’T understand until it happens to them. Sadly, that means that many more will die on our streets before our community will get it. And then it will take something incredibly awful – I’m talking dreadfully, unspeakable awfulness – to happen to THEM in order for them to change their bad habits.

“What’s the right thing to say?” he asked me. “Do you tell people not to ride in the dark?”

We delved into a conversation that led us further into a confusing mess similar to the chicken and the egg. What do you address first? Who do you address first? What do you tell the other party in the meanwhile?

We have become so fixated on blame that we have become blind to the solution that is actually quite simple. But of course, us humans seem to complicate that solution. What is the solution?

Simple. Follow the law.

If we just didn’t drink all night long during the football game – over the limit of the law = All 50 states have now set .08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as the legal limit for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or commercial drivers, a BAC of .04% can result in a DUI conviction nationwide – then we wouldn’t have drunk drivers hitting cyclists or pedestrians or other cars. Simple, right? Put the drink down. And if you can’t put the drink down… give your keys to someone who didn’t drink (or smoke or snort or dope up)… AT ALL.

Simple, right?

Put the phone down. Simple, right?

Don’t speed. Simple, right?

Pay attention. Simple, right?

But let’s face it… life isn’t that simple. Even if cyclists do EVERYTHING possible to follow the law and EVERYTHING possible to be safe and visible, a black and white law that seems to simply state what should be legal and what should be illegal can be interpreted a completely different way by a good attorney or jury or a judge. And while we’re at it, let’s face it again… the life of the cyclist lost can never truly be given justice nor can a monetary value be given to their worth nor will their loss ever be felt as deeply as it should by that judge nor the person who took it away.

In fact, since you and I are being blunt with each other, let’s talk about the attitudes that we have towards cyclists on the road, cyclists who are hit and cyclists who are killed.

Now, let me be clear about this – THIS IS MY OPINION and it comes from what I have witnessed personally – I love my community and proud of how well it has overcome many of it’s growing pains because we really have grown quickly in a few number of years. The news headlines gets it’s ratings from talking about political leaders abusing power and going to jail but the political leaders that I’ve associated with have actually become a PART of the community and have kicked the ivory tower to the curb, joined its citizens on bike rides or runs and even marathons and have become active in pursuing infrastructure improvements for encouraging physical activity in our community. Our local police have protected my run group along the trail and have stopped alongside the road several times to render aid to a fellow cyclist who didn’t go over the tracks correctly or simply got a flat tire.

My friends, neighbors and friends I have yet to meet have become inspired with our community health kick and have cautiously joined the wave. They watch with wide eyes as people in big trucks or SUVs zoom by cyclists honking, cussing, throwing half empty beer bottles at them and even worse… intentionally swerving their way to knock them down. They see the local news anchors skim through the auto/ped fatality so that we can have time to discuss the NFL game this coming weekend or car that was abandoned in La Joya with the load of pot in the back seat. Everywhere we look, we see validation that the life of a cyclist seems less valuable than that of any other human.

It has become almost a daily ritual that someone tells me that I should not be riding my bike on the road.

“Roads are for cars not bikes.”
“Go ride your bike in a park where you’re supposed to be.”
“Why do you ride on 2nd street when there’s a side walk there?”
“You shouldn’t ride that early in the day. It’s too dark.”
“You shouldn’t ride at night. It’s too dark.”
“You shouldn’t ride in the day. It’s too hot.”
“You shouldn’t ride around Mission Trails. There are too many illegals crossing.”

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So back to our thought provoking conversations…

The following was sent via Facebook private message (I won’t disclose her name)

“Myssie, I saw all you did and you inspired me to get up and do something good, too. I want to become healthy. I’m tired of being fat and not being able to play with my kids. I want to live a long healthy life but what’s the point if I’m supposed to sit here and accept that most likely I’m going to get hit and killed by a drunk driver way before a heart attack has the time to get me?”

What am I supposed to say? What’s the right thing to say?

I want to encourage people to be healthy and have fun doing it and do good for others and continue to push the healthy wave to others…

But what if I encourage someone to go out there and their life is taken away?

What if mine is taken away?

Since the age of six, I’ve had a recurring nightmare about the way I die. Those who are very close to me have heard the story several times. Even my husband knows how serious I am about this dream and will never drive down Hobbs Drive because of it… but I ride by it on my 5am ride. It is by far the biggest fear I have.

I am not going to pretend I have the answer to it all. I’ve even questioned my own sudden desire to go back to running marathons and leaving cycling. I won’t lie and say I’m not scared. But I also cannot, after all I have learned about overcoming fear and challenges these last few years, be bullied by fear to abandon the sport of cycling… a sport that led me to emotional and physical healing. I cannot let go of it.

What’s the right thing to say?

What’s the right thing to do?

Why is this so complicated now? If that answer just popped up in your head right now… do you believe your own answer?

P.S. The Ghost Ride planned for John Zess on Saturday morning at 7:00a.m. has been postponed due to expected thunderstorms on Saturday morning. Please find more details on the rescheduling of the ride on John’s facebook page, Bicycle World’s FB page or Lone Star Pacesetter’s FB page.

More media links on the latest regarding John Zess: http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=1095044#.VBJtjvldV8F

We can not let fear deter us from doing the things we love. Cycling is a rather safe activity to partake here in the RGV as hundreds of cyclists were out and about yesterday and every day without incident. Unfortunately, we do have a *BIG* problem with drinking and driving in the area, and this is what is causing the majority, if not all, of the fatalities. I am a big believer that bicycles belong on the road. However, I am also realistic and practical when it comes to finding a solution to a complex problem. That is why we are advocating hard to have a dedicated, separated, region-wide bicycle trail. I am hopeful that this can happen in the next couple of years. ~ Ramon Hermida

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