FIT@50 \ week 16

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Unplugged & Replugged:
Last week was an amazing experience. I spent the weekend with my wife,Liliana Hart on a Trek Travels cycling trip through northern California. The grapes were the only things online out there. No cell or internet service, and the wifi was spotty to say the least.

So what did I do with my cell phone? Used it as a camera to capture pics of the beauty of our country and the fun with new friends.
I’d unplugged. And it was actually okay.

In the same week, I had a three book deal with Amazon’s Kindle World set for release. This was my biggest writing obligation to date, next to my doctoral dissertation. It required manuscript uploading, cover design downloading and entering keywords, metadata and marketing blurbs.
I’d replugged. And it was actually okay.

It’s the balance that we all seek. It’s the fine line between obsessive and unconcerned. It’s taken almost 50 years to not avoid it, but hopefully not another 50 years to embrace it.

So in this 16th week of rocking 50 years on Earth, here’s to cycling and reading – both passions I enjoy sharing with you.

Do good,
Scott Silverii

Me and my Shadow | Character

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It’s character.

I love the motivational messages about “the ultimate competitor lies within” and themes encouraging you to do your best to be your best. While most address athletic competition, I also appreciate the aspect in building strength of character.

As a younger man I lauded over the strength to lift heavy weights as a benchmark of who I was, and the lifting of even more weight for who I wanted to be. Thank God we grow past those shallow ambitions.

It’s character.

On my last ride I looked just ahead to see another, stronger bicyclist. I recognized him immediately as the same cyclist I’ve chased for years. He was also the same weightlifter, swimmer, runner, student, son and dad that taunted me for most of my life.

It was my shadow, and it peddled ahead of me and kept its position no matter how hard I beat against the wind. The “self-competitor” messaging flashed back as I toiled to increase and maintain a steady rhythm along the road.

In that moment of struggle to overcome him, I quickly considered, why am I out here giving chase when at home its warm and the couch is cozy? Yet I knew:

It’s character.

While it’s easy to call in sick whether you are or not; promise you will when you know you won’t; reply yes while you mean no; or feign the effort while avoiding the struggle, it’s all about character.

I fixed my sight ahead, dipped into the handlebar drops, shifted gears and gave chase!

Did I catch him? Did I catch me? Well, after the mid-way turn around the shadow fell behind me if that counted.

Kidding aside; not that day, or probably any other day because as we grow stronger much more is expected. It doesn’t that mean we are weak. It means that we are up to the challenge.

It’s character.

Peer Pressure: I passed a tractor & ate a bug

JohnDeereTractorRichlandNJ

Yes, it’s much better than had I eaten a bug, then “passed” a tractor. Get it? Anyway, peer pressure is an odd phenomenon. We exert it or succumb to it as children, we implore our own kids not to fall victim to it, yet even as adults we sometimes still give in to it.

Bicycles don’t usually pass moving vehicles on the highways, but many of us have dreamed of that moment when pure man and muscle-driven machine out runs an automotive tortoise. Actually, it’s pretty much just a dream.

THE TRACTOR

This week while cycling along my favorite swamp stomping sugarcane road I came up behind a tractor. Now with pre-winter’s gusts beginning to taunt cyclists with what will soon to be constant headwinds, I took solace tucked safely behind this rolling behemoth.

I checked my rearview mirror snuggly attached to the bottom of my carbon fiber handle bars to see a line of cars piled up behind the tractor; and me! A quick look over the shoulder, and the lead car flashed the bright lights signaling to me that it was okay to pass.

Seriously? Ok to pass a moving vehicle. Could it be time to make this dream a reality? I knew better as I was maintaining about a 22 mph pace thanks to the wind cutting draft behind the tractor. But seriously, the car flashed the headlights in a moment of intimate communication between fellow travelers. What else could I do?

I nodded, then jetted out from behind the tractor as pure, unadulterated peer pressure launched my cycling assault into the opposite lane of traffic along this thin ribbon of a roadway.

Peer pressure didn’t help draft from the howling headwinds, but here I was; trapped alongside the lumbering obstacle and a line of “brother and sister” motorists who encouraged and entrusted me to lead the passing parade around this sugarcane harvester.Scott Bike1

Igniting an explosion at over 28 mph my legs churned while my lungs seared and I soon overtook the green giant. Immediately, I was overtaken by six impatient motorists and not one waved with a notion of gratitude for my effort.

Yes, peer pressure made me do it. Unfortunately, peer pressure was not stopping the moving machinery that began closing the gap between his front end loader and my rear deep-dish carbon wheel.

It was solely the power of embarrassment, ego and fear that fueled the next several miles at an elevated speed to save either getting passed or ploughed by the unimpressed tractor driver. He had work to do, and a living to make. I had an early sunset to beat back home.

THE BUG

Oddly enough, the return trip was uneventful with an absence of obstacles to overcome; moving or otherwise. Then in a quiet, self-affirming celebration of average pace per mile and hour, I sat up from my tightly tape-wrapped handlebars and stretched my back.

The moment my mouth opened to say, “Yea!” I was struck by what I later learned to be a dragonfly. How did I learn its species identity? After embedding itself into my mouth, and involuntarily biting it almost in half, I looked at it before tossing it to the road.

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Yep, dragon flies bite

What did I learn that bike trip:

1 – Don’t fall for peer pressure

2 – Don’t be so quick to celebrate yourself

3 – Don’t bite dragonflies in half

4 – Yes, dreams can come true – I passed a tractor!

 

What has peer pressure “made” you do lately?

 Peer Pressure: I passed a tractor & ate a bug

 

I’m Shaping Up | Week 24

United States Marine Corps seal

I’m Shaping Up; Week 24

You just never know.

A few weeks back I received an e-mail from my academic mentor and friend, Dr. John Kiefer. He was my master of public administration program’s thesis advisor while I attended the University of New Orleans. We connected immediately, and I admired his career as a professor and his calling as a United States Marine.

Satisfied with my graduation from UNO and no intention of continuing my education, Doc encouraged me to pursue a PhD with just a three sentence conversation. No, I cannot share those “motivational” words he spoke, but what I am sharing is that he, singularly inspired me to push further than I ever imagined I could.

In his e-mail last month, it said that he had been following this series “I’m Shaping Up” and it inspired him to regain his USMC fighting form. Or at the least get back to fitness!!

Who knew? You just never know.

One way of getting there
One way of getting there

Week 24

Here’s to holding each other accountable when the couch looks inviting and the snacks endless.

Weight

– Don’t know.

Exercise

– 8 cycling sessions!!! I biked 2-a-days earlier in the week and it was awesome.

– 1 day of running (these cool mornings are great for adding a few extra miles)

– 1 lawn cut. Yes, I’m convinced that this is an athletic event as long as there is no zero-radius mower involved. ALL Push mower!!

Eating

– Extra cycling has caused a craving for extra eating, but not the bad stuff. Well, still scoring my night-time ice cream. Kiddo’s fault.

UNO Ring & BP

– BP is still good and resting HR is low 50’s. It’s been great being able to push my HR into the mid 160’s to 170’s for sustained periods of cycling, then dropping it quickly into a recovery range.

– The UNO ring slips on and off without hanging up on swollen knuckles or fat fingers.

Bayou Country Cyclists Saturday morning ride
Bayou Country Cyclists Saturday morning ride

Monday – Sunday Goals:

– 5 days of cycling.

– 1 yoga session (I’ve really blown this one).

– 3 morning run sessions

– bring lunches to work or prepared meal at home.

– Continue with hydration.

How are your efforts going? Don’t just read this and dismiss it. Make a commitment today. You have peer support, CopsAlive.com expertise, and a champion fitness advisor all ready to help.

I’m Shaping Up | Week 23

Rocking the Bike Race Beat
Rocking the Bike Race Beat

It’s the last week of summer!!!

For kiddo before school; the rest of us get to continue in suffering beneath the sweltering summer sun!!

Gotta tell ya that the combination of fitness routine and kiddo at your feet made for challenging times and other times not so much. The great thing about returning to a healthy life is during the times when the gym closes too early, the afternoon rain showers are too consistent or the day gets lost playing with kiddo, it does not matter in the big scheme of things.

Watching food intake, especially during the days when a 7-year-old just doesn’t fit onto the saddle of my road bike or treadmill, makes maintaining a healthy regimen possible.

After our traditional Sunday morning breakfast, we spent our last afternoon of summer bliss watching an awesome cycling criterium in downtown Thibodaux. Where else do you find bikes, beer (not us) and a band rocking the oldest Cajun tunes on the bayou?

I want to thank Jerry Moody and Judith Pringle of the traditional Cajun French music band; Comme Cetait (Like it was) for being so kind to kiddo to allow him to join your band.

I’m Shaping Up | Week 23

Here’s to holding each other accountable when the couch looks inviting and the snacks endless.

Weight

– Don’t know. Still not worrying about these numbers.

Exercise

– No cycling, running, yoga. Only full-time playing and enjoying this week with kiddo. That’s exhausting!!

– Oh, I did cut the lawn in the rain. It’s fun.

Eating

– Survived the kiddo diet of pancakes, pizza, and pre-bed ice cream. IN MODERATION

UNO Ring & BP

– Did not check BP or HR this week, but will return to monitoring this week as I pick up my running and cycling frequency and intensity.

– The UNO ring slips on and off without hanging up on swollen knuckles or fat fingers.

@BCC & the Green Team Cycling. GR8 job today
@BCC & the Green Team Cycling. GR8 job today

Monday – Sunday Goals:

– 5 days of cycling.

– 2 yoga sessions.

– 4 morning run sessions

– bring lunches to work or prepared meal at home.

– Gotta really stay consistent with hydration.

How are your efforts going? Don’t just read this and dismiss it. Make a commitment today. You have peer support, CopsAlive.com expertise, and a champion fitness advisor all ready to help.

I’m Shaping Up | Week 22

Wear Black

I’m Shaping Up; Week 22

Hi everyone, good to be back after a week in North Dakota. No exercise, unless you call reading highway safety reports and eating hotel food all week exercise.

Did you know that it’s hot and humid in south Louisiana? You’d think I would know that too, but it didn’t stop me from overdoing it this weekend.

But don’t “I told you so” too quickly. I was inspired by the wonderful folks I’ve rejoined in our Bayou Country Cyclists team, and our MS 150 training ride was an event I had to participate in. Even though I was still under hydrated and over-stuffed with Bismarck’s best cuisine.

Today’s ride brought a little sadness though. Ever get attached to something inanimate and just dread the day it comes to an end? My very first pair of cycling shoes came apart during the ride. The carbon bottoms, already chipped, scraped and worn from the years and the miles just had one clipped-in-pedal stroke too many today.

Would you believe that I’ve had them since 2005? They survived triathlons, cycling centuries, and being left out on the porch during Hurricane Katrina.

My 1st & only pair of cycling shoes. Thanks for the miles
My 1st & only pair of cycling shoes. Thanks for the miles

Week 22

Here’s to holding each other accountable when the couch looks inviting and the snacks endless.

Weight

– Don’t know. Still not worrying about these numbers.

Exercise

– 2 days of cycling

– 1 lawn cut. Don’t knock it; I started my Strava app and it recorded almost 2 miles walked up and down, back and forth, stopping to talk to the neighbor and back and forth.

– 6 days of hotel food, if that’s a sport.

Eating

– What is it about airline travel and hotel conference centers? Yes, you know how the eating went.

UNO Ring & BP

– BP is still good and resting HR is low 50’s. Saturday and Sunday’s biking bonanzas kept the HR up in the 160 – 170’s, but air condition helps that after the rides.

– The UNO ring slips on and off without hanging up on swollen knuckles or fat fingers.

Hotel Heaven
Hotel Heaven

Monday – Sunday Goals:

– 3 days of cycling.

– 2 yoga sessions.

– 3 morning run sessions

– bring lunches to work or prepared meal at home.

– Gotta really stay consistent with hydration.

How are your efforts going? Don’t just read this and dismiss it. Make a commitment today. You have peer support, CopsAlive.com expertise, and a champion fitness advisor all ready to help.

Wanna Pull a Train?

Pulling the Train
Pulling the Train

Recently returning to recreational cycling, I’ve enjoyed heading out after work for as long as the sunlight allows. These rides are usually alone, and the hours of solo saddle time allows for so many thoughts to get sorted out.

It’s amazing how mental the physical act of cycling can be.

There are also the other fantastic times when I join other cyclists. With a little experience, instruction and commitment most people become comfortable in a pace-line, or “train.” The benefits of working as a team in a pace-line extend beyond the mere aspect of efficiently riding together from point A to B, or C, D, E…

It’s also amazing what being clad in spandex and seated upon carbon fiber teaches you about, well; life.

I was thinking how riding in a pace line illustrates a person’s natural character and tendency. Within a group of most things being equal, some always jockey up to the front, while others remain nestled comfortably away in the middle of the pack. Then, there are the rare few who have developed a special skill for drafting from the very rear of the train.

The Pull

Pulling the train is an incredible feeling once the front cyclist taps out and pulls just off the lead. The unobstructed view, the open road, the potential for miles traveled as the new leader of your grateful team; and then…

the previously nonexistent blast of headwind welcomes you as its next victim!

The sense of duty, responsibility, and yes; EGO force your legs to pump faster for maintaining the pace. Unfortunately, ego has zero effect on preventing your heart from pounding till spots appear through the lens of your over-priced Oakley’s.

 

Military cyclists ride in a pace line as they ...
The Paceline

Your Choices

This is the curious part of cycling and life that fascinates me. Back burning, legs churning, heart pounding and lungs searing; what do you do?

1. Gut it out and maintain the agreed upon speed  because it’s the commitment you made as part of the team.

2. Slyly slow the pace to a manageable speed despite adversely affecting the team, because you like the idea of being the “leader.”

3. Feign an injury or mechanical failure so others will allow you a sympathy alibi, “If it wasn’t for that cramp…”

4. Safely signal that you will be transferring leadership to the next person who is prepared for leading everyone to the next level.

The Decision

I will share that taking the chance to pull the train, even if just briefly in cycling or life makes you a stronger person. Carrying the cross for others by sacrificing your personal comfort is sometimes frightening, but seldom unrewarding.

Whether it’s peddling into the wind, or giving of yourself to help others, you become the winner.

And no; you don’t have to wear spandex while doing it. Unless you want to!!