Monday, May 24, 2010

Substitute Captain for the Blind Stokers

Sunday I went out with the Blind Stokers for the first time. When I loaned them my spare tandem I told their leader, Dave White, that I'd be willing to fill in as a substitute captain where I could.

The Blind Stokers Club is organized around a 3 day ride they do in late July. In the past they've ridden from Santa Barbara, back down to San Diego. This year it's a little different, but the theme remains the same; provide a 3 day cycling adventure to blind stokers while helping raise money for the club. If you're looking for a charity ride that you can participate in, this is a great charity, and it's a ride that anyone is welcome to be a part of.

In order to build up to the 3 day adventure, they do a monthly club training ride. In the meantime, teams are supposed to be doing their own training rides so that they can prepare for the 3 day adventure.

Sunday we rode much of the SDBC development ride route. North from UCCyclery, up through Rancho Sante Fe, west on Manchester, and back south on the 101. 35 miles or so on a very windy day. I had the pleasure of partnering with Peter Dawson for the day (you can find some info on Peter on the Blind Stokers website).

It was really cool to ride with these guys. It's especially nice to ride with a group of people who are so enthusiastic about cycling. That goes for everyone from the stokers, to the captains, to the organizers. You also gain an entirely new perspective on how meaningful it is to have your eyesight. As Peter and I were heading back south on the 101 I almost felt bad as I was describing for him how beautiful a day it was, all the beautiful scenery, cute girls running on the side of the road, etc.

Riding with Peter was also interesting due to the circumstances of how he lost his eyesight; once again proving what I learned a long time ago, that no matter how bad I thought my accident was, there are plenty of people who have it way worse. Peter lost his eyesight as a result of a motor bike accident when he was 18. Despite all of the hardship he's gone through in his life, he hasn't let it get the better of him. He got a law degree, practiced law for years, and now works as a rehab counselor. I know back when I hurt myself I'd love to have had someone like Peter that I could have related to. Having the perspective of having been through his own, very serious accident is something that I'm sure his clients can really relate to.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Can Read!

Today was a bit of a milestone. I read (from the first page through to the last)an entire book. It's been close to 20 years since I did that. There have been many cases of me reading the first quarter or even half of a book over the past 20 years, but I've never gone much past that point.

The book in question was Dog in a Hat, by Joe Parkin. I can't say that I really recommend it. If you're completely clueless about what bike racing is like on the inside, this book may enlighten you. What it won't do is give you any real insight into racing strategy, or even really put the sacrifice and pain that goes into being a competitive cyclist into perspective. It also doesn't provide any sort of philosophical wisdom. I don't want to slam Joe, but I would have thought that if a guy had a history that was worth a book, he'd have some sort of life lessons or wisdom he'd be able to pass on to us all. That doesn't happen in this book. Joe just basically summarizes what he did in his cycling career in Europe. If you close your eyes and imagine what an American would do racing in Europe for four years you've pretty much read the book.