2021 Sportsperson Of The Year

This morning I asked the GalPal if she wanted to say anything on behalf of her candidacy for 2021 Sportsperson of the Year. But instead of touting her 2021 athletic greatest hits, she declined, saying, “I’m not into competition anymore.” 

How ironic because that’s exactly what this year’s winner says in the middle of this short documentary about what I’m deeming 2021’s Athletic Accomplishment of the Year. 

I present to you, the 2021 Sportsperson of the Year, Lachlan Morton and the 2021 Athletic Accomplishment of the Year, The Alt Tour.

What is there not to love about Morton? Among other attributes that tipped the scale his way was his self-awareness, his social conscience, his sense of humor, his commitment to fun, and his utter lack of ego. 

Sportsperson of the Year honorable mention goes to two athletes who, like Lachy, also inspire lots of other people without much media coverage at all (not counting Strava and Insta).   

Jeanette Byrnes for her commitment to open water swimming and monthly open water plunges sans wetsuit. #nails 

Dan, Dan, the Former Transportation Man for sticking like velcro for another year to the Boon Running Team, of which I am a proud member, despite giving up 2-13 years to the youngish, handsome “legends in their own minds” that make up the team. #nails

Sports Accomplishment of the Year honorable mention. M.A.’s inaugural marathon at 62 years young. Way to go rook.

The best of the rest: Tom Brady. 

Netflix’s ‘The Harder They Fall’

Real cyclists Zwift. In contrast, I soft-pedal while watching Netflix.

Full disclosure. In keeping with the times, an unnecessarily, over-the-top amount of gun violence. If you can stomach that, a great cast, the best ‘Western’ movie soundtrack of all-time, and a really excellent ending. Not proud of the fact that I stomached the gun violence.

Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned

On Sunday I was fine cycling up Mount Saint Helen’s until I wasn’t. My legs mutinied during the last few miles before the top, cramping so badly that any pedaling was tough. Five salt tablets, gels packed with more sodium, a protein bar, and four bottles of gatorade weren’t enough when the cramping went from bad to worse on the return. 

From the top of the volcano you descend very quickly for about 6 miles and then climb about 8 more before descending another 23 to the start (74 miles total, 6,900′ of elevation). For the first time in 15-20 years I had to stop on a mountain climb about 3-4 miles from the last top at Elk Rock. I found some shade on the other side of Spirit Hwy and attempted to sit down on the shoulder and I don’t know what, stretch I guess. Problem was my knees wouldn’t bend so I basically fell over while holding my bike which end up resting on my shoulder and neck. 

A car stopped. It was the Park Ranger/Angel who topped off our water bottles at the closed Visitor’s Center at the top 45 minutes earlier. “Are you alright?!” “Yes,” I lied, “but I have 3-4 miles to go to meet up with my friends and I’m a little worried they’re gonna wonder what happened to me.” He took off and informed them that I was near dead on the shoulder 3.5 miles below, but would be along eventually. 

Time will tell what the Cosmos will extract from me for lying to the best Park Ranger ever. In my defense, he was driving a Honda Civic, so it wasn’t like he could transport Blanca and me to the top of the climb. He did ask if I had water though and although I had one bottle left at that point, it was dumb (even by my standards) not to take him up on the offer of more. 

Without my friends shepherding me down the mountain, I would’ve been in trouble because I would’ve been in the hot sun another 20 minutes without enough liquid. Pro-tip, if you ever SLAM into the wall on your bike in the mountains, do it in the company of Mark, Allen, and Dennis. 

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How many salt tablets does a guy need to take?

Penny Oleksiak Thanks Worst Ever Teacher For Inspiring Her

Penny Oleksiak, a Canadian swimmer, now has one gold, two silvers, and four bronze medals. Tuesday, she tweeted this.

Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 4.53.23 PM  

Shortly afterwards, she added this.

Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 4.54.50 PM

WOAT. . . worst of all time. 

If you’re a parent of school-aged children or a teacher, do your best to nurture, not crush young people’s dreams.

Thursday’s Required Reading

1. 12 year old grandmaster. 

2. Ultra cycling’s underdog has no patience for haters

3. On infrastructure. Why does it cost so much to build things in America? 

4. The power dynamic between humans and Yosemite National Park.

5. On ‘small travel’. Making discovery, not distance, travel’s point.

If You’re Not Looking Forward To It, You’re Doing it Wrong

I enjoy watching Lionel Sanders triathlon training videos on YouTube. I dig his honesty and no-nonsense competitiveness. He said something in a recent one that was particularly insightful. Tying his shoes before a track workout, he said, “If you’re not looking forward to it (meaning workouts generally), you’re doing it wrong.”

Great advice for any walker, hiker, tennis player, yoga aficionado, swimmer, cyclist, runner. Whether you’re looking forward to your activity is a great litmus test of whether you’re overtrained or just going through the motions out of habit. What would it be like to be fully present and genuinely appreciative each time you lace em’ up?

Last night, before expiring, my final thought was, “I’m fortunate I get to swim tomorrow morning.”

This Tuesday afternoon I found myself shoulder-to-shoulder with Brett near the very end of the “Mostly Retired Lunch Hour” ride. Brett is the Presiding Judge at our County’s Courthouse and one of two regulars on the ride still working full-time (I’m half-time). In his mid-60’s, I asked him if he has an “end-date” in mind. He said he’s up for re-election in a year and a half and he’ll have another four-year term. Groovy confidence, but what I most digged was how much he enjoys his work. I told him it was really refreshing to hear since it seems to me that 8 to 9 out of every 10 of my peers are counting down the days until they can stop working.

Brett talked about the Court’s ‘rona inspired virtual proceedings and how engaging the associated intellectual challenges were. And about how much he enjoys working with young attorneys and other people. And about how no one will give a damn about what he thinks as soon as he unplugs. Irrespective of his age and all his peers exiting the stage, he looks forward to what the next several years of work will bring.

He also acknowledged that “we live in a beautiful spot” and that he can enjoy playing outdoors when not working. Because of that, he said he doesn’t feel compelled to move anywhere.

As we approached his Courthouse’s start and end point, he said to me, “It was great riding with you again Professor. It was nice to have a little infusion of intellect.” I think he emphasized little, but still, I’m concerned his judgement may be lacking.

What Have We Learned?

  1. A sentence I never thought I’d write. The Phoenix Suns are seven wins away from winning the NBA Championship.
  2. In the US Open, the 36 and 54 hole leaders are meaningless.
  3. Louis Oostuhizen is as down-to-earth and classy as they come.
  4. The Seattle Mariners own the Tampa Bay Rays.
  5. Minor sports have feelings too. US Track and Field and US Swimming deserve more and better coverage.  Imagine swimming 1500 meters in 14:46. “Okay, we’re gonna do 15 100’s on the 59.” LOL.
  6. I did not qualify for the Olympics, but the next trials are only three years away.

I Got Into A Fight

A week ago and lost bigly. The saddest part, it was the fourth time I went into our green space to trim bushes and weed underneath them ignorant of the poison oak lying in wait. For 48 hours I was fine, and then, not so much. I will spare you the pictures which I should sell to a medical textbook publisher.

The poison oak plague is just one of repeated health challenges I’ve been struggling with this spring. Challenges that have left me with less energy to read, think, and write.

I’ve been reminded that control is elusive and life is fragile. Eating well, running, swimming, and cycling doesn’t guarantee anything.

If I come out the other side more appreciative of my health and whatever time I have left, my travails will have been worth it.