2018 Goals

 

Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet to put into writing what my cycling goals are. Not that I haven’t been giving it thought – a whole lot of thought – but more than likely that I have been a bit afraid to commit to some lofty goals. Coming back from 8+ weeks off the bike has fueled a bit of reticinse as to what I may […]

2018 Goals

 

Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet to put into writing what my cycling goals are. Not […]

Are You Up for the Maiden Voyage Tour?

They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I spoke with the owner and it was just an idea, […]

The Donkey Ear’s Promise of Hope

A few Christmases ago a client of mine gave me a Donkey Ear plant-baby, carefully wrapped in a moist paper towel and tucked into […]

Funny News Blog

    • Crop2018

    2018 Goals

     

    Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet […]

    Follow us On

    Top Recent News

    Top Posts From Forums

    2018 Goals

     

    Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet […]

    Are You Up for the Maiden Voyage Tour?

    They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I […]

    2018 Goals

     

    Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet to put into writing what my cycling goals are. Not that I haven’t been giving it thought – a whole […]

    Are You Up for the Maiden Voyage Tour?

    They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I spoke with the owner and it was just an idea, just a plan. A cycling friend of mine, Phil Diehl, […]

    The Donkey Ear’s Promise of Hope

    A few Christmases ago a client of mine gave me a Donkey Ear plant-baby, carefully wrapped in a moist paper towel and tucked into a plastic sandwich bag. She assured me that it was […]

    Popular News

    2018 Goals

     

    Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet to put into writing what my cycling goals are. Not that I haven’t been giving it thought – a whole lot of thought – but more than likely that I have been a bit afraid to commit to some lofty goals. Coming back from 8+ weeks off the bike has fueled a bit of reticinse as to what I may actually be able to conquer in 2018. Can you relate? Perhaps you are not in “come back mode” due to a recent surgery, but maybe – just maybe – you allowed yourself to have a fluff year in 2017. It could be that you have just been drifting along, doing some fun rides and have not really be training for a specific event. Read on and I believe you might be inspired to set some goals of your own and put them down in your own writing.

    Be Realistic in Goal-Setting
    It is all too easy to get excited about a goal and get carried away on that wave of emotion…with little or no experience to be able to attain such a goal. You have probably heard of a cyclist who has been riding for about a month proclaim that they are going to do a century the next weekend. Or someone who has been riding for years announce that they are going to ride Cross Florida, while they only ride 100 miles a week. While it’s great to have ambition, it must be kept in check with reality or else failure and / or injury are likely to occur. The emotional cost of failure is difficult to overcome for most. Talk about your goals with a cycling friend whom you respect and bounce your ideas off that friend, or go to a trainer / coach and have a consultation. Be prepared to be honest about your weekly mileage, how many hours a week you can devote to training consistently and do your research about the goal you are preparing to tackle.

    Have a Plan
    Once you have established your goals it is time to come up with a plan. In my experience with cycling and training others I have found that most individuals do not really know how to train effectively. To prepare for Six Gap, for example, most people simply go to the hills and ride laps or do repeats on Sugarloaf. While that is a fine start, it is hardly enough to train properly for a mountain climbing event. An established plan in writing is the best way to guarantee success, one that is measurable by power, distance, and elevation. Having an accountability partner is also a big part of having a plan. Again, choose someone you trust and help each other stay on top of the plan.

    Keep Focused

    It has been said that, “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” (Tony Robbins) When you have a down day, or week, keep it in the forefrontof your mind that you are moving in the right direction despite obstacles that come in your way. Beware: obstacles will enter the scene! Accept them as part of mental training, as having to adapt when Plan A goes awry. “Keep moving forward” may need to be your mantra – boy, have I used that one on many occasions. If you feel that you cannot possibly make the goal simply stop, close your eyes and imagine what it is going to feel like when you do succeed. Feel the pride of reaching the finish line. Let your mind take you to that place where you can actually see the images that surround you at the completion of the goal. There were many days on the 2014 cross country ride where I envisioned reaching the Atlantic Ocean, the crowd, the cheers, the smiles and the tears. I dreamt of how accomplished I would feel knowing that these legs of mine propelled me across the Mojave Desert, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains of our beautiful country. That kept me going when my body screamed “STOP!” on several occasions. Keeping the end result in the forefront of your mind will likewise propel you to succeed as well.

    Make sure you’re not in the 80% of people who have given up on their resolutions by mid-February by being realistic, having a plan and staying focused on what your goals are. I’d love to hear what your plans are for 2018, so be sure to leave a comment. I wish you the best and hope to share some miles on the road with you this year!

    P.S. If you would like a little help in getting started, feel free to email me for a consultation. TrainingWithTracy@gmail.com

     

     

     

    Are You Up for the Maiden Voyage Tour?

    They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I spoke with the owner and it was just an idea, just a plan. A cycling friend of mine, Phil Diehl, bought a commercial bus and was going to outfit it for cyclists – for custom tours. He told me how the operation would work, how he was going to remove seats from the rear of a tour bus and customize it to secure the bikes safely and fill the front with 32 excited cyclists who wanted to go on tours.

    Cool idea!” I thought, and I didn’t give much more time to it.

    A week later he showed me an image of the bus, gutted on the inside and painted on the out. I was in shock. This man wasn’t just talking the talk…. he was putting it on wheels.

    A&P Cycling Tours was about to be born. Many of us talk about our dreams and it stays there as talk. Not Phil. He put feet to it. Recently I asked him a series of questions about this new business venture and here is what he had to say about A&P Cycling Tours:

    1.) What made you want to start this business venture? 

    “I decided to start this business because  traveling and cycling in new locations is something I love doing myself and it’s always more enjoyable to ride in a group, so I thought maybe there’s more cyclist that probably enjoy doing the same. I also wanted to do something bigger and better than what was the normal for cycling tours. Most companies seemed to be using just ten passanger vans with a trailer behind it. I figured if I was personally looking for a tour that I could include my bike in, I would want to know it is secure and be comfortable on the way there. There’s no better way to accomplish that other than a full size bus.”

    2.) Can groups have private tours? 

    “Absolutely. If there are groups that want to privately charter the bus to go to their own destination in Florida they are more than welcome to do so.”

    3.) Explain exactly how a tour would work from a clients perspective.

    “The client would arrive to the meet up location which has been designated to be the downtown winter garden parking garage. We greet them, collect their bike for loading through the back loading hatch. They can then chat with friends and other cyclist until they jump in and select their seat, maybe behind an overhead tv or in another section so they can keep talking with friends. Once we arrive the bikes are then unloaded and everyone is briefed safety, call out commands , where we are headed along with the  resting/ turn around spot.  Once we are all ready we single file out and they will then enjoy the scenic locations along the way. Once we arrive to the rest location they will have a quick snack and rest at the turn around point before we head back. Once we arrive back to the bus the bikes are once again loaded back up. Once the bikes are loaded there is usually an area close by for lunch or dinner where the bus will take them and all the cyclist can take their pick as to what they want to eat. Then they will meet back at the bus at a given time to head back to Winter Garden.”

    4.) What are the details for your next tour?

    “The next tour is scheduled for January 7, 2018. We will be leaving the Winter Garden parking garage at 7am. It’s a 42 miles ride through Sarasota. We plan to start in downtown Sarasota and head over the Ringling bridge to Ana Maria island. We will rest at the Bay Front Park before we head back to downtown Sarasota.”

    For more information, contact Phil directly at (321) 512-9099 or by email: APCyclingtours@gmail.com

    I’m looking forward to when I can take my first A&P Cycling Tour!

      

    The Donkey Ear’s Promise of Hope

    A few Christmases ago a client of mine gave me a Donkey Ear plant-baby, carefully wrapped in a moist paper towel and tucked into a plastic sandwich bag. She assured me that it was easy to care for and that I would enjoy it for years to come. “All you have to do is put it in a small pot, about an inch deep in the soil, and give it a little water so that the roots can grow…it’s so easy!”

    That’s precisely what I did…and it grew, and it grew and it grew! In no time the baby was a few inches tall, with leaves growing in four directions and new leaves coming up in between. Months later it out-grew its pot. I found a bigger home for it, where it thrived and grew very quickly, with leaves thickening and getting larger with each round of new growth. I could see why it is called the Donkey Ear plant, since the mature leaves favor the shape of the beast’s ears. Brown spots on the large, thick leaves add a bit of pizazz to the exotic-looking succulent.

    It seemed to stagnate somewhat this year, just over 2.5 feet tall. This fall I noticed that the biggest leaves around the bottom were turning shades of brown and yellow. We had survived Hurricane Irma, and even though the plant was sheltered inside, I feared that moving it inside may have damaged it somehow.

    Once storm clean up was complete, I put the plant in a new spot on the carport, where it could soak in the healing rays of our intense Florida sun. That didn’t seem to help, as more and more green pigment faded to yellowish-brown on its 12″ brown speckled leaves. The edges of the leaves began to curl under, which indicated the health of the plant was waning.

    We have a porch with a table just off the carport, where I enjoy watching the sun wake up through the massive oak trees in our yard. It is one of my favorite spots for writing, reflecting and sometimes just counting how many different bird songs I can hear when I close my eyes. It is my very special place -where my imagination flows best.

    Sitting at that table, looking at the ailing Donkey Ear plant that I had grown to care about,  I reflected on some recent hardships in my life… and went back even further to some dark times when I felt like I was dying on the inside. Drawing parallels between personal past pain and what this plant was showing, I became sad because I felt like my green thumb let me down and I wondered if I had killed this intriguing plant.

    I had to go examine it closer. I spent a few minutes looking at the foliage up close, which now had tall spires shooting up from the main trunk of the plant. Is this what it does before death? One last, dramatic attempt to reach more sun? I did not know. Then I looked down and was somehow compelled to trace the edge of a curled leaf to look at its underside.

    What was that – clinging to the end of the dying leaf? Why – it was a baby plant, complete with tiny pink roots reaching down – searching for water. In amazement, I cupped the baby in the palm of my hand and it released from the leaf with the gentle pressure of my hand.

    Looking at the ends of more leaves I found more babies. A dozen or more! Some were bigger, some were tiny… but all had tiny pink roots dangling from the bottom, indicating that this one, dying plant was going to perpetuate and live on. I was excited, energized with wonder and went back to my very special place on the corner of the porch. Picking up where I had left off with the dark thoughts of a painful past, I completed the parallel between personal pain and the new life that has sprung forth from them.

    Not that I chose for certain things to happen in my young years of life, but I could now see in many ways how they have become a part of my passion to share inspiration and encouragement with others. Who else is hurting? How many others do I come in contact with on a daily basis also have deep wounds from long ago? Who is walking through a dark time right now?

    How amazing that this plant, native to Madagascar, could be used to touch others half a world away in Florida. Sharing the story of the Donkey Ear plant intertwined with tidbits of personal reflection and application has become something that I can do to pass on hope in a world that is wrought with hurt.

    And the mother plant on our porch ? How did it fare as the weeks of autumn turned to the chilly winter weeks? Those tall shoots that came forth as the big leaves turned brown and curled under produced dozens of small, beautiful, trumpet flowers that bow their heads and give thanks for the life they have been given – despite the brown spots in life.

    With the Christmas season upon us, I can’t help but relate this story to the birth of Christ. There are many analogies between the Donkey Ear plant and the Christmas story: a life from a far-away place, life that abounds through new growth, shoots that grew heavenward, the leaves and lives stained by sin, heads bowed in reverence… and best of all…the hope that comes from rebirth through dying to self. One more parallel that just occurred to me: Mary rode to Bethlehem on a donkey and on Palm Sunday, Jesus Christ himself rode into town on a donkey. I think I have a new favorite plant.Ah, the things we can learn from in nature.

    May you have a blessed Christmas and happy holidays for you and yours!

    Popular Topics Of The Day

    2018 Goals

     

    Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet […]

    Are You Up for the Maiden Voyage Tour?

    They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I […]

    Don’t Miss Your Videos

    Morbi suscipit, augue nec interdum porta, ex ante lacinia est, et mollis lectus lectus non lacus. Sed semper sapien lorem, non rutrum metus finibus vitae. Mauris malesuada nisi in orci volutpat, quis aliquet nisi egestas. Cras a aliquet enim. Nunc maximus, odio ut mattis lacinia, odio elit faucibus enim, vel finibus arcu elit sit amet lacus.

    Cras nec aliquet augue, nec dictum lacus. Etiam consectetur dapibus ante, vitae rhoncus elit vestibulum at. Sed varius felis lacinia consequat viverra. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Nullam non ligula mollis, cursus ante nec, ullamcorper ipsum. Etiam ullamcorper ex nec volutpat volutpat.

    Pellentesque ac vestibulum augue, ut commodo nunc. Donec at risus id arcu hendrerit rhoncus ullamcorper sollicitudin metus. Sed semper imperdiet metus vitae pretium. Quisque egestas tortor et lectus ultricies, eget auctor erat molestie. Nam justo elit, faucibus nec semper nec, maximus sed mi. Etiam suscipit justo id velit luctus, non auctor augue pretium.

    World News

     

    Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet to put into writing what my cycling goals are. Not that I haven’t been giving it thought – a whole […]

    They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I spoke with the owner and it was just an idea, just a plan. A cycling friend of mine, Phil Diehl, […]

    A few Christmases ago a client of mine gave me a Donkey Ear plant-baby, carefully wrapped in a moist paper towel and tucked into a plastic sandwich bag. She assured me that it was […]

    The downside of taking time off the bike – whether it be due to injury, travel, unforeseen life circumstances, etc. – is how quickly the body goes awry. Should any of you readers be […]

    For the third time in four years, I am packing up and heading north to the color-filled mountains of western South Carolina. Thankfully, I was just there a month ago to train on each […]

    Ready or not – here it comes. More than 6,500 home sites will be developed in Minneola and it will be starting soon with new roads that will allow for the infrastructure to be […]

    The other week a friend of mine and I were out zipping though the hills when she noticed an odd sound from her back wheel as we propelled ourselves up Buckhill.  We stopped so […]

    There are many people in this world who like to argue to hear themselves. Then there are others who would just assume turn and run when it appears conflict is about to begin. And […]

    We have all been told of the many benefits of cycling: cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, stress relief (as long as you keep the bike upright), fat loss, coordination and improved balance among others. Many of […]

    As a kid, one of my favorite magazines was Highlights. For those readers who are under the age of 30, this may be foreign to you. However, for you who were born in the […]

    Awesome Theme For Newspaper Site,

    News, Magazine Or Blog

    I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain.

    News

    Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam.

    Magazine

    Mauris tempus porttitor quam quis viverra. Phasellus vel diam ut urna tempus porttitor quam sodales interdum a sed odio.

    Blog

    Proin luctus ex ut euismod maximus. Etiam ornare, purus in congue rhoncus, libero nibh mollis ante, non placerat ex libero vitae odio.

    News Of Yesterday

    2018 Goals

     

    Here I sit, over a week into the New Year and I have yet to put into writing what my cycling goals are. Not that I haven’t been giving it thought – a whole lot of thought – but more than likely that I have been a bit afraid to commit to some lofty goals. Coming back from 8+ weeks off the bike has fueled a bit of reticinse as to what I may actually be able to conquer in 2018. Can you relate? Perhaps you are not in “come back mode” due to a recent surgery, but maybe – just maybe – you allowed yourself to have a fluff year in 2017. It could be that you have just been drifting along, doing some fun rides and have not really be training for a specific event. Read on and I believe you might be inspired to set some goals of your own and put them down in your own writing.

    Be Realistic in Goal-Setting
    It is all too easy to get excited about a goal and get carried away on that wave of emotion…with little or no experience to be able to attain such a goal. You have probably heard of a cyclist who has been riding for about a month proclaim that they are going to do a century the next weekend. Or someone who has been riding for years announce that they are going to ride Cross Florida, while they only ride 100 miles a week. While it’s great to have ambition, it must be kept in check with reality or else failure and / or injury are likely to occur. The emotional cost of failure is difficult to overcome for most. Talk about your goals with a cycling friend whom you respect and bounce your ideas off that friend, or go to a trainer / coach and have a consultation. Be prepared to be honest about your weekly mileage, how many hours a week you can devote to training consistently and do your research about the goal you are preparing to tackle.

    Have a Plan
    Once you have established your goals it is time to come up with a plan. In my experience with cycling and training others I have found that most individuals do not really know how to train effectively. To prepare for Six Gap, for example, most people simply go to the hills and ride laps or do repeats on Sugarloaf. While that is a fine start, it is hardly enough to train properly for a mountain climbing event. An established plan in writing is the best way to guarantee success, one that is measurable by power, distance, and elevation. Having an accountability partner is also a big part of having a plan. Again, choose someone you trust and help each other stay on top of the plan.

    Keep Focused

    It has been said that, “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” (Tony Robbins) When you have a down day, or week, keep it in the forefrontof your mind that you are moving in the right direction despite obstacles that come in your way. Beware: obstacles will enter the scene! Accept them as part of mental training, as having to adapt when Plan A goes awry. “Keep moving forward” may need to be your mantra – boy, have I used that one on many occasions. If you feel that you cannot possibly make the goal simply stop, close your eyes and imagine what it is going to feel like when you do succeed. Feel the pride of reaching the finish line. Let your mind take you to that place where you can actually see the images that surround you at the completion of the goal. There were many days on the 2014 cross country ride where I envisioned reaching the Atlantic Ocean, the crowd, the cheers, the smiles and the tears. I dreamt of how accomplished I would feel knowing that these legs of mine propelled me across the Mojave Desert, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains of our beautiful country. That kept me going when my body screamed “STOP!” on several occasions. Keeping the end result in the forefront of your mind will likewise propel you to succeed as well.

    Make sure you’re not in the 80% of people who have given up on their resolutions by mid-February by being realistic, having a plan and staying focused on what your goals are. I’d love to hear what your plans are for 2018, so be sure to leave a comment. I wish you the best and hope to share some miles on the road with you this year!

    P.S. If you would like a little help in getting started, feel free to email me for a consultation. TrainingWithTracy@gmail.com

     

     

     

    Are You Up for the Maiden Voyage Tour?

    They have come onto the cycling scene out of nowhere. In early October I spoke with the owner and it was just an idea, just a plan. A cycling friend of mine, Phil Diehl, bought a commercial bus and was going to outfit it for cyclists – for custom tours. He told me how the operation would work, how he was going to remove seats from the rear of a tour bus and customize it to secure the bikes safely and fill the front with 32 excited cyclists who wanted to go on tours.

    Cool idea!” I thought, and I didn’t give much more time to it.

    A week later he showed me an image of the bus, gutted on the inside and painted on the out. I was in shock. This man wasn’t just talking the talk…. he was putting it on wheels.

    A&P Cycling Tours was about to be born. Many of us talk about our dreams and it stays there as talk. Not Phil. He put feet to it. Recently I asked him a series of questions about this new business venture and here is what he had to say about A&P Cycling Tours:

    1.) What made you want to start this business venture? 

    “I decided to start this business because  traveling and cycling in new locations is something I love doing myself and it’s always more enjoyable to ride in a group, so I thought maybe there’s more cyclist that probably enjoy doing the same. I also wanted to do something bigger and better than what was the normal for cycling tours. Most companies seemed to be using just ten passanger vans with a trailer behind it. I figured if I was personally looking for a tour that I could include my bike in, I would want to know it is secure and be comfortable on the way there. There’s no better way to accomplish that other than a full size bus.”

    2.) Can groups have private tours? 

    “Absolutely. If there are groups that want to privately charter the bus to go to their own destination in Florida they are more than welcome to do so.”

    3.) Explain exactly how a tour would work from a clients perspective.

    “The client would arrive to the meet up location which has been designated to be the downtown winter garden parking garage. We greet them, collect their bike for loading through the back loading hatch. They can then chat with friends and other cyclist until they jump in and select their seat, maybe behind an overhead tv or in another section so they can keep talking with friends. Once we arrive the bikes are then unloaded and everyone is briefed safety, call out commands , where we are headed along with the  resting/ turn around spot.  Once we are all ready we single file out and they will then enjoy the scenic locations along the way. Once we arrive to the rest location they will have a quick snack and rest at the turn around point before we head back. Once we arrive back to the bus the bikes are once again loaded back up. Once the bikes are loaded there is usually an area close by for lunch or dinner where the bus will take them and all the cyclist can take their pick as to what they want to eat. Then they will meet back at the bus at a given time to head back to Winter Garden.”

    4.) What are the details for your next tour?

    “The next tour is scheduled for January 7, 2018. We will be leaving the Winter Garden parking garage at 7am. It’s a 42 miles ride through Sarasota. We plan to start in downtown Sarasota and head over the Ringling bridge to Ana Maria island. We will rest at the Bay Front Park before we head back to downtown Sarasota.”

    For more information, contact Phil directly at (321) 512-9099 or by email: APCyclingtours@gmail.com

    I’m looking forward to when I can take my first A&P Cycling Tour!

      

    The Donkey Ear’s Promise of Hope

    A few Christmases ago a client of mine gave me a Donkey Ear plant-baby, carefully wrapped in a moist paper towel and tucked into a plastic sandwich bag. She assured me that it was easy to care for and that I would enjoy it for years to come. “All you have to do is put it in a small pot, about an inch deep in the soil, and give it a little water so that the roots can grow…it’s so easy!”

    That’s precisely what I did…and it grew, and it grew and it grew! In no time the baby was a few inches tall, with leaves growing in four directions and new leaves coming up in between. Months later it out-grew its pot. I found a bigger home for it, where it thrived and grew very quickly, with leaves thickening and getting larger with each round of new growth. I could see why it is called the Donkey Ear plant, since the mature leaves favor the shape of the beast’s ears. Brown spots on the large, thick leaves add a bit of pizazz to the exotic-looking succulent.

    It seemed to stagnate somewhat this year, just over 2.5 feet tall. This fall I noticed that the biggest leaves around the bottom were turning shades of brown and yellow. We had survived Hurricane Irma, and even though the plant was sheltered inside, I feared that moving it inside may have damaged it somehow.

    Once storm clean up was complete, I put the plant in a new spot on the carport, where it could soak in the healing rays of our intense Florida sun. That didn’t seem to help, as more and more green pigment faded to yellowish-brown on its 12″ brown speckled leaves. The edges of the leaves began to curl under, which indicated the health of the plant was waning.

    We have a porch with a table just off the carport, where I enjoy watching the sun wake up through the massive oak trees in our yard. It is one of my favorite spots for writing, reflecting and sometimes just counting how many different bird songs I can hear when I close my eyes. It is my very special place -where my imagination flows best.

    Sitting at that table, looking at the ailing Donkey Ear plant that I had grown to care about,  I reflected on some recent hardships in my life… and went back even further to some dark times when I felt like I was dying on the inside. Drawing parallels between personal past pain and what this plant was showing, I became sad because I felt like my green thumb let me down and I wondered if I had killed this intriguing plant.

    I had to go examine it closer. I spent a few minutes looking at the foliage up close, which now had tall spires shooting up from the main trunk of the plant. Is this what it does before death? One last, dramatic attempt to reach more sun? I did not know. Then I looked down and was somehow compelled to trace the edge of a curled leaf to look at its underside.

    What was that – clinging to the end of the dying leaf? Why – it was a baby plant, complete with tiny pink roots reaching down – searching for water. In amazement, I cupped the baby in the palm of my hand and it released from the leaf with the gentle pressure of my hand.

    Looking at the ends of more leaves I found more babies. A dozen or more! Some were bigger, some were tiny… but all had tiny pink roots dangling from the bottom, indicating that this one, dying plant was going to perpetuate and live on. I was excited, energized with wonder and went back to my very special place on the corner of the porch. Picking up where I had left off with the dark thoughts of a painful past, I completed the parallel between personal pain and the new life that has sprung forth from them.

    Not that I chose for certain things to happen in my young years of life, but I could now see in many ways how they have become a part of my passion to share inspiration and encouragement with others. Who else is hurting? How many others do I come in contact with on a daily basis also have deep wounds from long ago? Who is walking through a dark time right now?

    How amazing that this plant, native to Madagascar, could be used to touch others half a world away in Florida. Sharing the story of the Donkey Ear plant intertwined with tidbits of personal reflection and application has become something that I can do to pass on hope in a world that is wrought with hurt.

    And the mother plant on our porch ? How did it fare as the weeks of autumn turned to the chilly winter weeks? Those tall shoots that came forth as the big leaves turned brown and curled under produced dozens of small, beautiful, trumpet flowers that bow their heads and give thanks for the life they have been given – despite the brown spots in life.

    With the Christmas season upon us, I can’t help but relate this story to the birth of Christ. There are many analogies between the Donkey Ear plant and the Christmas story: a life from a far-away place, life that abounds through new growth, shoots that grew heavenward, the leaves and lives stained by sin, heads bowed in reverence… and best of all…the hope that comes from rebirth through dying to self. One more parallel that just occurred to me: Mary rode to Bethlehem on a donkey and on Palm Sunday, Jesus Christ himself rode into town on a donkey. I think I have a new favorite plant.Ah, the things we can learn from in nature.

    May you have a blessed Christmas and happy holidays for you and yours!

    From Muscles to Mush

    The downside of taking time off the bike – whether it be due to injury, travel, unforeseen life circumstances, etc. – is how quickly the body goes awry. Should any of you readers be under the age of 35, you won’t get the rest of this for a few more years, but it’s good reading (so that one day you can say, “Wow! I know what Tracy was taking about way back then!” when your own muscles turn to mush).

    We put countless hours into training. We sacrifice time with family and friends. We stink beyond description by the end of a ride. No one can relate unless they are athletes. Those who are very serious about their training abstain from alcohol, eat unsavory chicken breasts twice a day, drop fresh kale into smoothies (and hope we can’t taste it), go to bed early, strategize as to how to get the most miles in one week around work schedules. Heck, some demented cyclists even set goals of capturing X number of KOMs a month in order to keep their egos stroked. We ride until our legs scream out in pain as our hearts beat furiously to keep the oxygen pumped into our ever-famished quads. We cover our eyes with one hand as we peek down at the scale once a week, hoping – and praying – for another few ounces to be shaved from our frames.

    ALL FOR WHAT?

    We are not professional cyclists. Most of us will never win a spot on the podium at a local race. Why are we so obsessed? You know why. You have it yourself – or you wish you did: PASSION.

    Passion to excel. Passion to ride. Passion to be the best we can be at our chosen sport, even at an amateur or recreational level. And that’s the beauty of what we do.

    Since my bunion removal surgery on Oct. 25, I have been a good patient. I’ve done what the doctor told me to do. I’ve followed all the rules. I even ate wisely at Thanksgiving, knowing that I would not be burning off another 8,000 calories a week, like when I was riding regularly. I’ve been doing core work, using light weights and resistance bands, stretching and even doing thousands of quad extensions with this stupid 2 pound boot on my appendage. For 4 weeks my weight remained the same and I was elated.

    But…

    Somemthing happened all of a sudden. Seemingly overnight my muscles went to mush all over – not just in my left leg. The scale jumped up 3 pounds. I’m suddenly embarrassed to wear shorts because my legs look like my mother’s (sorry Mom, no offense). My superpower has now become a source of shame. By breaking out the tape measure the other day, on of my worst fears was confirmed: atrophy. My left quad and calf are officially 1″ smaller than the right. Ugh.

    Now before you get all worried about me and send me notes of encouragement (which would be sweet and appreciated), do know that I’ll work through this. Ah – such is the life in the 50+ Club. Thankfully, muscles do have memory (probably much better than my brain, truth be told), and since Dr. Hoover released me to spin easy again, I will bounce back. Perhaps more slowly than before, but I will have strong, firm legs again by the end of the year I predict.

    Until then, I’ll press on with the exercises I’ve been doing and turn into a raw vegan. Perhaps I should go on an all liquid diet of water and broth. What if…..?

    What if I just stick to what I know to be true and healthy, and I practice some patience. That should do the trick. What do you think?

    Via dei Fori Imperiali, 0987.123

    Follow Us On Social Networks