Friday, December 9, 2011

Honey Badger

I want to ride like the Honey Badger plays football. We have some similarities after all. He is undersized and underweight. I am oversized and overweight. We both have kind of blondish hair and while I am two inches taller than him, we are about the same weight. He fibs to say he is as heavy as 180 lbs and I fib to say that I am as light as 180 lbs. He would be a lot better if he weighed 20 to 25 pounds more. I would be a lot better if I weighed 20 to 25 pounds less.

He has fun playing football. I have fun riding my bikes. He is a winner. I am a winner. My wife likes us both, but for different reasons. He thinks about what he is doing and he studies and prepares for success on the field. I think about what I am doing and I consider myself a student of cycling and I carefully prepare for my successful development on the bike. He is fearless. I am fearless. He plays on the best team in the country. My family is the best team I could have behind me. But I want to ride like the Honey Badger plays football.

When LSU plays on TV it is like a national holiday in my house. My wife is an LSU alum. If my wife had LSU flags, they would be planted in the yard. All the kids have their LSU Tigers or Tiger in Training t-shirts on. We have LSU Christmas ornaments. The feast on game day is more elaborate than any I've had on Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's the only time my wife is OK with me going to Chili's and wasting money on chips and salsa. There are Tiger brownies, Tiger dip, Jimmy Dean sausage cheese balls, celery, Totino's pizza rolls, Totino's pizza, chips, salsa, and sometimes pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Basically we eat until we are almost sick as we sit around and watch the Tigers play in HD.

And if you've watched a game, you know how Tyrann Mathieu plays. Hard. With abandon. Aggressive. Fearless. Like a badass. And I want to ride like that. I want to ride like a badass. Coach Chavis, the defensive coordinator at LSU, says "He's not opposed to forcing his will on the field." I want to ride like that. I want to force my will on the bike, on the road, on the elements and against opponents. I want to be a game changer. I want to force other riders to be reactive instead of proactive. I want to wear people out. Break people down. I want to ride like the Honey Badger plays football.

Coach Chavis also said: "I've been in this business a long time. There's been other guys similar, but he has as much natural ability as anyone I've been around." And unfortunately, that's where the similarities stop. I am not a natural on the bike. I don't like pain and suffering or being out of breath. I don't like my legs to burn with lactic acid. I have to work hard at it. I have to work hard to push myself. I don't climb well. I am slow. I can easily ride right past my heredity's ability to deal effectively with what I am doing. Bottom line: I lack that "natural ability."

So what can I do? I want to ride like the Honey Badger plays football. I can perfect casual indifference. I can respect the sport. I can pedal circles not squares. I can work. I can suffer. I can surround myself with riders who are better than me. I can sweat and freeze and push and try. I can ride out of breath. I can push through the pain and lactic acid. And I do.

Any time I ride, I formulate all these little bail-outs, just in case the climb gets too hard or the ride gets too windy or I get too tired. Then I ride right past them, never able to quite make that decision to suffer defeat a little bit. I keep pushing and I'll push myself right into the ground. But I always make it home.

I want to ride like the Honey Badger plays football. Geaux Honey Badger! I want to celebrate my accomplishments on the bike. I want to thump my chest and do an end zone dance.  I want my family to be proud of me. I want fans. I want to take what I want. And what DO I want?

I want to have enough ability and enough skill and enough stamina that no matter what I do or try on the bike I have enough to make it fun. I want to force my will. On myself. I want to get better at pushing myself harder. Pushing myself farther. Pushing myself faster. I want to force my will on myself. To suffer more. To get stronger. To try harder. Be more explosive. More fearless. I want to spike the ball. Geaux Me! I want to ride my bike like the Honey Badger plays football.

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