Sunday, May 4, 2008

Nature Boy

The past few weeks have been extremely taxing at work. That and my home PC's harddrive crashed, requiring a trip to the local computer store for a new HD and the tedious work of rebuilding the machine. Blogging and precious training time had to be sacrificed. Please accept my apologies for the silence.

Not too long ago, I joined Bryan, Mike and Joe for an 83 mile group ride along the scenic Loess Hills Highway to Glenwood, IA. Among the memories that persist from that ride came immediately after a ten mile ascent approaching Glenwood. With heart rates at red lines, we rounded the final bend in the road and came upon a pack of horses in a meadow. Without hesitation, they jumped up for the chase and galloped alongside us. Unless you've had a similar experience, it may be hard to appreciate the feeling of powering a bicycle alongside of a galloping horse. It was quite euphoric to say the least.

Regardless, it reminded me of a long run with brother Brendan a few years back in Wisconsin. While at a family reunion, my kid brother had a great idea to go for a nice little run, you know, to shake the legs out. I should have heeded the warning signs when I saw him triangulating the route on the five miles to centimeter Quickie Store map. Big mistake. That seven mile run ballooned into twenty in the end. In the midst of that weary slogging through Holstein country, Brendan caught the attention of a group of horses. It was on the clover filled land my father once farmed. I can still see him high horsey-stepping and clucking his tongue at them like it was yesterday. It wasn't having any effect, but he persisted doggedly. While bonking in glycogen debt, it was quite irritating. I was about to tell my Tarzan wannabe brother to shut it when he got the big brown male trotting. Soon, the rest of the pack was in tow. I had never experienced anything like that before. While that run was the first time I went more than 12 consecutive miles, it's the horses that I remember more than the big 20 or the aches and pains that followed.

I bring this up because nature is one of the many things that I can appreciate while being an active person. I'm mushy like that. Whether it's running with horses in Wisconsin or cycling beneath the shadow created by a hawk circling above Boyer's Chute, the great outdoors are more than merely accessible; indeed, you become an active participant.


  1. 7 mile run = nice.
    7 mile run that turned into 20 = never running again.


  2. What actually got me "back" into cycling was an experience at UNK. I didn't have a car, but got around ok on Ol' Blue(that blue bike in pieces hanging in my garage). One day, I rode out to the park just West of town. This large park had had a pondish lake in it that was drained. In drained lakes, there's lots of great vegetation. And apparently deer like lots of vegetation. I was riding the gravel road alongside the drained lake when all of a sudden I was amid about 12 deer bounding along. I guess wasn't truly "amid" them, as I was following about 10 feet behind. But it was an amazing experience.

    Oh, and Bryan, remember our little 4 mile snow jog that ended up being 7 or 8 miles. Yeah, that was also an amazing experience, but in the opposite way.