It ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive

It’s a bit of a sad weekend, yesterday we lost Clarence Clemmons, who died of complications from a stroke he suffered earlier this week. And today (the 19th) is the 25th anniversary of the death of Len Bias. If you were young and played or were a fan of basketball in 1986 Bias’ death (along with the Challenger explosion) was like the Kennedy assassination in that it was one of those moments that marked time – things either happened pre or post Bias’ death.(Better writers than I have written about the affect that Bias’ passing had, including Jack McCallum. ESPN’s 30 for 30 film on Bias’ death is also excellent.)

I’m writing this listening to a couple of early Springsteen albums with Clemmons and the E Street Band (Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town), trying to reconcile those feelings of sorrow at the deaths of two people that brought a lot of joy and happiness into my life but were taken from us too soon with my own personal happiness at having two wonderful boys this Father’s day. Leave it to The Boss though to put these things into perspective (from Badlands): “For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside/That it ain’t no sin to be glad that you’re alive.”

You folks heard the man – and he’s The Boss so you’ve got to listen – celebrate life on this Father’s day and savor each moment.  Or, to quote another great who was lost too soon, Warren Zevon, “Enjoy every sandwich.” (I suggest driving somewhere with the windows down and singing Born to Run at the top of your lungs. And revel in that wicked sax solo in the middle.)

It certainly felt good to be alive and on the bike this weekend, as I had two excellent rides, my long ride of 26 miles Saturday followed up by my 80% ride today. I took both of these rides on the Innovation Way track that I use. Here’s the vitals on each:

Saturday’s ride almost didn’t happen. I set my alarm with every intention of going down to my usually Saturday ride on the Cady Way trail, but overslept, and didn’t get ready to go until 7:15. Not wanting to add the time needed to drive down to trail to my delay, I hopped on the bike and road the Innovation Way route. Now if you’ve read this blog before I call this the “garbage hill” route, and some of my out of state friends have asked exactly what a garbage hill is. Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a big pile of garbage that they form into large hill and plant grass over – they are a staple of Florida living since you can’t bury much of anything below ground here. The one of Innovation Way, in fact, comprises the highest point in East Orlando. This is what it looks like:

The garbage hill

Fortunately for you, blogs do not have a “you’ve got to smell this” widget, so I cannot impart to you the unholy odor that emanates from this hill when the wind is blowing right. Suffice to say it is not pleasant and can literally be the biggest challenge of a ride on this route. If I happen to get stuck behind a skunk for 5 miles on the MS 150 though, I will be well prepared.

The other great landmark on the Innovation route is the County jail that you pass right at the exit for the Beach Line Expressway. I never really would have paid it much notice to be honest, were it not for the peculiar sign that directs you to it.

Paging Mr. Orwell

Now, I can’t in fact verify that this is actually the name of the prison facility located here, but it’s the only building I can see in the area. If it is in fact the name of this prison, I think we have a unanimous winner for the creepiest use of Orwellian language I’ve seen in quite a long time. I’m not exactly sure what type of reception awaits you within these barbed wire fences and thick concrete walls, though I imagine it’s along the lines of the one that the Sisters had for Andy Dufresne in Shawshank. (Every guy reading this who saw that movie just cringed uncomfortably at the same moment).

With those two rides in the bank, my riding week sets up thusly:

Saturday: 26 miles

Sunday (80% of long ride): 21 miles

Monday (may switch this to Tuesday due to work): 45 minutes of intervals, about 10 miles

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: (50% of long ride) 13 miles

Thursday: rest

Friday: 10 miles

That’s a planned weekly total of 80 miles for this week, with 47 of them already logged. If last week is any guide though, intervals day will still be the real challenge.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there. Enjoy every sandwich. (And aren’t you guys proud of me? Pictures! See, I try and listen. Sometimes.)



Posted on June 19, 2011, in Cycling, The Dad Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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