Changes in Attitude


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

The first 20 passed effortlessly. The first signs of spring allowed me to ride in bib shorts and a jersey rather than the layers I’ve been wrapping myself in all winter. The first miles I felt good about my power and the speed I was holding on the bike.

The next 20 took me onto the Natchez Trace. There are no flat stretches there, so it’s a constant succession of climbs and descents that keep your attention. I noticed my strength beginning to fade there on the Trace.

A waterfall along the Natchez Trace parkway near Leipers Fork TN

A waterfall along the Natchez Trace parkway near Leipers Fork TN

In the final miles of the ride, for nearly an hour, I found myself slipping into the dark place I’ve written about before.  A slight headache. A hollow feeling in my gut. I felt like I might get sick. Eventually my thoughts became cloudy and mild confusion set in. It feels dangerous to be on the bike in that place.  Lala-land. A BONK like I haven’t experienced in several years.

I started to question how fast I might go at Rev3 Knoxville, Old Hickory Lake, and Chattanooga. And my ability to even finish Rev3 Cedar Point.

Because of the ulcers I’m trying to heal I haven’t been able to eat for the past week. I’ve unintentionally lost almost 10 pounds in 6 days.  The medications they gave me cause extreme fatigue, insomnia, and numbness in the extremities (hands and feet). But I’m stubborn (and sometimes stupid) I went ahead with my workouts this weekend.  I took bottles of water on the bike instead of my usual carbohydrate drinks. Most of them include citric acid. A bad cocktail with ulcers.

There’s a reason endurance athletes eat a diet high in carbohydrates and drink or eat carbs during workouts. We need the energy. What little I had was long gone. I was sputtering, like a car running on fumes. My pace had changed from 23 miles per hour to 12 miles per hour. I considered calling Mommy to come and get me.

I eventually made it home. But I felt bad. I texted my coach to let him know I had gotten the workout done, but that it hadn’t been pretty.

He reassured me that sometimes it’s good to have a workout like that. It’s a painful reminder of the importance of proper fueling and the need for good nutrition in general, if you’re serious about your goals. I am. And I know he’s right. As painful as it was, I know I’ll remember Saturday’s ride when race day comes. Cliff Duhon is a great coach. He made me feel better about the struggle. I’ll be fine.

It was also a reminder that it’s time to change. I have a bad habit of letting stress overwhelm me until my health suffers. But I’m also good at “flipping the switch” when I realize I have to. I’m trying to do that now. Sometimes I think back to my carefree days of tee shirts and Jimmy Buffett. The short shirtless bike rides I used to make from our island villa to my job at Bohicket Marina, where I’d work all day fueling boats and then sip Budweiser heavy most of the night. Those nights thick with laughter and South Carolina evening breezes. Understand, I wouldn’t trade a day of being a dad for a lifetime of those days and nights on the island, but they are good memories. They remind me of our plans for the future. And that helps me relax a little about the present.


I pulled out my old tattered copy of Tales from Margaritaville this weekend and started reading about Tully Mars and Mr. Twain taking another road. It seems I read it around this time every year. I also booked  a weekend trip for Mommy and I to go to Aunt Carolyn’s ranch in the Austin TX hill country in a few weeks. Just a couple of days away will be good for the soul.

The ranch in the TX hill country on a trip to Longhorn 70.3 in 2010.

The ranch in the TX hill country on a trip to Longhorn 70.3 in 2010.

An ulcer. A bonked workout. Changes in Latitude. Changes in attitude ahead.

I love you,

– Daddy


Friday: Swam 2000

Saturday: Rode 56 miles in 3 hours 34 minutes

Sunday: Ran 8 miles in 1:08