Once a Racer, Always a Racer

photo-2We at o2fitness Coaching and Training and Silver Sage Sports and Fitness Lab are proud to sponsor Ride2Recovery and Project Hero.  Below is a brief overview of these life-saving programs, followed by a testimonial from, Wes Washoe, one of our sponsored Ride2Recovery athletes.

Ride2Recovery’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of injured veterans by providing a life changing experience that can impact their lives forever.

The Project HERO (Healing Exercise Rehabilitation Opportunity) Program supports Spinning Recovery Labs and outdoor cycling programs presently at different military hospitals, Warrior Transition units, Wounded Warrior Units and VA locations around the United States and in Germany to help injured veterans overcome the obstacles they face.

Cycling is an important part of the recovery and rehabilitation program for many reasons…

  • Cycling is an activity that almost all patients with physical and/or psychological disabilities can participate at their individual level.
  • Ride2Recovery Project HERO provides expertise, training, events and site location support to promote a fuller recovery in the rehabilitation process.
  • Specially adapted bikes are designed and built by Ride2Recovery to suit individuals needs, making it possible for almost everyone to participate in the program.

Now…a word from Wes Washoe.

Wes Washoe, a Navy Veteran, has cycling in his blood. From working in the industry, weaving through the streets as a bicycle messenger, to working himself up to a Cat 2 racer.

However, during and following his military service Wes sustained some injuries that made cycling difficult, and physically and mentally painful.

That was his reality until he found Ride2Recovery (R2R), a cycling program for disabled veterans.  Since joining Project HERO City of Reno, Wes has found his love for cycling again, participating in R2R Honor rides, local club rides, and competing and receiving a medal during the cycling competition at the Valor Games Far West event in Alameda, CA this past June.

Although Wes was back on his bike, he was still struggling with physical pain during his riding which prompted a visit to Julie Young at Silver Sage Sports and Fitness Lab, to review his fit.  Right away Wes felt the pain in his knee reduced by the changes Julie made during this comprehensive fit.

Wes’ next cycling goal is to race in a criterium
again. Another cyclist saw Wes’ desire to race again and has offered to ride tandem with Wes during the last Reno Wheelman Tuesday night twilight series…happy training Wes Washoe!

Turning Adversity in to an Asset

WARNING: This post contains cathartic commentary

events_mtn_biking_leadville_qualifier_hill_Bartkowski_2011-webAs I am watching the Tour de France with crashes knocking out favorites, it reminds me that sport provides a micro-cosm of life, magnifying the ups and downs. And I am reminded that it is how we deal with adversity’s depth of depression and disappointment that reveals the character to shake it off, dig in and drive on.

I hear people attribute others successes to luck, insinuating they have been dealt an easier road in life. But, no matter how things appear, no one is exempt from life’s challenges. In my opinion, this perceived “lucky” success, is actually the manifestation of an invincible resilient attitude.

I have observed this attitude in accomplished athletes in my sport life, and have since realized that the same thread runs through those who have achieved success, in every walk of life.

As I watch the tour, I imagine the initial depths of disappointment, doubt and depression of the contenders, compounded by the sidelines analysts, digging the hole deeper with speculations regarding their future. But I find it inspiring that these circumstances reveal the irrepressible spirit of winners, which drives their character in every circumstance. My bet is that these guys take a moment mentally and physically to regroup, move on, and with focus forward readjust their game plan.

While my livelihood no longer depends on competing, I value competition for the opportunity it affords – the ability to authentically prepare my clients for it’s physical and mental demands;  the personal challenge, growth, and expression; and the community of inspiring, fellow competitors, who help to continue raise our personal bar.

My recent experience at US National Marathon Mtn Bike Champs has proven my opportunity to turn adversity in to an asset. Prior to nationals, I had been racing since spring,   feeling good and having fun.  I was pre-riding the national course with my buddy Dan and on the one-hour plus climb, I thought to myself, “Feel good. Excited to race.” Things quickly changed on the one-hour plus descent, which had been used for the previous week’s enduro race, leaving it loose and exposed. We entered the series of tight switchbacks, and I mis- negotiated one that was loose, and off-camber. I found myself with a decision – to go over the bars and the edge, or clip out and step off to the down-sloping left side. I chose the latter. In doing so, I landed on an extended leg, hyper-extending it, and tearing a yet-to-be-determined “something” in my knee. In an instant my nationals was over before the gun went off.

Knocked on my hind end literally and figuratively – I was down. I mentally muddled through the mudslide of questioning doubt. Sure I was disappointed not to race, but my thoughts were darting, concerned about my ability to fulfill my physical work demands and obligations. Adding to the doubt were those who commented that I needed to step away from this athletic lifestyle which they perceived as driven by a dare-devil, competitive mentality.

I took a breath and realized, in many ways I was fortunate – rather than fixate on why and what happened, and I focused on gratitude. Dusting myself off, I regrouped, turned the mental corner and gained determination to turn this in to an opportunity.

While in the dust of doubt and soul-searching,  I inspected the reason why I value an athletic lifestyle and  determined it is not based on self-glorification, but built on the opportunity to express talent, grace and joy, and share passion! I realized too that pure motives are insulation from others unfounded opinions.

This adversity and perceived set-back has revealed a sincere renewal of gratitude and appreciation for daily work, play and friendships.

Today I march on with the great expectation of good!


Hakuna Matata?

Brad Rassler’s quest continues

So this guy limps into Vermont…

thatchingI traveled to the East in May with high hopes of using the Green Mountains as my aerobic proving grounds, but developed a case of Achilles tendonitis that has hamstrung my midlife comeback story. It’s nobody’s fault but mine. Rather than adhering to Julie’s running program, I followed my own flawed Phidippides muse and hopscotched from hour-long gambols to 2.5-hour trail runs: too fast, too far, too soon. Now running is out of the question. Even cycling hurts (although compression socks seem to help a tad). This makes me sad. When I launched into the Live Longer program in February, I expected to suffer from the redemptive pain of reactivating dormant muscles, but this chronic, tendonal variety is a horse of a different color, and it sucks. And from what I’m told, it’s long-lived.

The reminders of my laming occur daily. Each morning I swing my legs out of bed and stand on feet so immobilized by stiff ankles that it takes two minutes of shambling to get them to flex. I was in Golden and Boulder, CO this week for a conference at The American Alpine Club and was invited to run with a Sherpa and Swede, and had to decline. A procession of whippet-thin cyclists and runners passed me each morning as I hobbled between the Colorado School of Mines and the American Mountaineering Center, and I was left with a contrail of memories about fast days gone past. I desperately hope to reclaim a bit of that kind of fitness. But not this year. Not this year.

(Photo caption – Brad Rassler thrutching through krummholz after climbing Mt. Washington’s Henderson Ridge)

Yes, I’m whinging; I own it. Many beset with troubles heroically focus on the positive and prevail. I’m fortunate to have what I do. Ironically, I’m spending my waking hours writing about mountaineers overcoming privation and maiming to gain unclimbed summits. I should take note…

And it’s not like it’s been all sad sack stuff. I’ve had some ok if not achy days on both road and mountain bikes and I’m activating my hips and climbing rock (although the emphasis I’ve put on leg-sports the past 10 years has me looking more like the hakuna matata meerkat Timon Berkowitz than Mighty Mouse).

I’ll start wending my way home from Vermont in a couple of weeks and launch into the fall semester at UNR. I’m still planning on completing the promised day-long denouement to celebrate revivification, but I’m not prepared to cause further injury in the doing of it.

A circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe by Segway?

Nous Allons!