Update: Where have I been?

Hello. I’ve missed updating everyone on my riding season and general outdoor experiences since May, however, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a new professional adventure. Now that I’ve become a bit more acclimated to my new gig, hopefully I can get back to posting more frequently about all of the great things I get to do in this great outdoor state of Michigan.

First, my new venture. On May 2 I took a new position with a start-up seed/venture capital fund called Start Garden. We’re in Grand Rapids and we’re funding start-ups in a radical new way. I won’t spend too much time talking about that here, but I’ll give you a link to our website: www.startgarden.com. It’s a fund that invests in ideas at a very micro level with the capacity to invest along side start-ups as they experiment, prove out their hypothesis, and hopefully build a scalable business.  Oh, by the way, we invest in two ideas per week; one that we choose, and one that the general public chooses. But I’ll leave it at that and if you want to learn more, explore our website.

Now on to the outdoor stuff. Let me just say that I was again reminded through the first part of July that summers are busy in the Lampen household. Rarely are we home on a weekend and the kids drop into bed every night from their daily activities. The kids have probably spent more time at the beach and the pool this summer than I’ve spent on my bike and that’s a lot. The lack of rain has been devastating to the local crops (and lawns), but it has been spectacular for being outside and catching some sun.

We bought our oldest daughter a set of beginner kids golf clubs this year for her birthday, so I’ve been taking her out to the driving range to teach her. She’s picking it up fast and enjoying it. Though I don’t golf nearly as much as I used to, I’m simply exposing my daughter to as many outdoor activities as possible to see what she grabs ahold of.

We also bought our oldest daughter a new bike this spring, which she has since decided is too big, so now we’re borrowing a slightly smaller bike for her to ride this summer. We tried to skip a bike size to be frugal, but instead we nearly extinguished her enjoyment of riding which could have made a catastrophic, life long impact on her opinion of biking. Whew! The other result was that we now have a bike for our youngest, who LOVES riding it. I guess it’s time to sell the Burley.

On another note, though not typically considered a part of the ‘outdoor active life’, we’ve been picking a lot of fresh fruit. Though the unseasonably warm winter and late frost destroyed a number of crops, strawberries and blueberries are fantastic this year. I’m going to miss apple picking this fall (most orchards in West Michigan are expecting a total loss and not planning on any U-Pick), but I’m enjoying my several trips to the blueberry patch. I still think these places need to weigh you before you go into the patch and then after you come out to make sure they get paid for what you eat while picking.

As far as my riding and racing go, it’s been a successful summer on the weekends, though it’s been hard finding the increased riding time necessary to build on my strong start. So far I’ve taken 1st in the Sport Clydesdale division in the 4 Championship Points Series races  I’ve competed in and placed a respectable 5th in CAT 2 at the Fat & Skinny Tire Festival down in Winona. However, where I had posted faster times than many of my teammates in the first couple of races in the season, I’m finding myself finishing near the middle of the pack amongst the sport riders on my team. On top of that, my most recent race (the Boyne Marathon) I took first because the rider I was chasing flatted with 1/8th mile to go. Otherwise he would have beaten me by a couple of minutes.

While on the one hand that is a bit disheartening, on the other, it tends to drive me to work harder. I’m rethinking my training regimen (which lacks real structure to begin with) in order to maximize the limited amount of time that I have to train. I usually spend between 4.5-7.5 hours on the bike a week.  I try to get at least one or two 2 hour rides in a week and am usually out on my bike 4 days every week. I try to vary my workout, but don’t really spend a lot of time with drills. There are many components to a regimented work-out schedule that I can and will be adding to my training.

One of the components in particular that I’m missing this season is a regularly scheduled hill climb night (hill repeats). I used to drive up to Grand Haven on a weekly basis with a buddy of mine to climb a road leading to 5 mile park (not sure why it’s called that, really). I could say why I’m not going up there on Monday nights this summer, but they’d just be excuses. Which leads me to this realization: I think excuses are a way to avoid acknowledging personal limitations.  This can be both positive and negative.

Saying that there are exterior circumstances that don’t allow you to perform your best or put the time in that you need to train should be left up to other people to point out (your friends, family, teammates, etc.). Having your friends say to you that you’re a strong rider but your starting position makes it difficult to post low lap times is encouraging. Pointing this out to everyone when you’re discussing your results is not positive. Not allowing yourself to believe that you have limits but simply improving your training and ignoring the temptation to avoid distractions instead is called determination. Giving in to a thought that you’ll never be a top rider no matter how much riding you do is simply buying into the excuses. Either way, obstacles (which can also be called excuses) are identified and have their place if used appropriately. I’ll try not to use any more excuses in this space.

So that’s about all for now. The family & I are headed down to Winona again this weekend for some great summer lake fun that includes boating, biking, and eating. I’ve started training for the next epic ride in August, Ore to Shore, which starts the final third of my race season. Before you know it November will be here (Iceman Cometh) and I’ll be reflecting on the season rather than entrenched in it. That just sounds really cold.