Sunday, January 01, 2017

That's What I Learned From My Dad

If you read this blog from time to time, you'll know that 2016 was the first year since 1979 that I did not race a bike.  It was a much-needed break, a break that gave me some perspective on why I have hung on to racing for so long.  I also had to find out if I could live without it.  The answer is yes, I can live without it, but no, I don't want to.
What is the significance of the stairs?  Running stairs is a hard workout, one that I started while I was in high school.  But it's also a connection to a former self.  This set of stairs is constant, and running it today is the same as running it in 1989.  There are few hard, fast comparisons one can make with one's past, but this is a good one.
I wrote down a time of ten minutes flat for 20x up and down the stairs in 1989.  The other day, I nearly equaled that.  That makes me happy because I know the 22 year old Tim Kakouris was a tenacious son-of-a-bitch and he would not have enjoyed having this almost-50 year old on his ass.  At 10 seconds back, he would have felt me breathing down his neck.  Small victory for me.
What is the significance of 200 rpm? BMX bikes have improved over the years, but spinning the pedals has not.  In 1986, a couple friends gathered together and we plugged in an RPM computer to see how fast we could spin on the rollers.  I remember getting 204 rpm, just ahead of my buddy who hit 200.  I hit the rollers the other day and saw 189 rpm.  Not bad.  I took the bike outside and hit well into the 180's several times, and nailed 194 rpm one time, flat pedals and all.  I would love to see the look on a 19 year old Tim Kakouris' face if he saw me spinning next to him down the track.  Small victory, again, for me.

Are these bragging numbers?  No, they are not.  There are 7 billion people on this planet and I imagine a great number of them can do a great number of athletic feats better than I.  But to me they are victories over the aging process.  They are victories over time and victories over life, both of which, as they creep along, take with them lots of delicious little bits of who you are with them.

I don't like the person that was the younger me, but I admire his drive and I admire his audaciousness.  He was too stubborn (and stupid) and his ego was too big to do the sport the right way, but somehow he still accomplished a lot of things.   Becoming a better man while holding on to some of that jerk's athletic prowess is a goal for me now.  It's not the racing that I cannot let go of, but the feeling of accomplishment and how I measure up.
I have others to inspire.  I don't care if any of my children ever take up cycling as a real hobby.  But what I want, what I need, is for them to be inspired.  Whatever form that inspiration takes, so be it.  I would love for them to sit down with their children and say "....that's what I learned from my dad."


Daniel Libby said...

Nice perspective Tim. You're a solid writer brother, (and a pretty good athlete too. ;-). And while I could generate a fair bit of power in my day, the 22 year old me couldn't spin 'em at 189 (even with clips!), let alone the 50 year old version!

BTW, I rode the Floval Flyer yesterday after a week on the slopes. Felt good.

Tim Kakouris said...

Big Dan,
Thank you.

You came along with enough talents that not having an RPM crown didn't diminish anything. Your multiple athletic pursuits are impressive in their own right, cycling is only one small bit.

It's a super simple pleasure to ride a BMX bike, isn't it?


Daniel Libby said...

Thanks Tim. And let me say that as a detail oriented engineer/nerd with training logs dating back to 1976 (the summer of my first official running race [five miles, with Pops] at 9 years old), I LOVE the fact that you can pull up your historical times on various stair and Chubb trail workouts.

I've done at least one race every year since then, be it running, cycling, tri, du, swim, snowshoe, ski, adventure, run/shuffle/hike/sit up Pikes Peak, etc. And I've got the documentation to tell you how slow I was in each pursuit. My Dad is still kicking (and sometimes even lucid enough to know what's going on!) and I entertain him with things like, "Hey Dad, I just passed my 500th lifetime ski day! I've now skied in 15 different states and six countries! Thanks for introducing me to the sport 31 years ago!"

NERD! lol...