Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Wall......

Just a few short weeks before being diagnosed with CBGD, I was pedaling up "The Wall" on the second day of a two day, 150 mile bike ride. "The Wall" was an intimidating incline that rose first slowly then at a difficult angle above the expansive flatness of the Mississippi River delta region where the ride took place. It was the only real climb on the whole course and had garnered a reputation as a killer among many of the intermediate and beginning riders that were drawn to this annual charity ride.

By Colorado standards it really isn't much of a challenge but we are elevation-deprived in my neck of the woods so we call it "The Wall". Like everything else in life, it's all relative.

I liked The Wall. I trained for it, even trained ON it. I approached it like many other obstacles I've faced in life. I turned a difficulty into a strength.

To excel as a cross country runner in high school I identified the course on which most of our important races were run, a hilly course at Mount San Antonio College. About three quarters of the way through the course there was a series of switchbacks that were incredibly steep and literally heartbreaking. Many runners have been reduced to walkers on those switchbacks.

I would run workouts at MTSAC, not on the course, but just on the switchbacks. Over and over I would run them. One day I did it in army boots. I wanted to own those switchbacks and eventually I did. Come race day, when the lead group of runners melted on those switchbacks, I would say hello to my old friend and fly through the pack.

As I type these words, those experiences seem so long ago and the person with all that drive seems dead. It's so wrong on so many levels.

The Wall before me now I can not train to conquer.



  1. Maybe not, Cortico, but you're training for something. No telling what, but you're still standing, virtually at least. Your voice is strong and your story is heard - that counts for a whole lot to a whole lot of people.

  2. DUH! Of course you can... just break out your REAL Training Manual... your Bible!

    "For our light affliction, which is BUT FOR A MOMENT, is working for us a far more exceeding and ETERNAL weight of glory! While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things not seen. For the things that are seen are TEMPORARY, and the things that are not seen are ETERNAL!"
    2 Corinthians 4:17-18

  3. I'm wildly impressed that you ever did that. I'm afraid of physical challenges.

    It's about strength of character, I guess, as much as it is about physical strength. You obviously have that in spades. Plus, you're a great writer.

  4. Bob, I am always inspired by you and particularly the one line closes that you punctuate your articles with, such as, "The wall before me now I cannot train to conquer." It feels like you are expressing feelings for me that are hard to put into words. I am sure others feel the same way. Dan

  5. PEN,
    Thanks. I do appreciate comments. Otherwise I'd be writing this to please "the voices."

    I expect to go to heaven, I just hate having to die to get there.

    Thanks. You are too kind.

    It is therapeutic on some level (blogging). Sometimes it is difficult for me to identify value in my existence. My "commenters" give a certain meaning to the exercise. Thanks!


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