"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Hump Day Quotes

A little insoluable fiber for the brain today....

"The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the

---Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am reading Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion, currently. I'm pretty sympathetic to it, only 100 pages in, yet already he seems to hold his opinions is quite high regard, even though he hasn't presented much logic or argument at all yet. The one that really stuck out at me was his point that, without religion, there'd be no Taliban to destroy ancient statues - referrencing the destruction of a few giagantic ancient Buddhas carved into a mountain side by the Afghan fundamentalist regime several years ago. But in that statement it seems completely lost to him, that without religion, there would be no ancient statues to destroy in the first place.

I am an atheist myself, and certainly believe humankind can do better without these days. But lets face it: without religion, the Ufizi would be empty and Beethoven would have just been an insane, deaf man. Dawkins scoffs at the idea that we need to believe, but in the course of our species' development, religion has bridged the gap between wonderous awe and ultimate knowledge. Our brains seek understanding. But without facts we can only guess. And with no facts, we naturally make something up, otherwise we'd have just given up on the whole fire/tribe/cave painting thing and just stayed in the damn trees.

It's easy to sit, in the light of all we know today, and wax poetic about how much further along we'd be as a civilization, but that ignores a most fundamental tenet: that growth is achieved by learning from mistakes.

"It never gets any easier, you just go faster."
---Greg Lemond

This quote sums up Bike Racing, period. Only 9 words, but entire books on the sport have been written that say less. The lesson? Learn to suffer, and learn to like it. Because if you can - through endless hours of riding, intervals, getting dropped, crashing, and making mistakes - you will get better. But if you are waiting for the suffering to somehow lessen down the road, get off the bike now. That part never changes.

"Play the music, not the instrument."
--- Author Unknown

There is nothing more obvious when someone is just playing their instrument, rather than the music - written or improvised. This is nowhere more evidenced than on any Steve Vai recording. But seriously, so insturmentalists never become musicians because they are only pressing keys and blowing air, and are not taking responsibility and ownership for the tones coming out the other end. I compare music to bike racing a lot, and this is the basis of that comparison. I am using the lesson of this quote towards becoming a better bike racer this season. Don't ride the bike, ride the race. The work on your bike - the intervals, the spinning drills - are the scales, the etude practice. The rides become the rehearsals, and the race - well, of course. That is your performance.

Everything previous is only to train the neuroligical pathways in the brain to react in a complex way to the stimlus of a very simple command. The instrument, or the bike, are only supposed to be extensions of the body that is taking orders from the brain. Orders that are true statements only. When you play a musical line, you aren't thinking, "blow harder here and push the 3rd and 4th keys down to play a high E-flat." Your brain can only process a certain number of conscious thoughts at a time. Your still worrying about hitting the E-flat and it's already long gone. The brain only works in true statements, the absolute value. "Don't fuck up" becomes "fuck up." A true statement to play the music wouldn't be a statement at all, at least in a language sense. The truth would be the music phrase, the tones, the living, vibrating line itself. Not the mental direction for manipulating the instrument. That is just focusing on the means, and should have been addressed in practice.

The same goes for the bike. Untrue statements get converted. "Don't get dropped"? Uh huh. Focusing on the means, rather than the end? You won't be around for the end. Simple, true commands. See the line and the race as a whole and perform it. "Go there." "Attack." " My training is my means to achieve that whole. That is my focus going into this season.

And if I stay true, I'll be happy no matter what the results.

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