I’d been riding pretty hard. 100 miles in the past two weeks. And in between rides, I’d been feeling the burn. And then yesterday I blew out my back tire a couple miles from home. Anytime I go from riding to walking that quickly, I feel like an infant, unsure of their next step and as though I am moving so slowly. Instead of being home 10 minutes later, it was more like 45.
My urge to get out and ride this morning was hundred by the blown out flat tire that awaited me. I walked my bike to Ride Brooklyn (best bike shop in the city IMHO) and asked an enthusiastic bike mechanic named Ricky to help me out. He not only fixed my flat, but he tightened my breaks, cleaned the chain, and pointed out that I was severely underutilizing my bike because of one simple adjustment that he could make for me. He told me that my seat was way too low and that he wanted to raise it up and see if I could feel the different.
Now, he wasn’t the first person this week that had mentioned it. My sister Katie, the bike pro in the family, pointed it out and said I should make the tweak. So two people I knew knew their stuff both mentioned it, I was game to see what kind of adjustment should be made.
Six whole inches later, my bike seat looked awkwardly tall and almost dwarfed the height of the rest of my bike. I wasn’t so sure that Ricky was overestimating how tall I actually am and that we’d need to scale back the adjustment once I hopped on. And sure enough, it felt as awkward as it looked. I was hunched much further over to reach the handle bars and sitting on the bike in the shop, I felt like a giant riding a trike. But, Ricky told me to take it out on the road and give it a shot, if we needed to change it we could, but to take it for a spin and lean into the adjustment and see if it wasn’t a welcome fix after the awkwardness subsided.
So I took it for a spin. I headed up the slope of Park Slope and realized I wasn’t struggling near as much as I had been in previous rides. My legs were getting fully extended and I was using the whole rotation of the pedals to power up the hill. My posture was leaned forward and my core was much more engaged. So I keep riding and before I knew it, I was 10 miles into my afternoon and barely breaking a sweat.
All because of one adjustment that aligned everything else.
It almost seemed to simple.
But there it was. As a result of a blowout requiring me to slow down in order to get back up to speed, I was back in action utilizing all of my potential with much more intention and far more impressive results. I was aligned with natural ability and height and making my bike do the work for me instead of slouching in my seat and only getting 30% of the power that I could.
Sometimes it just takes a little time and some outside help to understand where you are, what you have, and the higher potential that you could be achieving if everything was aligned.
We’ll be talking about achieving that potential with all the resources, tools, and natural abilities you already have at this month’s Exobase here in New York City. There are still seats available and I’d love to have you be a part of the experience. (SIGN UP HERE)
If we’re being honest, I waited too long. But hard things are hard to do. I’d seen it coming for weeks if not months. But the excuses were plentiful. I was busy. It wasn’t that bad. I was probably the only who’d even noticed. Maybe it would stop. This was my first time and maybe there was something that I didn’t know.
But, this evening, I finally did it.
I pulled all the weeds in my backyard and the flower beds.
And while I put my lower back through a new exercise regime, some thoughts occurred to me about weeds.
- They’re there because we let them be. We see them popping up and could stop them immediately, but we don’t. We let them grow because “it’s not that bad.” Yet.
- They blend in and aren’t that different from what is supposed to be there. They’re not that bad, we can let them stay a little while longer right? We’ll get to them.
- The longer they stay, the deeper they’re rooted. If we’d taken care of them right when they first showed up, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, they’d barely established their place. Now they’ve got an entire root system.
- They’re choking out the good that is supposed to be in their place. They grow faster and bigger and have an easier time showing growth. But, the longer they stay, the more space and resources they’re taking from every else around them.
- When we do get ride of them, they leave a mark. If we go for the whole root system, they’re gonna leave a bare spot in the yard. It is going to be obvious to anyone looking that something use to be there.
- We won’t get all of them the first time around. No matter how thorough we are, there will be some that come back that we’ll have to deal with again and again.
And whether the weeds we’re pulling are in the backyard or in our life, everyone has them. But, not everyone is willing to living with them. And not everyone who wants to do something about them will. But, when you do, even through it will leave a mark and you’ll get your hands dirty, you’re making room for the good that can grow in their place.
And that’s worth the pain.Tweet
Every time I think life can’t spin any faster, it does. There are some amazing things happening right now that I can’t wait to share, but the culmination of all of them happening so closely together has lead me to need this holiday weekend more than ever to find the bottom of my email inbox and more importantly time to slow down, take a breath, and unplug.
After Waze was acquired by Google in June of this year, Annie and I completely unplugged in Kiawah, SC. It was four full days of no email or social media for me and it was incredible. I found some incredibly clarity during that time and will look back on that trip as a turning point for some big things to come. The luxury of that length of time to slow down wasn’t available to me this weekend, but the choice to treat this holiday like one was. I knew I had meetings this morning, but committed to spending three hours offline and with my phone on a different floor of the apartment. I made an ask this morning for any reading that had inspired folks over the past couple months and was incredibly grateful for the amazing responses both on Facebook and on Twitter.
I intentionally didn’t offer parameters around my requests as I was hoping for things further outside my normal strike zone of nonfiction business books. From books of the Bible to cyber thriller fiction, TED Talks and Royal Society for the Arts videos, I found my mind exploring thoughts not directly related to a single thing I am working on right now, and yet applications and take aways that helped me punch through a couple mental road blocks I’d been hung up on.
I wrote about the value of slowing down to stay sharp for Forbes last year HERE and full endorse the wisdom in the story of the lumberjacks. And while most of the time it is much easier said than done, today it was done and I am even more ready for a huge month ahead.Tweet
The more I travel, the more I realize I don’t know. From my first trip involving a Passport stamp to Peru in 1998 to this past week’s 4 cities in 3 days jaunt, I learn a lot on the when I’m on the road. In 2010 and 2011, at the height of the Gowalla adventure, I did over 250,000 miles in the air (unfortunately not all on the same airline – start-up life.) In 2012, I was more grounded in NYC with my work. But already in 2013, I’ve been on the road for 15 days and hit 12 cities.
When on the road, the circumstances lend themselves to learning. The disruption in the normal schedule lead to unexpected downtime and distance from the usual default time fillers. When I leave for a trip I usually have at least two week’s worth of Economist to catch up on and a book that remains only partial consumed because I am really good at falling asleep midparagraph when I try and read in the evenings at home.
I also learn from those that I meet will traveling that I wouldn’t otherwise see in my New York bubble of interactions. Between airports and rental car counters and conference tables, life on the road puts you in close proximity to all kinds of people. And let’s not even begin to dissect the irrational closeness of sleeping on a red-eye flight from SFO to JFK next to a big burly man in 26B.
As I look forward to the rest of 2013 and beyond, my work with Waze is going to keep my frequent flyer status feed and my carry-on packing skills sharp. But hopefully, it will also continue to lend itself to being the routine busting classroom that I have come to appreciate when I’m up in the air.