Therapy and “Me” time

Psychotherapy and self-help are getting a bad rap.  I believe that they are necessary in order to find what makes you happy, so you can pursue the ultimate ‘nirvana’ state of mind.  The trouble is one must find a good therapist first, and it can be costly, especially if the therapy sessions go on for a while.

So about three years ago I did some research on the Internet (thank you, Al Gore, for inventing it) and I found a guy.  My self help plan required a substantial monetary investment to acquire a ‘tool’ that I could use for ever, with very little recurring costs (maintenance, mostly).  This ‘therapist’ was named Jim Kish (, and he was at San Luis Obispo, fairly close to my home.  He agreed to build me this magical tool, and delivered it, as promised, eight weeks after I gave him the go-ahead.

This is what he built for me:

Fast-forward to today.  Nearing the end of October, and the weather forecast called for rain.  Well, technically it was supposed to drizzle, but in Southern California this sort of weather phenomenon sends the locals into a frenzied ‘Storm Watch’.  I awoke early and looked outside.  Hmmm.  It sure didn’t look like rain.  So I summoned all my inner strength, had my two double cappucinos, put on my cycling gear, climbed on my custom-made-for-me psychotherapy ‘tool’ and off I went.  I could also hear Olive crying. Olive is our problem child (OK, technically, she is a dog) who woke up with me and simply could not believe I was not taking her for a walk.

The weather was cool and crisp.  There was mist in the air in the form of a marine layer/fog cover.  The streets were almost totally devoid of traffic.  All I could hear were the sounds of squirrels, birds, ducks, and the seductive whrrrrr of a clean road bike drivetrain (yes, I am a bike geek).  But I digress…

After the obligatory loop around our man-made local lake, I headed to Hidden Valley.  This is where people go to learn how to ride horses, in huge, immaculately manicured stables, next to the really posh Sherwood Country Club.  I traversed the valley, with only my thoughts in my head, the occasional car (they were all very courteous today!), the horses, and the mist…

After a quick downhill into Newbury Park, I headed toward home.  I made it back in time for a quick shower, and hit the road to Los Angeles, where my wife and I met my nephew and my daughter for lunch.  A truly magnificent end to a wonderful weekend.  With some “Me” time in it, and a lot of two-wheeled therapy.

And it did not rain.  But we’re still on Storm Watch.  It’s coming on Tuesday.  For real this time…

My video from today’s ride:


Thoughts on latest cycling-related news

Holding sports figures in high esteem (or hero status) is a dangerous and mis-guided trait in our society.  [I can’t believe I’m saying this, but] Charles Barkley was right:  sports figures play sports.  They are NOT, nor should they be, role models, or heroes.

Lance survived cancer.  That is a remarkable achievement.  Based on the initial documented diagnosis, his survival was nothing short of a miracle.  Lance used his fame and notoriety to raise awareness and a huge amount of money to battle the dreaded disease.  For that, he deserves a lot of praise and credit.
Lance also won seven TdFs in a row.  That is also remarkable.  It appears now that he won by racing dirty.  He juiced, he cheated, he deceived; call it whatever you want, he did not win ‘fair and square’-allegedly.  So what does this all mean?  Well, it depends on which side of the fence someone is on.

People that will forever link Lance to cycling AND cancer, will never say anything bad about him.  They will not ‘abandon’ him.

People that for years maintained he was dirty will rejoice (and have been), and will be ecstatic that he was finally brought down.  Which is what our society tends to do on a regular basis:  we build up these HUGE hero figures only to tear them down.

My thoughts and feelings about all this are mixed.  I am saddened that once again, the sport that I love is in the news for all the wrong reasons.  I am saddened that the Olympic ideal of fair play seems to be disappearing in favor of the big money, endorsements, and commercial success.  It also saddens me to think that all of the cancer survivors that believed in Lance’s successes may feel cheated, or somehow diminish their own survival and beating of cancer.

The bottom line is this:  Sports ‘heroes’ are not ‘real’.  Look at the ‘heroes’ in baseball, football, and cycling:  magicians during competition, ‘losers’ in real life.  There are other, true heroes in the world, who should get the attention they deserve:  police officers that truly protect and serve; fire-fighters that rush in burning buildings (or World Trade Center towers about to collapse); single parents that juggle real life problems such as bills, school, etc.

By the way, I will still ride my bikes, and will still watch the Tour de France.  As a matter of fact, I think I’ll go for a ride now…