Most Noble Sangha,
you know ilg does not seek the Print…the Media…yet if any of the current crop of CrossFit, Yoga, Meditation, Nutrtion stars and starlets would even consider spending a week training and practicing with unacknowledged Grandfather of American Wholistic Fitness® training?
trust me,
ilg would drop them all within 3 days of WF intensity…
today was special…
s(om)etimes, when my ehamkara (egoic sheath) squeals to me during many horrendously difficult m(om)ents like trying to stay in contact,  let alone finish first – during 60-mile training rides like today?   ilg often recalls these towering Aspen Beings who stand so tall, try so hard to withstand our onslaught of abuse and remain sooooo beautiful even in their dying epoch….pic by my 5 year-old Rinpoche, Dewachen on Missionary Ridge, near Durango, CO

it was a special feeling as i pedaled toward the start of our Saturday Club Ride… i’m in a big build block for pre-season nordic/winter racing and this is my ramp up time…let it be known that it takes a LOT for me just to GET to the Start Line of these weekend rides…
yet, i did, and though my legs felt ‘heavy’ from my bike/run/bike duathlon workout on thursday,  i just kept the Sacred Mantra close to me as we pedaled as a group up the first of 4 climbs along our 60-mile route…among us were all sorts of peleton stars…all of which were younger in chronologic years than ilg,  yet, physiologically?   at least i tell myself when the going gets rough,  not as young as i with my decades of WF Training well lodged within my physical, mental, and spiritual fibers…
and so,
it turned out to be true…
on the first 500-meter, knee buckling, lung searing headwall locally known (appropriately) as ‘The Wall,’   Cat 2 Young Gun “BC” took off as if fired from a missile launcher at the base… of the headwall,
“Oh geez,  its Go Time!”  i heard from some voice behind me in the 20-strong peleton…
i had positioned myself precisely on the right wheel,  BC’s… and halfway up the patella-pressuring climb,  BC howled in the way of a Wolf Brother,
“C’mon ILG!!!!”
and so,  ilg came on…
and passed BC by the top of the first of many climbs and soloed until BC and Master Elder Dale regrouped with me to finish 1-2-3 at the first checkpoint…two riders already had had enough…though we were only 35-minutes into our nearly 3-hour ride…
welcome to “Base Training” intensity here in the Bubble!
we re-grouped at Elmore’s Corner…since on the Durango Wheel Club website,  today’s ride was listed as a ‘LSD’ workout.
the only difference i can tell – after 3 decades of club racing here in the Bubble? is that LSD does not mean as conventionally intended among endurance athletes as ‘Long, Steady, Distance’…rather, in our Durango hyperbole,  it means,  ‘We’ll regroup (maybe) at the top of the hills and wait for your fat ass to catch up.’
Airport Hill
In ‘Big Wall’ rock climbing,  as in ascending Half Dome,  El Capitan, and the Bugaboo Spires or Long’s Peak,   there arrives a point at which you cross a psychospiritual and logical threshold;  either you c(om)mit to the climb – the ‘summit or plummet’ philosophy – or you just bail with your tail safely tucked between your weenie legs.   Well,  on today’s ride,  that crux decision arrived just before Airport Hill…you know the one…the one you BARELY NOTICE as you drive so comfortably up in your car as you drive to the airport from Durango?   Well, lemme tell ya, be an ancient Anasazi curse or whatever,  yet, there is s(om)ething about that climb to the Airport turnoff that seems and feels cursed.  The climb itself is not significant by road cycling terms;  it’s perhaps half a kilometer and forces you up a 14% gradient.  Yet,  ilg swears to you…it’s a bastard or a bitch as the case may be when you are big-chainringin’ it in the lead huffers and puffers…there is a false flat at the top whereupon feeble ilg has passed many an unsuspecting racer…
i wisely eased up, and finished a contented 3rd as my two HP Yoga Students,  Dale and Dana (female) gained the summit before me…two others turned back…the peleton was dwindling just 5o-minutes into the ride…
how long do you TAF you could hang?    would you still be at my side pedaling sweet circles into the glowing warm of this – perhaps  last precious – weekend Club Ride?
Time To Get Dirty
Mile 38:  we just finished the not-so-aesthetic portion of the ride,  that stubborn, grinding slightly uphill torture fest on State Highway 160 as we pedaled westward toward our beloved turnoff (right) onto the ‘Dump Road.’
It’s funny.  I was raised here.  You’d think I’d know the numbers of the Country Roads by now, having ridden them for perhaps more hours than you’ve been reading this forum.
I don’t.
It’s again, like when I was a sponsored climber…I could climb some climbs that were technically graded super hard,  yet I could feel their flow…their aesthetic, if gymnastic, dance…same thing with me and road cycling…I’ve won State Championships on courses that simply FELT FLUID to me,  then again, I’ve crashed hard and performed miserably on other courses – road or mountain bike – upon which I did not feel that etheric sense of Flow….probably just Ilg.   You may not know or feel anything from the past two sentences,  yet I’ve included them in case you do.  It’s what Teachers do…we repeat ad infinitum the shining basics,  in case there is someone out there,  who is Listening, who was just like us,  unable to keep up with the peleton,  do the climb, etc….
I reckon the next decisive gut-check point came at mile 49…after the re-group which topped out the Dump Road before we swung a hard-earned right onto…yes,  you guessed it…a dirt/gravel road which eventually climbed into a northeast bleed onto that county road which t-bones onto Florida Road at the Fire Station after a knee-cracking headwall where the final lactic acid is amplified from your still functioning yet tired and fried  cells as you top out onto Edgemount before the final 3-mile high-speed (i clocked 38 mph into a headwind) descent to the final sprint finish at the City of Durango city limit’s sign just northeast of the Durango Sports Club.
Yet, like so often,  feeble ilg has gotten ahead of himself.
First,came the dirt.
I could tell most of the peleton was fatigued.
If this was a true road race?   It would have been me and Dale since the first headwall trying to hold off all but the most strong of the peleton…yet,  this was a ‘LSD’  local Club Training Ride and all who were remaining at the foot of the final climb (maybe 11 of us from the original 30) after the genteel gestures of chronic re-groups?  Were tired.
So,  I blasted the 2-mile uphill dirt section…
only my HP Yoga® Students;  Dale and Dana were with me…as a Yoga Teacher/Coach/Bodyworker?
this was my Highest podium for the day…to know that even at my age,  i was pedaling stroke-for-stroke ahead my two precious yoga students proven – once again – the value of what i teach…sooooo Sacred did i feel as i and my two students waited for the rest (now, dwindled to 10) caught up.
The Final Uphill and Finish
I took a strong pull over some deeply thigh-searing rollers before the final climb.
I wanted to push the final fibers of my fellow remaining riders to the utmost before attacking them on the final uphill which began with a vicious assault – at mile 54, mind you – up to the Fire Station at the Florida Road intersection.  This is the same intersection which – a mere 2.5 hours earlier – felt so FUN to glissade down!
Not so much now.  I dug down deep, relying as I’ve done for decades upon the Sacred Mantra,  visualizing the metabolic kick in of my allegiance to MAP Amino Acids,  SUNRIDER Whole Food Herbs, and perhaps most importantly in this crucially painful m(om)ent:  the Asea Sacred Water which can increase time to Ventilatory Threshold to 13%!
Was hurtin’ big time.
Oh!  To able to still Dance with such Chronic High Intensity as has feeble ilg over the past 50 years…ilg is banking  – karmically/samskarically -that such ongoing Noble Self Efforts as today,  shall help pave my Bardo High-Way when the time arrives when feeble ilg cannot muster another inhale on this beautiful,
you might be wondering how old gun ilg finished, eh?
i had to bridge to William whose 5K$ Litespeed is tragically fast on the downhills…it was down to me, William, a local pro,  Graham (Cat.2), Dana, and Dale…
we were pedaling at over 32 mph into the final sprint..
i was wishing i had a 11-tooth cog on my rear cassette as i wound up my little legs in a furious attempt to keep up with the leaders heading into the downhill sprint to the City Limit Sign….
i eventually found myself on Dana’s pro wheel less than 100 meters from the Finish…
i put my head down,  pulled up on my handlebars with the force of 10 Manjushree’s and sailed toward the Finish Line…
Graham (who perchance is my daughter’s dentist)
was viciously and righteously attempting to squirrel past me on my left…
i flared  my elbows as if to say,
“This is MY space MothaF*!;r”….
sorry..if you’ve ever won a road cycling race in a sprint,  you know that all bets are off….
testosterone wins….
ilg won,
by less than half a wheel…
on this Divine autumn Saturday,
the Deities smiled upon the feeble Dharmic conduit known as ilg…
and Graced through my exhausted  fibers of
a 2nd place on the final climb
1st place
by less than
a wheel
in front of a lead group of 4
and a hard-charging
22 year-old…
i still choose
to sit my butt upon a bike
and pedal
to feel
m(om)ents like
when that young one i just beat
reached his hand out
toward  me…
“Phew….great job!”
Job too…
i breathed internally for ilg could not speak yet, as my heart rate was at 190 bpm…
May this sweat-soaked Teaching
along with my other
nearly 4,000 archived Teachings
to get out
head bowed,
your feeble teacher of nothing

5 Responses to “by less than half a wheel…”

  1. padma says:

    lOve you, lOve cycling, lOve the aspen…

  2. Andrew Baker says:

    :) !!!AweSomeNes!!! :)

  3. Andrew Baker says:


    :) !!! AweSomeNess !!! :)

  4. Brad Gantt says:


    I’m at 180 bpm after reading that! Gonna need to get up and walk it off :) So inspiring to read about you getting after it with the best of ’em. Motivation for tomorrow’s run, and HP Yoga, ST, breath and posture and…

    head bowed,


  5. Ken Doyle says:

    Dear Steve, As usual the universe sent a message to me. The day before you sent this transmission i was going over my first Training Journal from you. On one of my evenng calls to you we talked about training our students to become FLUID. What was hurting them was all the rigidity from birth. This Journal was from 2001 during my 3 day intensive with you. To this day my main goal is to have all students play as FLUID as possible. Once again i thank you for being such a great leader for everyone in Wholistic Fitness. All my LOVE, Kendo PS At some point soon i need another telephone get together with you.

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