Keep the Pace

New challenges present themselves every day, but you have to keep pushing forward.

I’m a mountain biker. I like technical trails and jumps, good flow and I don’t mind climbing. Most days I feel pretty good on a bike, no matter what I’m doing.

And then there was this past Saturday. There was a series race at one of my local trails. I do the occasional race, but it’s not really my thing. Still, I thought I might as well do it because it was on my home track. I didn’t do any special training, but I ride a lot and figured it wouldn’t be too big a deal.

The race was two 12.4-mile laps on mostly technical, hilly single-track. It’s a lap I’ve done many times. I figured two would be tough, but I wasn’t too worried. I had a good dinner the night before, got a good night of sleep, good breakfast and a good warmup before the race. I did it all right, but then the wheels came off.

The lead pack faded out of view pretty quick, but that was fine. I didn’t want to go out too fast. It was a long race and it wasn’t going to be won on the first lap. More troubling was the fact my legs felt dead right from the start. Usually I can ride through that and get my wind, but it never got better. It only got worse.

About a half hour in my right calf cramped like it had just been hit with a lightning bolt. That never happens to me, at least not that fast. Before the end of the first lap, both calves were cramping and I could feel it starting in my quads too.

That first lap took longer than it normally would on a casual weeknight ride. The second lap wasn’t even a race anymore. It was just a battle to finish — more cramping, mechanical issues and a standoff with a fairly large porcupine. But I eventually crossed the line. It was a terrible race, but a hell of a test, and sometimes it’s good to be tested.

I’m sure the past year has tested all of you in one way or another. As we reach the end of the year, it’s good to evaluate the battles won and lost, take stock of where you’ve succeeded and where you need to focus efforts to improve.

Your water and wastewater systems are tested every day, and not every day can be a resounding victory. Hopefully you won’t find any porcupines in your lines, but there will be other challenges. How you respond will tell the tale of your utilities.

And while my race tested me physically and mentally, it was all over in a few hours. In contrast, you have to manage the problems of the day while planning to address the challenges of the future. It’s a tall order, and there’s no one cheering for you at the finish line. In fact, there isn’t even a finish line. It’s just a race to stay ahead of the next challenge.

Here’s hoping you keep the pace.

Enjoy this month’s issue. 

Comments on this column or about any article in this publication may be directed to editor Luke Laggis, 800-257-7222;


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.