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A Motto To Live By

Are You Ready?

You never know when you’re going to get smacked in the face with the unexpected… and being prepared is the best way to make sure you come out on top.

That’s why I always say, “ Expect the unexpected…and be prepared for it!

This is something I learned over the years as both a firefighter and police officer… and it has served me well over the years.

In my line of work… you almost have to expect the unexpected…

But it’s also important to keep your wits about you in your personal life as well…

Just last week… I was faced with the unexpected… and overcame it.

Here’s what happened…

It was a warm, but pleasant morning, so after an early jaunt to the dog park and a few chores around the house… I began to prepare for an early mid afternoon bike ride.

As a competitive triathlete, these training sessions are a little more involved than a leisurely ride around the lake… so I make sure to prepare to the fullest.

First…I always have some raisins, honey and electrolyte replacement about an hour before I ride… as well as drink a about 8 oz. of cold water about fifteen minutes before I leave.

This natural snack gives me loads of energy while keeping my blood sugar levels from spiking.

When your sugar spikes hard… it also drops fast… and so does your energy.

The natural sugars in the raisins and honey keep my energy level more constant than, say a candy bar, while helping me avoid the dreaded sugar drop.

The next thing I do is give the bike a going over.

I think Rosemary sees my preparation as a ritual… and she may be right… but it helps put me in the right frame of mind to ride miles I have ahead of me as well as reduces the chances of having any technical difficulties during the trip.

I check the tires for proper pressure, I make sure the chain and shifters are all in working order, as well as check the bike’s “emergency kit” of spare tube and patches along with co2 bottles and tools to change a flat tire are all where they should be.

I then prepare my own “emergency kit” of a camelback backpack with plenty of cold water, a 24 oz bottle with cold electrolyte replacement, and a cell phone for any unseen problems.

Better prepared than a Boy Scout, I like to say.

Once I’m satisfied with everything… off I go!

And the day we’re talking about was no different… everything checked out fine… so off I went!

It did seem a bit warm… but I wasn’t worried and chalked it up to not be used to riding at this time of day (I normally like to get my ride in during the morning hours)

But then the further I rode… the hotter it seemed to get.

I had a drink of cold water from the camelback and slowed my pace.

After about twenty miles I turned west and headed into the wind… a very strong, hot wind… it reminded me of the hot wind on the strip in Vegas in August. 

I slowed my pace a little more and kept pedaling.

I pushed on and soon laughed when Bob Seger’s song “Against the Wind” popped into my head… because that’s exactly where I found myself… against this hot, steady wind.

Again, I wasn’t worried as I knew I had plenty of cold water so I kept riding… and after another 20 miles… I made it back home to Rosemary and that miracle of modern science… air conditioning!

I pulled up to the homestead and was unpacking my supplies when I realized that I had used all of my cold water and electrolyte replacement drink… something I never did.

I never got light headed or thought I was going to pass out but I was very tired and ready for a rest.

So what’s the unexpected you ask?

Records were broken that day… it was the hottest day in our area in sixty years for that date… the temperature was in triple digits.

When I left for earlier I had no idea that it was going to get as hot as it did.

But I was ready for the unexpected though…and because I was properly prepared with enough supplies to see me through.

My preparedness worked so well that after an hour’s rest Rosemary and I went to gym for another workout.

Now you may not be ready for a 40 mile bike ride…yet.

But no matter what activity you decide to do… there area few things to consider for being prepared. (This isn’t everything, just a few important points to follow… you can make your own list)

1.    Wear appropriate clothing for the occasion.

2.     Eat the right types and amount of food and always have enough fluid replacement.

3.    Get plenty of rest before.

4.    Have a plan.

5.    Know as much about your surroundings as possible.

6.    Have support when and where possible.(when I’m out for a ride or a run Rosemary has her cell phone nearby, if I need help I call her and she responds… we’re a team.)

There’s a saying in law enforcement training, I’ve changed some of the wording and it goes like this:

As you negotiate your way through the thicket of risks during your life let three simple but profound truths guide you.

1.    Always expect the unexpected.

2.    It can happen to you.

3.    Better to be prepared for the unexpected and not need it then to meet the unexpected and not be prepared.        

Never say you’re too old or you can’t, because you’re not and you can. Just improvise and do it.

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