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Fat to Fit: Stop Being Normal

Southern Cross: the kickoff race of the 2013 season

Southern Cross: the kickoff race of the 2013 season

I worked hard this week. And long. And early. I was up and working by 5am every morning. And most nights I was still responding to email late in the evening. Trying to get 5 days of work done in 4 days. I had a lot to do before Friday.

I’ve been looking forward to Friday since the end of last summer.

Last summer I started eying the American Ultra Cross series as I was adventuring into Mountain Bike Racing & Ultra Cross Racing. I tested the waters at Iron Cross and I loved it: long tough climbs, gravel roads, single track, mountain bikes, cross bikes. What’s not to love about that?

So tomorrow marks my first race of 2013: Southern Cross. It’s going to be tough and I’m going to be slow. I’m barely into base training and have done little climbing or long rides in the last couple of months. I will be underprepared.

Prepared or not I”m sure of this: it is going to be a blast.


So this morning I woke up in the wee hours, finished a little work, took this beauty out for breakfast and then dropped her off at school, and left for the short 700 mile drive to Dahlonega, Georgia with my friends Pat Blair and Tom Blanks.

Pat is the co-founder of the team that I am on, Adventures for the Cure. He is a super strong rider and could easily finish on the podium. Tom is also very strong and will be a bit behind Pat but still very competitive. Tom has his own fat to fit story and has been a huge encouragement on my road to becoming fit. Tom has spent the last few years going from the back of the pack in our group of local riders to the very front.

With my current conditioning and experience level I am hoping to put in a steady effort and finish well but don’t have much in terms of expectations. This is a C level race on my schedule. It’s important for me to do it but it’s not a race that I’ve been training to do well in. I want to get the experience and use it as a training ride while giving it everything I have at the moment.

I did get to perform one important function on the trip: getting Pat & Tom to the race rested. Mission accomplished.


Is it crazy to drive 700 miles to Georgia, sleep for a few hours, race, and drive 700 miles home?

Sure. I guess. We’ll be gone from Baltimore for about 42 hours total. For a 3-4 hour race. That’s a little nutty.

It’s certainly not “normal” – whatever that is. But I’ve found normal to be overrated. Normal is safe, normal is “easy” sometimes. Normal is predictable and doesn’t stir the pot. But normal is just normal.

Not being normal is going to give me some great benefits this weekend:

  • getting to know two terrific guys a lot better than I did before
  • exploring a new place that I’ve never been
  • riding 50+ miles in some beautiful country through the mountains
  • beating up my body a little in the name of becoming more fit
  • getting really tired (tired is good…God’s reminder that I get to entrust everything to him)
  • hustling home to Elise – absence does make my heart grow fonder

Stop being normal. It’s overrated. Go do whatever God created you to do to be awesome. It certainly doesn’t need to be UltraCross racing. It could be one of a million things.

Keep moving forward. Wish me luck tomorrow.


P.S. Side Note

Dahlonega seems great. We rolled into town at 7pm. Checked in at Northstar Bikes for the race. Found Piazza for a little carbo loading on the recommendation of one of the local bike shop guys. According to Tom it’s the best pasta he’s had for $15. I had pizza and that was great. Pat ate some spaghetti with meatballs (he wouldn’t eat the meatballs – He’s not normal).

The bruschetta was incredible.


Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

One Response to “Fat to Fit: Stop Being Normal”

By Tony - 16 February 2013

Good luck Greg! Looking forward to hearing about your race experience, maybe at WSW one of these weeks. Loved the Pat meatball anecdote!

Here’s to the abnormal life!

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