Mental Chinks

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Normally I’m pretty good at handling mental stress.  I used to pride myself on that.  It seems as I age, I have little chinks in my mental armor .  That was the case yesterday.

Yesterday was mentally and physically exhausting.   It was an all day affair.

It started great.  I met up with a group of guys from Louisville Kentucky, that were making their way out to Road Nationals in Lake Tahoe.  It looked like it was going to be a rain out, but the rain dissipated and we got in 30 miles.  It was fun showing them around.

But, I didn’t have any time to even hang, because the memorial for my friend, Glenda Taylor was happening in the afternoon.

I was asked to speak at the memorial, as a representative of her cycling friends.  It stressed me out pretty much, not feeling I could put into words what I felt about her.  Especially in front of all my friends and 100’s of people I didn’t know.

I did the best I could.  The memorial was held in Lee area, where Washburn plays basketball. The stands were filled, which didn’t surprise me.  Maybe people were very fond of Glenda.

People drove, and flew in from all over the country.  Sydney Brown, from Nebraska, drove down with her mom.   I hadn’t seen her in a long time.  I didn’t realize, since I have been hurt and not racing locally, that she hadn’t been racing much at all either.  I realized I missed seeing her.  It is strange how people’s deaths are a gathering of friends that wouldn’t normally gather.  It is sad in some way.

Anyway, I gave my talk.  Towards the end, I broke up a little.  I knew that it was coming.  I couldn’t get through the last line while practicing, so I knew that it was a given it wasn’t going to come out live.  I didn’t care.  I was sad.

Then some of the out-of-town people came over to our house and had some snacks and drank. We had an hour before a private ceremony for closer friends and family at the funeral home.  I was dreading this more than the speech at the University.

But, it turned out fine.  It was pretty low-key, with Glenda’s parents and family just hanging out, chatting and thanking people for being Glenda’s friends.   I talked to her mother for quite a while.  She is farm wife from Chapman Kansas.  Pretty no-nonsense, really quick-witted.  She said that she was so sorry for my loss.  Incredible.  She had just lost a daughter and was being sympathetic to my feeling.   An amazing woman.  A sturdy mother.  Glenda was lucky.

Anyway, then at 8, the last cyclists left standing, went to a restaurant and had dinner and talked some more.  It was super nice catching up with old friends, people who didn’t race anymore, that had children or were pursuing other things in life.

I found it a little funny how I could tell that each and every one of my friends that had quit racing and were doing other things, still had that itch, the  – I could still be doing that look.  Not one of them said, I’m done with that sport and have no desire to ride anymore.  Life just got too crowed and cycling takes up an enormous amount of time, so it is pretty clear that it has to get put on the back burner sometimes.  It was nice to see that it is still simmering back there though.

I woke up way late last night, or early this morning with a splitting headache.  And I still have it. I didn’t drink that much, maybe 2 or 3 glasses of wine total all day.  But, I haven’t been drinking at all the past few weeks, so maybe that contributed.

I think it was the stress.  I hate to admit that, because, like I said initially, I used to pride myself in handling mental stress.  I think emotional stress is much more powerful than typical mental stress.  Athletic stress is much different from those others too.  Athletic stress helps me focus. Especially when I’m going good.

Emotional stress does exactly the opposite.  It defuses your thoughts and makes it nearly impossible to focus.  I don’t meet emotional stress that often.  Close to never.  I’m glad that is the case.

I’m not sure what I’m doing now.  Tulsa Tough is calling, but it looks like it is going to be raining there tonight at 8, when the Pro race is.  I have no business racing a night-time criterium in the rain tonight.  Normally I thrive on races like that, but intellectually, and emotional, now, I’m going to be avoiding those races for a while.

It is supposed to rain again tomorrow in Tulsa too, for Crybaby Hill.  I would do that race in the rain.  There is only one tight corner on the course and it is a off-camber right, at the bottom of the hill.  My right hip is good and is probably feeling a little neglected after all the attention my left hip has gotten the last year or so.

Anyway, I think I’m going to go out of a ride and try to rid myself of this crazy headache and then decide what I’m doing for the rest of the day/weekend.  My mind is kind of meddled right now.

I'm not too into religion, but I have to say, I love the some of the architecture and stained glass.

I’m not too into religion, but I have to say, I love some of the architecture and stained glass.

There was a huge turnout yesterday for Glenda's memorial.  I'm the little dinky guy standing in the middle.

There was a huge turnout yesterday for Glenda’s memorial. I’m the little dinky guy standing in the middle.


My Louisville riding group.  Nice guys.  I wish them best a road Natz.

My Louisville riding group. Nice guys. I wish them the best at road Natz.

Tulsa's weather for the next week.

Tulsa’s weather for the next week.



8 thoughts on “Mental Chinks

  1. robo

    Cut yourself some slack, Steve. Your lack of mental clarity has nothing to do with toughness or your ability to manage stress. You’re grieving the loss of someone you cared for deeply. Your brain isn’t supposed to function properly at these times – it’s diverting resources to cope with the profound sorrow you feel. So take time to grieve. Life will return to normal at some point, and your feeling of sadness will be replaced by happier memories and the joy of knowing that you shared a part of your life with someone as wonderful as Glenda. Be well.

  2. Gene Wee

    Steve, Wonderful comments you made at the memorial service and making through without weeping is difficult and no one faults the speaker for stopping. Dee and I came because so many of our cycling friends were so close to Glenda. We came to support you as much as celebrate Glenda’s life.
    Glad to see so many old friends but missed seeing more (didn’t have a chance to say hi to Kris).
    I offer you the lyrics by the Byrds. I agree with Rob, there is a time to weep.

  3. Neil Catalino

    Hey Steve,
    Sorry for your loss, the cycling community and universities loss , the ceramic community’s loss and most importantly the Taylor families loss.
    The only thing I can say is she made a big impression on you and you’ll carry that with you for the rest of your life.
    Ride strong and stay upright.

  4. Joe Saia

    Steve, you did absolutely great on your speech. It was from the heart, and that was evident to all in attendance. At first, I thought you might ramble a bit, but you stayed on message wonderfully and evoked some strong feelings.
    A couple of non-cyclist friends commented favorably on it, and asked if you were a free spirit. I just said; “Yes,… well put…..He is the most free spirit I know”. Thank you so much for doing this for my dear wife……….JS

  5. mike crum

    100% class on your part…hardest thing to do is speak in front of a group in such an emotional setting..they all appreciated it..

  6. Bart


    Remember you are grieving from two traumatic losses with the passing of Glenda and Bromont before that. Two major contributors in your life are a very large void to fill. Family and friends can help with the process and staying busy up to a point.


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