Learning from the Monster

The major learning of this week came in a much more intimate understanding of friction coefficients. You see, when you drag tire and its rim up Signal Hill, you are aware of every nuance of slope, snow, and ice. You begin to pray that the snowplow operator actually misses part of the shoulder thus leaving a much slippery surface to pull “The Monster” over.

Tuesday morning was my first experience with the tire. I hitched it up behind me with huge hopes that I would complete two ascents of Signal Hill with it tagging along. Very soon into the misery that was my first attempt, I began to ponder the wisdom of starting slowly. As my Achilles tendon naturally began to stretch with the additional load, my calves began to moo and burn, and my mind began to spin thoughts of “What have I gotten myself into this time?”, I noticed the early hints of morning addressing me in the Eastern sky.

The brief glimpse of beautiful morning light reminded me that in fact, nothing bad was really happening at the moment. The only thing really going on was a huge amount of physical exertion in dragging a friction-laden object up a steep hill. I watched the rest of the Grand Canyon team hike away from me and made the decision to keep pulling step by step. I leaned into the harness of my pack (to which the tire was affixed) and continue to slowly move the monster higher up the hill.

When I passed the visitor’s centre, I was pretty sure I was going to make it-though I was sure I didn’t have two ascents with the tire in me on day one. When I reached the top, I dragged it around the concrete divider and started to enjoy the walk down. When I finally caught up with the team, I exclaimed joyfully, “I have a love-hate relationship with gravity.” I stashed the tire in Diane’s car and made a much rapider second ascent.

Thursday evening I dragged the tire around Quidi Vidi lake ice-laden shores and basically thought I was cheating-though I was once again studying the various friction coefficients of various surfaces. Some strength training, lots of hockey, and another hike with the team rounded out the training for the week.

I’m continuing to muse and work on various trip logistics and am eager for the snowglobe of my planning mind to settle so I can get back to inhabiting the present moment more often. It was a full week. It was a fun week. It’s great to have nurtured a bit more discipline in my life before teaching begins full force again tomorrow.

Hope you had a good week,


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