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My Hill Attack

Tour de France has been over for close to a month now.  I’ve been getting into cycling.  It’s fun.  I prefer it much more than running since I’m a bigger guy.  Something about out there just you and the open road, with the wind in your hair that is just almost therapeutic to me.

The day I committed and dropped a chunk of cash on a decent bike I went to scout out roads around my neighborhood and went out on a ride the morning after.  I live in Austin and certain areas are quite hilly.  I thought it was no big deal when I was in my car but gauging by how fast I was going down the first hill I knew it was gonna be trouble riding back up.  I was cranking w/ all my might and yet I couldn’t generate enough speed to even stay up on the bike.  Lance Armstrong is a pretty big figure in Austin and I have read two of his books as well, but after that short 4.4 miles ride I had so much more respect for that guy.  These guys on the tour are top conditioned athletes and they’re still maxing out their heart rates and hitting those VO2 max.  There was a joke that Samuel L. Jackson made that Lance couldn’t make an appearance b/c he was pursuing his 8th Tour de France championship.  He said that “I guess riding a bike is like… riding a bike.”  No it’s not.  It’s f-ing hard as hell ok?  Your quads are burning as if thousands of needles are prickling you inside your muscle.  You’re desperately trying to suck in enough air into your lung meanwhile you don’t want to open your mouth too big b/c there’s a distinct possibility that your heart is beating so hard and fasting it just might leap out.

The mountain stages is where the real contenders on the Tour pull away from the rest of the peloton.  And that’s how I view the current economic environment.  Yeah it sucks but it is the tough times that the true winners really shine.  When it’s the 4th quarter with the sun beaming down on you and both teams are winded, their legs are turning into pudding, that’s when you can tell who has been in the gym doing that extra set of squat or out on the track doing sprints and conditioning.

Our family business is not immune to the economy climate.  We’re doing about 70% of the volume of our best year.  We’re focusing on expanding into new markets in Europe and bringing out a new product.  Not that I’m an eternal optimist, but I really do see this as an advantage for our business since our patented product allows companies to save tremendous amount of money on labor.  It might feel a little backward, but I do believe in that the tough times is when small business shines.  It allows the ones that innovate to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.  Companies have to adapt and evolve.  Look, GM already had a scare during the oil crisis back in the 80’s but they failed to change.  They continue to put out big, boxy, fuel inefficient cars.  And the result, well… it’s not pretty.

Jim Collins has a new book out called How The Mighty Fall.  I’m looking to get my hands on a copy of this book.  I really liked Good to Great and now thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve read Built to Last, only a few excerpts.  Just basing off my assumptions I have some doubts about this third book.  It might just be rehashing stuff he’s talked about in his previous two books except from a more negative point of view.  Perhaps the publishers also timed it to come out in the wake of Lehman, Bear Stearns, Circuit City, etc to take advantage of the situation.

Go out there and attack those hills!

Cheers,

mloylo

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