Sven's First Installation Piece

Sven and Aki went to Golden Gardens with TNT (Team Neil-Toomey) and Sven of course came back with beach-laden pockets. He wanted to show me his treasures. "I bet these are worth five dollars," he said.
"Why? Are you trying to sell your treasures to me?"
"No. Well, at least one dollar."
I said the treasures might be worth more if we made something out of them. So we decided to make art. The first thing we came up with was this dried rose hip (?) on a thin piece of wood, above.

Then Sven took over art direction:

Fair enough. But after I left, Sven did some more, as I discovered later. This is his final effort at right. An artistic statement? Or a way of keeping his treasures from being readily scattered?

For me of course, the real treasure was a magic summer hour with Sven.


Speed Work

Queen Anne wind sprints: 6 minutes 37 seconds up 3rd Ave W from a certain telephone pole near Cremona to Howe, right on Howe and a half block west to the highest point on Howe.

I did it thrice. First good, second better, third not good, so done at 3. The graphs are for the second time.

Last bike workout until I leave for DC.


Driven to Run

Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Two books I borrowed from Aki.

Drive is about what motivates people, but even more, it's about what demotivates people. The best way to demomotivate? Take something a person does for the joy of it, and pay them to do it. Getting paid a salary isn't inherently demotivating, but things like giving people a bonus for reaching a sales target or giving a kid a candy bar for completing a homework assignment are inherently demotivating.

Author Pink emphasizes that the basis of his argument is not philosophical, but scientific: over and over, the data show that most of what organizations do to motivate people has the opposite effect, and that most bonus and compensation schemes are destructively counterproductive. People give less blood when you pay them for it. Test scores fall when you reward good scores. Sales force performance falls in the face of quarterly targets. Over and over and over. Ouch.

Pink concedes that some jobs just aren't very much fun, and are going to be done by people who don't enjoy them very much, but even here, he suggests that such jobs can be less dreary than typical if attention is paid to what people find satisfaction in.

What's the connection to a book on ultramarathon running and minimalist footwear? Born to Run is about these things, but also why people run ultramarathon distances. McDougall makes an interesting point on motivation: when American marathon sponsorship enabled runners to make a living running marathons, the effect on performance was rapid and dramatic: while world marathon times got significantly better, marathon times by Americans actually got worse. McDougall argues that turning marathon running into a job caused the performance drop. Pink would approve.

McDougall's book is about what supports running, both biomechanically and psychologically. He describes people for whom running is an escape, a salvation, a way of life, or all of these. Mostly, running happened to people who saw themselves as more than only a runner: nurse, farmer, surf bum, writer, and so on.

I have a little experience in amateur endurance sports. The rewards are the satisfaction of doing the thing, and maybe a bit of ribbon. Getting paid to do it would be very strange, perhaps like getting paid to smile, or getting paid to pray.

These books describe a world that is different than many people think they live in, and maybe a world different than many people want to live in. It is perhaps comforting to believe that motivating people is just pushing the right buttons. The evidence is that the human psyche is much slipperier than that. But isn't it more noble to be motivated best by a desire to do a thing well, just for its own sake?


Tahuya Hills 600

30 hours 57 minutes. Three minutes faster than my goal, as it happens.

This ride goes nigh well all over northwestern Washington. From Seattle pretty far into Mt. Rainier park, west through Centralia onto the Olympic Peninsula, around Hood Canal to Port Gamble, and finally into Winslow on Bainbridge Island. Whew!

Would I do it again? Yes, I'd do it all again just to ride through the twilight along Hood Canal, as if I and the small group I was riding with were the only people on earth.

As with any ride like this, so many cool things happened. I loaned out tools to people who needed them and got them back. People loaned me things I needed and they got them back. We saw the fans waiting for the U2 concert at 6am. The guy in Seabeck who called us "Marine Tough" without asking us where we were going, because he'd seen our tribe before. Hammering the last 7km to finish in just under 31 hours because we were pretty sure we could so we should try, but only if all seven of us could do it together. And most of all, truly wonderful volunteers, who cared for us as if we were the most important people on earth to them.

Yeah, it was pretty long, but this ride is half as long as PBP. Half. Every time I double the distance, I go about 1.5 kph slower, which suggests a PBP time of about 67 hours. Sweet!

Except, that would mean not sleeping for 67 hours. I don't think I'm going to do that. I think I'm going to get some sleep along the way, probably twice. And I'm not sure the 1.5 kph math holds up anyway. But this 600 was a big confidence booster for PBP. I finished about as fast or faster than a lot of people who are planning to finish PBP and have good reason to believe they can do it.