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04/04/10
Easter and the Costanza Option
Filed under: general
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 9:46 pm

Had the Quickbeam down off the hook, rigged and ready to go.  Had just finished lubing the chain with some new wonderslick stuff which I’d been wanting to try.  The winds were already up at 8:45, blowing the branches around and confusing the heck out of the early season fruit buds.

I’d laid out the rain jacket, the Rainlegs, my warmer hats, shoe covers and a pair of wool gloves. Then I just stared through the kitchen window for a few moments as the rain began.  Thicker clouds to the west, which is the way storms usually come in around here. Thought and pondered a bit. Sighed.  Walked outside.  Rolled the ‘beam back in and wiped off the raindrops.

Pulled the plug and invoked the Costanza Rule.

I’ve used this to guide me over the past year.  It’s easy to let enthusiasm overwhelm reason.  Which means it’s relatively easy for me to throw a leg over the bicycle and go, even when I’m beat down exhausted. Serves one well when out on the course on a 200k,  but it tends to get me into trouble when trying to balance life.

To clarify, my application of the rule popularized in a long-ago episode of Seinfeld has roots in the idea that George Costanza tended to - um - mess things up with unerring consistency.  So, he decided to do the opposite of whatever idea came into his head, with truly impressive results.  It was a brilliant bit of writing, funny and true.

So, when dummy me wakes up on Saturday morning at around 10:45 am (normal wakeup around 6:30-7 am), still feeling exhausted, naps a bit in the afternoon and generally pokes around, then decides he really wants to ride the new wheel he’s set up on the Quickbeam on Sunday, even though he’s not feeling absolutely on top of the world, some shred of coherent sanity pulls the lever and the Costanza Rule bell goes off. 

While I was standing at the kitchen window, watching the rain fall, it struck me that while I wanted to ride.  I didn’t feel like riding.

Which is probably a pretty good indicator.

It’s been kind of a crazy pace.  Been auditioning like mad the last couple weeks.  Hammering to work and back.  Hitting the yoga classes.  Getting some new entries up on the Gallery pages.  Looking back now, I can see how it was a pretty brisk tempo.

But, the only reason I realize that now is because I took the step back and didn’t roll out today.

Because if I had headed out, I’d be that much more ground down before the start of the week.  Which would have been easy to do.  Once out there, the muscle memory kicks in, then the endorphins make you feel good.  The heart starts pumping a bit more full, and the breaths come deeper.  You are free and rolling, stripping away the thoughts and the indecision.  Most of the time, that is great - no - restorative.  But sometimes, like today, it’s destructive.

We all, perhaps, crave that which is a bit bad for us.

And it takes the conscious act to pause.  Breathe.  Not make the action.

And there’s a time when that is the right choice.


As a total aside, I just spent a while clearing out over 3400 (not a typo) bogus comment attempts from this blog.  I ended up deleting and then recopying an entire post - it seems some combination of topic title and words got it targeted by some spambot.  After I did that, a bunch of legitimate comments popped up which hadn’t been passed through.  Sorry for the delays to those of you who had commented, and if your comment got bulk deleted, my apologies for a different reason. 

5 Responses to “Easter and the Costanza Option”

  1. Ryan Says:
    Excellent reference Jim! And Chapeau to you for actually invoking the Costanza rule, it is to easy to push on through sometimes even when, as my best friend likes to say, you are just grinding metal on metal. Hope you get; Clear skies, tailwinds and rejuvenated legs on your next ride. Ryan
  2. The Cyclofiend Says:
    “…grinding metal on metal”… I like that one! Thanks!
  3. Murphy Says:
    I really liked this post. I too employ Costanza-logic occasionally. The funny thing about it is that it sometimes actually works better than my original thought. Maybe it’s the conscious effort to completely analyze the decision rather than the impulsive desire to take the action without further thought? Then again, I am sure ol’ George wasn’t that deep.
  4. Carlos D Says:
    Funny, Just recently I was invoking the same Constanza rule to a friend of us who’s been having a hard time. “Just do the opposite of what you think is right, it will work!” On the bogus comments thing: I have a simple solution that has prevented a lot of those type of posts on my blog, CAPTCHA. Google it and chances are the blog/CMS you use has a plugin for it. Hope when things clear up a little, we’ll see you on some rides… we miss the homemade baked goods :)
  5. The Cyclofiend Says:
    Yeah, CAPTCHA was the plan, but just found out that this software doesn’t seem to support it. They have an “enhanced” version of blog software I’m going to take a look at. Been missing riding with you guys! Hopefully the Russian River 200K later this month.