Special Note: If you want to read a better written and more eloquent blog on bike riding, then visit my friend, Steven’s blog at: http://www.stevenkaminski.blogspot.com/
I had a tough week!! I know my tough week isn’t like someone who is living in a hovel in India’s tough week, so please don’t start busting my chops on this one.
Last night I went to bed early and slept nine full hours!! I NEVER sleep more than 6 hours so I must have been really tired. I went to bed frustrated with my job and life in general. Too much unnecessary drama, too much negativity and too much worrying about a friend and offspring had left me exhausted. I didn’t do a great job of taking my own advice about living for the moment. My floors were still wet (see earlier blog).
When I woke up this morning, I felt much better but struggled with idea of biking out in the cold (45 degrees). However I pulled on my biking gear (about which I’m very self-conscious) and struck out on my 16 mile course that I been trying to do under one hour. It was a compromise. I told myself I can at least do these 16 miles and get some exercise before Lynn wakes up.
After about two very frigid miles of going west on Patterson, I realized I couldn’t feel my toes but I also realized I didn’t care about the FedEx package I missed delivery of three times.
As I was halfway through the West Creek loop and watching the sunrise, I felt my over-worrying about my off-spring and my friend melt away (my toes felt better).
While I was a back on Patterson and feeling the sun warm my back, the back talking and rudeness of a student from yesterday faded into the background as just a minor annoyance.
It was while I was nailing it over the 288 overpass on River Road that I switched the worries for blessings. I could see the fog roll off of the James and I became grateful for my wonderful wife as I passed the Benedictine Abbey. She looked very comfy in bed earlier when I got up. She always listens. She’s always honest with me and she’s loved me through thick and thin and thick and thin and…..well, you get the idea. I could have lived a thousand lifetimes and never met anyone as loving and gorgeous as Lynn.
I started thinking about my two sons and my daughter as I cruised by the Collegiate sports field on Blair. My son Andy is amazing and I am so proud of the work he does as a Chinese Linguist for the Air Force. My daughter, Catherine, is awesome in her job as an Instructional Assistant with Special Needs students. She’s really working hard to become a teacher and she’s the one that comes closest to having my sense of humor. Her laughter brightens my day. Jack is so kind and compassionate. He’s attending ODU and living in Norfolk but has to come home on the weekends to work. I really can’t think of a kinder and more gentle person than Jack. He’s a lot like my brother, Hank and Lynn’s brother, Brian. I haven’t been the best father so I’m not quite sure how they’ve turned out so well. It most have been good genes and their mother.
It was during this time of gratitude that I decided to hammer down a bit and see how fast I could go down this small incline on River Road. As my bike computer read 30 I met some Spin Mafia guys coming the other way. They always wave but I couldn’t help but think that they must have been amused at my meager attempts at speed. They were probably going as fast uphill as I was downhill. Those guys always put the hammer down and average about 22-24 mph on all types of hills and flats. I’m lucky if I break an average of 15.
As I made the right and sped up Patterson east into the sunrise, I returned to the moment and took in the wonder of autumn in Virginia. Cars who passed gave me lots of room and some drivers even waved. I like it when strangers wave.
After crossing Gaskins on the way up Patterson, I was about to make the left turn that would take me through a subdivision (we call it Peggy’s subdivision because Lynn’s teaching teammate lives there) that adjoins my neighborhood. When I looked at my bike computer it read 55 minutes and I knew instantly I had a chance at breaking the hour mark for the ride. I started cranking hard through the quiet streets, rolled through a couple of stop signs (not recommended) and pulled into my driveway. I looked at the bike computer and it read 59:10. I had averaged 16.2 miles for the first time!!!
Most road bikers would scoff at this time as relatively slow but please allow me to pat myself on the back. Eight months ago I weighed 354 pounds and could not take a set of stairs without becoming winded. If you had told me eight months ago that I would get up on a cold Saturday at 7:00 AM, put on Lycra tights, jump on a lightweight red bike and ride 16 miles in under an hour, I would have told you that you were stark-raving mad. However, eight months and eighty pounds later I am doing just that. I’m still a pretty big guy but at least I’m a big guy that hikes, bikes, stairclimbs, lifts weights and now even runs.
I have to thank my friend Steven AND Lynn for getting me into biking. I think I would have given up the struggle if I had to depend on going to the gym everyday and grinding it out. Biking is a great way to get exercise, have fun and shed some pounds. It’s also a great way to shed some worries.