Today I had to take off to chauffeur Lynn to a medical test which required her to be knocked out. I also scheduled my physical therapy appointment for my back. We made an old geezer day of going back and forth to appointments.
Before my PT appointment, I decided to squeeze in a 22 miler up Patterson, around West Creek, up Patterson again, down Manakin Road, left on Hermitage, back down Patterson, up River Road and eventually to my house. It’s my favorite ride. It’s hilly in a few places and flat in others, so it’s a good mix. There’s a few hills or so at a 8-10% grade and LONG!! I’ve never averaged better than 15.4 mph on this course. Today I averaged 16.6!! Here’s a link to ride from my Garmin Connect page. If you’re a cyclist, you know that’s not all that fast but you must keep in mind that it’s 53 years of age and 270 pounds that’s doing the pedaling.
However that’s not what this post is about. What this post is about is the best $900 (or so) I’ve ever spent. I say “or so” because Lynn will argue I’ve spent four times that in “accessories.” The original $900 purchase was made at Conte’s Bicycles on a Fuji Newest 1.0. It’s a basic entry level bike but I’ve ridden the snot out of it. I’ve put 4,133 miles on it since August 2010.
I’ve ridden many of those miles with good friend Steven and sometimes Joel, whereupon we’ve actually solved many of the world’s problems in case you haven’t noticed. Some of them of the more enjoyable and less painful rides (sorry Steven) have been with Lynn who goes at a more gentle pace.
Yet I have to admit that I do love my solitary rides. You see it’s these solitary rides that allow my mental file cabinet to sort through and file the worries and concerns of my life into the appropriate folders. It should be said that because of the therapeutic effect of riding that most of these concerns never get filed but go straight to the shredder.
Like a lot of people I make my own problems and am the source of my own stress. The past year has seen me put on 35 pounds, watch my brother’s health decline, go through some difficulty at school, change grade levels, have health issues affect my daily life, watch some of my team mates lose and/or have family go through illnesses, and in strange way get used to Lynn being retired.
Yet through it all the Fuji served as my therapist. So I rode. I rode when it was in the 90’s. I rode in rain. I rode in darkness. I rode in freezing cold AND darkness. I rode 4-5 times a week through this thankfully mild winter. I rode and listened to my heart.
This morning, before our geezer runs, I set out at 8AM and rode. The weather was in the mid-60’s and sunny. The bike rooster tailed the night’s rain onto my backside but I got used to it. Something happened about a mile into the ride. The fog that had inhabited my brain for the past few weeks cleared like the skies above me. That happens often when I ride. I became grateful. Grateful for losing those 35 pounds. Grateful that my brother is back home from the hospital. Grateful that I have amazing friends at school that have supported me AND each other through this very tough year (Thanks Cheryl, Nichole, Ellen, Lori, Denay, Temple, MJ and Steven). Grateful that I have good doctors who have helped me ameliorate the effects of these very small illnesses. And, yes, I am grateful that Lynn is retired. She seems so much more happy and it’s nice to have her home more.
My list of so-called problems is nothing. There are those out there in blogosphere/world with MANY more issues and I realize I am a very lucky man indeed.
The Fuji did it. It could have been a pair of running shoes, a kayak or a fishing rod but for me it was a bike. It’s a bit beat up and nicked these days with life’s scars telling it’s history with me the past 18 months. There’s a scratches on the frame where I couldn’t unclip my shoes in time and fell near St. Francis Hospital (I guess that’s a good place to fall). The handlebars are bent where the same thing happened near Midlothian and Winterpock. The tape on the handlebars is a bit toasty and the tires are looking weary. It’s shifting is a bit spiky but all that being said it’s been an amazing investment. With Lynn retired from teaching and me still teaching, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to replace the Fuji. If I do I’ll be thankful for what it has done for me; point me to those things that are important. My family and friends. At $900 – it’s a bargain.