Friday, October 17, 2014

The old flame


I'm gonna do it.  So help me GOD....I'm gonna do it.

I have every intention of re-kindling a forgotten love.  It has been a long time, but I think that allowing this time between us to continue would be wrong on several levels.

What I am talking about here is the special kind of relationship that I never should have let go.  I'm confident that my life has NOT been better for allowing to let this romance slip away over the years.  We had this great chemistry....you know, the kind that just brings out the best in a person.

To make igniting this old flame even more rewarding, I have Mrs. MacLoosh's full support. (Gotta love that girl!!)

My beloved Cannondale in it's current incarnation as a single speed
I suppose we all have these things in life that we come back to again and again and again.  In my life, as most of you know, fishing has played a big role.  My love for it is something that never quite goes away. Over time, my fishing activity has ebbed and flowed in manic fits that on the surface probably appear as fads.   A fad it is not.  I have been a fisherman all my life, and I will continue to be a fisherman until the day I die.

Along these same lines, I find my bicycles and the sport of cycling.  In fact, my love affair with bicycles is even more deeply rooted into my psyche than fishing.  I have, what might be described as a "collection" of bikes.  If you were to line all of them up, to some degree they would provide visual cues to my own history.  A timeline of sorts. Cycling has not been a fad either.  It is more than just a few bricks that make up foundation of who I am.

Unfortunately, for the last several years, I have all but ignored my bikes.  Why?  I can offer a range of excuses from having blown a knee, chasing and attaining my "dream job", getting married, buying a house, having 2 kids, and so on and so on....   Each one of those things is not uncommon in most peoples lives.  I just happened to have been dumb enough to have believed the excuse that I was "too busy" to get out for a ride.  There always seemed to be something "more important" to do.  As a result, I lost touch with one of the great loves of my life.

Not coincidentally, my health has also suffered from lack of cycling.  It was inevitable when I gave up 50 mile weekend rides for a comfy spot on my reclining sofa that I gained weight.  I wasn't surprised, and frankly, it was easy.  Perhaps the easiest thing I have ever done. I mean really...watching TV and drinking a beer or two (maybe more...) on my limited down time was a hell of a lot easier than suffering through a ride on a windy, drizzly day.  When I thought about spending an hour with burning legs and screaming lungs, I shuddered, and then cracked another beer.

If ya gotta suffer, may as well do it in a place like this.
Military Ridge Trail at Blue Mound State Park.
While my physical well being declined, I honestly think my mental status has taken the brunt of the suffering.  Don't get me wrong, my wife, and kids have brought me more love and joy than I could ever have imagined, but in the back of my mind, there has been something amiss.  It came out in subtle ways.  Low self esteem here, a little depression there, and the nagging feeling that the best was already behind me.  Self pity sets in and It's a bit of a downward spiral that feels impossible to recover from.  As it turns out, the solution was right in front of me (well...hanging in my garage...): I MISS RIDING MY BIKES.

I'd love to tell you that I am a recovering cyclist.  That I eat right every day, fuel my body for daily, grueling training rides on my triumphant return to competitive bike racing...  But that would be a lie.

Klein.  Handcrafted science. The "new" kid on the block, despite the fact that it is going on 13 years old...
As I sit here in the afterglow of a wonderful fall ride today, my legs are cramping, my knees hurt, my ass is sore from an uncomfortable saddle and I am painfully aware that today's final mileage and average speed were a far cry from days gone by.  But at this time, I am quite OK with my efforts.  In fact, I feel pretty damn good about the whole deal...and at least I got out. In doing so, I might have accidentally awakened an old familiar feeling.

While I do harbor thoughts of entering an occasional bike race in 2015, I am going to be realistic about this.  I just want to ride more.  That's all.   Start slow, and maybe...just maybe...I can rekindle that old flame again.

The end of the driveway.  One hell of a long distance.
All I know right now is that the hardest part of a bike ride is making it to the end of my driveway.  If I can get that far, I might just have a chance.

Til later,

-M


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