So I turned 50 today. It might be a milestone year but I did not feel that “special day” vibe. This one came and went as quickly as the last 49. I’m not saying that it did not leave a bit of a wrinkle, I’m just not sure I am ready to embrace the reality. Some might celebrate with fanfare, parties, and black bowed gift bags containing geriatric products all intended to spark a response as if to say “hey look how old you are and how closer you are to staring the grim reaper square in the face. So you may as well toast it with a glass of prune juice. Yuk Yuk.” So this morning I filled my bidon with water and set off for my first 50 mile ride of the year.
New year’s resolutions can be fickle initiatives that quickly dissolve as fast as a New Year’s Day Alka Seltzer chaser. In years past my resolutions were long forgotten by the time Groundhog Day came around. But this year my commitment and resolve need to take priority one as it will completely affect my life. It is time for a new body, a new soul and to embrace the process of change itself, not just the results that I hope to accomplish.
Finally on the bike again this week after a 6 and a half week hiatus. Interesting how much mental processing goes on during a bike ride. I’ve replayed my crash as well as many thoughts about my injury and recovery. I also battle with the fact that I should not be riding yet, or to put it in clearer terms, shouldn’t be risking another fall. Technically, I am not recovered to a level that would permit me to train at full effort or full speed, but in my case I feel like I am risking more by not riding at all.
It really is amazing how far sports marketing has come in the last few years. The leaders in the industry continue to innovate in order to make an impact with professionals, and amateurs. This is a case study on how one of the biggest brands in sports decided to make an impact on the weekend warrior. Using an unknown, slightly overweight, amateur cyclist you may know as Heavy Eddy.
I’ve just spent 2 weeks recharging my battery. Sure, I’ve spent time on the bike, after all what kind of vacation does not include cycling? But it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve really pushed myself through any prolonged efforts or taken a visit to the pain cave. Since then, I’ve stopped mid-rides for Italian ice, conversed with friends during rides without gasping mid story, and even been able to even hum a few bars of my favorite Taylor Swift ditty while rolling on the fattie. Basicly, I’ve been riding on rainbows, in the company of unicorns and fuzzy bunnies for the last 2 weeks.
I almost died last week.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a great story about how I cheated death while daring a high-speed 2-wheel descent down a mountain pass or a base-jumping accident. Or even better, saving an elderly woman, children, or a litter of puppies from a burning building. Nope, mine happened while doing yard work. Exposure to something caused an anaphylactic reaction while mowing the lawn. This earned me an ambulance trip to the ER. But in every cloud… there is silver, yet I say, platinum lining! I now am free of all yard duties until I can assess the culprit. Yes, in a manner of speaking you might say I am allergic to yard work! Which in itself made this the best week of my life!
There is a reason for everything. It may not always make sense to us at the moment. But with time it often reveals itself. We need to keep our mind and eyes open. This is a story about Taylor Phinney’s discovery through recovery. A year ago I watched him win an amazing stage in the Tour of California, then a few weeks later he suffered a serious career deterring injury. Ironically, this opened his mind to an amazing ability that flourished from within. But what is more illuminating as he gains so much more from it all, is that he is able to spend this time with his father and develop a perspective that enlightens his life and awakens his perceptions. Truly inspiring.
Sometimes a great product just needs to be shared with as many fellow cyclists as possible. This is one of those products. It’s called Brave Soldier Antiseptic Healing Ointment and it is used on burns, scrapes, road rash, rug burns, cheese grated flesh wounds, zombie attacks and any other minor skin wound you might encounter. Of course for cyclists suffering painful road rash I hear this is the ideal treatment. I will not review all the product details as you can read it for yourself, but I will share my experiences hoping you will encounter the same speedy relief as I have.
Last week I received a simple little piece of mail that would singularly readjust my focus, efforts, drive, and perspective every time I get on my bike. It was my American Bicycle Racing license. I opened it and chuckled to myself that I paid $25 for the privilege of sacrifice, self-inflicted pain and countless smack downs at the hand (or should I say the legs) of the fitter and the faster. Funny thing how this license, wheel tag and a set of stickers might be the most meaningful pieces of paper I would receive all year.