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Daily Archives: December 17, 2016

It’s days like these that help me to appreciate owning a super-bike.

One of the guys I ride with is putting together a brand new Merckx San Remo 76 from the ground up.  Bora Bright 50’s (near impossible to get in the US), Campy Record components…  It’s going to be pretty awesome, indeed, though he lamented as he walked out of the bike shop with his frame the other day, “Yeah, I’m going to get it built and I’ll have to look at it sitting in the corner till Spring”.  His project got me to thinking about my Venge as it sits in the corner…

My bike isn’t that special, it’s the entry-level Specialized Venge with some exceptional upgrades. Still, it is a Venge and there’s nothing bottom of the line about that… As a package, now that it’s done, it’s an exceptional bike, especially as looks go.

Looks are only a part of the equation though.  When we’re knee deep in snow and I’m pushing the pedals ’round on my Trek on the trainer, my mind always drifts to rocketing down the road on the Venge.  My good bike never gets time on the trainer (or outdoor miles before Spring for that matter) so remembering previous rides has to suffice…

When romanticizing the “inner child” became popular it drove me nuts because I had no idea what they were talking about.  Inner child?!  What kind of hooey was that?

It wasn’t until I bought a bicycle and started riding regularly that I finally got it.  My understanding took a while to develop though.  I started cheap as money was tight.  Then came a winning streak, and with it nicer bikes.  With each upgrade, from a $400 mountain bike to an $800 road bike, to a $2,500 road bike (all retail prices, I bought my first three bikes used and at a fraction of retail price), my enjoyment for the sport grew and my “inner child” got to play for the first time in decades.

Then I saw this, in the most prominent display at the local bike shop, above and behind the counter:

I had to have it.  For the first time, and after  months of great numbers, I pulled some profits out of my company so I could walk out the door with it, free and clear.  I plunked a thick stack of Hundred Dollar Bills on the counter and walked out with my bike.

Now, finally, I have a firm grasp on what all of that hoohah about an “inner child” was all about – actually, I think I get to do that one better; riding a great bike is being able again.  Not unlike heading outside to play when I was much younger, but with much nicer toys.  It’s not feeding some tucked away, separate part of me, it’s the real deal.

Super-bikes are like any other luxury item…  Not having the means to own one doesn’t exclude people from participating in the sport.  Not having one doesn’t preclude one from the enjoyment of cycling.  As long as one’s bike is clean, in good working order, and ridden well, I’ve never seen someone discriminated against for having a lesser steed.  Having a super-bike simply makes the sport that much more enjoyable, and that alone makes them worth it (assuming one has the means).

With temperatures currently about 1 degree F (-17C), being firmly entrenched in some form of hibernation, all I’ve got while spinning on the hamster wheel is a good movie and memories of warmer days, blasting down the road with my friends… and that’s sweet enough till warmer days return.

‘Tis the Winter of My Discontent…

I can’t remember the last time we knew it was going to be a white Christmas in southeastern Michigan.  A few years ago the temperature went below 18 degrees on the 18th of November and it didn’t rise above that point again until late February but we had sparse snow until January.  I remember this because it’s tied to my sobriety anniversary.

This winter is a different story:

This year, we’re getting pounded.  Record cold, lots of snow.

Last year, while it was cold, we were at least cycling into January.  This year, without picking up a fat bike and some studded tires, we’re stuck inside on the trainers:

There are obviously worse places to be…  After suffering a sprained ankle at work a couple of weeks ago, I still haven’t regained full range of motion.  On the other hand, I only took one day off riding.  It was painful, cycling, but not ridiculously so.

A few points on that front:

1.  I truly believe that, were it not for the stability/strength of my legs created by cycling, the sprain would have been much worse.  I’ve sprained my ankles in the past, much worse, wrenching them less violently.  

2.  I was pain-free after a couple of weeks, standard for a decent sprain.  I did, and didn’t, “listen to my body”.  I iced my ankle withing three hours of an unsuccessful attempt at “walking it off”.  The walking didn’t help, the icing did, immensely.  I didn’t listen to common practice and take a week, or more, off.  The way the ankle felt after intermittent icing for the entire afternoon/evening didn’t warrant being laid up.  

3.  Recovery is to blame for this way of doing things.  I learned that truth is not always comfortable, or what I want.  I learned that honesty is the easiest path to happiness…

All too often I see people and read of people overusing injury to warrant lethargy.  It is indeed rare to see someone work around ailments to stay fit.

I am afflicted, as most are, with that melon committee member who constantly advocates doing less, pushes for more couch time, more food, more fat, and an easier gear on my bicycle.  I know the difference between listening to my body and listening to the committee.  I know my enemy.

There are, without question, those ailments that require rest.  Not many can’t be worked around though.  Besides, I want to drop below a 2,200 calorie a day diet like I want a hit in the head.

So, I’ll hit the hamster wheel once again, sometime this morning, because in a little more than two months, it’s going to be spring again and I will be ready to enjoy riding the roads with my friends once again.  Doing what I love requires that I am fit, and I won’t miss a beat.

To do that, I’m willing to put up with a little pain and boredom on the trainer because I know one important truth:

The only thing more painful than exercise and exertion is sitting it out.

One final note:  Yesterday was Fit Recovery’s fifth anniversary.  Pretty cool methinks.