Category Archives: Personal stuff

Just takes a few days off the bike and… you wish you hadn’t taken a few days off the bike!

Eric & Milo on West Old LaHonda. Where was everyone else today?
Eric & Milo on West Old LaHonda. Where was everyone else today?

How do people do it? Ride once in a while, I mean? I suppose if you were just riding as a type of occasional fun, maybe the way you might once in a while go out for a nice dinner, it would make sense. And as I type that, it sounds like it might make perfect sense, for some. Maybe most. But not me. Because for me, cycling isn’t something just for fun; it’s part of my lifestyle (some might argue an all-consuming part of it). I don’t feel right if I’m not riding, and as much as I don’t look forward to getting back on the bike after a few days off, and feeling bloated and slow, it’s a lot better than the alternative (getting even-more bloated and even-more slow when I get back on).

I was in Las Vegas for just a few days, leaving Sunday night and getting back Wednesday evening. I did manage to get in a good ride Sunday before leaving, so all I missed was Tuesday’s regular ride up Kings and the commute to work & back each day. Doesn’t seem like all that much! But when it’s what you normally do, when it’s a routine that you’ve worked into your daily schedule, where you know exactly how long it takes to ride to work including a stop for coffee… things just don’t feel right when you change.

Does it ever become tiresome? Boring? Nope. That’s not to say that some days aren’t better than others! But the worse it feels when you’re riding, the better you feel about it afterward. It’s difficult to think of a ride where, afterward, I wished I’d stayed home. I think that says it all.

What brings this up? Besides missing a few days on the bike, that is? Probably Eric asking on today’s ride if I ever stopped riding, ever took time off. Seemed like an odd question, and unfortunately, my breathing routine doesn’t allow me the luxury of having a conversation very often while riding, particularly once the road tilts upward. It’s really got me wondering why he asked.

What’s my fear of not riding? The scariest part isn’t getting out of shape and putting on weight. Not for me anyway. The scariest part is forgetting what it is to really push yourself on a climb, to pretend you don’t mind that headwind and blast your way through it. OK, the idea of not suffering, on my own terms, that’s a biggie. I’d miss the pain, my body talking back to me and telling me that I’m not just existing, I’m doing something. Telling me I don’t just exist… I’m alive!

OK, standard ride report. Just three of us today; Eric and I at the start, joined up top (on Skyline) by Milo, who’d left a bit earlier. Eric nicely held back and rode with me up Kings (I was OK through the park but by the time we connected with Kings, my speed was gone). Kevin didn’t make it; rough night trying to sleep with kidney stone pain. And that brings this full-circle. There’s pain you bring upon yourself, and that’s fine, because you control it. The amount, and the duration. And in the end, you feel better for it. And then there’s involuntary pain, of which there really isn’t much good that can be said about it.

We all have some involuntary pain in our lives. Maybe some of us use voluntary (I hesitate to say self-inflicted) pain to keep the other stuff, the other pain, at bay. Maybe when we feel most helpless is when we need to get out on a bike and ride ourselves into the ground, in total control of what we’re doing and how we feel. If the desired outcome is to feel like we’re in control, it’s a fail-safe way to achieve it.

Yes, it does sound like I’ve gone off the deep end. A couple days in Las Vegas can do that to you. :-)    –Mike–

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I’ll be retiring soon after this Vegas trip!

That's my wife and I and our big winnings! Obviously we no longer need to work and we're looking forward to a life of leisure and travel. :-)
That’s my wife and I and our big winnings! Obviously we no longer need to work and we’re looking forward to a life of leisure and travel. :-)

No ride today; my wife has wanted to see David Copperfield (the guy who makes things disappear and reappear, which is a bit at odds with Vegas in general, which does a great job making money disappear but it doesn’t come back!) for a very long time. And since it was our 35th wedding anniversary, I figured maybe it was time to surprise her.

Very odd though, flying to Las Vegas on miles (award tickets), meaning that I don’t get any elite status points for the trip. Doesn’t make sense to most people that anybody would want to pay for a ticket, instead of fly for miles (sorts free), but remember, I’m the guy who flew to Manila & back, without staying anywhere, just for miles.

The show was much better than I expected, although I agree with the reviewers that the lengthy bit with the alien needs to go. But I missed my big big big chance at show biz fame. The final act, the biggie, where he makes 13 audience members disappear on stage? Well, to be selected, they have these big air-filled bouncing balls flying around the stadium. If one gets to you, it’s your job to hit it backward (over your head) to a higher row. When the music stops, whoever has a ball is one of the lucky 13. OK, ball comes to me, music stops, and I just did what everybody had been doing. I hit it backward, instead of holding onto it. D’oh!

But the elephant in the closet is my gambling problem. Together my wife and I must have spent $35 on slots, and based on our winnings (as seen in the photo), it’s likely we’re coming back for more.

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