Riding one year later
On June 23, 2012 I was on a ride with the bike club. It was the first time I had ridden with the club. I finally felt I was in good enough shape to ride with the group and felt confident that I could do the 50 mile distance.
I struggled with the hills and I was having trouble with the shifting but I was doing great on the flats and was not having any trouble keeping up with the rest of the riders. I was silently reprimanding myself for not getting the bike fixed after the Ride for Autism two weeks earlier. I had trouble with the shifting on the Five Boro Bike Tour in May and again at the Autism Ride. I took it to a local bike shop and the mechanic made a few adjustments but still the shifting issues remained. I knew I should take it in to another shop where I had a little more faith in the mechanics but time and stubbornness and procrastination and here I was on the club ride.
We were 19 miles in to the 50 miles when I over-shifted on a short but steep hill. I dropped my chain, spun the pedals, snapped out of the pedals, hit my knee on the handlebars and landed awkwardly. It didn’t hurt. I put the chain back on, remounted the bike, and rode another two miles to the bagel break and didn’t really think much about it other than the knee hurt where I smacked the handlebars.
It was after the rest that the knee started to hurt. It was a stabbing pain. The more I pedaled, the worse it became. Soon I was dropping off the back of the ride. My speed dropped from 17-18 to 8 miles per hour.
Soon I realized this was more than a bump.
I took a short cut while the rest of the group went along the planned route and I met them where my short cut and their route came back together. I had ridden 30 miles total, 11 since the “incident”. I couldn’t pedal a hill. I could barely pedal on the flats.
I rode another 3 and half miles. The route took us past the street where I live and I left the ride at that point. 33.6 miles in to a 50 mile ride I had to give up.
I managed to stay on plan despite not riding my bike again until the end of October, two weeks after the Surgeon took a chunk of torn meniscus out of my knee, electing to leave the two ligaments with the “minor” tears alone. I lost more weight, hit my goal weight and blew right past it all while not riding my bike. I could still hike on gentle trails but steep climbs and rugged trails were out of the question.
Yesterday, as I have mentioned before, was the anniversary of this little misadventure.
I have no lingering issues. The knee aches once in a while; the ligaments are still torn and let me know about it now and then, but the knee is strong.
Yesterday I rode 16 miles from my home to the bike shop and then went on a 25 mile ride with another fellow from the shop and a customer who showed up to ride with us. When it was all done I had put in 41 miles, 8 miles more than I got in a year ago and I managed to do it without injury.
The route I led us on went right past the road where I hurt the knee. I was happy to not repeat the adventure.
So good to be riding again. So happy to be enjoying the feeling of riding. On the ride yesterday I took a very sharp turn on a downhill at a sharp lean at more than 30 miles per hour. Later in the ride I hit 44.6 miles per hour on a downhill and only failed to top 45 because a car pulled on to the road down the hill and I let up a little to make sure we wouldn’t meet by accident.
These are the things I enjoy about riding: Speed, freedom, solitude AND camaraderie (I love my solo rides and the group rides), the feeling of accomplishing something, the amazing feeling of the road going under the wheels… I think you have to be a cyclist to understand…
My Brother is Coming to Visit
I mentioned in an earlier post that I haven’t seen MB (middle brother) in about 2 years. He lives on the west coast and I am here in the east. Getting together typically requires a family event and there just haven’t been any in the last two years that I was able to attend. Well our Great Aunt is turning 90 and MB is heading east to join the celebration.
He will stay with us Thursday night before traveling with our Uncle to the get-together in Maryland.
I am really looking forward to seeing him.
He has not seen me in person since I began this Journey of mine. He has seen pictures and knows the story but he will see me as a lean man for the first time EVER on Thursday.
For some reason, his “approval” means a great deal to me.
Being one year and two weeks younger than MB, I have always been in his shadow a bit. He is an athlete, tall, handsome, intelligent, successful…
His “thumbs-up”… Well, I hope he approves…
It will be good to see him
Taking a Weekend Off
I love working at the bike shop. Truly. How bad can it be? I get to talk bikes with interested people and I get paid to do it. I am also learning a great deal and I always love that. The negative is that while I am working in the shop on beautiful weekend days I am not out riding my bike…
This weekend I am not working Saturday because I am heading to my Aunt’s birthday party and I may not work Sunday because I could use a weekend off. Of course if the shop needs me I will be there… BUT if I do not work I will be out on a club ride. I am thinking 50 miles…
The rest of the day I will spend with my family. Maybe grill some salmon and some veggies. Maybe just relax.
I Think (maybe too much)
My Journey has taken me places I never thought I would see. Places in my heart and in my mind. I found a ME I didn’t know was there. I had given over to being a fat man. I had surrendered myself to a life of obesity. I had become inside what I looked to be on the outside. I was a fat man. I joked about it at my expense. I justified the extra slice of pizza or pie or cake by figuring I was already fat.. That one slice wasn’t going to make it any worse or better…
On my Journey I have had to confront that fat man. I had to demand answers. Why did you allow this? What motivated you to over eat so much? What emotional damage are you trying to heal? The hardest part is I had to be willing to face the answers.
I learned much about myself. I am still learning. I know that I am nowhere near able to “coast”. I still have to watch everything I eat. Count everything. Record everything. I still wear my Fitbit every single day. If I forget it I am depressed for the entire day. Like the tree falling in the woods. Does it make a sound if there is no one there to hear it. Does the exercise count if the Fitbit doesn’t record it?
I know that I have to do this. I know that I have to push myself relentlessly.
I weigh myself EVERY SINGLE DAY. I never miss. I travel with a digital scale so I can weigh myself when traveling. If I see 205 lbs I buckle down and work ever harder.
I know this about myself because I learned it over the last 546 days.
I like me. I like me more than I have in many years. I don’t know with certainty when I stopped liking me. I suspect that my obesity and not liking myself are linked. I will tell you this: not liking me came first.
I think we all have parts of ourselves we do not like. Things about our personalities, habits, traits, body.. that we don’t care for.
Somewhere along the line the parts of me I didn’t like came to dominate my view of myself. I saw the bad, forgot about the good.
Over the course of my Journey I started to understand this. I was able to find more about me to like. I tried to stop having my view of myself dominated by the negatives.
This has nothing to do with my life mind you. I have a wonderful family. Great friends.
This has to do with ME. The inner ME.
Over the course of this Journey of mine I came to understand this a bit better. I came to understand that I was viewing myself in the fun house mirror. I was seeing a distorted view. I wasn’t seeing reality. The good was hidden by the distortions in the mirror.
Over time I worked on this. I got back to doing the things that gave me joy when I was a younger and happier man. I started hiking again. I started cycling again. I got back to reading books and spending quiet time with Missus and Da Boys.
I started to like me.
I see myself if a less distorted mirror now.
I really like what I see.