Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cycling Cycles

I bet if you look back on most cyclists lives, you will find times where they ride a lot and times when they taper a bit. Other things come along and catch your interest: kids, marriages, health challenges, etc. I used to ride 4-5 times a week 'back in the day'. Now it was once or twice a month...maybe. Not burn out or lack of interest, just stuff that comes along in that 24 hour day we have. Time and time again, I would come back to the bike and wonder why I left it for so long.

It happened again a few years ago. One of those detours came along in the form of a new challenge...martial arts. My son was taking some classes and I always watched with interest. I found myself thinking, " I am in good shape (Mtn Biker!!) and I may still be young enough to do this...maybe".

Four years or so later I achieved a black belt and was instructing part time. Great journey, but it really had cut into my riding time and passion. At 45+ years old, I only had so much energy, and training 4 days a week at the studio was about all I had to give. Then, while training in another form of martial arts to continue my education, I turned the corner (figuratively speaking) and ran smack into a torn knee injury. I still remember that feeling after the *pop* and the pain as I laid there knowing I had just really screwed up.

I always protected my knees. I never snow skiied, jogged, etc. Bad on the knees you know....cycling be good on the knees...must have good knees. Then there was that *pop* to remind me that I may have missed a lot of skiing for nothing.

MRIs followed, Drs visits (man, what an education that all was), some therapy and then time to heal as best I could and that meant little or no martial arts. Time to ride. See how the knee feels...not too bad. ACL injuries and the like are very forgiving to cycling so off I went. I had put on 10 lbs of weight, a combo of muscle and fat that really helped when you are fighting on the mats. Before the month was over, I had dropped 10 lbs.

My knee was still screwed up (more thoughts on that journey later) but I had fallen in love with riding again. Just as in the past, the cycle of life had come back to gears, wheels, sweat, and the giddy thrill of wind, speed, and the sweet satisfaction of a good ride.

And again I found myself asking, "why did I stop doing this?" Who knows, but I know one thing for certain, as long as God gives me the ability to climb up onto the saddle and pedal, I will keep a bike or two around, cuz sure as shootin' I will be distracted again and it is good to know my bike will wait for me with a understanding between us that I will be back.

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