The entry below is from my personal page for the AIDS LifeCycle event I'm participating in on June 3-9. I took last week off out of my training schedule to be with my daughter for her wedding and it is an experience I am profoundly grateful to have been a part of and when this bicycle ride is over, I'll write about it (I promise!). Besides, they're on their honeymoon right now and I have to have some pictures to include. Having missed that week of training proved that no good deed, truly, does not go unpunished. I got my two-wheeled comeuppance yesterday.
They grow so quickly...sounds kinda cliché doesn't it, but it's true. On the left, my daughter at about 3 and on the right, me dancing with her at her wedding.
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I’m not generally one to kvetch unless it’s with a bit of tongue in-cheek. Well, maybe if I have a good audience, but most people who know me might criticize me for bottling up my complaints and angst and my doctor will likely look over the top of his half-moon glasses and chide me about my blood pressure as a result! That is, if I had an avuncular physician with whom I had been developing one of those Marcus Welby-esque relationships. In reality, I can’t remember the name of the last doctor I saw at the VA, but I do remember that I couldn’t pronounce it!
That said, I put in 63 of the most grueling miles on my bicycle yesterday. That 50-65 range must be my punishment limit when it comes to difficult riding. My first real long-distance ride where I had to hang it up was the 2009 Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride. The cold, the rain, and the nasty wind all conspired to make me, once again, question my sanity for doing this. For fun, no less! Yesterday’s ride was nothing like that. It was misty and calm in the early morning, but turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day…and filled with a *lot* of climbing. Suffice it to say, we don’t have them thar kind of hills in Minnesota.
I had reached my limit.
I would far rather reach my limit where I am with a group or had support crew than out in the middle of the great hinterlands, but it’s a touch painful and humiliating when you get there. As a younger man, I was immortal like all my compadres, but now as someone who is pushing 50, not so much. I’m feeling the aches and pains of middle age that tend to be amplified by endurance sports; I’m having a really difficult time of dropping that extra pound; and my doctor with the unpronounceable name is being more serious about my all-American diet. Limitations are becoming more than a number on my credit card statement.
I think it’s fair to say that we can be grateful that self-imposed limitations can be pushed over like a house of cards, but it’s also fair to say that ignoring other limitations is unwise, unsafe, or irresponsible.
So, what do thoughts on limitations have to do with this event? We train as a team and watch out for each other with an emphasis on safety. We make sure everyone is getting enough water. If you’ve ever been cut off by some hot-shot cyclist, you’ll understand why we make it a point to scrupulously observe traffic laws. Yes, Mr. Eastwood, “a man has got to know his limitations,” but more than that, without them, our focus is self-directed and self-centered and this 545-mile trek becomes a colossal ego trip rather than a labor of love. So, I'm navigating my limitations, pushing past some discomfort and pain, but watching the ones that further the reason this event exists.
Thank you to my latest heroes: Jim & Carol Semelroth, Jay Lickfett, Ellen DeYoung, and Karen Nichols, all from my spiritual home in Mission Viejo: Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation; my long-timer friend who makes me laugh out loud and talented writer, Christine Mounts; and a Utah friend who has an easy smile and a big heart, Sean Bollinger.
And thank you all who continue to encourage me. It means the world to me and even more to those for whom I'm riding.
This posting was originally published May 6, 2012. I've split my writing into different blogs: Opinion, The Leukemia Chronicles, and other Freelance Writing