Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lovely Images, Part V -- My Lead-Plated Squeeker

"Cycling is a sport that embarrasses youth, rather than rewards it." --Lance Armstrong

We once lived in the foothills of our majestically western state, but I never took up cycling until we moved into town. [Excuses, excuses: Because our car climbed some of the steepest hills in the county to get to our house, and because I was overweight and outta shape, I would have had to endure months of absolute hell trying to get into shape to handle those steepest hills in the county with a bicycle. SO not worth it, I wisely calculated.]

Instead, I poked fun at all the other cyclists who rode those county roads, saying, "there goes another Lance." Every cyclist fancied him- or herself a budding Lance, you see. By poking fun, it kept me safely at a distance from contemplating The Pain of the Train.

Then we sold the foothills house and moved into town. No more excuses.

First thing I did was buy the Raleigh Passages 3.0 pictured above. As I said in a previous post, it weighs 38 pounds and squeeks. I have since learned ways to de-squeek it. I gradually lowered the handle bars as I lost weight (think about it), and I raised the seat because your Howard is not a small man. I have also since learned to make this 38-pound puppy move. I once had it up to 41.5 mph. Honest. Scarily honest. Lance Armstrong wrote a book, titled It's Not About the Bike, which I am currently reading. I have learned to scoot like the big boys in their $3,000 carbon-framed speed monsters, despite my mediocre old guy's bike. That endurance and strength comes from willpower, as Lance's book teaches, not technology. Along the way, I also got into great shape. LiveStrong.

Late at night (which is when I do some of my best thinking) I imagine how good I could be, and fast and far I could go on a $3,000 carbon-framed speed monster of my own...

I lost 40 pounds of weight curing the past six months, replacing rolls of jolly chubbiness with rippling musculature. (I can hear you chuckling, Ace & Slick... stop it!) But now I have the prototypical chisled cyclist's calves. I've also avoided the dreaded nickname "Rex" by doing my pushups. Seriously competitive cyclists are notorious for having hugely huge leg muscles and shrivelled pecs, shoulders, biceps, and delts, and whatever, hence the nickname "Rex". Which is short for Tyrannosaurus Rex. Think about it. It'll make sense in a second or two.

My best girl and I have been in training for the Ride the Rockies bike tour in June -- this year stretching 413 miles through southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Yesterday, we rode 45 miles. Today, we went another 28 miles. And fast-type speeds, not geezer-wheezer lolligaging. While we're still not quite ready, we're making good progress. The first weekend in June--two weekends before the start of the six-day tour--we will ride 65 miles north to a small city in another nearby state, stay the night, and then return home the next day. When we can do that without suffering horribly, we'll be ready for Ride the Rockies. A month later comes the Tour de Wyoming in July -- another six-day ride to challenge our geezer-like bodies (well... at least MY body, not my best girl's, who still has the body of a 20-something.) You believe me, don't you? I hope she does.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope you realize you have to go up mountains, not just over flat ground.

people get hurt and killed every year on ride the rockies, so don't treat this lightly.

8:49 AM, April 10, 2006  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

Damn. I hope it's not too late for a refund.

11:41 PM, April 10, 2006  

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