Slowly coming back to life

All things bike which in retrospect garnered a great deal of my attention during the past ten years or so, had been pushed aside since the beginning of the year.  2011 is just under 40 days old by now, and I think I have gone on two proper rides.  Sure getting to and from school, friends’ houses, and bars was done by pedal, but I’m talking about throwing a leg over the bike and pedaling for over an hour.  One of those rides where your mind starts out as a jumbled mess of shit, full of things to do, bills to pay, and problems to solve, all bouncing around in your head.  By the end of the ride you haven’t figured it all out, but at least all the tasks do not seem as daunting as they once did.  Fuck a training ride, I prefer to call those rides my “life tonic”, a magic elixer that makes life that much better.  A ride like this was my top priority once I got back to Fort Collins.

Picture 1

That just about sums up how I felt when I got back home.

Like I said earlier I had pushed those types of rides to the back burner to get my masters project kicked off.  This year has been dominated by the preparation for a trip down to Yuma, to pick and set up specific sites, and starting to collect the data.  Two weeks of planning, and three weeks of field work have filled me up with plenty of “are you fucking kidding me”, “let’s get this show on the road”, and  “i need a beer” moments.  At times there was not a drink strong enough to calm my nerves, so the only logical solution was multiple drinks.  We were working down at the Yuma Proving Grounds, and let me tell you few things in life can compare to working on one side of some mountains, and hearing large explosions on the other side of those mountains.  The combination of being really excited and scared shitless is rather unique.  Ah such is life down in Yuma, never a dull moment with constant reminders of explosions, unmanned aircraft tests, and the occasional tank crossing.  The trip did have it’s positives, like collecting a bunch of data for my thesis, spending my days outside in near perfect weather conditions, and achieving the state of mind, where “work” doesnt feel like work at all.  I also had the opportunity to experience “America” by hanging around at a trailer park drinking cans of Budweiser, knowing that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were turning over in their respective graves.

Riding on a dirt road without a care for where it would take me.
Riding on a dirt road without a care for where it would take me.

Once I got back, a bike ride was in order, and I’m convinced that the powers that be were doing all they could to stop this.  Saturday night saw a light snow fall, Sunday morning had strong winds to go along with the wet roads from the melting snow, and finally once I got my shit together for a ride I noticed that my new roommate’s dog had chewed off some of the straps on my shoes.  None of these hurdles were going to stop me, I mounted my trusty steed, stuck my nose into the wind, and started to pedal.  In the beginning there was a bit of awkward feelings, but after a minute the simple movement of making clean pedal strokes with my legs was back.  I didnt care where this ride would take me, I was riding my bike and that was enough for me.  Eventually I came a stop light, I wondered if I could still track stand while waiting for the light to change to green.  Well it wasnt pretty, but I pulled it off, and with my confidence on the rise I made my way away from the sounds, traffic, and distractions.  Five weeks of built up stress seemed to melt away, the previous sounds I had become accustomed to like a sledgehammer hitting an electrode, the “beep” of the radar system, and the rattle a toolbox makes as it bounces along on a shitty road were replaced with the smooth buzz of my tires on pavement and dirt roads, my own breath, and a chain which could have used a little bit more lube.

A view that I have missed.
A view that I have missed.

By the standard’s of many this would have been a short easy ride, but for me it was just what I needed.  Sure, it would have been nice if the wind wasn’t blowing as strong, the temperature was a few degrees higher, and my legs didnt feel like they were towing an anchor.  But I wasnt looking for a perfect ride, I just wanted to go out for any ride, and that is exactly what I got.  By the time I got home, I hadn’t made any progress on all of the missed work I now have to catch up on, and all of the new work that I need to start, but all of it felt more manageable.  A simple bike ride never felt soo good.

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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

40 thoughts on “Slowly coming back to life

  1. “life tonic” good one

    When is the last time after a long ride that you didn’t feel refreshed, energized and buzzed? It’s an addiction all right. But a good one. I think.

  2. Friends and I refer to those as “therapy miles”.

    What is your dissertation on, btw?

  3. addiction or therapy – or neither?

    cycling can’t trigger and alter the brain’s reward system (medial forebrain bundle) like drugs and drug-like behaviors. it cannot make a person stop enjoying normal activities associated with normal good feelings.

    cycling does not promote more or better ways of thinking about problems or relating to people (have you ever spoken with an elite or pro rider? yikes!) it doesn’t improve relationships or nudge riders towards maturity. really, think of a certain jagoff who has won the Tour seven times: dude’s as mature and emotionally functional as a 14 year old who is prone to tantrums and is about to discover his parent’s liquor cabinet.

    but there really is something about a quality ride and emotional well being, isn’t there? cycling might be classified as a meditative activity. it’s more similar to yoga and sitting or walking meditation than it is to addiction or therapy.

  4. Life is slowly returning to myself as well, one pedal stroke at a time. Stomach bug from hell had conspired with the weather and my schedule to try and kill me. It nearly worked.

  5. For me, trail running is more cathartic than a ride. Back in the day (when I was fast) I refered to it as LSD…long, slow distance. Go into the woods with a total mindfuck, come out of the woods with a smile.

  6. Dolak— strenuous exercise triggers the pituitary gland to release beta-endorphins, morphine analogs that are better than drugs. It used to be called “runner’s high,” but it works after a hard bike ride too. (And skiing.)

  7. Adding to #9 Mikey’s thoughts…not to mention the other side of the homeostatic coin – a reduction in stress hormone levels (for some types of riding at least). My guess is that the amount of stress relief perceived by a cyclist is proportional to the “endorphine high”.

  8. ANY bike ride is a good ride, especially when compared to Not Riding.
    Keep at it and I predict you’ll return to density soon. Happy riding!

  9. At least you have good reasons for skipping out on riding for a couple of months, some of us have just been pathetically lazy!

  10. A+ ..And a reminder of why ive been a mess lately..not enough of these rides..thanks for the nudge.

  11. Fuck yea man. I’ve been on the same routine with work, except I’m so buried I almost don’t even want to ride. And the 24 in less than two weeks? Solo? Fuck.

  12. About the only good thing about this prolonged hiatus from work. I can ride anytime I want. Well, ride and drink. Praise the Annointed One and our economic recovery.

    Fucker. O’Reilly shoulda cockpunched him when he had the chance.

  13. “slowly coming back to life”…fuck me but ain’t that the truth…

    …a full 5 months after an extremely serious car accident that might have left me in a wheelchair for life, i’ve finally started to ride a little in the last few weeks…

    …i’m good for a couple a’ slow, smooth & steady hours if i throw in a stop or two & all on an alsop beam/softride bike that my good buddy “sully” put together for me…mtb suspension stem w/ a straight bar, plenty of gears & i don’t give a good goddamn what anybody thinks about my oingo – boingo bike, I AM RIDING A FUCKING BICYCLE AGAIN & i love it…

    …(no apologies…my brain shouts because once again my heart gets to sing)…

    ‘slowly coming back to life’ indeed…

  14. Well said and welcome back. I know the feeling of everything you post oh so well. This song covers that notion really well, and thank god there’s bikes to kick and scratch against that shit.

    Alarm bells sounded in? my dream
    I did my best to sleep
    But a hand reached in and grabbed my ankle
    Dragged me through the same routine
    Cold air filled my lungs
    Felt like I slept for months
    Hypnotised by repetition
    Living without living at all

  15. Fought off winter on a warm Saturday by biking around Minneapolis, volunteering time and selling Belgian golden strong growlers at the spankin’ new Harriet Brewery and then hanging with the guy that made 175+ of the StuporBowl contestants ride around with rusty 36-hole hoops if they were serious about taking home any prizes. I ate the very last bowl of chili, thank you very much.
    Endorphins, adrenaline, booze, and more for a well-rounded Superbowl weekend, well before kick-off and the preceding motorcycle show.

    Obama could kick cock-suckers ass.

  16. Joe, did you really want O’Reilly to punch the President in the balls? Really?

    words fail me.

  17. …i thought o’reilly took his shot & missed…

    …i mean, an interview with the prez during the super bowl broadcast & despite o’reilly’s ratings or however much that smarmy cocksucker thinks of himself, he’s never had a bigger audience so we were assured he was gonna take his shot…

    …nice setup, soft serve, lobbed it in to break the ice, thank & compliment the prez & then go for the baselines…it’s not like obama didn’t know it was coming, ya ???…

    …o’reilly couldn’t draw him in by trying to put him on the spot plus he got a touch rude & constantly interrupted the man when he couldn’t get what he wanted…

    …o’reilly used his best, treacly smooth & calm “oh, come on, mr president…”

    …obama used his best, treacly smooth & calm “ah, well, as a matter of fact, bill…”

    …game, set match & winners trophy goes to the president of the united states of america…the runner up plate goes to the fox news commentator…

    …& lest we forget, that is exactly what bill o’reilly is, a commentator, not a journalist…

  18. What would a DC post comment section be without the wit, wisdom, panache, good taste and “je ne sais quoi” of joethediplomat?

    Whether advocating a punch to our president’s testicles, patronizing the “girls”, fawning over the latest right-wing demagogue, or indulging in indecipherable gibberish, joe has truly become a weathervane for those of us who live in Moronica.

    Please, joe, I say this sincerely, do not accept the ambassadorship to the Republic of Slobovia. Even though you would be the ideal candidate, we need you here. What would we do without you? No one here could ever replace you!

    I was just laughing over your latest comment when my cat Spike leapt on my shoulder to see what all the fuss was about. After he read your latest witty observation, he immediately barfed up a humongous hairball. Moments later, I heard him scratching in the cat box. I don’t care if he is a wicked smart cat who reads the English language at a higher grade level than Sarah Palin, I say SCREW HIM if he can’t appreciate your little pearls of wisdom.

    I may be alone in this request but I’m hoping Big Jonny will see fit to let you post here at DC!! Maybe if enough of us insist we can make it happen. Until then, I will hang on your every comment.

    Your devoted servant,
    Tony Redunzo

  19. I took the bait in a moment of weakness.
    All apologies; cussing is for live conversations only.

  20. …@el jefe…sheesh…was it simply the general tone or the “smarmy cocksucker” comment that made you realize i was ‘sittin’ on the dock of the bay’ with my bucket, my 40 lb test line & my scaling knife ???…

    …appropriate as my errands on the bike yesterday involved taking the ferry boat into san francisco & some pedaling along the waterfront…

  21. Tony, my cat is fluent in seven languages, is a fourth degree Mason, has been nominated for a Nobel (a bit of the sheen taken of that last when when Barry Soetoro was nominated before he had really started his Presidential term) and has published five novels, two of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list. He has had roles in several movies and written screenplays but really wants to direct. Oh, and he don’t do catbox. He was pottie trained as a kitten.

  22. Tony, did you miss the part where both you and I referred to our cats as “he”?

    Jesus tittyfucking Christ, boy, and you patronize me as though I’m some kind of stupid or something. Gawd dayum, Forrest.

  23. meowww, impressive credentials…perhaps in a more permissive society your kitties could marry, then adopt & raise a litter…

    …just sayin’…

  24. bgw, I think dingus (or whoever the alleged cat whisperer calls himself) was talking about DNA. As in my cat and his. Both of them manly men. That ain’t gonna work unless you wanna spring for gene splicing. Jesus, dumbfuck! Do you need a road map?

  25. …hmmm…i believe i said “…perhaps in a more permissive society your kitties could marry…”

    …see, uhhh, i was kinda drawing a parallel in my little joke about kitties of the same sex marrying but i can see i’m being much too obtuse in the face of your highly intellectual conversation with tony…

    …my bad…obviously…

  26. Perhaps I should have thrown in a gratuitous “not that there’s anything wrong with that”…

  27. I forgot to mention that my cat Spike is a pre-op mtf transgender feline. Under a little known provision of Obamacare the freedom-hating, socialist, Kenyan-born, un-american President has seen fit to give cats equal rights to us humans.

    Spike was always a little confused about his sexuality, preferring to sit quietly by the fire purring away rather than engaging in unprovoked windsprints up the drainspouts or fighting with other male cats.

    And here in the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts, gay cats can get hitched. So there’s really nothing stopping the union of our two precocious felines. Except you. Don’t say no joe

  28. Do it on Georges Island out in the harbor. I highly recommend it for receptions, its quite lovely at sunset.

  29. @ 34:”…give cats equal rights to us humans…” What cat would willingly accept such a huge demotion?