March 14, 2007

Time to talk about my bike

No self-serving philosophical ramblings today, sorry. Just some self-serving rambling about cycling.

According to my 2006 log at, by this time last year I had already been out for one ride. I'm not necessarily a "serious" rider (my bike log also shows that I only got in a bit more than 1,000 miles last year), but I am seriously passionate about my bike. It's not an expensive one (2006 Specialized Tri-Cross Sport) and though I've customized the components a tad, it's not been with anything top-of-the-line. The bike is, as I recently described it on a cycling forum, my partner in exploration and adventure. I'm not the greatest rider (again, my BikeJournal log attests to this), but I'm hooked on the endorphin-high I get from pedaling.

Last year, thanks to a winter that began more mildly than it ended, I rode until mid-December. By that time, it finally started to get too cold and I was beginning to miss getting out in the woods for hiking, so I figured I'd stable the pony until winter ended. As things turned out, I didn't do much hiking, either. I think I wrote back in January or so that I was spending time in tea and coffee shops instead, going through an "introspective, analytic period". Who the heck was I kidding? I've just been a freaking lazy bum ths winter. I was doing pretty well until Christmas, managing to keep a regular routine of indoor exercise going after the riding stopped. Then the holidays hit. Then we had inventory at work in January, which turned out to be stressful enough to cause a muscle spasm in my right trapezius muscle (where the shoulder meets the base of the neck). The spasm led me to finding a great chiropractor (Dr. Joe. I'll have to write about him some time. He likes to ride motorcycles fast ), but also made it difficult to exercise for several weeks. No raising my arms above my shoulders, no lifting weights, no supporting my own weight on my arms. Translated: No Yoga, no Pilates, no weight lifting. If I were creative, I could certainly have figured out an asana routine or calisthenic exercises to work around those limitations. Instead I allowed myself to get caught up in Spike TV's 5-night-a-week double episodes of CSI and descended into full sloth mode.

And just as the shoulder was getting back to normal at the beginning of this month, I got sick (see last week's scatological post). I was so sick that the doctor advised me not to fly to Florida for a business trip/family visit. He literally said "If you subject yourself to the cabin pressure in a plane while you have gastroenteritis, it could cause your colon to expand and rupture and there is a chance you could die." I chose to take his advice. At this point my stomach's back to normal, but the mild dizzy spells are sticking with me. And, on top of that, the east coast was slapped with one last snow storm, just two days after we had 75° and sunny skies. The day it was 75° was my first day back at work from being sick and I walked around the store whining that "If only I weren't sick, I could be out riding my bike!" My boss was quick to remind me that if I weren't sick then I'd have been in Florida on the business trip that he paid for. What he doesn't understand, though, is that if I were well and in Florida, I'd still be walking around whining "If only I were at home, I could be out riding my bike!"

I broke out of the sloth slump for a short hike today through the snow at Yankauer Nature Preserve, which is located near the town of Scrabble, WV, about 15 minutes from Shep'town. Nice little nature preserve with an overlook along a cliff over the Potomac, across the river from the Big Slackwater area of the C&O Canal. When I've ridden my bike along the C&O towpath up to Big Slackwater in the summer, the parking lot has always been packed. It was strange to see it baldly empty on such a gorgeously sunny day. Gazing across the river at the towpath, I couldn't help but think "If only it were warmer, I could be out riding my bike!"

A new MySpace "friend" who's also into biking has inspired me to try again to read some Ralph Waldo Emerson. Good choice for this time of year. This coming Wednesday, March 21, is the vernal equinox and the first day of spring. Here are a few appropriate words from Ralph:

"In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, --he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me."

Yeah, I'll save you the trouble...


Notwithstanding; in spite of.

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