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My Ride - My Angst

My Ride - My angst

Riding again. -

Diary entries

Tuesday September 3,

I have 40 miles under my belt, since being sidelined with an infection and a bum knee 15 months ago. After 7 months with no knee, a replacement was put in and now almost everything cycling is a challenge. Will my knee bend enough today? Can I make it up the hill in Prospect Park? Will the traffic on Flatbush Avenue freak me out? Will old cycling buddies laugh when they see my pathetic attempts at riding? Will the lack of muscle and the layer of fat kill me? The list goes on and on. I find the hardest thing is just getting on the bike because all these obstacles keep racing around my head.

I have hopes and goals like any 50 something guy. I want to be 30 again or at least ride like I am. Or at least have everything not hurt like I’m 50. Or at the very least have my body on a faster learning curve to better shape. Well, none of that’s going to happen. My goals should be simpler. I want to be able to get on my bike without having all the why nots buzzing around my head. I want to ride to work regularly, I want to take a victory lap in the Park (the victory being that I’m there).

But I want the bigger things, I want to bike down Mt Snow again, ride up 9W in New Jersey, take another bike tour to an exotic country, take my kids for another ride in the woods, ride the Montauk Century. Life isn’t about surviving it’s about living.

I know all I can do is decide to ride and see what comes my way. Every day it’s my choice, I chose and decide. Today I choose to ride.


Wednesday September 4,

My Ride, My Angst

Today my son had his orientation day for seventh grade.

I wanted to say to him, "Let’s jump on our bikes and ride to school" . I didn’t, we drove. Deciding I wanted to give myself another chance to ride I drove home instead of to the shop. I found my body aching and screaming not to ride. After delaying for an hour I started to leave, but my poor forlorn bike called to me. Okay, I’m not delusional, I know the bike isn’t calling I just feel guilty. All right, I’ll ride. I make it to Prospect Park. I’m embarrassed as the local riding group blows past me, I hope they don’t lap me, I hope they don’t recognize me. I pray to all the cycling Gods (Armstrong, Mercyk, Coppi et al) ‘Please let me get up this hill without falling or worse... walking’. ‘Keep the cars back’.

At the bottom of Flatbush Avenue, I realize that I’ll be riding the Manhattan Bridge bikeway. In a fitting touch of irony, I remember, it opened a week after I got sick and this is my first chance to use it. I’m at the corner of Tillary and Flatbush and know I should go left to Jay and down to the bikeway entrance. The signs the City posted send me the other way. In a fit of pique I decide to follow the signs. Of course this results in a ½ mile detour instead of the short 3 blocks to the bridge. It is somehow oddly comforting that some things never change.

The Bridge is great, except for the stairs. It’s an easy somewhat scenic ride but the City could have done much better with the fencing. I muse, the Manhattan Bridge bikeway must certainly relieve some of the bike traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. Perhaps I’ll ride the Brooklyn Bridge home. It did feel great, in a weird sort of way.

Of course, the first thing I did at the shop was to bond with my bike on the repair stand. It is amazing how needy your bike can get sitting around.

Now it’s time to ride home and I’m ruing getting on it in the first place. I know I have no choice, the subway is not an option, much as failure is not an option. This only makes a stupid kind of sense.

So tonight I will choose to ride,