Wednesday, January 24, 2018


For those who read here in a serial fashion: I did go for a bike ride yesterday, my first in about a week. I did my usual ride up into the hills on the other side of the valley. 

A few weeks back I was going to relay a story about another rider and myself riding up this same incline. It takes me about fifteen minutes to get to the base of it and then another fifteen minutes to get to the top. My guess is that I hit my peak heart rate at that point in the ride, though who knows. I don't track things that carefully and I broke my Apple watch about a month ago or more. 

I passed an older guy on my mountain bike just before the beginning of the hill and then he passed me on his road bike, but that didn't last very long. Because I do this ride regularly I have pretty good conditioning for it. I was going to gloat a bit about that a bit here, but forgot to. 

Then there was yesterday. 

It was the same scenario except it was a group of riders, about ten or twelve, that I passed just before the base (they were taking a rest break), but then they passed me shortly thereafter and the only time I saw them again was as they were going back down the hill, after having ridden the entire loop, as I was just summiting the miserable thing. We were in close physical approximation to my previous victory over the older guy, but this time there was no older guy. Or rather, I was. It was humbling, as most physical shame can be. 

I told myself that I had been sick, and that I had not been sleeping well, and that a mountain bike is a bit more challenging on that hill than are road bikes, and I tossed in a few other irrelevant details, but none of the usual magic of self-deception worked. 

I tried to enjoy the sunshine.

Later that same day, I arrived at the gym and a regular there told me, unprovoked, that I should slow down, that I'm only going to hurt myself if I keep trying to work out the way that I do. He pointed out that I am always either wearing an elbow brace or limping with some foot malady or crying out in pain, something that is always the result of a self-inflicted injury, and that it's because I'm trying to exercise as if I'm still in my 30s - weight sets that are too heavy for me now and doing too many "circuit" reps in such a short period of time. He explained that I would be much better off reducing the impact to my muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Just being there and doing the sets are what matters, he said, not competing with my own body to see how much torture it can take, and whether it will lose its will before I do.

As I stood there listening to him I told myself that I could beat him arm wrestling and that's probably why he was telling me all of this, but something still ate away at me and it didn't seem to be his weakness, nor was it exactly my superior strength. I got an emergency text which forced me to leave the gym before I could work out, but I made a mental note to stop talking to him, maybe file a complaint with Juan, the owner. But by the time I rode home I had made a reversal on that and decided to commit myself to a new diet instead. I have tried to manage my weight purely by burning calories and that doesn't quite seem to be working any more. So, now I will focus all of my energies on evil, evil food.

Perhaps it was wrong of me to demonize laziness when I could have been condemning diet instead. One must try to balance their sins in the same way they must attempt to keep stable their pleasures, otherwise people may think you gluttonous. Sting told me that. I'll need to re-learn how to lord my self-control over others weaker than me, and how to condescend to the dietary choices of those others by ordering food in more specific ways than them. I suspect this transition will take up to a week or more. It's tough to say, I'm a little bit out of practice and it might not be like riding a horse. It might be like eating one.