The odometer, tick, tick, ticks. The suspension pops and clicks. Incline ahead, I switch gears. It’s become second nature. It’s become a meditation and possibly a metaphore for my life. Scenery whizzes by but is it seen? Feeling the wind rush over me, like cool water from a river on a hot summer day. The sun splashing down from blue blue skies upon a broadened back and shaded eye. I push, and I pedal, and I glide further along. An extra tenth, another quarter … can I make it to that sign, that intersection, that cool looking house, that place I’ve not been before? With each foot, each block, each mile, I amaze and amuse myself. Is this the same body? Is this the same person? No! Not even close!
In March 2012 I began losing weight and started down a path I am happy to travel. One of health, life, vigor, and dare I say … happiness? In those early spring days, I rode, I walked, I went to the gym to work out, and I rode some more. I was finding passion at the gym and in the riding. Something I lost during my battle with Sarcoid for the previous 10 years. If it wasn’t the Sarcoid that was keeping from being active, it was the auto accident of November 2009 that tore both my rotator cuffs & once again took me out of the gym until now. It seemed the Universe had a major grudge. Maybe it was trying to teach me something. Those kinds of lessons no one needs! But I survived and I thrived!
That was then, and this is now. Once the weight started coming off last year and I became more fit I set manageable goals with my rides. By the end of the summer 2012 I was doing 20-22 miles. A pretty amazing accomplishment I’d say! Here we are well over a year later. I’ve maintained my 100 pound weight loss. I’ve gotten stronger in many ways. I look in the mirror and barely recognize the body in front of me—my body! Damn!
I wanted to ride again. But certainly not in 90° weather with high humidity. Luckily in the past month things have cooled down. Once back on my bike I started the process of pushing further and further. I was able to do only two rides in April. I listened to my body the first ride and did a respectable 11.19 miles. Since then I’ve set a new best distance for myself—38.4 miles! With perseverance, that number may also grow. Why not! I like those kinds of goals—they are so healthy. I realize my chronological age, and my body does have limitations. I’ll keep pushing to see how far I can push without injuring myself. There may not be too many more rideable days. But then again—who knows!
With Sarcoid there is always the possibility of more debilitating symptoms, at any moment. So I’ve known for a long time to live in the moment. To do as much as I can do today—there may be no tomorrow. With each morning I get out of bed—it’s good day! A good day to go to the gym—and push, get on my bike—and push. It’s what I know. It’s who I am.
So if life is just one big bike ride, I say: Ride Long & Cast A Giant Shadow.
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