Number 59

November 29, 2018 § 3 Comments

I started this post, probably on my birthday when I turned 59. If not then, it was soon after, but I never developed much beyond the title. I am not even sure what I thought might be the content, but I suppose that with 60 looming only 365 days in the future, perhaps I thought there would be some insight into what 59 would be, and how I thought the lead-in to 60 would play out.

Today, it is late November, and well, 59 as played out a lot like all the years before it. Ha! I may have started 2018 healing from a fall late November 2017, and fairly inactive, which translates to lots of in calories, and not many out calories, but by the end of January I was at least doing spin class again. By the time my birthday rolled around, I finished a 10 class power spin training block of classes, and I spent 10 days in Thailand which included over 400 miles cycling. I don’t usually put that much mileage on the bike in New Jersey over the same time frame. That was special.

I moved from the power spin training to Mega Cycle spin training, and soon found myself on the roads of NJ again. I was still trying to shed weight, but I felt like an anchor, and that maybe, this year would be the year in which I would not be able to keep up with the weekday SFAC rides once they started. Those guys are all 6-10 years younger than me, and how much longer can I reasonably expect to keep hammering on Tuesdays and Thursdays? 

In addition to the SFAC group, there was an even younger group I associated with that was 20 years or more my junior. Some pretty strong youth, that I could hold wheels with, but put me out in front, and it wouldn’t be long before I was longing for the tail of pace line.

Tony was the first SFAC rider to meet me. Tom was busy with work and improving a newly acquired “downsized” in his living arrangements. Mike decided to start running more, and the Mayor wasn’t yet ready for the road, so it was me and the Wolf, and while I expected to be put on the rivet, I found I could hold, and lead. I began a series of Strava posts in which I may have “overly” praised Tony on our rides. They were fun.

I picked up an extra week of vacation this year, and using the tools of working either 10 hour days, or working 80 hours over 8 or 9 days, and taking a few Fridays off, I managed to get in some really nice early season long mileage, high elevation gain rides. I really lucked out on some of these rides as the weather looked dismal most of the week only to clear enough, or simply clear where I was, to make for a great day on the bike. I got to push some routes that I wanted others to do, as well as explore new options to existing routes. For example, I checked out an option to by-pass West Point. West Point is a great site to ride through, but getting there on Rt 9 isn’t my favorite. Another example is merging in roads from the NY Gran Fondo that allow us to get back into Harriman via an alternate route that doesn’t have us simply riding over the same route we have always ridden. That’s a win. On another ride we rode up the Jersey side of the Delaware out of the Water Gap, and returned on the Pennsylvania side. That was a completely awesome route, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Throughout most of the Summer the SFAC crowd was never at full steam. We were lucky enough to pick up a new guy in Adam Jones, a Welshman who lived in Rumson and worked at Goldman. A youngster, but not as young as he looks. I only rode once with Mike B all year, and Tom was out for a handful of rides. As said, he has a house project to go along with business travel, daughter tennis team, and his wife was suffering acute back issues. So it was mostly Tony and I and whoever else we could get to come out.

I made it out for some Saturday or Sunday Pronto rides, more than the previous year, but not as many as I had wished. On the home front I needed to support my own wife as she was diagnosed, yet again, with cancer. Treatment has been administered, and she is another wait and see mode.

In September I took my backpacking buddies on our fourth week long adventure in the wilderness known as The Eagle Cap Wilderness in NE Oregon. The Wallowa Mountains were a real eye opener to majestic beauty. Personally, I felt great the entire trip, though it did take a couple of days to get the legs acclimated, but after that, I could walk and walk. The cycling really shows itself when it comes to lung capacity and the ability to simply keep marching. My only physical issue was dry cracked feet, which I remedied using duct tape. It really is the wonder tape.

As I write this, I have been reasonably idle for some time. Not riding as much; haven’t been hiking in more than a month, and have been occupied with house chores. I did get a weekend backpacking trip in early this month in West Virginia, but that wasn’t enough to get me motivated to get back out there in the wee hours just yet.

As of this writing, I am still 59, and closing in on the last quarter of that cycle. Eventually I will get back on the bike, either riding the rollers, or I will get back to spin class. One way or the other, I plan on putting some miles in for another cycle around the sun.

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