Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Keeping Fit For The Long Haul...

With the end of the year approaching quickly, I've begun thinking again.  A dangerous activity for me.  Christmas was very good for me this year and I got to buy an early birthday present, too.  Life is too good to me most of the time.  I try to see the where and why of what I've done to deserve those things that have come my way...people, places, things, love, comfort, and, yes, joy.  Eileen and I have a pretty good life together.  Another joy.  And we cut back on Christmas spending this year so we'd have extra to use in Ireland when we travel there in the Spring/2013.

One of the thoughts cruising through my cranium right now, since the weather is too cold to ride comfortably, is keeping fit through old age.  Any age, really, but old age is a here and now issue.  Over the years, I've noted numerous changes in fitness for me...a bit stiffer, skin a bit drier, reactions just a tad slower, getting stronger takes a little longer...but I've never thrown in the towel on keeping fit.  In my day to day activities, I encounter so many older people who are truly not in good condition.  For various reasons, they've thrown in the towel and have accepted life with greater limitations than they have to.  I realize that not everyone "should" keep fit, but it sure does make life more fun.  Restrictions caused by being out of shape or by letting a physical condition stop someone from staying fit seem to take a dreadful toll on the people I see everyday.

Whenever I've been ill or, for some other reason, let myself get out of shape, I get totally pissed at myself for doing that.  In no time, I'm back to weight lifting, running, riding...and I feel better.  That "I could never do that" attitude seems to be a sure way of creating serious barriers to what is possible.  Recently, I did a post on a 100 yr old Frenchman, who rode a 100 km bicycle ride (62 miles).  While he did it on a track and not on the road is a non-issue.  The fact that he did it speaks well of what this guy is made of and speaks to a level of determination unaffected by age.  As many know who participate in these types of events, regardless of age, the effort is 90% mental and 10% physical.  Those percentages probably change as we age, but not by much.  The mental effort is what is required to be successful...in life and in life's activities.

So many of the people that I see day to day seem to have given up on that "mental effort" and are just cruising out their days to death.  I remember the poem by Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"...The first stanza reads:  

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This is what I believe and what motivates me on a daily basis...and I keep moving forward, staying as strong as I can, my mind set on future bicycle trips, travel, exercise, goals of varying nature.

Well, enough thinking for one day.  Time to go to the gym...lift some weights, run a bit, buy a few things for dinner and spend the evening with my wife, Eileen, and her mother, Marilyn Sullivan.  Hope your's is a good one, too.  And, to all, Happy New Year..may it be a good one for all of us.

A tune to insert into your brain...and may it stick.  Enjoy...Marshall Tucker singing "Desert Skies".