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Good.

My family was sitting in the RV, nestled comfortably in a very nice campground in Denali State Park. We'd spent the morning hiking up the ridge to take in the scenery and stretch our legs. The teen was stretched out in the bed over the cab, sound asleep. The youngest and his sister were playing on the iPads on the bench seat on one side of the table. My wife and I were curled up on the other side. I just gazed contently out the window at the leaves in all of the fall glory and the snow-dusted mountains that surrounded us while the wife read.

My wife looked at me and said, "this is good."

It was presented as a statement of fact. Not "good enough" or "this will do", but rather this was exactly where we should be at that particular moment.

Rare are the times that I've experienced that sensation so completely. That's not to say I haven't been happy or content or satisfied or whatever else you want to call it, but this was one of those times wher…

It Ain't Easy.

Judging by the posts on Facebook (when I feel like spending any time on it), I'm associated with some pretty awesome people doing some pretty awesome things in any number of ventures.

Road season has ended and 'cross season has begun. The persistent rain and cooler temperatures have certainly made for more "Belgian" conditions, and it sounds like people are having fun. If I wasn't broken and hadn't already made the determination that 'cross is detrimental to my physical well-being, I'd be out there in the mud with them, happily doing serious harm to my body.

As it is, I've been buried on all sides of my life. Work is a never-ending crush of paperwork that has to be reviewed with a magnifying glass, and it's always time-critical. Back-to-school means the kids have to be ferried hither and yon for whatever extra-curricular activities they're pursuing at the moment. I have three kids in three different schools, so I can't even double-up eve…

Variations on a Theme.

My hands are trashed. Cut, scarred, and stained by unidentified substances. Sometimes they ache and don't close fully. Seems familiar.

My back is trashed. Pains come from various points depending on the stresses I placed on them the day before. Also seems familiar.

Before I was a bike racing guy, before I was a ski racing guy, I was a Jeep guy. My old CJ-5 would hammer my body as I traversed rough trails. Then I would do more muscular damage by wrenching on the Jeep so I could drive to work on Monday. That was the rhythm of my life: wheel-wrench-repeat. As much as my body and wallet could stand. I'd break stuff, upgrade it, then break something else. There wasn't a component within that 83.5" wheelbase I didn't lay hands on at one point or another during the 20+ years I owned it.

Eventually I couldn't do it anymore. The local culture changed to something I didn't identify with. I reached a point when the bang for my buck on upgrades didn't justify the exp…

Hitting The Pause Button Again.

I had to stop.

The back is a serious concern at this point. Complete strangers keep coming up to me and asking me if I'm OK, just based on the way I'm walking. It smooths out once I get going, but initially it's pretty ragged. My face takes on a look of grim determination. I'm not letting this stop me.

But the truth is, I am.

I decided to hold off a bit longer on the riding and try to heal a bit more. The rain recently has helped with that choice a bit. I putter around the RV, doing odd jobs and trying not to stress my back too much. I usually end up pushing it too far, and pray for the sweet, sweet fog of Flexeril. Hell of a way to live your life.

This can't go on much longer. I need my regular dose of endorphins to balance my moods out. I'm short with people and dwell on minor things for far longer than they deserve. I need my alone time to shout profanities into the wind. I need to bury my frustrations into long, pointless efforts. I need to ride.

Unfortunately, …

It Ain't Working.

The hip is better. The back isn't. Usually the back stiffens up when I don't ride, then loosens up almost immediately once I start to ride again. This time it didn't. In fact, it seems to have doubled-down on me. I'm not sleeping because of it, which makes the transition from inactivity to activity all that much harder.

I went back to the doctor. He had them take some more X-Rays, referred me to physical therapy, and gave me some Flexeril. He said to be patient. It will be six months before I'm back to normal. I was initially told six weeks. Small difference there.

Hopefully the muscle relaxer takes the edge off of things. Hopefully the stretching and riding combine to push me a little closer to normal. Six months? That's just too long. Six weeks already seemed like an eternity.

I just want to be normal again, free to return from the opioids and NSAIDS to a proper cyclist's diet of testosterone, EPO, and SARMs, cut with a healthy dose of clenbuterol to promote…

Clutter.

My driveway looks like something out of Sanford and Son.



Piles of construction debris, auto parts, and various components either just removed from or about to go into the RV are either under blue tarps, my portable awning, or heaped unceremoniously on the side. It really boils down to how much I value the individual item. As I come to the end of the project, I am faced with the onerous task of sorting it all out and finding some way to store the good stuff and dispose of the rest. "The rest" is a description that encompasses the majority of the piles. It's truly amazing how much junk I pulled out of a relatively small space, and not all of it was orange shag rug. Some of the "good stuff" will go on Craigslist, in hopes someone will pay me a nominal amount and then haul it away.
It can't go into the garage. There just isn't room for anything else. There isn't room for what's in there.

I need to make room for winter month bike wrenching. There will c…

Sensitive.

I feel them. Each and every one of them.

Every crack, ripple, bump, pothole, and other imperfection in the road. I feel them. They ripple up my right side in jolts of moderate pain. Nothing I can't stand, but not something I generally enjoy.

I notice myself tensing up in preparation for a hit and have to remind myself that it will be better if I take it loose and absorb it more. I tell myself that, but I don't believe it. It's going to hurt either way.

It seems the whole Anchorage road system is a living, interconnected thing, birthed with the sole purpose of playing xylophone on my ribcage.

Still, I'm turning the pedals. Out-of-saddle efforts are an exercise in futility, immediate regret, and a few tears. I can't climb (not that I ever could). Standing starts from stoplights elicit a few winces and grunts before I'm moving. Nothing aggressive in cornering or bike handling. I can't afford another fall at the moment. The wife would take away my bikes.

I can turn …