Have A Great Ride.

This morning as I was driving to work, I couldn't help but envy all of the people I saw on bikes. Road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids... pretty much every type of bike was being ridden, with one notable exception- my bikes. I was jealous.

I go in to see the orthopedic surgeon today. he'll likely poke and prod and generally make me hurt. Like most people these days who fall down and get a booboo, I've read a bunch of articles on the internet that list widely varying timelines for how long this will take to fix itself. Not being the most patient person, I think the most optimistic estimates are still too long. I want to ride. Not on the trainer. Real riding.

We'll see what the doctor says, then ignore it.

I'm tapering myself off the drugs. Last night I substituted a couple Blue Moons for a Percocet, and was pleased with the results, although more research is required to confirm initial observations. I really don't like the way the Percocet makes me feel, but some days rolling home it was the one thing that would allow my shoulder to relax. If I can replace it with beer, I'll be extremely happy. It could be the difference between becoming a functional alcoholic and a heroin addict.

With my extended trip to the flooded Gulf Coast looming, I will not accept the possibility of not riding. That region has historically crushed my soul every time I've visited it, and riding a bike for hours every day has the dual benefit of keeping me sane and improving my overall fitness. The area holds no other attraction for me. Many people who feel that it's heaven, but I'm not one of them. The longest days, months, and years I have lived were on the Gulf Coast. Flat, hot, humid, insect/redneck infested swamps. Casinos that provide a cesspool of legal/unhealthy activities for flocks of overweight senior citizen bus tourists to wallow around in. Giant targets for myriad seasonal natural disasters. I'm a mountain person. I don't really enjoy the beach. Fishing isn't my thing. To kill the hours of idle time I'm facing without wasting an excessive amount of money on things I will never use again or activities I don't really enjoy, I need to ride.

Maybe on a long weekend I'll drive up to the family farm in Virginia. Drag my cousin up Grandfather Mountain or some other iconic North Carolina route. That will kill some time, but that's only a drop in the bucket. I need to ride.

So, I envied those guys out there this morning, chugging along, covered in sweat, not aware that they were being admired. They probably don't realize how lucky they are, and how easily it can be taken from them. As I slowly come to terms with my own fragility and mortality, I treasure the act of turning the pedals over on the open road more and more. Riding is a gift, and it's one I want to get back soon.

This realization probably won't keep me from pushing it and taking chances. I'll probably fall down again, and I may hurt myself worse. The way I see it, a gift that isn't used is wasted. Use the hell out of that gift. Sometimes things go wrong. Shit happens, despite reasonable precautions taken. That's life, and sometimes it sucks. You take a fall, you get back up, dust yourself off, and do your best to carry on until you can't anymore. Then you do something else.

Keep riding, you random strangers on the road. I'll be out to join you as soon as I can.


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