I love to workout. Weather that is cycling, running, weights, yoga or CrossFit. My first workouts were running. In high school, I ran cross-country, winter track and long distance in the spring. Summers were spent training and running road races, 5K’s, 10K’s, 10-milers and a few half marathons. All this pounding left me with chronic leg pain and not being able to run spring track in my senior year. That lead to me purchasing a bicycle that summer and watching Greg LeMond give away the Tour de France so his team leader could win.
The best part about running and cycling, is my ability to disengage from the world and let my mind flood with endorphins. People laughed (chuckled really) in college when I told them I never used any drugs. I never needed the me, the release from running, cycling or rowing (in college), were better than any high I could image drugs would give. The bonus was that I never had to worry about the illegality of acquiring those drugs nor any lingering side affects.
My first bike wasn’t really a great road bike, a steel framed, gooseneck shifters and rat traps. I loved that bike, red with white tape and I finally did upgrade the pedals to step-ins. I road that bike through college and grad school and into Maine. One of my most adventurous and fun/scary routes, was from my apartment in Roxbury, down to Kelley Drive, around Logan’s Circle (right in front of the Art Museum that Rocky runs up to) and back down Kelley and up to the apartment. The loop was twenty miles. Five miles down hill to the drive, ten miles of flat smooth road and finally, a nice five mile hill climb back home. It was perfect, and if you timed it right, you could miss rush hour bans on bikes on Kelley Drive into the city in the morning and the the evening rush out. However, I was caught a few times right up against the ban, that was fun part – fighting road-enraged drivers on a road with no breakdown lane and granite curbing, for five miles!
All that city riding set me up for riding down the line. I took several years off from cycling, when I started my career after schooling. Getting back on the bike was a great stress reducer when I was going through my divorce and it helped with my waist line too! At this point I had purchased a new aluminum framed bike with indexed shifters. I bought two other bikes, one for myself, giving the older bike to my oldest boy, and a youth bike for my youngest boy. We spent two great summers cycling on alternating weekends. The older boy still cycles, albeit on a mountain bike zipping through the woods! One of my favorite memories cycling, was an early spring afternoon where we all headed out on mountain bikes (I had a couple of junkers I bought for the days they didn’t want to work, but just play). In Maine, much of the side of the roads are covered in sand from the wintertime, and in the world of roadies, sand is death – as the skinny tires we ride will loose all traction and you crash! So when I was riding lead, I tried to avoid the sand, and all I hear are giggles from behind me. I inquired as to the laughter, and the boys reminded me that mountain bikes are made to go in the dirt!
I was running this afternoon, on the treadmill as its easier on the knees and shins, and I had one of those old endorphin moments. It felt so good. I can’t wait for cycling weather to get here, or for me to get to where it’s cycling weather.