The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Monday, March 19, 2012

Love and Death

It's hard to believe that the willow trees are showing their color and the daffodils are in full bloom! The early spring has been screaming to all my cycling buddies, "Let's Ride!" and the cyclists have answered. The club ride board has rides for every level and people are coming out to ride and to....... PARTY! All it took was a suggestion and a St. Patrick's Day tailgate was in the works for Saturday. There were 5 or 6 rides, all starting from the same place and all scheduled to (hopefully) finish at the same time. About 100 people showed up because there is nothing we love more than riding on a beautiful day with our friends, except maybe tailgating on a beautiful day with our friends. I did an easy ride because right now, that's all I can do. I was happy to be with my slower friends, including Liz. Mike and Liz are another cycling couple. LIke DH and I, we love these "multi-level" events because we each ride at different levels/different speeds, but then we all come together for the festivities. Liz rode with my group and Mike went with the faster/longer group out to Greenwich Point Park. It was one of his favorites rides, one that Mike's ridden many times. No one ever dreamed it would be his last. On the last climb of the ride, Mike had a massive heart attack. The medics weren't able to bring him back. When Liz got to the hospital, he was gone.

Liz has lost the love of her life, her husband of 33 years, her childhood sweetheart. The only consolation (if there is any) is that he died doing what he loved, riding his bike on a beautiful day with his friends. Our hearts are heavy, everyone who knew Mike knows we have lost a gentle soul, a soft spoken man of great love and passion. Rest in peace, Mike, we will all miss you very much.

Monday, March 12, 2012


This weekend marked my re-entry into an active lifestyle. The bike club's season got started this weekend with a new member orientation ride on Saturday and a full selection of rides on Sunday. I helped out on Saturday. On "new member rides," there are usually a few people who are very inexperienced and don't fully understand how and when to use their gears. Having someone ride behind them to help them with that and getting them over a few hills is very reassuring. But it can be difficult to ride that slow, even for me! Plus it was a cold afternoon, and with all the stopping and starting and slowness, I never really warmed up. But it was 11 miles, and you have to start somewhere. More importantly, all my body parts were compliant and I was able to propel my bike forward... so I decided to lead a ride on Sunday, a very scenic 20 miles over the hills and around the reservoirs in the northern county. It's been 3 months of inactivity and an overall lack of energy and motivation, and I paid the price. The hills......... I remembered the 2 big hills on this ride, and I was (at least) mentally prepared for those, but I forgot about the long slow burner and the rollers and the smaller but definite climbs. I even told my group what to expect, a slow but challenging ride. Then why did I expect something different? Later on in the day my husband and I were driving to a party and I was complaining about feeling so out of shape especially when climbing, and it all became crystal clear. After 3 months "off," I have no right to expect anything different. Yes, time for a reality check. I'm going to have to work to get it back. It's not free. I have to earn it. Starting at the bottom can be discouraging. Many of my cycling peeps rode consistently through the very mild winter, and I can't keep up with them. I must admit there was also a tiny kernel of fear being on the roads with cars and trucks. I was glad I always had someone behind me. But happiness was the main ingredient..... to feel that special freedom on 2 wheels, visiting one of my favorite places (the Croton Dam) and being with some of my favorite people. Much more happiness to come.