Monday, January 1, 2007

Old friends and cycling.

I received Friendster friend updates twice in the past few days and I decided to log on and see what was going on with Friendster and a handful of my friends on there. It was a good thing that I did because I stumbled on a friend's blog about his cycling experiences. Lately, I have been thinking about getting back into cycling a lot and his blog might just be what I need to get motivated.

I was never a really awesome cyclist but I had a ton of fun riding my mountain bike miles into the woods on muddy, steep, rutted trails struggling up the hills to blast back down. I loved to hop on my cobbled together freestyle bike and jump down flights of stairs until something broke. (Luckily it usually was the bike that broke. If I was to try half the shit I got away with back then I'd probably end up in a wheelchair.)

As much as I loved riding, there were many reasons that I eventually stopped riding. The one that probably stopped me the quickest were that none of my current (small) group of friends rides. When I was growing up I always had someone around me who loved to ride (usually the same or MUCH more than I did.) The first riding buddy I had was my brother. When I first started to get into mountain biking I talked him into getting a sweet Cannondale M400 which he put a suspension fork on. We used to ride all over the place until his bike got stolen out of our shed. I felt so horrible for him that if I had been able to afford it I would have bought him a new bike!

Throughout the years I rode with a few different friends and even raced in a couple races. (I still have my #420 number plate from Jiminy Peak, MA from years ago. I was so young and innocent back then that I didn't realize why the older guys watching my class struggle were cheering "420! YEAH BUDDY! 420!" even though I was probably 5th from last.)

The second reason that I eventually stopped riding was (and is) my constant attitude that I was (and still seem to be) too busy to go for a ride. "I worked all day and I'm tired." was something I've heard myself say way too much over the past few years. (Never mind that a typical work day consists of sitting in a car for a 1/2 hour commute, then in front of Microsoft Excel for 8 hours, then back to the car for another 1/2 hour ride home.) I still do think this will be something I'll have to struggle a bit to overcome. I live too far (25 practically all highway miles) from where I currently work to reasonably commute and outside of work I haven't had a ton of time to just go riding like I used to. There's no reason, though, that I shouldn't be able to at least go for a few hours here and there on weekends.

Last spring I did buy some parts to upgrade my aging mountain bike that I lusted after in the days before I could afford them. I picked up a used Kooka crankset on eBay and then gave the credit card a good workout on a new Vetta titanium rail saddle, a lighter seatpost, a titanium seatpost clamp bolt, lightweight caged pedals that would work with my toe clips, an Easton alloy handlebar, a lighter two-bolt front clamp stem and a new rear tire to replace the original one that was pretty worn out. By buying all this stuff I was trying to get myself excited enough to get out riding occasionally but after a few short rides by myself I started to make excuses about my new parts, too. I couldn't really seem to get the front derailleur shifting properly with the new crank and my new rear tire was too narrow for my widening ass. The new riding position from my new stem and handlebar were weird compared to what I was used to and I was too lazy to try to find stem with the same rise and extension as the one I previously had and swap my old handlebar back on. The new seat was too hard compared to the falling apart "gel" one that came on my early 90's low-end Diamond Back Ascent.

Anyway, I hope to make some time and find some more inspiration to spend the next few months getting in a little bit better shape and maybe do a little work on my old steed and get that working properly and looking better. It could probably use a nice new paint job, too. Maybe next weekend I'll get some paint and start the tear down. Last time I looked at my old red beast the frame was pretty beat up and I never liked the color red, anyway. It was just the best bike I could afford at the time... and it did ride nice and seemed to hold up to the abuse I threw at it... I was a lot lighter than I am now, though. I might need to go with something a little more heavy duty now. I guess I'll find out soon. ;)

I did spend 20 minutes on the treadmill (that my roomate bought which has been sitting unused in the living room since last year) tonight in an attempt to start doing some sort of workout every day. I'm going to try to do at least 15 (preferrably 20 - 30) minutes on the treadmill every night after work and I'm going to try to make it down to the excercise room and get on the eliptical machine and the stationary bike at least once a week for now.

One of my goals that I mentioned yesterday is to lose 25 - 30 pounds over the next year... so you might catch me talking about that for the next few posts...

Anyway, Sam... Thanks for the inspiration today. Keep blogging! :)

No comments :