KC/DC Cycle

Ride to live... live to ride

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Motivation Nation

The transition from Thailand to the US has been very difficult. For once in my life it's about motivation rather than inclination. Motivation has been a challenge. There's so much struggle going on from various parts of life that I'm spending my effort treading water. The culture change was intense but that's just the beginning. We returned in order to take care of my parents who are in their 90s. I got a 3 month contract that paid decent money, but the follow up jobs are not happening. Then the coronavirus. Ha ha ha. So I've finally got some motivation and a decent route here in Northern Virginia. I am also re-evaluating my willingness to take on physical challenges. Some of these climbs are really steep. A steep climb in combination with a route that is just not pretty is a drag. I'm used to dealing with heavy traffic. I've dealt with angry motorists. I'm less tolerant of that as well. I used to get pissed and that helped me cope with a motorist cutting me off or honking loudly. Now I don't feel like dealing with the confrontation anymore. I want to ride without the bother. The trails are still annoying and too often crowded. I had a great route in Thailand - the combination of shade, a decent shoulder, somewhat respectable traffic, a scenic route and a challenge was perfect. I only had one such route but in my time of riding it was a masterpiece. Now I've got a couple of options. Roads here are tight with no shoulders. I've even been willing to ride on sidewalks, god forbid. Trails are really nice with underpasses and bridges at intersections. I can't race like I'd prefer but it's so nice to avoid traffic. First world is nice for cycling.


Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Luck of the draw

A few years ago I rode with a longtime friend. He was inexperienced so we did a nominal route and it was a beautiful day... until we were just about home. My friend is apparently clumsy. When I signaled that he was getting ahead of me he glanced back and somehow went flying over the handlebars onto his head. It was terrifying for me to see. He was knocked out. I called an ambulance. Later his wife told me there was some brain damage. She's a psychologist so she is more in tune with that medical pathology. To me it was just scary to realize how quickly a nice comfortable ride could change.

Over my 58 years of riding (since 1961) I have been relatively fortunate especially considering I lived in dense suburbs near a big city for most of my life and rode motorcycles for 20 years. This friend was fairly inexperienced in riding, a few years older than me. We were not racing or doing anything especially dangerous. It was just an unfortunate event. It's been a few years now and we haven't talked about it since though we see each other all the time. I felt bad to be associated with that experience in his life. Since then I've ridden down huge hills passing cars without pedaling, ridden on Thai roadways jammed with cars, trucks, motorbikes and huge busses.

At some point I will need to retire from my active sport and find something less dangerous. The thrill is not worth the risk at some point. I'd much rather retire with a good record than the alternative. I like my brain and limbs.