It’s Just A Number And I’m Likin’ Mtn. Bikin’

Given that imagination/ inspiration are the well spring  of creativity I was inspired to write this beginning with the unstoppable reality that by the time I’m finished and happy with it I’ll have turned 64 years old, the 43rd anniversary of my 21st birthday and as you know by now for it is written in the Book Of Heisea that Humankind will ride a distance measured in miles equal to their age measured in years on or around the date on which they celebrate the day of their birth. I think it is Book 1, Chapter 1, Verse 1. Google it.

Big deal. Well it could be a big deal but I’d have to do’er on the mountain bike. On a carbon road bike here in the flat lands not soooo much. People my age ride hundreds of miles a day several times a week. I’m not one of these. I don’t possess the mental toughness needed to do this. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve done a 200 miler and  I manage a 100 milers from time to time but I lack focus and I get real hungry, turkey sammich hungry, mac n cheese hungry.

Okay so far so good but where’s this thing headed. It’s seems the well went dry already.

Here we go. “AGE IS JUST A NUMBER”, people like to say. Hard to argue because that’s exactly what it is. “Act your age” is what the kids are told but that’s the last thing I wanna do. Acting my age would mean wearing white shoes and matching belt and off to play bingo, shuffle board etc. after which it’s chikin night (pretty sure that’s how you spell it) or the early bird special and home before 7 to watch The Wheel. Shoot me  now! “Ain’t the years it’s the miles” is said a lot and I can see those miles when looking in the mirror, an old coot with a lot of forehead staring back at me.  “60’s the new 40, 70’s the new 50″ they will tell you all in the attempt to dispel the truth. FACT: Endurance athlete may use this link to calculate their true age. HEY! THIS IS HARD SCIENCE!

Garmin Connect and  Strava have changed everything. We are now slaves to our numbers. HR, Cadence, Watts, Calories, Distance, Time, Average Speed, Max Speed on and on. We get to show our numbers to the planet and stare in awe and wonderment at others. No more do we ride or run for ourselves. We need to put up great numbers. Way back when I had a stop watch and I took my pulse, that’s it. Now there’s a display I can gaze at, well for years already. Mostly……..we can control the numbers. Ride faster, slower, farther ……..The big exception is age. No stopping it, no control.

I’m not knocking new techno hardware or my friends on Strava. Quite the opposite actually. People are more in tune with their fitness than any time before and if that means competing with others I say have at it.  My mother in law wears a Garmin thing that displays her heart rate plus many other things including the number of steps she takes everyday. She has a number of steps taken everyday goal. This is a wonderful thing. I’ll have to see that she gets on Strava, maybe start a group, The South Port Square  Steppers.

NOTE: I was corrected. The Garmin thing is NOT THE NUMBER OF STEPS. IT MEASURES AND RECORDS DAILY MOTION. Glad I could clear that up.

A Friends Recent FB Post:

“Today at the “5K  Whatever Fun Run I saw a runner take a short cut and later saw this runner on the podium”.  This kicked off a litany of comments. Someone commented that people lie about their age so as to place themselves in a group they can win. Another writes that integrity is what you do when no one is looking. These are adults for goodness sake’s who should know how to win and loose by now. As far I can tell these fun runs are to raise money for this and that charity and everyone gets a participation medal, possibly a bigger one if you podium. Okay but there’s no cash prize and these fun runs are not sanctioned, no points awarded or published standings. No one gets ranked nationally as a result of these things. Guys from Kenya / girls from Norway don’t represent. I wonder if the cheater here posted they’re picture on the podium on FB?   “Look at me! I just won the 5K Whatever Fun Run”! Atta Way! People! It’s Just A Number. HMMM……maybe I’ll go drive around with the Garmin and post it like a bike ride.

How The Mountain Bike Saved My Life.

The post previous to this went into the matter of road bikers loosing bone density, road biking not being a load bearing activity meaning the tissues do not trigger the bones natural ability to renew themselves. Cyclist sweat a lot ( a lot x 100 here in SWFL) and loose calcium / minerals which are not being naturally replenished. Okay. But what about mountain biking (Geländefahrzeug )? I’m new at it but  off road biking is a whole different workout. I feel a very different beat down. Controlling and throwing around a heavy bike is like driving a dump truck compared to light nimble road bike. Riding on a narrow single track full of surprises requires the use of the upper body enough so to make me wonder if mountain biking is considered load bearing. S.E. Warner, J.M. Shaw, and G.P. Dalsky published their study, “Bone mineral density of competitive male mountain and road cyclists,” Turns out that aggressive mountain biking that demands you to be out of the saddle while riding over rocks and roots, climbing and descending is considered load bearing. HMM…… Is climbing mountains on a road  bike load bearing, out of the saddle? Sure feels like it.

The picture above is me entering the Caloosahatchee Regional Park  located in Alva Florida, known simply as Alva. It features 11 miles of very nice single track chocked full of man made obstacles to compliment the rocks , ruts and roots. Winter time means the place is dry and I thought it to be in great shape and plenty challenging for me , the new guy, but fun, a real hoot. So much so that I just wrote the word hoot. I managed an endo. Well it happened at about 2 mph and I landed gracefully not a hair out of place.  I’m telling the tale of this mishap while refueling at the club house after the Saturday morning local bike shop road bike ride and a friend tells me that the official  bike slang for this is that I augured in. Turns out this is an aviation term for crashing  catastrophically. Nice. I like it. Well so far I like it.

Okay so the mountain bike really didn’t save my life. Unless of course you take into consideration that there are no motorist out there to contend with, just some critters who all appear to be well fed and so as long as I don’t encroach upon their young I should be okay. RIGHT! But this activity is by no means peril free, augured in already, remember. Another peril is the potential mechanical failure. Most of these places are off the grid which takes the call for extraction out of the tool kit. That can make for a long walk back and so my simple advise is to be redundant with things like tire repair stuff (I started carrying some duct tape) and ride with others.

Until next time……enjoy yourselves. Cheers!

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