The Summer of Our Discontent

My mileage is embarrassingly low.  My yearly miles should be more like my monthly miles, and I’ve taken very few longer trips, whether for a day or just an evening.  What’s up with that?

Well, it’s not that I don’t enjoy biking any less.  I still dream of tours, still make S24O plans in my head, and still vicariously lust over blogs where people are living out their dreams on the road for a few weeks, or even months.

Nothing has replaced biking as my major activity.  I’ve got it in my mind to get back into rowing once the kids are on their way into their own lives, but that’s quite a few years off.  I’ve started lifting weights again, but my routine (and a very smart one I think), only requires about 15 minutes every couple of evenings.  I’m reading more, thanks to my Nook, but that isn’t taking time away from the bike – in fact, I take the Nook along on rides when I can, and it has me watching TV a lot less, which is a good thing.

So the desire is there, but I’m just not riding as much.  Basically, life is getting in the way.

Kids.  I’ve reached a point in my life where I realize that raising kids does not last forever.  Making the transition from competitive rower to dad was really hard for me.  I had mentally identified myself as a rower for so long and in so many ways that I had a hard time letting go when the family came along.  Now I’ve made the adjustments, and I suddenly realize that I’ve got a daughter ready to graduate college, one son looking at colleges, and another just now entering high school. 

Spending time with them, and for them, is more important than me riding a century a month, even though I would love to ride a century a month.

The House.  We’re in an odd situation.  Up until the college expenses started to rack up, we would spend a fair amount on keeping our house up to snuff, and steadily make improvements.  The house had been abandoned for a few years when we bought it, and it required(s) some major work.  Because I don’t want to carry a lot of debt from college expenses, we’ve tried to “pay as we go”.  So that means a lot of house projects have been put on hold.

But the work has piled up, and this summer I’ve resolved to not use the lack of money as an excuse not to do anything.  There are small projects I’ve been doing on nights that I typically would ride.  Having a big house on a big lot has been a blessing, but given my lack of abilities in this area, I doubt I would buy a “fixer-upper” again.  I wonder about a smaller place, having just what we need and no more, probably with a shed out back for a bike or two.  But this is where we’re at for now, and the house needed/needs work.

While I’m a little frustrated, I’m not beating myself up about it.  If the whole purpose of riding is to enjoy oneself; then the opposite, which is not riding, should not automatically equate to misery.  I guess I’m just cautiously optimistic that I’ll eventually get back in the saddle.

So that compartment in my life has shifted ever so slightly to health and fitness.  Previously it had been a primary motivation – “I have to get out and ride for my health.”  Now I’m thinking I have to stay healthy, but I’ll be a little more varied with my approach:  some walking, some weight lifting, and some riding whenever I can.

And I’ll still mentally have that part that identifies myself as a biker.  My daughter, on her “world tour” this summer, has been sending me pictures of biking everywhere from Amsterdam, to London, to India.  She’s great.

I haven’t given up.  I still have it in my head to work up to a few long rides and some camping yet this year – I mean it is only July.  I’m thinking August and September, and even later.

So anyway… somewhat disjointed thoughts on where things are at.  Not necessarily where I want to be, but where I am, and making the best of it.

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5 responses to “The Summer of Our Discontent

  1. This is the first year in as long as I can remember that I’m actually ahead of you in mileage. Please keep fixing the house. It’s good for my self esteem.

  2. Hi,
    I’m wondering if we could have a private conversation regarding your dealings with the Pedal Pusher. This next purchase – whether it be a LHT or Cross Check will be a big one for me. I live in Lancaster. I can be contacted directly at rmcarner@gmail.com. Thanks.
    BTW, I see that one of your interests is American history. I just finished The Frontiersmen by Allan Eckert. Very illuminating regarding what life was like back then. And, that the frontier began with Pittsburgh!

  3. btw: for some reason, I’ve been reading Russian history this past month: Peter the Great and now Catherine the Great. I’ll put your book on my list. thx.

    • About 6 months ago, I finished Tolstoy’s War and Peace again after for the 3rd time. The first was when I was a boy back in the 60’s. This is a new translation by Anthony Briggs. I still prefer Constance Garnett’s translation. It is, for lack of a better term, ‘warmer’. Tolstoy wraps an entirely accurate history of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia around several primary characters who are seeking out the meaning of life, love, etc. in the midst of a pending crisis. It is an amazing tale.

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