Super Bowl LV (55, which like singer Mr. Samuel Hagar, I cannot drive) happened, and I watched almost all of it. I missed some of the first quarter because I was out riding my bicycle. Usually I don’t bother to watch millionaires try to knock the tar and feathers out of each other, but since I’m biking less I had the time and heard it would be a good game, I tuned in. Love him or hate him (this article explains why), it seems pretty clear to me that with more Super Bowl wins than anyone else including his former team, Thomas “Tom” Edward Patrick Brady Jr. truly is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) quarterback of professional American footballer. It’s good to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan right now; not so much for the New England Patriots.
As it relates to this blog, it turns out he also rides a bike: He does a charity bike event every year for folks with disabilities, the Best Buddies Challenge. Also, he rides around town with his wife, a kid on the back, or his dog in a basket on the front.or alongside on a leash. He’s even taken teammates on mountain bike trips to Montana. So what can mere mortals like you and I learn from an elite athlete like him? Let’s see.
Over the last six days I’ve biked 112 miles, including my abbreviated, rainy-cold-windy birthday ride. I haven’t been very fast, but that’s always been true and is to be expected coming off of driving a car for work for the last while. It’s been an adjustment from having the luxury of a automobile to having to make the effort to get the legs going on the bicycle. Being in between jobs makes it far easier to find the time, although I frequently did 100+ miles per week with a full-time job. Cooler temperatures (on some days) have also helped. So if you’ve been in a similar spot, you probably know that it’s not easy. But is possible to get back in the groove. Remember the tortoise and the hare: fast and furious may be fun, but slow and steady wins the day.
Roadblocks happen and make you go in a different direction. Frequently, the efffing Force is just not with you, friend. Sometimes, schtuff simply happens. When life hands you lemonades, you’ve got two choices: Make lemonade or lie down in a corner drinking water. In other words, roll with the changes, or they’ll roll over you. You get the point. My thesis is that there’s only so much time and one person can only do so much, and doing your best sometimes mean stepping back.
After the last month and more of too much work and especially of driving a car, I finally managed a day off. Fortunately, on Sunday nights there’s a group bike ride called Bike Curious, about which I’ve previously written. The ride itself is usually pretty mellow, but in this case we had a substitute leader who picked some roads that were a little dicey, hilly and sandy. Still, overall the streets flat and familiar and the pace was slow. It was a good way to ease back into biking. Today I’m a little sore and tired, but the hardest part was actually just getting myself out the door. If you’ve ever been in this situation you will relate to this post.
If you haven’t already, please read Part 1 first. It is at this link: Engineering a Comeback from a Life-Altering Event.
Lying on his back in Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, Texas in October 1981 after losing most of his right leg in a railroad accident, David Crittenden Walker was scared. Of dying. Of never walking again. Of the pain. About the look of worry on the faces of his family and friends. They were staying overnight with him for the first week. He was getting Demerol shots every four hours, and they were “wonderful,” he said, because it blocked the pain. But that last hour before the next shot was excruciating. He would get loopy, then pass out. Because it’s so addictive (think opioid crisis), he had to be weaned off it as soon as possible. He also started having some hallucinations which freaked him out. His brain had to make sense of his new reality. David was 17 years old, and all of a sudden, he only had one leg. How the fuck does anyone live with that? Continue reading