Get On and Go

My friend Pete is down from Portland visiting his folks in San Jose. We had talked about taking a couple long rides while he’s here because this is a break week for me and he’s in training for an Ironman-length triathlon in June. The only problem: Between one thing and another, I haven’t been riding a whole lot for the last several months. So we didn’t wind up planning a ride until yesterday, when I suggested one of my favorite and not overly demanding longer rides: up to Davis from Berkeley, then back down here on the train. I had some trepidation because I haven’t spent more than a couple hours at a time in the saddle since late last year, and the riding I’ve done hasn’t been frequent. But we started out on the ride this morning, and even though I was sorer than I usually am from that ride, and I could tell I didn’t have much in my legs, it was a great ride. Beautiful day, too. It warmed up to about 70 while were on the road, and after having to battle some headwinds the first half of the ride, we enjoyed a pretty nice tailwind much of the second half.

Back here after the train ride, we had dinner and talked for a couple hours. Then Pete drove back down to San Jose. The plan now is for more riding Thursday.

Getting ready to shut down for the day, I took a look at the New York Times front page. There’s an absorbing story about Davis Phinney, the great American road racer of the 1980s and early ’90s, and his family. His wife is Connie Carpenter, one of the greatest U.S. women athletes ever. They have a 17-year-old son, Tyler, who has become a force in the world of track cycling and time trialing; the kid’s got a great shot at the Olympics. Meantime, Davis Phinney is suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

“… He fights his stiffening body just to roll over in bed because of the ravages of Parkinson’s disease, an incurable neurological disorder that attacks a body’s mobility. He leans on his son, his daughter and his wife, Connie Carpenter, a two-sport Olympian. They help butter his bread, button his shirts and open his pill bottles.”

Reading this piece reminded me once again how easy it is to take our health and abilities for granted, and how special it is to be able to climb on a bike and go.

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