Getting Fit Or Going Insane?

After I completed the Lost Coast Trail in 2008, I looked for ways to keep myself in reasonable shape for future adventures. I wasn’t able to drive for medical reasons, and I was pretty much tied to the house the majority of the time. This was slowly driving me insane, so I found what seemed to be a perfect solution: I bought a bicycle!! Here is an account I wrote shortly after I got it:

I purchased a new (well, at least new to me) bicycle about a week ago. Unable to drive for medical reasons, I was slowly going insane staying at home all the time.

Buying a bike was the best of both worlds for me – it gets me out of the house and away from these four walls and also gets me fit and active at the same time. A perfect combination.

For the first few days I rode it around my neighborhood as I hadn’t ridden a bike in years and had to get used to it again. This morning I decided to be a little more adventurous and go a little further while staying away from the busy roads and all the construction that is happening in Lubbock right now. That was my second mistake today. The first was getting out of bed.

I had planned a route that was about 10 miles and would take me about an hour. As I rode out into the countryside I had a million thoughts of the past day or so racing through my mind and missed my turning. It was several miles later that I realized my error. Being stubborn and stupid, I decided to rely on my own warped sense of direction to get me off the farm roads and back into civilization.

So there I am about 2 hours later still riding down the backwater roads thinking that my day just couldn’t get any worse. What a crock that was!! The next thing I knew this big old dog appeared out of nowhere and decided that I looked like meals on wheels. Still not used to cycle clips I couldn’t get my foot out of the clip and this huge hound, foaming at the mouth and looking like the Hound Of The Baskervilles jumped at me, bit my foot and knocked me straight off my bike onto the concrete.

With my arm cut open, Baskerville chomping on my foot and my bike lay on top of me, I finally got my foot off the pedal clip. Now as anyone that has ever been in this situation will testify, being lost, tired, and having Baskerville chewing on one’s foot does not make for a pleasant day out. So I got up, and making myself as big as possible I confronted Baskerville with the foot he had been so eagerly chewing on for the last 30 minutes.

Feeling victorious with Baskerville backing right off at least 2 inches and showing me his pearly whites, I did my best impression of a Lee Van Cleefe stare and got back on my bike. I think the hound from hell had learned his lesson because he didn’t follow me. Next time I ride down that road I’m taking my bear spray with me…

Having thought that my day had hit rock bottom I immediately found out that it was only just beginning. The wind had picked up and for every foot I gained it seemed like I was pedaling 20 feet backwards. I swear that the stop sign 100 yards ahead was getting further away and it took me about an hour to get there.

I got back on my bike and then quickly realized why I have to wear glasses. I am completely blind in my left eye and only half sighted in my right. And that is with glasses. Without them I’m like Mr.Magoo in a snow storm and I could hardly see more than a few feet in front of meI reached the junction and decided to take a break from my traumas and finally use some of the intelligence that I’m supposed to have somewhere tucked away in that brain of mine. I had my Blackberry phone with me and I have a subscription to turn by turn GPS. Now I can get home I thought.

Wrong. I turned it on and all I got was an error message. I have no idea what it said because I can’t read, but I didn’t need to be able to read to know that it wasn’t going to work. It was as though the phone was sending me a huge big finger to look at, and I knew what that meant!!

So picture the scenario. I’m totally lost out in the boondocks, my GPS wasn’t working, the wind was roaring at 100 MPH in the opposite direction from what I was trying to ride, and I was bleeding from my fight with Megatron. To say that I was rather peed off is the understatement of the year.

I decided to keep going down the farm roads until either it got dark, and I would rest up in Blair Witch Forest for the night or I would eventually find a road I knew out of there. My cell phone had no signal which probably explains the big finger on the GPS system, and even if it did I couldn’t call for help because I had no idea where I was.

Imagine the phone call “Hey, I’m lost, tired, bleeding and need a ride home.” “Sure, where are you?” “Err, I don’t know”. Yeah, that was a great idea.

So there I am cycling down this never ending road thinking I am about to hit Los Angeles when this huge gust of wind hits me from a ridiculous angle. My glasses flew from my head about 100 feet, over a fence and into a field. Great. I stopped, got off the bike and went to look for them.

Now, I have major problems climbing up and down stairs as my left leg still has pretty bad issues when I try to raise or lower it. The good thing about cycling is that my good leg can drag my bad leg around with it.

So here I am trying to climb up and over Mt. Everest. Of course I didn’t make it and fell splat into a thorn bush (or some other prickly nasty thing) on the other side, scratching and cutting my leg in the process. I spent about an hour searching for my glasses to no avail and eventually gave up.

I still had to negotiate the fence again and sure enough I didn’t make it this time either. I fell head first into the only thorn bush in a 100 mile radius this side of the fence, and by this time I was really having a great day.

I got back on my bike and then quickly realized why I have to wear glasses. I am completely blind in my left eye and only half sighted in my right. And that is with glasses. Without them I’m like Mr.Magoo in a snow storm and I could hardly see more than a few feet in front of me.

I got back on my bike thankful that the roads were empty (I think I was the only person in the entire world that knew of this road’s existence). About three days later I finally rode into Shallowater. How I got there I will never know but somehow I managed it.

I found a burger bar and sat outside eating this 5lb slab of meat wishing it was Baskerville while I waited for Karen, my daughter, to come and get me. I had ridden at least 30 miles (which felt like 130 into the strong winds), and was whacked. I’m nowhere near fit enough for rides of that magnitude. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see Karen in my entire life!!

I’m now having a few days off…

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