By: Jared Countess
It’s Official I’m Back In The Saddle Again. As I finish up my second week on the bike, I have to say there are 3 truths I’ve found in cycling Joy, Pain and a sweet Addiction. My first day back on the bike was hell. My second day on the bike was some place between hell and earth, we’ll call it purgatory. My 3rd day on the bike was needed; I was stressed, troubled and I’ll be honest a little discouraged by life and the bike was a respite for me. I enjoyed my longest ride of the week and clipped just under 30miles in 2 hours. The next day I got back on the bike and kicked butt again. But this time I woke up in pain. I had a back spasm for the first time in almost 10 years. Luckily I make my living by fixing the joint pain and discomfort of dozens of people daily. So thanks to some great new friends today I had my greatest ride thus far and found the beginning of an addiction.
The Joy of Cycling
It took 10 whole days and 5 rides, but I finally found the Joy of Cycling. On my first long ride I was able to put all of my troubles out of my mind and just go. The pace wasn’t fast and by body did not ache, but I did feel good after. It was difficult getting back on the bike at first and I have to admit my main drivers became my word and charity. Mostly I wanted to keep my word. But the 26 mile ride where I was just determined to get in the saddle and stay there for a while and it was awesome. I can understand why so many busy execs and business owners find joy in the activity.
The Pain of Cycling
The pain in my legs and my lungs when I first got back on the bike, was a very small taste of what was to come. The first thing to happen to me this week, was back spasms, which I haven’t had in almost 10 years. When I was in high school, chronically overweight and playing as an offensive lineman on my school team, there would be days especially after a game where my back would spasm so bad I could barely get out of bed. I had my first back spasm since my early 20s last week. It sucked, I was slacking on my stretches and still doing heavy squatting and bam back pain and stiffness. So I went through and changed my workouts so I could heal my back. I start and end each workout by stretching my hip flexors. I’ve also added in hip thrust to my workouts 3x a week.
The Addiction of Cycling
After changing my workouts I’ve noticed improved flexibility as well as well as overall strength. Today I found the addiction side of cycling and though this may sound odd to some, it was through my hardest cycling experience yet. I live for a challenge and pain, it’s one of the reasons I enjoy lifting weights and I had the chance to cycle with 2 new friends and experienced cyclist today. One of these friends Jim Moran is a restaurant owner, who cycles competitively in his spare time. He is training for a 100 mile race the week after our trip. Jim taught me so much about cycling, how to communicate with fellow riders through hand signals, drafting/staying on line and gear changing for super hills of which we took on many. Our other companion was, Brian Staub and upon meeting this gentleman in his mid 50 with a small belly I was actually encouraged. See I wrongfully assumed Jim had brought somebody who was “my speed” and being the idiot I am I voiced my elation. Well about 30minutes later and 1000ft of elevation into our ride, I began to suspect something about Brian. You see he seemed to be easily crushing these hills, which were killing me, one I had to bail out on he did twice in the time I got half way up. Come to find out Brian owns VR7 Cycling, a cycling apparel company and he is one of Jim’s mentors on the bike. Between Jim choosing a route that would prepare him to be competitive in his race and Brian showing me what an “old man” was capable of I almost puked 3 times on this ride. All in all it was an awesome experience. That pain and being absolutely beat into the ground was the one aspect of cycling I missed. Being a weight lifter I live for that pain and pushing my muscles to the limit, experiencing it today on the bike gave me so much joy. It was the definitely what I was waiting for. I found joy on the bike, pain on the bike and now needless to say I’m addicted to the bike; for what else do you need out of life. Pleasure, Pain and Challenge spells love to me.