Bike five-oh

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By James ”Cranky“Ram­say

I’ve turned 50. This is re­mark­able to me. When I was in my 20s, liv­ing in a box­car and trav­el­ling the Prairies as an itin­er­ant har­mon­ica player and street ma­gi­cian, I never imag­ined I’d see 50. But here I am – a re­spectable, mar­ried home­owner with two kids, a full-time job and a col­umn in a na­tional mag­a­zine. If my par­ents were still alive, they’d be very proud. They would have thrown me an amaz­ing party. My mom would have in­vited all my friends, even the ones I don’t re­ally like (so as not to hurt any­one’s feel­ings), and there would have been cake and ice cream and three-legged races. Even­tu­ally I would have got­ten tired and cried, and then ev­ery­one would have had to go home. But my par­ents, bless their hearts, are dead. So how did I de­cide to cel­e­brate this mile­stone birth­day? Did I buy my­self a 50-tooth chain­ring? Or per­haps a case of Labatt 50 beer? On the first op­tion, I’m still en­tirely ca­pa­ble of push­ing a 53-tooth ring, so that would have been a waste of money. And since I quit drink­ing en­tirely a while back, the case of beer would have ended up be­ing con­sumed by our lodger, Derek. He’s a bit bel­liger­ent as it is, and I don’t want to make the sit­u­a­tion worse. So where does that leave me? Given my long-term plan, which is to live to 100, I’m now ex­actly at the halfway point of my life. (Yes, math is a strength of mine.) And be­ing at this mid­point, I stand on the ful­crum. I can choose to em­brace the next 50 years with vigour, or I can ac­cede to the in­evitable march of time and raise my hands in de­feat. I must choose wisely, since my bi­nary na­ture makes it very hard to change course once I’m locked in. To help me de­cide, I looked up my old ride data from when I was rac­ing, which of course was not that long ago. I say “of course” be­cause when I think back, it doesn’t feel as though a lot of time has passed since I was crush­ing half the field as a mid-pack masters com­peti­tor. Imag­ine my shock when I dusted off my spread­sheet and re­al­ized that the last time I rolled up to a start line was in 2011. My math skills tell me that was nearly seven years ago. That’s a long time, es­pe­cially for an old man like me.

Once I got over the alarm­ing re­al­iza­tion that it would take a se­ri­ous, long-term com­mit­ment for me to undo the last seven years of bread and jam and re­claim the fit­ness that I imag­ine is my due, I de­cided to get to work. I up­graded to the lat­est ver­sion of the train­ing man­age­ment soft­ware I used to use. Then, I started log­ging my rides again. Through my fal­low pe­riod, I never ac­tu­ally stopped cap­tur­ing data – I sim­ply stopped us­ing it. But that’s all changed. I’m now run­ning deep anal­y­sis on my power curve. In con­sul­ta­tion with my per­sonal ac­tu­ary and my past-life re­gres­sion ther­a­pist, I’m gain­ing pow­er­ful in­sights that will drive my come­back.

That’s right – I’m mak­ing a come­back. You read it here first, and un­less some­thing un­to­ward forces a change in the plan, you’ll see me on the start line of at least a few lo­cal races in 2018.

Of course, it’s al­ways good to have a Plan B, so just in case, I’ve found my suit­case of har­mon­i­cas and my magic set. They’re in the front hall closet, ready to go.

“I’m gain­ing pow­er­ful in­sights that will drive my come­back.”


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