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.”