Getting in Shape is Easy!

Getting in Shape is Easy!

Luke H. Smith 2008 Fireweed 200 in Alaska
It doesn’t look like it but I was actually in shape in this photo taken during the 2008 Fireweed 200 in Alaska. I made it, finishing in 11 hours, 35 minutes. That was then, this is now…

It’s been a half-assed effort, but I am slowly getting my whole ass — and the rest of my bloated form — back into shape. The good news is that the workouts are easy. It’s getting to the workouts that’s hard.

Take today for instance…

I rode my bicycle off Plum Island and into Newburyport for the Tuesday evening group ride. I got there about 10 minutes ahead of the ride’s scheduled departure and grabbed a spot on the little wall outside the bike shop that hosts the ride. I removed my helmet, pulled off my gloves and reached into the pocket on the back of my shirt for my iPhone.

Only it wasn’t there. It was gone, along with my driver’s license (ID in case I get smooshed by a truck) and a $20 bill (for emergency rations). @#$#! The only thing I could think of was that it had jumped out of the pocket when I hit a bump. And since I didn’t want to lose a second phone in a matter of a couple of months, let alone my driver’s license, I hopped on my bike and started back to the island, keeping my eyes peeled on the far side of the road for a small, black rectangle.

As I rode, it occurred to me that the likelihood of me not noticing the phone jumping out of my pocket was pretty slim, and that’s when the hopeful thought that I might have left the phone at home crawled into my head. And after a 10-minute ride, there was my phone: right on the stairs by the driveway where I’d left it. Whew!

But hey! It’s only 6:01 and that group ride NEVER starts on time, right? Let’s go for it…maybe you can cut them off at the town green, about a mile or so into the ride. You can make it, right?

So I hopped back onto the bike and made my third trip in 30 minutes over the causeway linking the island and the mainland, this time really pouring the coals on (for me), hoping to link up with the group. I made it to the town green, pulled out my still-there iPhone and checked the time. 6:11. Hmm, not likely but maybe…

After waiting a few minutes, it was clear I’d missed the group. So I took off on a shorter solo ride. And truth be told: I probably got a better workout than I’d have gotten with the group. For starters, there was no one for me to draft. I had to do all the work. And as those of you who know me are aware, I’m too hardheaded NOT to pedal full-tilt — especially with no bike computer to tell me my speed — rather than be smart and pace myself for the long haul. I just go till I fade, cruise for a bit, then go some more. For an enchanting finish, I had a nice seabreeze for a headwind on the return trip home, when I was already pretty tired (oh, and it was snow-covered and uphill both ways, too).

In any case, the half-assed effort continues. When I got home, I installed the bike computer I’d bought a few weeks ago when I last did the group ride so now I can pace myself, right? At least on those days I get to the workout, that is.

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