At my recent doc visit where I learned that I get to stick needles in my fingers every day I also learned, “Your HDL is fantastic! Your LDL could be a little better, but it doesn’t matter because of your awesome HDL!”
I thought, “I owe it to my Airdyne.”
So now with the messed up foot I thought a couple of days ago, “How am I’m going to exercise?” Then my brain said, “Sweet Cheeks, your sport is riding the Bike to Nowhere. Walking the dogs is just the cherry on the sundae.”
“Good point, brain. It’s true.” At best I walk the dogs 2 leisurely miles every day but when I ride the Airdyne, I ride 10 miles in intervals and sprints.
It’s a lame sport. I’ll admit it freely. When it comes to sports, back in the day, I WAS competitive. I raced 400 meters and 400 meter hurdles. That’s won by an insane explosion of will, energy and thigh muscles. To win, you SPRINT. A lot of people can’t sprint 400 meters, but I figured because I was born and grew up at a high elevation I had a little biological advantage.
In later years my sport was skiing (downhill and Nordic), and then, when I moved away from snow, it was trail running — the closest thing to downhill skiing you can do on dry land without snow, or so it felt to me.
All this has taken a toll and I suppose that’s the price anyone pays for throwing themselves into some physical sport for most of their lives.
What I didn’t think of back then were the other benefits. During my trail running days, I began to get it. At 45, an age when my mom’s BP was already off the charts and she was on cholesterol meds, I was holding steady at 120/80. Genetics ultimately put me on those meds, too, but not until I was 60 and even then at a much lower dose than my mom was taking. Beyond the physical benefits of general fitness and (I wish) weight control (it could be worse) are the psychological benefits. Now I compete with myself to ramp up my performance to ride faster longer. Sometimes when I ride I imagine paintings which I then go and paint — or think about a little more. Often on a ride I have seen my way through a problem with a story or a friendship or gotten a great idea for an adventure with my friends. I listen to music and watch a bike riding video of the route of the Tour de France. It’s beautiful terrain and I have caught myself leaning into sharp curves when I’m “going” fast.
My Bike to Nowhere is from the 1970s. It’s copper colored with racing stripes — a little touch of irony that I love every time I get on it. It’s not a mountain bike (I loved that when I could actually lift my leg over a bike seat) or a steep winding trail or a ski slope but riding it made it possible for me to — without a lot of preparation — head out with my brand new X-country skis last winter and Langlauf with confidence the VERY FIRST TIME in nearly 20 years. That day was at LEAST as happy as any other of the extremely happy days in my life.
The chart is from an app I use, “Map my Walk.” The red bars are Airdyne rides.