Sunday, May 2, 2010

When Young and Thin are Gone

Every day that passes leaves me a little older. The hair I have left is a little more gray, and the body I bicycle, work and love in is a little less able. There are only two times now that I completely forget about my age - when I'm sound asleep or when I'm dreaming.

Bicycling helps my fantasy of youthfulness. When the atmospheric conditions are right (tailwinds); when the Earth's geography cooperates (downhill); when I have friends along for the ride, then I'm young again. Then I forget my age.

Recently on a ride with Dale and Kevin, who are keeping up with me chronologically, we raced and laughed like 12 year old boys. It is increasing more difficult to remember being 12. But cycling can help. I can ride with someone half my age and as long as we're not racing, we can be laughing. It's one of the reasons I ride.

Sometimes I wonder how much longer until I'm left to live in the basement, grouchy and a little lonely, like our cat Kiwi. She was a rescued cat; she had been abandoned as a kitten. In fact, judging by the wounds my wife treated after finding her, she had been thrown from a moving vehicle. Over the years she has outlived all of our other cats. And she has grown fat and grouchy. (I'm starting to see my future!) Now she lives in our basement, alone and untouched. She's not the best at self-cleaning, and sometimes my wife will put her in the tub and using latex gloves will clean the parts that Kiwi should keep clean. As an unfortunate result of her inability to stay fresh, she is not the cat you would pick up and put on your lap for a little cuddle time. And without some cuddle time, we all will get grouchy and hateful. It's inevitable.

So I cycle. Mostly alone since my cycling goals are different from the cyclists I know and ride with. But sometimes, I have (make? take?) the opportunity to ride with others. Soon enough I'll be that old guy who used to ride around Marion on his big tricycle with an even bigger cigar sticking out of his mouth. Everyone hated to come up behind him in traffic. It often looked like a parade with an old man on a tricycle as the Grand-Master. Now he is gone, and his place in the parade is unmanned. But not for long?

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