Sunday, April 9, 2017

When did riding a bike become so hard?

OK, something is wrong here.
Over the winter, I took up snowshoeing and encountered a worrisome situation: it seems Earth's gravitational pull is increasing.
How else can you explain how hard it was snowshoeing up a hill?
For some reason, trudging through the woodland realm in the middle of winter was challenging and the only thing I can think of is an increase in gravitational pull.
Has no one else noticed this?
It can't be me, because I am a in shape — the shape happens to be round, but it is still a shape.
I do exercise on a regular basis. No. Really. I do.
I go on my treadmill at least six days a week for up to an hour per session.
I used to do martial arts until Father Time slapped me around too much and I could no longer keep up with the young whippersnappers.
I also don't heal as fast as I used to, so it was time to hang up the gloves, but I still keep active.
That is why I couldn't believe how hard it was to go for a mountain bike ride.
I bought a new bike a few days ago and couldn't wait to go for a nice, long ride.
The bike is decent, not a high-end $10,000 bike, but a decent two-wheeled roller ideal for an old-ish guy like me.
Besides, if I had 10-grand to spend on a bike, it would come with a motor.
The last bike I bought was 22 years ago. It was fairly high-end and thanks to a buddy who ran the bike shop, I got a pretty darn good deal.
I put a lot of hours on that bike both on the street and cross-country trails.
I was doing martial arts back then as well, so I was in decent shape.
It has been a few years since I have used pedal power as a form of exercise, but it was always something I enjoyed, so I decided to dig out my old bike, which, after being used by friends of my teenage son, had seen better days.
I didn't mind as I figured I was due for a new bike anyway — buying a new steed every two decades is acceptable. I bought a new, shiny, black bike and as soon as I got home, I grabbed my shiny, new, black helmet and took off for what I knew would be an epic ride.
And it was, for the first few blocks. The epic transitioned into exhausting, especially when I hit the first hill. Half way up, I did the stop-and-get-off-the-bike-and-look-at-the-gears-like-something-is-wrong-so-I-can-catch-my-breath routine.
I was stunned at how out of shape I was.
This can't be right. I do a run/walk/lean on the treadmill for at least an hour a day. every day, so why was this so hard?
I used to rip up hills on my mountain bike like I had a jet pack strapped to my butt. Sure, I have not been on a bike for a few years, but this can't right. It should not be this hard.
Could it be that my middle-aged, somewhat flabby physique was that bad?
I was once a mighty athlete. OK, I was once an athlete. OK, OK, I attempted to play sports when I was younger, but now I could barely ride up a little hill.
Was I getting that old and out of shape?
Then, it hit me. Memories of the snowy climb that left me gasping for air flooded my mind, the sweat, the sore muscles, the gasping for air (I know I mentioned that once already, but I feel it was important enough to list twice) and I knew what the truth was.
I knew why things were so much harder: Earth's gravitational pull had increased even more since the winter.

I knew there had to be a logical explanation.

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