As we get older it’s increasingly important to find and participate in exercise and activities that build you up, not tear you down. For me the days of playing basketball and soccer 3-4 times a week are pretty much over, I think?! Don’t get me wrong, I still have that desire and need to lace em up and kick a small black and white ball about the pitch once in awhile. There is something about the smell of fresh cut grass, the sound of 20-22 guys running around a soccer field, and the feeling of scoring another nice goal that excites me, charges me up!! However the feeling that I get in those following days after playing in my low back, hips, knees, shoulders and everything in between reminds that I’m too old for that sort of thing. And. . . that’s why I ski and bike!!! I always feel great after a nice long bike ride or a leisurely ski, and I mean ALWAYS!
I remember once about 12 years ago I was out cycling in North Carolina on the Blue Ridge parkway and I met a 60 some year old guy on his bike, he was so fit and in great cycling shape. What impressed me most about this stranger was his positive attitude, enthusiasm and his advice. “Keep challenging yourself in healthy recreational pursuits and stay connected with people.” The reason this guys advice rang true to me was not so much what he said, but how healthy and happy he seemed. The other thing he told me was; ” Hey read the book, Younger Next Year”, by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge.
My brother Brian was responsible for me getting into cycling, and . . . a torn ACL to my right knee I suffered while playing soccer in my backyard “Field of Dreams”. I simply fell in love with cycling for many reasons. First and foremost the bike allowed me to accomplish most of my fitness goals while challenging me personally. To me there is nothing quite as beautiful as a high end steel Italian road bike, and Brian knew what he was doing when he set me up with a “fatto a mano” Pegoretti. Cycling is at the heart of my exercise life, as my garage full of different types of bikes can attest. Carbon race bikes; Kuota (KOM), Fuji (team issue) and my most recent purchase a Dura Ace Di2 Cannondale Synapse, what a bike . . . It’s a NICEAH Bikeah !! I’ve said often, I’m more comfortable on a bike than on my sofa.
Exercise and adventure is really what is unique about pursuing cycling and skiing as the keystone to your fitness routine. This spring several of us 50 some year olds back country skied to Jim Park’s camp way out in the Northern Maine woods on the Big Machias river at McKeen crossing. What an adventure and one helluva workout!! After skiing in about 4 miles we quickly jumped onto our snowshoes and promptly hiked for 3-4 hours up Horse mountain. As with any exercise adventure that exceeds 3-4 hours in length there is an accompanying physical hunger, a need to devour. The quantity of energy expended is such that when evening comes around, you feel a pit in your stomach that seems unfillable. That kind of hunger that is not to be found in the existence of the sedentary person; it’s a profound happiness that he’ll never feel. The prospect of a perfect dinner can make pedaling or skiing a sheer delight. Everything is a celebration after cycling or skiing for 4 hours or so. So go ahead have a beer or a nice big piece of cake or pie, you earned and deserve it.