Age, Fitness, Capability and Interest

Chris has a good post about how, Some of us are strong, and experienced, and well trained, and got fat not because we were sad, lazy, gluttonous etc… but because things in our life changed, and our bodies (or our habits and our brains) didn’t adapt appropriately.

I’m stuck with very few excuses. I’ve never been a work-out guy – or that’s the excuse. I’ve always just DONE the things I liked to do with the fitness I already had available on tap. Haven’t gotten overly heavy either, but could stand to loose a few – mainly I seemed to have passed the peak and my recovery-time at age 54 is what’s killing me.

The elbow is much better today, but just yesterday leaning over to pull a USB cable out of the ‘puter-box, a *tiny* bump on an edge of the desk sent gigantic pain-waves all over. Ice. At least it didn’t blow-up with fluid again. Gaah. The swelling is down but the hyper sensitivity remains and it could easily balloon-up again.

Blame the computer for all the current inactivity. We used to hook-up with other friends on – guys from across the country who also rode. On weekends we would meet locally, or we used it to send out the Bat-Signal and from all-over we would meet in Colorado or Idaho or Georgia to just go riding. Sometimes the back-and-forth conversation was brilliant, but the light dimmed, people move away, the economy takes a dip, jobs change – nothing stays the same especially technology, and Usenet declined as the Web grew popular.  And sadly, some guys died…

With the elbow injury I’m afraid my dirtbike riding days may be numbered and in the past. If that’s the case, my days of regulation across-the-course shooting may be also be doomed. Every position has you doing the body-tripod with elbows planted somewhere. So, hand-guns?? You don’t get down on your elbows much with pistols.

The foot is also still healing too slowly. Too much flex-ion and it goes off again, and so I have to wear the hated *shoes* during Summer, when flip-flops or barefoot is so much more natural and comfortable. Foot-fitness wise I never could get into the pounding boredom and plain drudgery of running. I needed to really escape, and it (running) wasn’t fast enough. I tried to like it mentally, and even had running shoes for a while – but the dreadful irritating sameness of it caused failure and I relapse to the default position: hate it.

I can still bicycle. From all the early years of polo, swimming, and hiking, my thighs still have some strength for the push – and somehow the similar boring cyclic repetition doesn’t completely fail me there. Also before there were any cars in my life the bike was my escape vehicle. Maybe it’s just the wind in my face. For some motorcyclists that’s enough – they don’t need the athleticism (or monkey-business) of an apex-strafing sportbike cranked over at the limits of adhesion, just the wind.

As far as Chris goes, I’ve always known big guys who could hustle. Quickness is size-deceptive and outright speed isn’t necessarily the key element – you got to be smooth to make speed work to proper advantage or it’s wasted. There the same effects and situation exists on a dirtbike, finessing the throttle to gain traction – keep up speed through the rough rocks by being still on top while the bike does the work below you. That’s all in the legs again.

The natural angle of a dirtbike in repose is on its side. I’m not sure I can keep taking the inadvertent dismount onto the weeds, rocks, and bushes that is required participation.  Even with all the gear that goes-on, getting the elbow bashed again is a recipe for not being able to re-mount and continue. We’ll see if DirtCrashr still has it in a few more months when it starts to rain again and traction returns to the soil or if a new nickname is required. I miss the Dual-Sport events where we didn’t throw ourselves so hard into the breech.  I missed riding in the Spring this year when it was wet, and I missed last year – if I miss another year maybe it’s a sign.

Scanning it in

On a beautiful fall day when the birds are chirping and the squirrels frolicking insanely in the pine-tree, I’m inside nursing a sprained foot that I re-injured, collecting digital bits and bytes – materials of my portfolio, from years ago when I cartooned a bit for CityBike. This one had to do with the return of Freddie Spencer and the issue of riding a Ducati vs. his weight…

UPDATE: That (above) was when Fast Freddie went to Superbike, after the diesels (4-strokes) took over Formula One. Before that, during the recession of ’93 he was on a French Yamaha 500cc two-stroke with the semi-big-bang motor, and I was on the other side of the tape with a Media Pass and a long lens, thirty-feet from the track’s edge. It was a time of great personal delight.
During practice I saw a bike come screaming into Turn #5 at Laguna. For the race (and from my Reg Pridmore class a few months prior) I remember #5 was configured as an intentionally confusing kind of nasty combination of three-apex left-hand corner with a couple dips, and a rise on exit that all played havoc with suspension and traction — but was easy to get into from a photographer’s POV, and had the potential to produced some great high-side crash-footage. A couple guys had already gone down within the hour, but in unspectacular low-sides when their suspension and traction came to odds with their braking-point.
And here comes a guy on a shabby looking nondescript blue-gray bike, well above the speeds seen earlier, practically sideways going IN and as out-of-shape as any guy who was just about to toss it away – and suddenly somehow through a series of twitchy miracles and judicious application of throttle, he snapped it through the dips, rises and apex on a completely different “line” than any rider previous, and was gone up the hill to #6… And I had to look in my book for the number: Freddie Spencer…And he was my hero after that.
I waited until he came around again and got a pretty ok shot.

Cadillac Workstand

[on-click to giantize]
I had to get a decent lift-stand if I wanted to continue my own working-on-bikes stuff, I’m fed-up with low-squats and bending over – things that torque my L2-L3 vertebrae and works the minor scoliosis.
Riding itself is fantastically good for bad backs, strengthening the stomach muscles and giving an overall good cardio-aerobic workout and shaking up the arms – but working on bikes is the opposite. Being all cranked-over and twisted around bent, especially when applying force usually has negative results. Just doing the damn air filter is a pain, let alone the axle pinch-bolts or any normal maintenance type things. So I got this garage-bling lift-stand thing to bring the work up to me. It’s hot.