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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gateway drugs

There aren't a lot of areas in my life where I can be all holier than thou with my kids. They've listened as I laughed with my high school BFF (now my SIL) about our class-skipping escapades. They've listened as I've laughed with my brothers about drunken escapades (both past and present). My oldest wore a little baby tux when I married his dad. I darn near flunked out of college when I was pregnant with my middle child. I have issues upon issues, and I'm not nearly controlled enough to hide them from my kids.

But I've never smoked a cigarette, and I've never touched an illegal drug. More by luck than virtue, I guess, but the opportunity waited long enough to present itself that I was immune to any accompanying peer pressure when it did. So how...HOW am I addicted now? It's the damn bicycle.

This I believe: Hybrid bikes are a gateway drug.

My mom and brothers gave me my bike a couple years ago. It's a Giant Cypress, much nicer than the 13-year old Huffy mountain bike it replaced. I rode it all that summer on our local bike trails. The first time out, I accidentally rode 15 miles and afterwards decided that if I could go 15 accidentally I could do 20 on purpose. And so it began...

Hearing this, my aunt (the pusher) emailed me suggesting that I ride a day of the Katy Trail ride with her: "It's only about 50 miles." I thought she was insane, but the more I looked at the website the more I wanted to do the whole thing. And I did: 243 miles in 5 days, astonished that I could.

Next, I did several road rides of 60+ miles and then a century. 100 miles...cool. 10ish hours total...not cool. But I did it. Cool. I met more and more bike people, and by the end of the year, I wanted a road bike. My hybrid is great for the crushed limestone surface of the Katy, and yeah...I was grateful to have those tires when the county went and oil and chipped several miles the night before a 68-miler, but I wanted more. Still do. I'm a Craigslist junkie now.

As I waited for the road bike to show up (and my savings to accumulate), I went mountain biking with friends. Granted, it didn't go so well (my re-located thumb still hurts), but it was fun. So challenging and exhilirating. I love doing something I've never done before or something I didn't know I could do. So now I want a mountain bike. I'm hooked.

And cycling people, you know, they tend to be active. All of 'em, posting about their rides and runs. It makes you want to get out there. The thought of running started percolating, and then my SIL invited me to run a 5K with her. I've never been a runner, but ...the challenge. About 6 weeks of Couch to 5K, and I'm running across the finish line.

It was are fun. And by "fun", I mean it was pure misery until I crossed the finish line and realized, I did it! Signed up for another...and then the mud run...and...what's next? I kept seeing information about a 10K. Right here in River City. And I've never run 6.2 miles before, but I wonder if I can. I'll find out Saturday.

A couple of friends keep mentioning the Lewis & Clark HM to me. A half marathon, huh? Every time I run, I realize how laughable the idea is. And yet... I want to see if I can. I get excited every time I look at the website. And get this...it ends in the same park where both my first Katy Trail ride and my first century ended. It's fate.

You know it can't end there. I've seen the future, and it's wearing a wetsuit.

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