Bouncing flat

Before the Flog Ride yesterday morning I was chatting with Steve-O. “How have you been feeling?” I asked. Steve-O had taken six months off more than a year ago after getting hit by a cager.

“Good,” he said, pausing, “but my fitness doesn’t seem to be coming around.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m always the last one up this damned climb.”

This Damned Climb is the five-minute interval that we do six times on the Flog Ride. Everyone is poured into a blender and then a hand grenade is tossed into the container while the blades are on “extra high.” Riders get ground up and struggle or straggle to the top of This Damned Climb where everyone re-groups in the golf course parking lot, descends, and repeats.

“Flog,” of course, is “Golf” spelled backwards. And although the group re-groups, there is no Groupon for the experience. Everyone pays full price, plus double tastings of breakfast and bile.

“There’s a reason you’re last up This Damned Climb,” I said.

“What’s that?” Steve said.

“You’re really fuggin’ old.”

He nodded glumly. “I used to take three weeks off to go on a trip or because of work, then I’d come back, suffer for a few weeks, and I’d be right back where I left off.”

“There’s a reason for that, too.”

“Yeah? What?”

“You’re really fuggin’ old.”

“Is that all it is?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “You’re in your late 50’s, which is pretty much the same in cycling as being dead but not having decomposed yet.”

“So you’re telling me I smell good?”

“No, it’s more like you’re smell-less. When you get old and die like you have, your body quits making testosterone, which is why you don’t smell as bad and why Donald has to hold up his hands to convince the world that his tiny package isn’t tiny. But there’s another reason you’re always last up This Damned Climb.”

“What’s that?”

“The people you’re riding with are half your age. So when you flog yourself to regain a small percentage of what you lost while you were off the bike, they flog themselves–harder and longer than you can–to reach new levels of strength and speed that they’ve never before had. They are growing stronger against their previous high water mark, but you are withering and will never again be as good as you were. It’s downhill, but real fast and with a hard landing.”

“Is this supposed to encourage me? I did get up at 5:30 to be here for the 6:35 start, you know.”

“No, you didn’t. You were already awake at 3:00 AM for your fifth pee of the night.”

He laughed. “It was only my third.”

“And come on, Steve-O. You’re still faster than most people who ride a bike, and you’re fitter than 99.9% of the population.”

“But 99.9% of the population looks like it’s voting for Trump. So the standard for making good choices is pretty low.”

“Maybe. But no matter what you do or how you do it or when you do it, you’re still gonna die. So you might as well do what you like. ‘Cause I’m not getting any faster, either.”

The clock hit 6:34:59. “Let’s roll.”

And we did. Steve-O finished all six laps, and on a few of them he wasn’t dead last.



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28 thoughts on “Bouncing flat”

  1. So true. Getting old sucks and you never want to face the facts that you can’t ride as you once did!

    1. Fortunately whether you face it or not your younger “friends” repeatedly beat the shit out of you to remind you.

  2. Great motivation, WM! You should be a coach!

    And being in my very late 50s, it’s good to know I’ve already died and am just waiting to compost…..

  3. Yep, as I’m sure someone else has already said – getting old sucks … but it’s infinitely better than the alternative.

  4. Pink Pant-her

    Dead last still beats dead. You just come to the realization that sometimes it’s the little victories in life that keep you motivated. I truly wish I could have explained that to my friend, Dave Mirra.

    1. I prefer to blow up the little victories into massively delusional conquests.

  5. Michelle landes

    Love Steve O Aja Arstsy ! We always are at the caboose end guess that makes me old too😅

    1. strava junior

      Nothing wrong with being in the caboose of the awesometrain. In fact, the cool kids sit in the back.

      1. It’s just that eventually the caboose turns into a box and is nailed shut, then buried.

  6. From where I stand you young 50 somethings have it made. Here is a little good news. Father time takes your speed and power in a mercilous way but he leaves indurance for last. You can do the miles to the bitter end. I love to ride.

  7. I suppose the fact I’m still lapping the folks on the couch should provide some comfort, but really, getting old does indeed suck.

    1. Professional athletes lose their contracts around age 30. High level amatures done at forty. Low level at 50 .Dillusionals at 60. So I do take comfort and thank the Powers that be for every ride.

  8. I have always loved riding my bike, I’ve never been particularly athletic so when I have competed the results have never been spectacular. So being fifty and being still able to ride makes me very happy. I do have to say after reading your near death experiences riding the BWR, it pushed me of the edge to signing up, and I’m having a great time rolling in mid pack in gravel events.

    1. It’s like they say. You better have fun on the journey, because the destination isn’t pleasant.

    1. That when the 70-ish crowd berates you for complaining about your golden youth.

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