now is a good time to panic

the odyssey

Recently (since my breakup) I have become a woman without the use of a car. This is no big deal, but it is pretty inconvenient. My only current obligation in life is on Wednesday mornings (if you’ll recall Therapy Day) from 0900-1200 at the VA. Other than that, my life is pretty mellow. I have been slacking off on my workouts, though.

Jeff and Kathy’s house is located as far away from the gym as you can possibly get and still be on base. It’s too far to walk, but not far enough to justify taking the bus. When I asked for ideas on Sunday night, Jeff told me that he had an old bicycle somewhere in the garage that I was welcome to. After dinner the two of us went outside to unearth it. When we pulled it out (it required a joint effort), we both started laughing. It weighed about 600lbs, was covered in rust, the cushioned seat had solidified into a rock, the rear rim was bent to hell, and both tires were completely flat. He lifted it into the bed of the truck, and we went to put air in the tires.

The class 6 (on base gas station/convenience store) closest to us had a broken air machine, so back into the truck. The other one, coincidentally located next to the gym, was working fine, so we put air in the tires and headed home. Jeff took the bike down out of the truck bed and ‘wheeled’ it back to the garage. ‘Wheeled’ is in quotation marks because the word ‘wheeled’ indicates a smooth motion… this was more of a ‘squeaked and wobbled’. After banging around on it for a few minutes, 2/3 of a can of spray grease, a deteriorating gel seat pad, and several test runs, he declared it safe. Well, safe enough. In his words ‘you probably won’t die if you ride this’. Awesome.

Since I’ll be riding this bike on base, I need a helmet. Jeff told me that the only helmet he had was his old clunky black plastic one from skydiving. I declined. Instead, Kathy’s neighbor donated a plain black thrift store bike helmet to the cause. Okay. Now we’re in business.

Before we go any further, I want to explain that I have many positive memories involving bicycles. My first bike was a Christmas present from my parents and it was a blueish lavender with a rainbow on it, white rubber handles, and streamers. My dad put it together for me and then taught me how to ride it while my mom stood nearby, taking pictures and offering moral support (more for my dad than for me, I think). I rode the hell out of that bike. I later went on plenty of family bike rides, and have done years and years of spin classes.

Bike + Katie = happytime.

Bright and early Monday morning (well, 0830 IS early if you’re retired, thank you very much) I got dressed for the gym. I threw my cell phone, wallet, and a water bottle into a backpack (that I also borrowed from Jeff), and got on the bike.

Holy. Shitballs.

I hadn’t even reached the end of the block before coming to the realization that this was a huge mistake. I remember this shit being so easy when I was 10… what the hell happened? Now it’s straight up WORK. Since I’ve already started, I’m going to do this, damnit. I used my stubbornness (and a lot of cussing) to actually make it to the gym. I locked Jeff’s bike, went inside, showed my id card, went to the ladies room, and promptly threw up. When I was finished, I rinsed out my mouth, splashed water on my face, and went to work out.

The routine of the day was chest and triceps. Normally my favorite day, I trudged through my workout. I was already exhausted, thinking only of how much I dreaded getting back on that damned bike. Finally, I could put it off no longer. I thought about calling Kathy to come and get me, but that’s ridiculous. I have faced down much worse, and I’m sure that I will again. It’s time to pull up my big girl spanx and get this thing over with. I shouldered my (Jeff’s) backpack, and strode confidently out the doors of the gym.

Which was stupid.

I should have stayed inside where it was safe and air conditioned.

Halfway through my trip back home, the alarm on my phone began chiming, giving me a welcome excuse to stop under a shady tree and root around in the backpack to turn it off. I think this is all that saved me from throwing up again. After my short break, I got back on the road and started for home again. Once I hit the residential area that Jeff and Kathy’s home is in, I seriously considered getting off and walking the bike the rest of the way. NO. I berated myself into pressing on until the house was in sight. I coasted all the way to the front door, shakily dismounted and propped the bike up, and then stumbled into the house.

I was covered in sweat and shaking. Kathy was sitting on the sofa with Mopar, and she stared at me with her mouth open, concerned. I flopped forward onto the massive 5 ft lovesac beanbag, unable to stand up and talk to her. Mopar immediately ran to me, shoving his face down the front of my sports bra in order to lick the sweat that was pouring off of me. Freaky ass mutt. I finally pushed myself up, and went upstairs, where I promptly laid down on my bed and waited to die.

About 15 minutes later, I figured that the death I welcomed was not forthcoming, and I managed to take a shower. Kathy made me leave the door open because she thought for sure that she would be called in to assist when I collapsed. I actually brought my water bottle into the shower with me (that’s what the little corner shelves are there for, right? Right.), and carried it around with me for the rest of the day. I could not get enough water.

Now it’s been two days and my ass is STILL sore from that seat. I’m DREADING tomorrow’s trek back to the gym, but I’m going to do this, damnit. That stupid bike will not win. I am smarter than the bike.

Unless it kills me… then the bike wins.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You’ll rock it!!! I’m proud of you lady. Kick some ass! :D

Comment by Dawn Montgomery

Awesome job! I think you should post a picture of this bike.

Comment by triing2survive

Well, I am proud of you darling. Perseverence is a trait I admire. It may take you awhile to get used to the ride. Shorter rides around the neighborhood might help. Either way, you cannot live with less than your best, I know so trust your plan to suceed. You always do!
You Mama:)

Comment by Susan

Katie just an f y I that’s my bike Do you really think jeffs ass would get on 1. I love to hear your explanation of how difficult it was To ride the bike to the gym. As you can tell I have not got on it in like a year. And just wondering if I bought you white handles and some streamers would that make you feel better. Oh and I can paint you a rainbow on it. Maybe the rainbow will give you super powers Like it did when you were a kid. Just trying to help! Xoxo

Comment by Kathy

I have good news, My bike has been in the repair shop for almost three weeks and Saturday we picked it up. It was hot and buggy, so I did not ride, today was cold and rainy, i hope I cna ride tomorrow, I hope I can walk after the event. I don’t plan to do the 13 miles trip to the lighthouse my first day back in months, but soon. I hear you darlin’

Comment by Mom

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