Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Pineywoods Purgatory 25 mile ride or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Long Distance Bike Ride

After months of not posting I finally have something worth posting about:

A good friend asked me if I wanted to attempt the Pineywoods Purgatory 25 mile ride.  To our mutual surprise, "Yes, I do want to".  I wanted to a lot.  The next day, when I was sober, it dawned on me that I had no idea what I had drunkenly agreed to and immediately began to think of reasons to weasel out (yeah, pretty much what I do when I agree to do things when I'm drunk) and then, I didn't want to weasel out of this.  I did not know if I could do it or what it entailed or...I went through the self-doubt rolodex.

A few weeks passed and I poked around on the internet for reviews of the ride, tips for riding your first 25 mile ride, yadda, yadda, yadda.  98% of what I found was, for  my tastes, useless information. There were articles for cyclists (y'know, people who ride 25 miles as their warm-up).  There were articles for women who wanted to train for their first long ride but who trained and went a gym and balanced bicycling with their lifestyles.  Then last week I threw some numbers around about what I have been biking each week (roughly 35 miles) since the middle of March 2014.  So with maths, roughly 840 miles in six months from my new home to work and back and around town.  Downside is I still smoke like a fish and drink like a chimney but hey, bicycling and new found confidence that I could potentially complete a 25 mile ride without dropping dead or vomiting blood or both.

In the last week people have been asking me, "Why are you riding 25 miles?"  Mostly with incredulity, though I'm not sure if they wonder why someone would ride that far in one go or if they wonder why the hell I would do it (most people seem to think that I hate everything, up to and including most physical activities people think of as "fun").  My initial response was honest and far from snarky, "I never do anything, I've never done anything like this before, and I want to see if I can do this."  Then I would say something snarky to make them feel more at ease.

My friend picked me up this morning at 6:30am.  Loaded up the bikes and gear and drove down to Lufkin for the ride.  Yeah, I was nervous over the last couple of days and last night I asked, "What the fuck did I talk myself into?"  That early on Saturday morning after only a few hours of little kid Christmas Eve sleep, I wasn't nervous I was on autopilot.  He offered much needed advice and suggestions on riding etiquette and cadence & pacing.
Around 7:30am
My biking outfit consisted of khakis (hems tucked into socks ride to work style), Stewart plaid Doc Martens (purchased in 1996), my smelly hat, borrowed bike gloves, new underclothes (second time wearing boxer briefs in my entire life), and an electric blue too-tight shirt I bought from Goodwill last Thursday for $3.99.  Riding a 7.3 FX Trek (gifted back in May '14 by same friend who invited me to this ride).

I joked that if I died, I wanted to have a last cigarette.
A couple of minutes before lining up to set off.  
I have to admit that I felt an old, sadly familiar, Hooligan Youth feeling watching and looking at most of the other riders.  Self-conscious, woefully inexperienced, poor, and not sure if I should really be there at all. Then that surge of, "I'm going to kick ass just out of spite."  Nerves really hit me when  my friend and I got queued up - thankfully near the back.  I didn't have to recite the  "Litany of Fear" but I had to consciously keep my breath regulated.

Then it was time to set off.  I almost hit a firetruck bumper trying to get my left shoe in the strap and not crash into anyone.  Out of the parking lot, took a right, and had some goddamned fun.

I funned all over the place.
I swear to God, I had all the funs.  Except for...well, I can't tell you.
There was one point I had to dismount but other than that I did solid (mostly).  Awesome ride with excellent company.  The rest stops were well stocked and the second rest stop had ibuprofen, bananas, and pickles.

The riders on the 25 ranged from little kids to not so little kids.  Was kind of awesome to catch up to a little kid in full rider gear kicking ass, okay she had two support trucks but still she was beasting. Mother and son in the last third with us, the son was on a Specialized and we hit this hill that suuuuuuucked. He and I were just bitching but fun bitching and picking on one another.  Some older guys (than us by twenty years) who started with us were doing the 50 ride.  Woman at the second rest stop looked at me and said, "You've got the bug now." (paraphrase).  Apparently I shifted into my standard bicycling cussing at one point in the ride, which cracked another rider up.  I also became self-conscious of how I talk to my bike to help me through tough spots.  Hell, I do the same thing in EVE...

Despite being outside of my comfort zone with a completely new experience I had an awesome time. This kind of ride was far different than the aggro-blitz I do to work and back and I always kept that in mind.  There were a couple of points I opened up or was seriously tempted to or give into rage and berserker stretches (like I do normally).

End result.
Yeah, I've got the bug and a goal.  This time next year I want to do the 50.

I'm still gonna smoke a smoke before the ride.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yeah, I'm still not dead and neither is HYR:

"The days go on and on... they don't end. 
All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. 
I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, 
I believe that one should become a person like other people."
- Taxi Driver (1976)

Been a long while since I posted anything besides on the Hooligan Youth facebook page, I know.  There's been a heavy funk fog settled in here at HYR headquarters for the last few months (and no, I don't mean gamer stink and cigarette smoke).  I haven't posted because, frankly, I didn't have anything going on that was worth more than a sound byte and I have been depressed as hell.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not tra-la-la-la, "Nobody gonna break my stride" right now - I'm still on the razor's edge of living off of the good graces of friends and thinking navel-gazing morbid thoughts.  It's just, well, I'm at the start of the up-swing from the opening quote.

Moxie & I are moving into a historical home with an excellent family of friends (one family but I'm friends with all of them) in the next two weeks.

Positive aspects about this life change:

  • Moxie will have a bunch of other cats to hang out with (indoors).
  • The depression plaguing me for the last year (or so) has been replaced by my preferred mental mode of pragmatic logistics (thank you, three years of EVE and over three decades of gaming for this neural mapping).
  • My daily commute mileage will be doubled.  I'm gonna get wicked shredded.
  • If I do die in my sleep (in the next year or so), someone will notice sooner than later.  I had a really bad night a few weeks ago, when I couldn't sleep and my brain was just being a total dick and I started thinking about being dead and CSI gross and an inconvenience and Moxie has eaten chunks of my face (and is all psycho and like Church at the end of the book and has to be put down) and the corpse that was left, unnoticed, in a car back in Austin on North Loop in the parking lot of our apartment complex and the stench of death was horrible but all of us neighbors were all like, "God, what is that smell? Smells like something died." (Seriously, before Amanda and I moved to Nac in 08, that summer, a corpse was in a car in the summer heat - it smelled worse than my Grandfather's dog who loved to roll on carcasses).  
  • The house has two kitchens.
  • I'm looking forward to min/maxing my stuff into more or less one  room.  It's not that I own a lot (thank god I never wanted to buy a sofa, thank you Fight Club) but I have a good amount of stuff I've lugged around for years that I haven't looked at (or listened to or read or used) in years.  Maybe it's time to just shitcan that stuff.
At this juncture all I have for a cribbed closing is, "This is this."

I hope that all of you fine folks are safe and doing well and not letting the bastards grind you down.

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