I’m not going to do the STP this year. Last night I sent the request to The Cascade Bicycle Club for a refund. Today was the deadline — I can expect to get about three-quarters of my money back (a whopping $70.00). I also cancelled my Portland hotel reservation. The penalty for this was a bit more substantial; the cost that comes with giving up my post ride accommodations will be about $133.00. Grand total: $203.00. That’s how much I’m paying to not ride the STP. I would like to tell you that it was a tough decision, but it wasn’t. Back in January I was feeling pretty good and I was reasonably confident that I could maintain a training schedule that would make my one-day/two-hundred-mile experience a good one. This goal — to have a long, but pleasant bicycle ride — was dependent on two semi-related “sub-objectives”: 1.) I must spend multiple miles in the saddle and 2.) the loss of substantial weight is critical. I failed miserably at my attempts to complete both of these tasks…but I have reasons. Are they valid? I will let you judge.
For the first part of the failure equation — lack of “miles in the saddle” or “why didn’t I ride?” — this is probably the more difficult question to answer. I think it is appropriate to preface my answer with a very general retort: life got in the way. To be more specific…I got a new job which lead to major scheduling changes. Also, and don’t take this the wrong way, going from patient care to a new academic career is HARD! I mean, I love it but the transition hasn’t been the smoothest. This means working late hours and weekends. I prioritized the bicycle and my training right out of my life. Also, my house flooded and I’ve been dealing with that. I had to get some more ENT surgery (DAMN YOU, CANCER!), my back was bothering me, and the Fall/Winter TV network schedule was AWESOME (did you guys watch “Supernatural”? What’s up with Castiel!?!?). I realize that sometimes you have to make time but after retiring my tolerance level for making excuses was pretty close to zero. And it was pretty easy to capitalize on that fact.
Part two: weight loss. I am going to pass the buck here…the calories in/calories out, high-carb/low-fat, eat in moderation diets are all failures. In retrospect, my “zero-tolerance for getting out and exercising” is probably directly related to the semi-starved state I lived in for four months. Frustration is the only reward that comes following multiple go-arounds on the “attempt and failure cycle.” The application of the conventional wisdom — eating small meals made up of carbohydrate rich foods and never exceeding a certain calorie “line in the sand” — followed by minimal weight losses with the occasional gain is enough to make any obese individual throw in the towel. My weight hung around 250 like a levitating elephant. “There are no strings, chains, or ropes…every effort has been made to get the magically floating pachyderm down…but it defies all attempts and continues to hover. He seems nonplussed.” Why bother? Why live constantly irritated by my own recalcitrant mass? Its rhetorical, but I know there’s still answer (which I will expand on in a later post).
So, like a climber in over his head, I’ve paid my way to the base of Everest only to stare up at the intimidatingly rocky mass and utter the words, “nah, fuck that!” As of today my Sherpa starts hauling my crap back to Katmandu. I’ll be back next year and I WILL BE READY to climb the mountain then.