Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stockholm Syndrome

It doesn't even hurt anymore. I can see bikes on cars, read Facebook status reports, blogs, crew emails about awesome rides, heck I even drove by Tom Brown and didn't cuss or punch my steering wheel.

I am just like those bad dogs Cesar Millan fixes. He gets em on the leash and they go nuts, for a little while. He stands there like a stone wall, and waits. Eventually they respond to his every "CHISSH!" like good little domesticated bitches (if they are female dogs). All that fire goes away and they break to the leash, and embrace the collar.

Just the other day, I remarked on what a nice bike a guy had. Boy he sure looked fast. I just attained the 170lb mark, the very same weight that caused the massive pre-stroke, diet and exercise frenzy. It's cool, I need the extra insulation for the winter. By the way: I recently found out your house and yard look good if you do stuff to them. Life is just SWELL! The trainer? Rode it twice last week. Walking? I did that too (a couple times). Swimming? Sticking with it, though you'd never know by looking at my waistline, it's expanding like the universe.

Go ahead and ride you BASTARDS! See if I give a levitating, steaming heap!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Time The Avenger

For some reason I thought I was a lot closer to the day I could ride again. As I filled in my calender, to keep track of the yards per week I am swimming, I noticed an abundance of weeks. I was off by about five weeks. I have thirteen more to go (before getting off the demon coumadin) and fourteen before I can ride.

I am gaining weight. About ten pounds since the meteor hit my medulla oblongata. I am riding the trainer. I am walking. I am doing these things nearly every night. My goal was to ride the trainer the same amount of time I am swimming (about five hours a week). The total would give me ten hours of vigorous work out. I also walk about eight hours a week with my wife and still the weight is packing on. It has been three months today since my "event" and I have three months, one week to go before I can ride.

For some reason I am not mentally beaten up anymore. Being pissed off and bitter is a tiresome enterprise (even for a career pro like me). So I guess I finally wore myself out, and moved forward with out realizing it. My friends and family have been holding me up, like a hipster in a mosh pit. It's kind of hard to be bummed, when you are surrounded by good people.

I had a great time time watching the cyclocross race this weekend. Nothing is more fun than yelling like a soccer hooligan, at guys running up stairs, carrying bicycles. It all felt like "Lord of the Flies" and it was damn therapeutic. The fun stopped at 5:00 a.m. this morning. The reset button takes no prisoners. I usually swim 2000 yards. I was about to quit at 1500 when I got to the wall, looked up and realized I was in lane #5. Like an echo from the angry mob and the cross race, I heard the voices yell:

"Rule #5! Harden the F#*+ UP!!!!!"

It is very hard to laugh and swim at the same time.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


After an hour of sick babies that can't be consoled, I put on my head phones. My wife smiles knowingly, she wondered when I would crack. She has the patience of a saint. Dylan, a down syndrome boy, has found a ball. I wish with all my blessings, that I could be that happy about anything. He cajoles the Latin boy with the heart transplant, into a game of catch. Soon the game is completely out of control and people in the waiting room are taking shots to the head and body. It would be annoying if Dylan wasn't so happy. The ball rolls to the twenty year old guy, with a horse shoe shaped scar on his shaved head. He looks like he just won the lotto. His smile turns on and he holds out the ball for Dylan. Dylan whoops with excitement and runs to the kid with the scar. He climbs in his lap and hugs him with all the strength of his ten year old arms. Everyone in the room is watching and smiling, except Dylan's parents. They are exhausted and worried.

A group of guys that look like gang extras from an inner city docudrama, are playing cards. They seem like thugs until one speaks to another about how well he is learning the game. The meanest looking one of them all, has the kindest voice in the room. He starts to deal the cards and they all pick up their hands. The ball hits in the middle of the table and the cards are dispersed. They all smile at Dylan, and resume play without talking.

A guy two seats over is about my age and I ask if he had a P.F.O. We exchange stories and figure out we are both cyclists. He had his stroke in July, mine was in August. We had our heart surgery the same week. We talk about cycling and how much it means to us. He's getting off coumadin in a few weeks. I am jealous. I won't be off for four months, all because of a condition, I do not have. One misdiagnosis, cost me a whole season. Jeff and I talk like Nam vets and exchange info. He invites me to come ride in Tampa, when I get off thinners. He admits he is riding against doctors orders, because he just couldn't take it anymore. Thirty to forty miles a week on the road is keeping him sane for now, but he really misses his mountain bike. I nod and feel like someone gets it for the first time in months.

Dylan goes back into the examining room and drags out a doctor. He lifts his shirt and motions for the Doctor to listen to his heart. The doctor plays along and tells him his heart sounds great. Dylan walks over to a man and starts trying to open his shirt. He wants the doctor to listen to his heart too. The room erupts with laughter. It is obvious to all of us, Dylan is an angel. A new kid comes in a wheel chair. Dylan runs full speed at him and his mother barley catches him, before he crashes into the kid. Dylan smiles and tries to hug him but the boy in the chair is very small and frail. His mother takes Dylan's hand and gently touches the other boy who smiles back. The heart transplant boy is on top of a counter. Dylan sees him and rushes off to the rescue.

I am the first one to the pool this morning. The fog swirls around the surface like dancers in Swan Lake. It's cold and I am tired. There are fifteen hundred yards in between me and self respect. The girl in the life guard stand is huddled up in a ball and she has no shoes. The old guy in the next lane laps me, as I count down the yards.

I wonder how Dylan is doing.


Thursday, November 4, 2010