Back on the bike in Western MA
Time for an introduction.
I was one of those kids that had a derailleur bike back when the rage was StingRays. I rode all over the place even after I got my driver's license. In college, I took a part time job at an LBS and built up a nice Team Miyata. I found some friends who raced and rode fast and spent a lot of time with them. One day one of them encouraged me to try racing. I got my USCF license and fell in love with it. I spent six years racing, reaching Catagory 2 with several wins and podium finishes. I had a nasty wreck at a training race near Boston and suffered a major concussion. I wound up racing for the rest of the year and the next, but I didn't feel like myself. I had a full time engineering job by then and juggling it and racing at that level was overwhelming. I decided to take a year off and contemplate a downgrade, but I never went through with it. So I sold off all of my sponsor bikes, the fixed gear, and kept my custom, which I never rode again.
Fast forward 23 years to two years ago. During a physical, my doctor found an irregular heartbeat that my doctor thought was an MI. I was rushed to the hospital. The cardiologist put me through a stress test and declared that my heartbeat was normal, but my diet, conditioning, and cholesterol level were unacceptable. I spent time with a nutritionist and joined a local health club. The weights went well, and for a while, I was content with running on a treadmill. I got my cholesterol down into the low normal range, lost ten pounds, but started having hip and knee pain, even just sitting in a chair. I knew what the next step had to be. I had to get back on the bike.
Last month, I took the old custom down and dusted it off. I also hit some LBS's and looked at modern equipment. Although I appreciate classic bikes, and will probably own another one in the future, I decided to sell off the custom and get into new equipment. I did this mainly for two reasons. One, it is a motivator. Two, if I ever wanted to race again, I would need it. I cannot afford both right now.
I'm about 8 rides into the season and it feels like February used to feel back when I was racing. Everything hurts, but that's a good thing. I wish I had done this sooner, a lot sooner. I'm going on my first ride with another person tomorrow, which I am really looking forward to.
Thanks for listening.