Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

20 December 2010

Pas de Randonnee

Today's only the first day of winter, at least officially. And I already have a case of the midwinter blues.

This year, we've had colder and windier weather earlier in the season than in any recent year, at least as I recall. But that doesn't usually affect my mood.  It is nearing the end of the semester and, as I told my brother, this time is for college instructors as tax season is to accountants. That means some sleepless nights and little time for anything besides work.

So, naturally, I haven't had much time to ride.  In times past, that's really gotten me down.  Tammy and Eva both used to say that they could tell I'd gone too long (for me, at least) without riding when I got annoyed with everything they said and did.  Of course, I annoyed pretty easily in those days anyway, and perhaps I still do.  But there was no denying that a lack of time in the saddle led to all sorts of moodiness.

In recent years, I've had two fairly lengthy spells without cycling.  One, of course, followed my surgery.  The other came during my first year of living as Justine.

The obvious answer is that I had so wanted to undergo my transition and surgery that I was willing to give up, at least for a time, cycling.  Actually, I didn't stop riding altogether during that first year: I simply did much less, mostly because of circumstance but somewhat out of choice.   I was, for the first time in a very long time, turning into a social creature and was mostly enjoying it.  As it happened, the people around whom I was spending a lot of time weren't cyclists.   And I made no effort to "convert" them.

For about four months after my surgery, I simply couldn't ride.  In the beginning, I couldn't have even lifted any of my bikes, or much of anything weighing more than a  couple of books in a bookbag or knapsack.  Before the surgery, I knew that my recovery would be spent off the bike.  So, I guess, I was menatally ready for it.  

You might also say that my work at the college is an extenuating circumstance.  Indeed it is.  But in some weird way, even though the end of the semester is almost here, it still seems even further away than getting on my bike again seemed the day after my surgery.

I'm not the only one to get the no-biking blues.  Back in my racing days, a fellow racer told me he felt became really depressed when an injury kept him off his bike for a few months.  At one point, the doctor told him that he would never ride again.  At that point, he said, he seriously thought about killing himself.

Recently I did a Google search and found that he's not only still alive; he's still racing in the senior category.  (He's about three or four years older than I am.)  And he's an independent businessman.

Dear Readers, do you get depressed when you can't ride for extended periods of time?  

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