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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

More medical research

This time last year I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Disturbed by the rise of my resting pulse from the mid-50's to the low 70's, and inspired by the writing of John Bingham, I took up the sport and had managed to run a couple of half-marathons, enjoying it immensely.

My research demonstrated an important kinesiological principle: every two miles run beyond ten miles requires a doubling of the effort (and misery) of running it. If running ten miles requires, say, 100 exertion units, then running twelve miles requires 200 units, fourteen miles requires 400 units, and so on.

By the time I reached sixteen miles I developed such a bad case of plantar faschiitis that I'm still not able to run any significant distance without paying for it in blood later in the day. The uncreative doctor that I am, I simply stopped exercising. Let's be honest; when you've had the joy of experiencing a road race of about 6,000 people (I was stationed strategically in the back so I could take in the entire spectacle), sweating it out on an elliptical machine becomes unbearable tedium.

Losing that endorphin surge only plunged me into deeper fits of melancholy. If I didn't resume exercise, I knew that no amount of Zoloft would pry me out of bed in the morning. My resting pulse, which had gotten down to 48 on very mellow days, crept up to the high 60's.

That's when I bought a mountain bike. The decision was not a carefully reasoned one in which I balanced the risk of mountain biking vs. that of road biking, or any some such. I didn't want to wear those sissy black spandex biking shorts. In my neighborhood, the rubes hunt those folks down for sport. It wasn't for me.

For those of you that contemplate taking up a dangerous sport in their 50's, I'd be happy to give you some pointers. I bought an entry level mountain bike at a real bike shop manned by buff salesmen with calves the size of my thighs. It wasn't terribly expensive, and had all the basic stuff: front end hydraulic suspension, cool knobby tires, 24 gears, genuine Shimano everything.

I failed to calculate (because I had no idea) the cost of the accessories, which have exceeded the cost of the stupid bike. Here is my running total so far:

Cost of a black helmet with red flames down the sides: $49.

Cost of fingerless riding gloves: $15.

Bicycle rack: $105.

Sissy black spandex biking shorts with an outer nylon shell so they look like ordinary shorts: $69.

Drab looking riding jersey (so I don't look too foolish): $45.

Under-the-seat storage bag: $15.

Self-sealing bike tube in case I have a flat: $5.

Tube of Pedro's lubricant: $5.

Nifty swift army-type tool with 18 different gizmos, none of which I know how to use:$39.

Tire irons: $5.

Bottle carrier: $3.

Bottle: $2.

Portable light-weight bike pump:$19.

Really cool-looking Smith sunglasses with interchangeable wrap-around lenses (to my daughters and their friends: do not dare tell Mom how much they cost or I'm a dead man): um, $109.

Camelback hydration system: $29 (on sale!).

LED's for night riding: $25.

Chain-degreasing tool: $29.

Cost of careening wildly down a narrow path so steep that no one in their right mind would even walk down it, then running into a mud flat so deep that for a moment I thought that I wouldn't be seen again until archaeologists in some future epoch encountered my fossilized remains, all while my son was busting a gut laughing: priceless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just bought a road bike, similar story. If you drop $900 on the bike though, the add-ons barely register.


4:08 PM  
Blogger JusPasenThru said...

Ouch! For that kind of money I could trade in my hardtail.

4:46 PM  

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