Friday, June 18, 2010

Riding Wildfire for the First Time

It was a horse who had been neglected and forgotten for so long. She was cooped up in a tiny stable, unable to run for ages. Today she tasted some freedom, and the rush thrilled her. The first few strides were tentative, even wobbly like a newborn horse. I brought “Shade” next to the runway at the airport. We stayed there for a while and as those planes took off and landed I think both of our pulses quickened. Especially as a small jet’s engine whined with power as it took off like a rocket in almost vertical assent.

I had planned a six mile ride, for both of us to get use to each other. I was on a new saddle seat that was like a rock and with every bump in the road it jarred me to the bone.

If you haven’t caught on, this isn’t a horse… but rather an old eighties 10-speed road bike I’ve been trying to get back to functional for a while now. It’s a whole new riding position, as I try to keep adjusting my hands on the “reins”, those curly handlebars will take some getting use to as well as the feeling like I’m riding in the fetal position.

I used the horse analogy here because it was such an odd ride, but in an exciting way. As I said at first I was just trying to adjust. As I explored the gears a bit I started pumping my legs, pom pom pom. It was like an old horse just set free after being tied up for so long. Suddenly I started really rocketing, “she” wanted to run free and wild! I went so fast for a short burst I actually got scared. I’ve stripped the bike for weight of about just about everything not essential so I don’t have a speedometer on it to say how high it got up to.

But it was like an old horse just set free in another way too. After a mile sprint my body screamed to slow down. By the two and three mile mark it was back to a easy gait trot. I headed back to put it in my car. It’s going to take time for my body to adjust to the increased pull of aerobic capacity and also my muscles building up for the new riding position. Almost like an old horse that had to start out slow again, but got so over thrilled to be able to run once more.

To get Shade back to my car I had a short steep hill to climb. I was spent but didn’t want to walk much so I made a run on the flat before the hill figuring I’d stop half way up and walk it the rest. It was almost like she wanted one more sprint before going back in the stable of the back of my car. I zipped up the hill so far I just thought, just keep riding… and I did all the way back to the car up that hill.

I didn’t hit 6 miles, more like 4... But sometimes you don’t make your goals… somehow you make something even better. I got to my car and glanced down at my shirt. To use one last horse analogy… I was the one ridden hard and put away wet. Nice. It amazes me to think about how a year or so ago I wouldn’t even dream or even think about trying some of this stuff.

Well as that song goes, it looks like I “got a ticket to ride”… but unlike that girl, I care.

Speaking of songs…at the Foolsfitness gym that old song “Wildfire” plays on the speakers often. Actually as a kid it was one of my favorite songs.-Alan


  1. Oh, I loved this! The way you write, I can just see it, and feel the wind and the bike almost seemed like a "real" person, or horse as it were, with emotions. What great writing, Alan.

    "I didn’t hit 6 miles, more like 4... But sometimes you don’t make your goals… somehow you make something even better."

    For some reason, this whole post just got me.


  2. Alan, You are hilarious! Do yourself a favor and get the most expensive bike you can afford! I swear to you worth every single penny!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for your comment on my blog this morning , cracked me up and inspired me all at the same time!
    Have a Handsome day! ( I usually say pretty)

  3. I remember those bikes!! It was the first type I rode after graduating from the old banana seat style with no gears :)

  4. Hi Alan. That saddle looks miniscule! Having tried those handlebars many moons ago I can say that cycling in that position - so bent over - made me feel sick. So I'm full of admiration for you on your stead! 4 miles is pretty good going.

    "ridden hard and put away wet" lol. You want to be careful writing stuff like that young man! ;)

    Bearfriend xx

  5. Only a Brit would want to swim when it's that cold.

    Or a child. We used to swim all year round in the sea but I'm totally out of the habit ... read, won't wear my swim suit until I feel comfortably thinner.

    Thanks for visiting me. I love comments.


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