I haven’t posted in a very long time for four simple reasons: New job, Two cancers for the wife, New house move. Those ordeals spanned twenty months.

First, she’s fine. Within eight months she was in remission. We are incredibly fortunate to find them at such low stages. One can still be at stage zero and feel regularly tired.

Life does many things to the middle-aged man trying to establish a routine. Regular exercise. Improvements toward goal reaching. Expecting and enjoying the sore after effects that tell the mind you’re doing a good job. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t feel anything.

In my last post about the Soma Smoothie, I discussed riding it the first time after the build and after my new job training. Up until that point, I had more focused on getting ready for a job fair, then preparing for the interview, then preparing to go into training hitting the ground running. Then I had a new schedule and it was fall going into winter. Six months into the new job the cancer was revealed so I spent more time in doctors’ offices and not on the bike. Papers were simultaneously signed for a new house down the road so we also had to start packing for the fall move. Delays for the house meant renting an apartment with my bikes in the back of a storage unit for 4 months. That was 2017. Holidays happened right after the move.

So I got to discover something else. Where fat re-appears after adding muscle. The gut. NOW I understand the beer gut on a working man skilled in physical labor. Where before I just had a layer of a blubberific shape resembling a stature more inline with a football, I now was accumulating a more centered mass. The lowest I ever hit in all this was 199 pounds in May of 2014 and hovered from that to 205 until early ’16.

Illness was a bad one this past winter. I had strep for the first time since I was five. I had a vacation in January, three weeks, and made plans for miles, but got sick again. There were ten days of health packed into six weeks. I tried to start again in March but I really didn’t feel it. I was beaten down by all of it. Several people who have worked out their whole life or trained for the sport since birth kept telling me the same crap. Exercise makes you feel better and is a great escape from the problems and a way to reset your mind. Well, I agree on one hand, but on the other hand, this was all coming from people who were never out of shape and didn’t spend the first half of their life convinced they were doing fine without the extra work wasting time.

So in the end, I realized that I was more creative and productive than I ever was in life when I was regularly on the bike. The short stories were coming on strong, I had started a longer piece of fiction with potential. I really had something going on beyond work and a paycheck and dreams. Things were achievable instead of just things happening.

I’m giving myself the Boulder-Roubaix race as the goal. It’s in April. Today is August. I’ve only been back on the bike a few times in the last two weeks but with a seriously tiny gas tank and no volume at all, I blitzed  32 miles at heart rates I probably shouldn’t have sustained for as long as I did (especially considering the average speed for that effort is less than what I had grown accustomed to.) I’m 44 now. I think results will be good If I can sustain the efforts and remind myself what happens when I don’t. The job schedule is more predictable now, and I have the time.

So it’s time to get it on.

And the Soma Smoothie? It’ still a great bike. Same parts. Great fast cruiser. Awesome choice for a long day out and about, and quite capable of a century or so. 2019 for me should see that Smoothie on a 100-mile ride involving the top of Rocky Mountain National Park, however, their recent Fog Cutter piqued my interest for both the centuries and long gravel work, like say a super grinder…if you were to want a steel frame.