Well, I sit here stumped. Mulling over several ideas to title this month’s High Sides, I have no idea. Yeah, I know what I want to write about. However, I don’t yet know what my point is.
I had been planning on riding the Jackhammer Enduro last year. I spent a few months seriously preparing for this. So seriously that I hired a personal trainer and started working out. I modified my diet to lean more towards the healthier side, all things being relative, including reducing my beer consumption. To my wife’s dismay I actually had ridden nearly every weekend for about two months. When it looked like George wasn’t going to make it I talked Brad into going with me.
In preparation, Brad and I went on several “practice” rides together. The weekend before the Jackhammer we went to Stonyford, where the actual event was to be held. We rode for about 6 hours and covered about 34 miles. Now keep in mind that most enduros are 70-100 miles and are intended to last 5-6 hours. During this ride we faced numerous hill climbs and steep descents. Brad crashed pretty hard on one of the down hills. While he wasn’t KO’d, he was knocked a little more senseless than usual. While we sat there trying to repair his busted throttle I commented “Life is making it very hard to pretend we’re not getting old.”
When we got back to the trucks I was feeling really good, despite the fact that we rode less than half the distance than we intended to. I think this was the first ride that I ended up physically feeling better than Brad did. Then, as it usually does, Life walked up and smacked me real hard up ‘long side my head. Actually it was in my chest.
Without going into much detail I began thinking that I was suffering from a second heart attack, the first one was five or six years ago. Well, once my wife got wind of this there was no chance of racing the next weekend. The months that followed sent my morale deeper and deeper in to a downhill spiral that affected every aspect of my life.
As it turned out, I did not have a heart attack, I was suffering from problems with arrhythmia. Oddly enough, this was caused by the caffeine in the PowerGel that I was eating. I normally don’t have caffeine and the quantities I was getting from several packs of PowerGel wasn’t good. After we confirmed I hadn’t had a heart attack, I discovered that I was also having liver problems. This has resulted in probably the biggest lifestyle change in my life (yes, even bigger than having kids). I had to give up drinking and have to partake of a low-fat diet.
At the time I started writing this article, last November, I was in decent shape (the best that I had been in years). I had lost some weight, was feeling good, and my riding was improving. In the months that followed, I quit riding, quit working out, gained a bunch of weight, and quit caring much about anything.
Well, sometime around April things changed. Several things came together all around the same time and my attitude changed. I started working out, dieting and losing weight. So far, I’ve lost between 30-35 lbs. I’ve started riding again, and am still improving. I’m sure I’m riding better than I ever have. I think it’s time to start racing again…