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Sucking Wind

I didn’t think I had been off my bicycle for that long. It was April, and I hadn’t been on my bike since December, which for me is a long absence, but one I though I could recover from pretty easily. I had rode several miles of bicycle trails in Illinois/Missouri during my vacation, after all, and when I got my current bicycle, I hadn’t been riding in a couple of months at the time. But on my first ride after moving back, I was able to get to downtown Buffalo – about eight miles of slanted, sometimes hilly terrain – without too much trouble.

When I picked up my bike for my first ride in the Buffalo area for 2012, I had a much more difficult go of it. I had two strikes against me at the time: The first was that it was extremely windy, and the second was that my chain was in dire need of some grease – but, although I wasn’t setting out for the city that day, I barely made it a couple of miles before I began inhaling air by the liter. After struggling down the shorter stretch of Center Road – one of the flattest, straightest, and most easily bikeable stretches of asphalt outside the city itself – a nauseating feeling overcame me, and I suddenly struggled for a decent intake of air. Center Road has a very small strip mall at the closer end, just before it merges with Seneca Street, the street that goes into the city proper.

I was probably between a half mile and a mile from South Buffalo and I had to turn back. Ordinarily, that’s a ride I make very easily without breaking a hair on my head, let alone a lung.

Maybe the exercise I got during my recent month out of town – which was mainly distance walking, with a handful of bike rides in Saint Louis – wasn’t enough to compensate for my massive food intake during the time. I got addicted to biscuits, drank far more alcohol than my body is used to, and sampled several of the unique food staples in New Orleans – gumbo, Ambita, po’boys, and gris gris. I did that stereotyped New Orleans tourist thing in which, at one point, I was drunk and walking through the French Quarter at 3:30 AM back to where I was staying.

In spite of that, I would have figured my body would be better prepared for the bicycling season. It wasn’t like I was inactive during the winter months in which the weather and roads kept me off my bike. I ran virtually every day throughout January and February and covered a half mile up a 6.5 degree incline every morning before my shift began, while lifting weights and eating small doses of protein-rich foods immediately afterward. When my assignment ended and I kept putting off my normal pushup routine, my arms didn’t suffer quite so much when I began it again.

I’m hoping to do the Ride for Roswell if I can scrap up the necessary $150 in donations. I was originally planning to tackle the Century course, but that seems out of the question now, and not just because of its insane starting time.

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About Nicholas Croston

I like to think. A lot. I like to question, challenge, and totally shock and unnerve people. I am a contrarian - whatever you stand for, I'm against.

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