Saturday, February 6, 2016

Good Bye to a Beloved Riding Partner

“In the short run, technology many be more efficient than man, but it will never be perfect. Every piece of equipment will eventually reveal an error code. In the long run, man will never be perfect, but prove to be more reliable than technology.”
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

The telltale rattle and erratic power surges were inescapable evidence not of decay or decline, but of destruction. It behaved as does any machine when wear and tear have deprived it of usefulness, a once-proud device now a collection of parts.

My turbo trainer was damaged beyond repair.

It took almost twenty years to break it. I've not been entirely faithful, cheating (after a fashion) with spin bikes and electronic trainers. It sits for eight or nine months a year, retrieved and resurrected as snowy weather makes riding both dangerous and uncomfortable. 

It served a useful life. It saw me through several rehab periods, including one on the heels of a spectacular wreck. I built fitness for a number of events. Turbo training is mind-numbing, but there is no denying its usefulness. Watching TV while on the thing is to double up on virtues - riding positions true to the coming summer, and being less slug-like about viewing habits. A favorite DVD and an hour of riding. The Broncos or Rockies. Bobby Flay.

We had a tough moment together, several years ago. I'd found a heart rate book that contained proven workouts. It had remained hidden in boxes we'd not yet unpacked after moving. I hungrily set up to ride, heart rate monitor in place. I could read neither the book, nor the monitor, without reading glasses. Undeterred, I got started. Seeing my reflection in the old man with gray hair and reading glasses chugging along, going now where. It seemed metaphorical.

The new one arrived this week, complete with sweat tray and front wheel block. A transient upper respiratory born of long hours, stress and prolonged exposure to single-digit temperatures may keep me from doing more than assembling it. Nevertheless...

I have learned one thing about my riding partner. Take an angle on the TV. That way, I can't see my own reflection.

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