In the Saddle: It ain’t so bad | AspenTimes.com

In the Saddle: It ain’t so bad

Grunting up to Four Corners on my mountain bike this weekend, my friends far ahead of me, I found it easy to fall into a pit of despair. The mental dialogue went a bit like this (it had to be mental, because I sure as heck wasn’t talking out loud):”Why didn’t I get on my bike more this summer?””That’s right … work, house, husband, two kids, blah, blah, blah.”Still, I have ridden some. So why, on a picture-perfect day for a spin through the Hunter Creek Valley, was the climb up that dusty road so darn hard? Maybe one ride a week with the occasional weekend odyssey just doesn’t cut it when you’re pushing 40.The conversation in my head continued:”Have I done anything remotely resembling exercise this week? Oh, that’s right. My ankle’s been the size of a grapefruit courtesy of a bee sting. So, no. And I probably shouldn’t have drank so many beers at the concert Friday night. And I definitely shouldn’t have hit the Grill Next Door for a greasy cheeseburger the next day. Ugh …”But I carried on – and up. And at the Four Corners junction I whined and whimpered and worried about just how many times I would crash screaming down the Plunge locked into my new clipless pedals.”The bruises from my last ride are just beginning to fade,” my brain warned.It was a sad sight, I have to admit. That is, until one of my fellow riders said simply:”As I was riding up, just enjoying our carefree day of playing around out here, all I could think of was those poor people down South.”And it struck me. If the most trying thing I have on my plate is a two-day hangover and the fear of falling off my bike cruising through the backcountry just outside my door, I have no right to complain. I have no right to do anything but pray for those less fortunate, do what I can to help from afar, and be grateful for all that I have – sweat, swearing and all.