September 30, 2001
Maybe It's The Endolphins


Another thing that's keeping me sane right now?


I imagine there's some sort of fancy-pants chemical explanation for why we feel so much better after a prolonged, sweaty, semi-painful bike ride. The *exertion molecules* combine with the *perspiration molecules,* releasing a chain reaction of endolphins into the bloodstream and unilaterally relaxing the parallel flange indicators of the brain, thereby allowing toxic *anxiety molecules* to dissipate and be flushed away ... along with the *false hunger molecules* ... the *why-bother molecules* ... and the *feeling sorry for myself (when there are so many people with bigger problems than mine) molecules.*

Or maybe it's simpler than that. Maybe it's just good to get off our butts and get our hearts pounding on purpose, once in a while.

The 'how' of it isn't important, anyway. The 'how I look' of it isn't important. It doesn't matter that I'm not the strongest rider on the trail, or that I don't have the grooviest bike, or that more people are passing me than the other way around. It doesn't matter that The Dog-Walking People and The Baby-Stroller People and The Rollerblade-and-Cell-Phone People automatically hate anybody on a bike ... almost as much as they hate each other, I suspect. It doesn't matter that I don't think about anything particularly profound or important or helpful while I'm riding: mostly, as a matter of fact, I think about double bacon cheeseburgers.

It doesn't matter that I still have to push my Schwinn up the really steep hills occasionally.

It doesn't even matter that there are still plenty of days when I have to be coaxed onto the bike ... especially when I've had a spectacularly emotional week, and I'm feeling drained and vulnerable, and all I want to do is sit in bed in my pajamas all morning, drinking lukewarm coffee and watching "Face The Nation." It doesn't matter that even after six months on the bike, I still have to be pushed into it sometimes.

All I know for sure is that I go into each ride thinking This is pretty much the last thing in the world I want to be doing right now ...

... and I come out of it thinking This is the ONLY thing in the world I want to be doing right now.

throw a rock