Apparently suffering from some form of cognitive deficiency, I have miserably failed during these twelve years to alter in any fashion my obviously inadvisable conditioning strategy to prepare for the trip, i.e., doing absolutely nothing.
|Little Cottonwood Canyon|
Being swim fit or cycling fit (okay, relatively cycling fit) is good for cardiovascular and general health, but almost every athletic endeavor employs a unique set of muscles, stresses a different combination of joints, tendons, and ligaments. And so it is from a position of some considerable experience that I tell you not to engage in physical exercise, any physical exercise, for six or seven hours a day for five days in a row, once a year, without any targeted conditioning. You can do it. Hell, I've stupidly done it for twelve years. But you'll pay for it. Think about riding a bike only once a year for five days, six hours a day. Exactly. Also please remember that skiing, for me at least, almost always includes a few high-speed, out-of-control tumbles on hard, icy, packed snow, disguised as a steep but soft and fluffy playground by a light dusting of newly fallen snow.
I have been cognizant for several years now that a few of my parts are aging faster than others, and this fact is brought freshly to the forefront of my consciousness every year at the end of my trip to Alta. My neck, with its anterior osteophytic bridge across the collapsed C5/C6 disc space, is immobile and aching, my right shoulder, subjected for years to intermittent cortisone injections, screams when I lift my arm, the iliotibial band in my left knee is sore, and god knows what's going on with my right hip. These disabling impairments went amazingly unnoticed while frolicking on the slopes of Alta, but loudly announced themselves while disembarking from the three-hour flight home late Sunday night.
All of this is a long way of admitting that I didn't swim on Monday or Wednesday and didn't ride on Tuesday, until finally, driven by guilt and aided by a steady, copious consumption of NSAIDs, I dragged out the bike for the Thursday levee ride.
First I should note the ride was NHL. It was reported to me yesterday that HL, like me, has largely absented himself from the levee these past three weeks only after announcing that he was giving up surging for lent. For HL, giving up surging may well be the same as giving up riding. You've got to love HL. I do. And I love riding with him, except when I'm riding with him.
|After the Turn|
We had been joined west of the Big Dip by the trio from Destrehan, whose fresh legs pressured all
|Butterweed on Batture|
All day yesterday I was constantly reminded of the limitations of modern pharmaceuticals by a renewed intensity of the twinges and aches which are this year's souvenirs from northern Utah.
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