Results tagged “Cycling” from Bill's Words

On Two Wheels: Maniac


It was the song “Maniac” from Flashdance which was going through my head for the last part of yesterday’s ride. But more on that in a moment.

By way of introduction, my wife and I like to ride bicycles, though I use the term “like” differently for each of the two of us. I like to ride bicycles, used in the same way as one might say, “I like ice cream.” She, on the other hand, likes to ride bicycles, used in the same way as one might say “Lance Armstrong likes to ride bicycles.” or “Danica Patrick likes to race cars.” She likes riding bicycles so much because she is training for the Pan-Mass Challenge, a fundraiser of epic proportion for the Jimmy Fund. (Feel free to donate with this link.) It’s a giant fundraiser, but because it involves two days of bicycling—111 miles the first day and 90 the second—it’s not the kind of fundraiser one participates in lightly.

To ride this kind of ride, one goes from “liking” cycling to liking cycling. And that’s why we were out yesterday. Though she’s the only one riding in the PMC, I’ve been training right behind her. (Note about word choice to fellow cyclists: behind. She’s the one in training, after all…) And I have loved every minute of it, until yesterday.

Yesterday, we were out on a “taper” ride where we’re going from weekends of 150+ miles down to a weekend of only 100 miles. It was only going to be about 70 miles, and I knew I was in trouble from the start when my soundtrack took over.

I think I acquire a soundtrack in my head when it’s necessary to focus on something other than the task at hand. It distracts me from what I’m doing and makes it tolerable. And when “Back in the Saddle Again” started up in my head, I knew that taking two weeks off because of handlebar palsy was a huge mistake, no matter how good the reason, especially because I know only about 20 words of the total song.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t change the channel. It kept repeating, over and over, and I finally declared my disgust to T. She suggested I try Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” That was a good suggestion and got a chuckle. But I would have collapsed in fits of laughter if I hadn’t been cycling at the time when she suggested “Fat-Bottomed Girls.” (Remember, I said behind and, to be fair, she is not a fat-bottomed girl!) It was at that point that I was successful in replacing “Back in the…” with “Hot for Teacher.” It was the best I could come up with.

The ride didn’t get any better, though. I was struggling the whole time, and I knew I was beaten when she left me in her dust on the final hill climbs from Vernon to Tolland. These hills will give you a pretty good workout, and I was easily 1/4 mile behind her each time she stopped to wait for me under the guise of waiting for a traffic light. Worse, I was turning as best I could in my granny gear. But she wasn’t. She was almost completely cross-chained in her big ring and her almost-biggest cog. In short, and not-so-politely, she was kicking my ass.

That’s when the soundtrack went to “Maniac.” I was so impressed and so incredibly proud of her that I couldn’t help going to the refrain “She’s a maniac, maniac…” over and over. She was really doing it! She’d gone from a pretty soft cyclist (and a “pretty, soft cyclist,” too) to someone who was holding her own against the hills of Tolland. She wasn’t even winded, for Pete’s sake!

And that was the best part about yesterday’s ride. Though I was the one left in the dust, she had done one better: she had conquered Tolland’s hills. Will she be ready for the PMC? You betcha’!

Maniac… “Never stopping with her head against the wind,” indeed.

I sweat. You give. Do it now.


I’ll be riding in the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure on June 8th. It’ll be a great ride, but would be all that much the better if I actually raised some funds!

So go to this page and contribute to the cause and to the cure.

It’ll make you feel good. Really. Even if it’s only $5, it’ll make you feel good.

But it will make you feel a lot better if it’s $50.

And talk about euphoria! $500 will buy euphoria. Really.