Back in the Saddle

By Beacon Staff

I’m pushing 30, now accustomed to the creaks and pops that accompany inconsistent exertion. I stare at a computer much of the day, sit with poor posture and, aside from the occasional Nerf basketball game, get little consistent exercise.

In any startup business environment, there are scarce hours to schedule in a yoga, pilates, or yogalates class (although I have ordered a video that teaches all three). Instead I remain stationary for long stretches, which results in quick movements blowing knees and kinking necks.

So I bought a jet-black bicycle at the Ski Haus, eager to become limber, look cool and tackle the plethora of Flathead Valley trails. You may have seen me this past weekend – I was the one, pedaling mad, wearing the confused face.

The pain confused me. I am familiar with easing back in the saddle – whether with a bicycle, snowboard, or softball mitt – and instantaneously regaining the ability I once had at each. Proof to the contrary surfaced last year at Big Sky ski resort when I performed five perfect cartwheels in a row after catching an edge on a run marked by a green circle. It took several months of self-pity to recover.

This newer saddle, this black bike that matches my black helmet, is a more daunting challenge because I just began pedaling after a 10-year hiatus. While the expression, “it’s like riding a bike,” is true – once training wheels are unhinged they remain so – the muscles used to push those pedals have a shorter memory.

The Flathead, a picturesque valley filled with people (at least in Kalispell) who don’t judge, is a prime location to stretch out rusty joints on a bicycle, kayak or pair of skis. I chose the former.

I spent much of this past weekend in fluorescent yellow shorts, a T-shirt with cutoff sleeves and mud on my eyeglasses. I’m losing more than my limberness as 30 approaches; style and narcissism have also faded. Good thing I’ve improved at maintaining indifference.

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