The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Friday, June 22, 2012

Riding for Fun and Money

Last fall, on the first day of my seventh charity bike ride for ALYN Hospital, I had an epiphany as I was climbing up Kochav HaYarden (Belvoir), the second of two back-to-back monsters. This one was a 3.5 miler with an average grade of 8%. It followed a 6.5 mile climb where the average grade was only 4%. The thought that went through my head was, “Why am I doing this? Is this really fun?” (Ironically, I was riding very well and it wasn’t an issue of my not being able to do the climbs).

At that point, I resolved that I was done. I would not do this again. By “this”, I mean train like a maniac so that I could climb maniacal hills for 5 days in a row.

On the other hand, I felt a responsibility. I have been able to raise between $25K and $33K for most of those rides. That’s not a small chunk of change and I found it hard to walk away from that.

That’s why I decided to do the Bike4Chai ride this year. While it is no walk in the park, the 150 miles over two days seemed manageable. I would be able to moderate my training while still doing the ride.

Then, while I wasn’t looking, they increased the mileage to 185 miles over two days, including 113 miles on the first day.

Moreover, the guys I’ve started riding with on Sundays who are also training for Bike4Chai are every bit as insane as the ALYN Challenge riders. They are also considerably younger and it’s sometimes hard to deal with their macho talk.

Yesterday, I took off a day off from work and rode with MHW up on the North Shore. It was her first real ride on her new road bike (and she's a natural; given a little time, she will be an amazing rider). I know I must be getting soft, but I enjoyed that ride more than just about any ride I’ve had in a long time, even though my heart rate wasn’t 90% of max and we were riding a couple of miles per hour slower than what I’m used to.

I am looking forward to the Bike4Chai ride. At the end of the day, I know it will be fun and I will raise a lot of money. But I won’t be sad when it’s over so that I can go back to riding when I want, how long I want, and how hard I want.

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