Fountain of Youth

We’ve had three snowstorms in Madison in the past week. Sadly, I’ve not yet had time to ride my new CX bike out in the cold and wet. The office has been empty except for me and Steve, so it’s been busy, here. Janice is off on her honeymoon and Pete was up in the Twin Cities helping Scott with Cloudveil previews. The snow has been beckoning and so has my bike. But then again, the phone has been ringing and I’ve got a day-job to do. Such is life.

We had good reports from the Wisconsin CX Championships, which were held last weekend. I was out on Friday night with several riders who were planning on attending. Five inches of snow only made the appeal greater, so I hear that they all went out. The pics look great.

Today on the radio the big buzz was about how former Madison mayor Paul Soglin was dissing winter riders on his blog. In reality, it goes beyond “dissing.” He actually said that winter riders “should be shot.” Mayor Soglin was the youngest mayor in city history, and held the post for a long, long time. He was considered progressive, almost radical. After some rounds of back-and-forth about his comments on the morning radio, I was ready to come in here and write about how sad it is when people get old, fat, and cranky. Apparently, that’s what everybody’s saying, though. Old, fat, and cranky men are rising to his defense from everywhere. At this point, I don’t have much to add to either side of the argument.

My grandmother is eighty-eight years old. Until very recently, she was a drag-racer. She belongs to a car club that once or twice a year rents out the local racetrack and they have it out in their big touring sedans. Grandma Betty is fast! She has trophies and everything. I have pictures of her sitting in her Mercedes with a racing helmet on, in five-point suspension. My old mentor Monte Skinner just turned eighty; he bought new downhill skis to celebrate the occasion. He also took two big horse-trips into the mountains this fall to hunt elk, and he bagged one. I hardly believe it, but my friend Rob Stroud is in his sixties (you wouldn’t know it if you met him.) He gets injuries all the time that are more typical of men in their early twenties; he’s recovering now from wiping out on his in-line skates earlier this fall. I should mention that he’s an elite in-line racer, and he was taking his daily commute home on his skates and slipped on leaves while skating at high-speed. Meanwhile, at the age of sixty-five, my Dad just took up cycling. This summer he logged upwards to one hundred miles per week.

As these folks are some of the wisest people I know, there seems to be some sort of connection, here. Apparently, keeping your body flexible and strong as you age goes a long way towards keeping your mind flexible and strong as well. There is a fountain of youth, and it’s in our own bodies. We tap into it by keeping our juices flowing.

Today, in honor of Mayor Soglin and all that he represents, I’ll ride…

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