If you know me well, I think you should sit down for this. I had to sit down for this once I realized what I’d done. I’m about to tell you something so remarkably true and surprising that you should probably get the dust pan to clean up your mind that is about to be blown against the ceiling. Ready? For the past two weeks, without a gun to my head, without a madman wielding a hatchet and chasing me through the city, I have ridden my new bike every day but two. Yes, Randy Scott Hyde, whose butt is permanently imprinted on more than one sofa, has pedaled up hills, across bridges, to other towns on a bicycle. For hours and for many miles. On a holiday no less! When I’d normally be in bed until 2 p.m. and either drunk or full on nachos by 3 p.m. On a bike. Riding around.
But the strangest part of all of this was that I enjoyed it. I met some new people, got quality time with friends, got to experience some amazing California scenery, and on more than one occasion found my way to some delicious food. Yes, my thighs burn with the hell fire reserved for the worst of humanity, but each day gets a little easier (except for the days when it’s harder). Who knew that there could be something more fun than wine and bad TV? Why has this been a secret?! I always thought exercisey people, the ones who talked about liking it, had some sort of disease, some personality quirk that made them love pain and torture—they go for runs and then hit the whipping post before the showers. But no. It’s fun.
What’s not fun? Hills. Hills on a bike have to be on the scale of childbirth. It’s like babies being born from your quads—babies with claws trying desperately to get out of your muscles so they can ravage land and sea and cover the earth’s many, many hills with your blood. So in other words, they really suck. But I found myself naturally talking myself through it. Without any suggestion from anyone, I just starting repeating to myself, “Do what you can do, Randy. Do what you can do.” This tiny, little mantra took out any feelings of shame for being out of shape or needing to give up or needing to go faster so I look like I’m not suffering. It also gave me something to focus on, a good voice in my head (for once) that was encouraging and forgiving at the same time. Had no idea that voice was in there.
And coupled with the other happiness tasks, my mood has been remarkably level through a period on the calendar that is usually characterized by a deceptive smile of holiday cheer that is masking some pretty hardcore misery. This year, though, there was no mask. The smile was authentic. And as the New Year approaches, instead of looking back on 2013 with shame, I look back with pride as I rub tiger balm on my sore but grateful legs.
If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to the AIDS Lifecycle before the end of the year, you can do so here. Thanks for considering and have a wonderful and happy New Year! See you next year!