The other night I sat alone in a very busy restaurant/bar, there was a lively and non threatening atmosphere, people doing ok out with friends and family for a midweek meal and a drink. The split was roughly 70% male and mostly in the 35-50 age bracket. I was the only one sitting alone but I’m used to that as I travel a fair bit. People watching is a bad yet addictive habit and having being reading about the eating habits of pro cyclists I looked at this room full of strangers in a new light. They were packing away some fairly serious calories and virtually all of them had a waistline that they weren’t getting rid of in a hurry. Looking closer at their faces there was a sadness that seemed to coming from them all, maybe I was feeling melancholic. But the eyes were dead all wearing an alcohol mask whilst laughing and eating, I wondered what they saw when they looked back, if indeed they saw anything.
Earlier that day I had met up with a good friend and colleague Matt to steal a midweek mtb ride, it was warm night and the trails at Llandegla were dusty and dry. We rode round at a brisk but manageable pace, blethering and bitching and enjoying the sun. We talked a lot about life, families, work, bikes and our history and again I thought about calories. As I get older I think more about my calorie intake, I’m lucky I have always been relatively slim and since my mid 20’s have exercised pretty regular which has helped keep me that way. Prior to that however it could have been so very different. And one incident probably helped shape me more than any other.
the sight of a grown man stooped fixing a puncture fills me with hope
I was working in a deadbeat job and partying probably a bit too hard when I received a killer put down. I was described as being “puffy with the drink” now this smarted somewhat on two counts. Firstly I was and the truth does more often than not hurt, secondly, it was delivered by an out of condition, world hating Goth bitch who had more than her own fair share of ‘issues’ to sort out. However in this instance I am prepared to forgive but not forget, though I shrugged it off at the time it hit me quite hard. The same year I bought my first mtb and the rest as they say is history.
So back in the restaurant, I’m pondering my waist, my legs, my lungs, my puny arms and more importantly my mortality. I’m creeping up on 50 and the stats for Scottish men ain’t that good. I figure I got a good 10-15 years in me and then it will probably slide into a more serious state of decay. I am torn between doing my damnedest to make the most of it and keep my body and mind in shape or just blow my brain to pieces. Again I look at the folks eating and drinking, is this it?
To be continued.