To celebrate turning 61, Mike and I biked 61 miles on our trusty old Miyata bikes. Well maybe it was only 60 but whats a mile between friends. I figure what better way to prove to myself that this old crone is capable of whatever she sets her mind to than biking for 8 hours.
The importance of exercise is well-known. The Mayo clinic cites seven benefits on their web page. I found this very dry but excellent article on aging and exercise called The Age Antidote. The section on the physiological changes of aging is scary. If you can wade through all the statistical mumble jumble and medical jargon you could get the impression that when you get older you just shrivel up. But that prediction is for those who lead sedentary lifestyles. And the good news is that older adults physical potential is actually higher than what was thought in the past. Len Kravitz, the author of the article points out the importance of following safety precautions before starting an exercise program especially is you led a sedentary life. It is never to late to start. The benefits are well worth it.
The point is I can’t stop getting older and I am not interested in trying to look 21. I would just look like an old person trying to look young, egads. However, I am not opposed to looking good for my age. If you would stop me on the street and say, “Hey, you don’t look 61, I would guess you were 50 maybe even 45.” I would take that and be happy. I must admit though part of me is balking at this. I have heard myself say. “Yeah, like, who wants to look 45? Sheez!” I guess it’s all part of coming to terms with aging. So instead of trying to look young my focus is on feeling alive. For me that means doing things such as biking, hiking, canoeing, or just plain walking. I always tell Mike that if he wants to do something for me to walk with me.
I love to travel. My favorite part of traveling is walking around the new destination, be it a city or beach, woods, mountain, even desert area. However, these last couple of years biking some serious miles was dwindling. I needed to build back up to it. I joined the Y and work out and walk “most days of the week” to get in shape. Last year we topped out at 20 miles so when we biked 36 miles earlier this year I thought, hey I can do this.
Thinking about hitting 61, which for me meant I am settling into my 60’s, I wanted to do something to show that I am still living an active vibrant life. And besides I turned to Mike and said, “For my birthday, let’s go on a bike ride.” We have numerous bike Wisconsin books so my plan was to map out a route. Before I had a change to say, “how bout…” Mike suggested the interurban bike trail in Ozaukee County.
“It has a cool history. It use to be an electric railway that brought African-American Blues singers from the south up to Sheboygan,” he said.
“Really,” I said.
“It’s paved and you could ride all the way to Sheboygan if you wanted.”
“You want to ride to Sheboygan?” He had my interest. “How far is that?”
“It says the trail is 30 miles.”
“That would be 60 miles all day. You want to ride 60 miles?”
“Sure why not.” I wasn’t about to question him. He might change his mind.
“Well, we do want to do that Mississippi ride in October and that will be 50 miles a day for two days.” MIke nodded “OK, Let’s do it,” I said.
And that’s how it started. It was a great trip and a great day. We didn’t end up in Sheboygan. At one point we lost track of the trail and ended up on a detour route that took us to Harrington Beach State Park on Lake Michigan. The water was blue, the sun warm, and the sand comfy.
We stopped for lunch in Port Washington at the Dockside Deli.
We met Bambi on the trail.