A Shadow Of My Former Self
Yes, that's a shadow you see. That means there's sun. In Prague.
My heart wasn't in it. The rest of me wasn't too keen on it, either.
The sun was shining, I had a few free hours before I'd have to head into work, and I hadn't had any exercise since 1978. So I suited up for a ride, more out of guilt or a feeling of obligation than any real sense of pleasure or anticipation.
For one, I would be riding alone, which I have come to enjoy less and less. There just wouldn't be enough time to invite anyone else to ride with me.
Two, it was cold. Sunny, but cold. I've ridden in worse, but somewhere over the past nine months, I have lost any enthusiasm I once had for riding in winter weather.
Three, I've just been in a bit of an exercise funk the past month or so. No riding, really. No squash. I seem to have lost my motivation. Actually, I have lots of motivation, hanging around my waist. I guess I've lost my willpower. I've become a bit of a slacker, but I know I shouldn't be, which is why the guilt was hanging over me.
We're not in Kansas anymore. We're actually somewhere between Statenice and Lichoceves.
If I couldn't muster the energy to go for a ride on a bright, sunny day, all hope would be lost.
So I suited up. And then I decided not to ride after all. Then I shook it off and prepared to ride. And then I convinced myself it wasn't worth it, that I'd only be out for an hour or so.
In the end, I went for a ride, hoping against hope that the exercise would encourage some endorphins to get off their sorry asses and start swimming around my bloodstream.
I headed from my house in Černý Vůl, west of Prague, to the neighboring village of Statenice, then up the steep hill out of town toward Lichoceves, and then a right turn toward Velké Přílepy.
From there, I headed toward the hamlet of Úholičky, and took another steep climb out of town, onto the road that leads into Roztoky, but turning off toward Únětice, down (whoo-hoo!) the steep hill into the village, and then a familiar forest path back to Černý Vůl.
A circle of pain, as it were.
But not without its rewards.
A few apples cling tenaciously to the fantasy that it's still fall.
I felt the sun on my face for the first time in what seemed like weeks. I smelled wood smoke and the tang of freshly ploughed soil. I saw a couple of hawks with wingspans as long as ironing boards, a few kestrels hunting for mice, and a pack (yes, that's the official term) of grouse huddling in a field. I even saw a few stray patches of snow left over from November.
And I saw my own shadow, a rare sight in Prague this time of the year.
In the end, I was on my bike for less than an hour, but I did feel all the better for it.
As Dorothy Parker once said, "I hate writing; I love having written."
Length of ride: 14.5 kilometers
Average speed: 16.0 kph
Maximum speed: 38.3 kph
Time on the bike: 52.40
Distance ridden so far in 2008: 1,323.5 kilometers (822 miles)
As I mentioned in a post on my other blog, "Gusto," I've been impressed by the imaginative architecture of some new apartment and housing estates around Prague. The pictures above and below are from another one I've been admiring. It's in Statenice.