Saturday, June 2, 2012

Old Man Strength

Erik, Brad and the wind.

Every sport has this guy. He looks to be about a hundred yet somehow manages to make you look like a complete novice while your jaw drops to the floor in disbelief. Whether it’s a cyclist on an old steel bike with panniers effortlessly blowing past you while you suck wind on a hard ascent or the Grandpa that hits every fairway and green on the course to destroy you by ten strokes, Old Man Strength is real. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in sports where endurance and intelligence are rewarded.

I seem to see it every time I’m out for a weekend ride. How can these old guys, more than double my age, just keep going and going while my legs scream at me to stop pedaling? Maybe they’ve tuned out their pain receptors the same as they can tune out a bunch of kids making too much racket or a nagging spouse. Maybe the beer belly and sagging skin is perfect insulation for the super-muscles they have hiding beneath the surface. Whatever the answer is, it’s no less frustrating every time one of these guys leaves me looking at his rear end as he rides away into the distance.

Isn’t everything supposed to be cyclical: The young boy grows up emulating his Dad, then comes the day he can finally best him only for his own son to overtake him when that fateful day comes? Why then am I finding it so tough to hang on to Dad’s wheel? Sure he put in more training hours than me but I’m young and full of vigor! Shouldn’t he be the one asking me to slow down? Realizing I won’t play in the NHL like Dad was disappointing but discovering he also has the rare genetic predisposition that is Old Man Strength might just be too much.

Erik Marsh (Co-pilot & Son) 

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