As it could have been reported in my hometown newspaper:
A Bellevue resident celebrated his 60th birthday with a 60.5-mile bike ride on Sunday.
“It shows what you can do if you ride regularly and have a strong stubborn streak,” said Gene Bisbee, who writes the Biking Bis blog.
An avid bicyclist, Gene said that he'd run into a streak of bad luck — all his own fault — with bicycling the past year and didn't know whether he would be able to achieve his goal of 60 on his 60th.
It all started with a fall in January 2009 caused by his improperly maintained bike. He stayed off the bike for several weeks and thought everything had cleared up until this autumn when he was again forced off the bike with severe knee pain. A physical therapist told him it was related to his hip injury.
Back on the bike
Gene was able to get back to biking in December after adhering to the proscribed exercises.
“At first I tried 10 miles, then 20, and finally 30. I must have maintained some fitness because my legs felt fine after these rides; the only thing that hurt was my rear end.”
On the big day, he got up late, ate some beignets and a banana for breakfast, and headed out into the patchy fog. He wore his Gor-tex rain jacket, rain pants and booties as rain was in the forecast, but he only ran into a couple of sprinkles. The temperature hovered in the 40s.
Gene picked his route at the last minute. At first he considered doing 10- to 15-mile loops around his neighborhood in case he ran into trouble, but thought it would be too tempting to bail out. He charted a circuitous route for Black Diamond, about 30 miles from his home, and back.
He took some Clif-Bar products with him to eat and drank plenty of water. He amused himself by occasionally checking his mileage and thinking what he was doing in the corresponding year of his life.
For instance, at mile 34 he thought about his TransAmerican bike ride. Three miles later he reminisced about his wedding.
Not so difficult
“This might not be possible for a lot of people my age. But really, 60 miles isn't all that big a deal for someone who rides a lot, even at my age. However, it can be a little challenging in the off season for those who can't ride in the winter.”
He celebrated with a beer and plate of leftover lasagne when he returned home, fell asleep on the couch and had no appetite for dinner.
Gene says he plans to add a mile every year for his birthday ride.
“I plan on doing this for every birthday, just as long as the weather is semi-dry and temperatures are semi-warm.”
Photo of clouds sitting in the treetops between Cougar and Squak mountains.