Last year, after the completion of the Tour of Sufferlandria, 2015, I made the commitment to attempt (and successfully) complete a Knighthood. I even made a video about it. Read the blog here to find out all about it and more about The Sufferfest.
Then I got busy. And I got lazy. And I got fat. And I got really good at making excuses. In fact I made a science out of it. Not real science, mind you, more like the kind of science that climate deniers, conspiracy theory proponents and American Republican congressmen and presidential candidates use.
I did lots of riding over the summer and really enjoyed it. I even started running again in the fall.
Then, a couple of virtual friends, Knights and Dames of Sufferlandria, and in fact, even the owner of The Sufferfest, reminded me, that it was time to get off my ass and live up to that promise I made at the beginning of the year. So, I thought to myself, "I could do this, and I have a totally artificial deadline to meet."
Artificial deadline? Yes. When I made the decision to do my first Ironman, I decided that I wanted to get it done before I reached the age of 42. Why? Because 42, why else?
That was eight years ago, and I needed another totally arbitrary deadline. So I thought to myself again (we know thinking to myself always gets me into some kind of mayhem), I thought: "I'm middle aged, I don't think I'll be having a midlife crisis - nor do I think I'll have to live to 100, so why don't I get this thing done before I hit the age of 50?"
So there you have it. I decided that I wanted to attempt the Knighthood before I reached the golden age of 50, which would be some time in February. I further refined this random timeline by scheduling the attempt before the end of the year and the Christmas holidays; Saturday December 19th, to be exact.
So I made this date public and then got work planning the video list and all the details.
For a more precise description have a read here.
Part of an authentic Knighthood is a pledge to raise money for charity. Some Knights I truly respect did just that. This one is in Dutch. And this one in American. I am nowhere nearly as organized as Robert or Buzz, or Anne or Donald or Greg or Brandy or Ashley or countless other Dames and Knights. But, true to the pledge of Knighthood, I picked the exceptional charity, World Bicycle Relief, and set a modest goal of $500. Have a look, contribute if you would like. Thanks to those, like Kevin and Anne and Cheryl and Kelly who have already been very generous.
I should, at this point, back up a bit
The Sufferfest is hard work. Every single video, if done correctly, will leave you a in a quivering puddle of exhaustion. Doing 10 in a row is no lounge on the couch. And prepping for it takes some serious training. And train I did. A little over 10 weeks ago, I started the training indoors using the Sufferfest Intermediate Plan; 10 weeks of indoor and outdoor riding hell. And boy did I commit to it! I had been running at this time, too, but that fell away as I focused on four to five days of riding. I cycled outdoors in December and I was also doing Knighthood test rides, the longest one being five hours in duration.
Then came Week Nine
Maybe it was I was getting too confident and fit. Maybe it was because I haven't been sick for over a year, maybe it was because First Wife caught something vile and wouldn't let it go, for weeks. So, at the start of Week Nine of Training. With a little more than a week to go to the Knighthood attempt. I got sick. But not the boring sick, you know, the kind with fever that's in and out in a day or two.
No. Something moved into my lungs and sinuses; something so gross and vile that it sapped me of all energy and made my lung capacity shrivel up and my breathing crackle every time I inhaled. And then there was the coughing and sneezing all night long. At one point, I coughed something out that I'm sure had teeth, hair and a spine!
But wait, it gets better. When I finally got the strength to go back to work, I thought that things were looking up. I went home for lunch, ostensibly to check in on still ailing First Wife. I decided to have a cookie after lunch. And on the first bite, of the cookie, not First Wife...
Yup. Broke my molar. And since it is so close to the festive season, I couldn't get in to see the dentist. And won't be able to until two day from the writing of this - five days before the Knighthood attempt on the 19th.
So, still congested, still not sleeping well and now not able to eat anything more solid than blended soup, but
always the optimist, I thought to myself (again): "What a great way to drop some weight before the Knighthood attempt!"
So that is where I am now. It is the Sunday before the Saturday attempt. I'm still drugged up. I'm still congested and I'm still coughing up oddly familiar mucozoid vertebrates. And I'm still not really eating. I keep using my finger to push my broken molar back together, always anticipating the lightning bolt of pain to shoot up to the eye that it is right below.
Where to now?
The thing about sufferfest is that it is more about suffering and less about festing. So. Over the next few days; I hope to cough and blow this nonsense out of my system; wean myself of the cold medication, get my molar fixed, at least temporarily, as I fear I will need a crown; and get my sorry ass back into my basement.
I have a couple more rides to do. My racing friends will know how terrible tapering can make you feel. I feel that way times ten and hungry too.
So, and there really "is no try", as Yoda opined. I will spend the week sorting my change of clothing; setting up my paincave; oiling my chain and prepping my backup bike; changing sensor batteries and checking technology, getting my nutrition and hydration organized and prepping the towels...so many towels to have. And, as any true hitchhiker knows, never, ever go anywhere without your towel.
Forty-Two may have been the answer to the Universe and all that, but 50 will be my gateway to more great adventures. I won't panic, I will see you on the other side!