Hot Corner: Make exercise an adventure
By Rich Palzewic
BROWN COUNTY – Let me prelude this article by saying I don’t judge people, I’m often called a “dork” by my third-oldest sister, I still watch “Little House on the Prairie,” I sweat lots and exercise daily.
My friend Sue from Rhinelander used to hate riding behind me while biking because I sweat so much.
She’d complain about getting a shower when it wasn’t raining.
I had strict instructions not to jerk my head to the side in a rapid motion with her behind me.
Two summers ago, my daughter and I hiked the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, and she witnessed firsthand how much I sweat.
She said, “Dad, you have more water coming off your head than the Mississippi River.”
I don’t judge people because I’ve done wrong in my life, too – we all have.
When I was 9, I stole a pack of chewing tobacco from Gary’s IGA in Wallace, Michigan, and Mike Martin and I snuck into the woods before our Little League baseball game and tried it.
I took a handful of the tobacco and put it into my mouth – I immediately spit it out and never tried it again.
A few years later, I almost burned down the family barn because I was playing with matches.
My fifth-oldest sister called the fire department, but she was also smart enough to hook up the hose and douse the flames before the volunteers got there.
I lied about that, too.
My mom – who passed away in 2006 – didn’t find out the truth about that incident until 1999.
I also don’t judge people who have difficulty losing weight or getting into an exercise routine.
I’ve been in their shoes, and it’s not easy.
If you recall, I was grotesquely out of shape last thanksgiving, weighing close to 200 pounds.
Cutting out most sugars, eating more protein and exercising has me down to 155 pounds.
Thursday, May 20, I woke at 4 a.m. thinking about everything I had to do.
After my morning duties for The Press Times were completed, I went for a bike ride at 5:30.
I rode down Glendale Avenue toward the Mountain Bay Trail (MBT) with no cars or people in sight.
The MBT is one of my favorite places to ride.
I solve all the world’s problems riding it, and it’s also full of memories, both good and bad.
Five years ago, I rode the full length of the trail – 87 miles – with Sue’s wife, Jon.
Two-thirds of the way to Wausau, I started to “bonk,” meaning I was running out of energy.
Devouring a sub sandwich helped, but I struggled that day.
It reminded me of another time I bonked while riding with Jon.
We got inside my house after a slow ride, and I was white as a ghost and sweating.
Jon sat in awe as he watched me shove a piece of bread into my mouth like it was the last food on earth.
Anyway, back to my original story.
Because I drank too much water and coffee at 4:30 a.m., I made a pit stop at the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve to get rid of some extra “water” and take a picture.
Next, I rode by my oldest sister’s house, waved and said out loud, “Good morning, Jan.”
I rode by Burger King and thought of stopping for a croissant sandwich, but I still had an hour left to ride.
Riding through downtown Suamico, I passed the spot where I went kayaking last summer and thought of the fond memories associated with that day.
A short time later, a group of cows had me saying, “Good morning, Cows,” as I rode by.
I figured no one else would say “hi” to them the entire day.
I was also chased by two different sets of dogs, and I yelled, “You can’t catch me,” as I sped away.
I won’t mention both homeowners had invisible fencing.
I heard no activity at the Nicolet Rifle Club on St. Pats Drive, which I guess is a good thing at 6:15 a.m.
Coming to a four-way stop at the intersection of St. Pats and Wood Lane, I could go straight and take the easy route or turn right and go for a challenge.
I went right, which meant I’d have to go up the Northwood Road hill, which is about a half-mile in length.
It’s steep at the start but gradually flattens nearing “Smokey the Bear” at the intersection of White Pine Road.
Going down the other side of the hill is a treat – I’ve already hit 40 mph on my road bike with a tailwind.
That’s still 17 mph short of my fastest speed ever on a bike.
I hit 57 mph going down Teton Pass in Wyoming on my cross-country bike trip in 2000.
I must say, carrying 43 fewer pounds up a hill is lots easier.
When I start looking for hills to climb, that means I’m getting in better shape.
Next, I rode by Dr. Brian Schaefer’s dentist office, where two days prior, I had a crown put on.
The temporary crown fell off four days earlier while I was eating a cupcake.
Getting back on the MBT was a fitting way to end my ride, as it started raining.
The only evidence I had of my 20-mile ride was a hungry feeling in my stomach, sweat pouring off my head and gnats stuck in the hair on my arms.
Arriving home, I sat on the front steps of my house and reminisced about the fun I just had.
I’ve had lots going on lately, so I took a moment to soak in the atmosphere before getting off my butt and showering.
Biking is an adventure and a journey – you never know what you’re going to see.
I have to end this article: I just saw my favorite episode of Little House is coming on – the one where Nellie Oleson fakes she couldn’t walk after falling off Laura Ingalls’ horse, and Laura eventually finds out she lied and pushes her down a big hill in her wheelchair into a pond.
As always, thanks for reading.
Editor’s note: To read another Hot Corner article, CLICK HERE.