Some corrections.. The main highway which climbs out of Mudanya rises 750 feet in 2-1/2 miles.. The old winding road (that is, the return to Mudanya which I use to get home afterwards) rises to 900 feet (but begins at 200 feet elev) in exactly three miles. I did both climbs again today for the third consecutive day.. And then some.. Today I discovered a road which climbs up out of the valley to a point opposite the city of Bursa to a little "koy" (village) called "Gundogdu".. Which literally means "Rising Sun" or something close.. At the top of this climb, at the fountain of the village mosque, my altimeter read 1200 feet. The view of the city of Bursa down in the valley took my breath away. To see the entirety of a city populated by 2 million.. as though it was painted there by a giant paint brush- something to behold.. My companion and guide on this scenic five mile climb was a 40 year old mountain biker/road race dabbler who had me making 'woman noises' all the way to the top. In fact, Zafer is a bike commuter who climbs this hill every day after work, then doubles back down to get home. I can't say I blame him. The traffic was light, the breeze cool, and the views awesome. He had a backpack and climbed smoother and faster than me in spite of the added weight. Opened a nice gap on me too I don't mind admitting.. Though I did keep him closely in sight the whole way. But.. He does know the road like the back of his hand. My legs are quite sore and achy from all the climbing I've done after taking 6 days off the bike and then traveling 8000 miles. I'll try to return the favor and make him suffer on Sunday's group ride after I've taken some recovery time. Great guy, Zafer. A rare breed indeed, especially in Turkey. I'll take some pictures on Sunday's ride, which I'm told usually goes 120 km. Now that I think of it, today's total climbing was 3000 feet, according to the Polar. Two consecutive days prior, I know I did about 4000 total feet of climbing. So 7000 feet in three days. That's a lot of vertical rise for an over weight guy who climbs poorly.. Last three days I have about 9 hours of ride time and approx 160 miles.. Not too shabby. Tomorrow I take a light one hour spin with no big ring and no hills. My avg HR today was 142. Could not go hard enough due to soreness, to get it higher.. Max HR was only a weak 174.
Father seems to have taken a step backwards today.. All the forward momentum of yesterday erased. The initial shock of when I first saw his emaciation has passed.. But I can't help but feel a certain disconnect from my emotions. It's like a circuit breaker has tripped- it did it's job of protecting me from overload and complete failure. Tears no longer well up when I look down at his broken body. Guilt about my easy-going nature, my 3 hour bike rides.. Guilt rears it's head and pokes me in the ribs occasionally. Must be a form of adaptation. In order for me to be strong enough to feed him by spoon and to keep him clean and to help him clear phlegm and wipe his mouth, certain systems require disabling.
Thursday my brother arrives and maybe then I'll hit the reset button.. Though I must admit that it's easier this way.. And that I am very afraid.
I'm not a religious person.. In spite of my family's best efforts to indoctrinate me.. I'm agnostic. Believe it when I see it. There's maybe probably a G-d.. If so, he's not a participant or an influence on our lives.. For this reason, prayer is futile. Buy powerball tickets man, because that has a greater chance of enhancing your life. G-d can't help you.. And if he did, it would be pretty unfair to all of those who are sick and dying or killed senselessly every second of every day.. Who helped them? Were they overlooked for not praying? Or for not praying to the correct G-d? To me' G-d's more like an apathetic observer.. Powerless or at least unable to show it. I am infuriated by the words "Thank God!" Or "It's G-d's will". For fuck's sake stop giving credit to G-d for your hard work AND THEN giving him praise for tragic events! Stop it. If you triumph, give yourself the credit. If you have cancer, it wasn't "G-d's fucking will" either. Sorry if I offend. I do not mean to indoctrinate and I do not disrespect those with faith- my father is deeply religious. He was anyway- but maybe that's changed..
I don't believe in hell.. Which brings me to the whole point of this rant: I find the concept of Heaven very hard to believe as well.. But in these last few days, for the sake of my father, I'm at least hoping for it with all my heart. Thanks for reading.
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