Smoked by My Ghost

April 9th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

ghost riderGetting my butt kicked by my own ghost may be the future. It was today.

Healing from my broken leg and still over a week away from a possible referral to a physical therapist, I’m pushing in the way a broken old man can. It was last Thursday that I crawled onto the saddle of an upright bike-like object for the first time since the early February shattering slide.

My Y uses machines from Expresso Fitness, which have heads-up displays in front of the handlebars. They also connect to a server for login and, if you buy any level of membership, lots of record keeping and optional rides.

For all of us regular members though, the long list of basic rides maliciously includes ghost riders. These reflect your best time for a given route. (They are also supposed to whet your competitive appetite for paid membership, where you can get a ghost for any level of membership.)

The malicious part is that you can be tooling along feel fine when the blue blob appears. That icon indicates you have a ghost rider for that route. In the opposite top corner, an outline of the whole route appears, with a yellow circle for the pacer rider, a red one for you, and a blue one for the ghost. Your relative position to the pacer and ghost appear at all times as in how many seconds or minutes you are ahead or behind each.

So, you’re inspired to beat your best time. However, it is humbling when you just can’t do it.

I haven’t been seeing ghost riders for a long time. I haven’t been using the basic routes. However, as a bike gimp, I am sticking with the shorter and flatter routes. Hence, I see ghosts.

Today on one route, I was skunking the pacer, which is set slow (12 MPH, I think). However, to my dread, I kept seeing the blue blob creeping ahead of me on the route map. I’d see that the ghost was ahead by 12 seconds, then 37, and when it finished, a full 1:47.

I might have been able to catch up to my previous best time, but who knows what I might have done to my muscles, ligaments and tendons, all in “severely deconditioned” states as another machine there puts it.

The ghost in the image above (click for larger view) is a portion of a capture from the machine’s manual. It was particularly disheartening to see my wisp self muscle past, knowing that was only the beginning of the humiliation. Somedays, the other guy is better, but then again, I was the other guy.

Assuming I don’t hurt myself, I’ll be back, ghost. I’ll be on the road bike before the surgeons say (September). I’ll be in the gym and on this machine on bad weather days. I’ll be sure to drop down to some basic routes. I’ll show that ghost rider who’s who.

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