Friday, April 10, 2009

A Rainy Day in Paridise

Good Friday

I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof of my van mixing with the sound of the surf crashing against the lave shore. It started out slowly but reached the point where I had to get out of my sleeping bag, find the car keys, turn on the ignition, and roll up the windows before going back to sleep.

Late yesterday afternoon I decided to ride my mountain bike from Hookena down the "king's Highway" to the Pu'uhonau o Honaunau Place of Refuge National Park. A couple of hundred yards from the Campground there is a locked gate and several dogs chained up close to the road so they bark and lunge at anyone going by. So for that part went along the beach. That brought me to Juni's tent. So I stopped by to say hello and and share a few puffs of Hawaii Aloha, before getting back on the dirt road. After going by a few more houses the road strikes off across the lava. Except for few places where gullys have to be crossed the "road" is just a train on the lava kept clear of brush and trees. You would need four wheel drive and high clearance to be able to drive it. Parts of it are pretty smooth, but others are quite narley. It is a form of meditation to ride it because you have to be totally focused on the path you are make over and through the loose rocks and twisted lava. As I rode I was trying to concentrate on focusing my attention further down the path I was trying to ride and letting my unconscious physical parts of my brain take care of riding the bike down the path I had picked. It is hard not to look down at a big bunch of rough rocks that your bike is just about to hit and ride over, but with practice and working on easier stuff first I was getting the hang of it. Being a little high helped me forget my worries and get into the zen of the riding. When there were some rocky streatches I had to get over I found I was getting up off of the saddle and my body was floating in a nice smooth line over the obstacles while the bike was bouncing all over the place as it stayed in contact with the rocky trail. My legs and arms were acting like a secondary suspension on top of the bike's front and rear shocks. The low tire pressure (something I've learned from riding with Grant Miller of Bike Works Bike Works Kona - Bicycle sales and bike rentals in Kona, Hawaii , and Dr. Jeff) also helps absorb a lot of shock as well as give the tires a much better grip on the rocks.

After a while I realized I was riding over technical stuff that I might not have even attempted before without even that thinking about it. It was the whole floating thing: since my upper body wasn't bouncing around it felt peaceful. Because my legs were reacting smoothly to the rough ride of the bike I was supplying a steady source of power to the bike to take it over and through all the obstablcles. It was a wonderful feeling, a real breakthrough in my riding.

Of course I still have a long way to go - the journey is the reward after all. There was some stuff that I walked, especially the steep, rocky downhills where it it too easy to catch the front tire and go flying over the handlebars. Landing on rough lava rock is not my idea of fun. The other thing is that I need to continue getting stronger and building up my stamina. Riding like a wild animal takes a lot of energy.

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The first focus of my trip to Hawaii has been to care for my body and get strong and fit. The swimming in the ocean and biking on the land have been doing a pretty good job. I look and feel a lot better. I've been growing muscle and burning fat. I stand taller and straighter.

When I first came out here my body had very little muscle tone. When I massaged my legs after a ride it was difficult to feel the muscle. It was buried under fat and was soft and mushy. Now after a ride I feel pretty solid and hard. There was also what I would describe as a "hole" around where my prostate lived before the surgery last April 23. My crotch area felt sort of dead and unpleasant to touch. The lymph nodes along the insides of my legs felt swolen and slightly sore. Fortunately the excercise and self massage has been working at making the "hole" shrink and my groin area feel better.

I do wonder sometimes when a day will go by without my prostate cancer entering my conscious mind. Who knows, it might not happen until I start to go senile. It is hard not to think of it when you take a leak.

I've been eating less but certainly not going hungry. A lot of papayas get eaten.

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