Wednesday, November 22, 2017


One of the things that makes life here in the Quad Cities so wonderful is our area's shared sense of tradition. Our time-honored ways of life have created customs behind which we can come together and rally as a community.

For instance, we recently celebrated the 43rd running of the Bix 7 road race.

On a personal note, I have my own traditions that I like to observe. For instance, I recently celebrated my 43rd year of ignoring the Bix 7 road race.

Some people might just say I'm lazy and an obese couch potato. I prefer to think that I'm simply honoring a cherished tradition near and dear to my cholesterol-hardened heart.

This year, though, was a little different. Due to a vet appointment, I actually had to be awake at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. So for the very first time, I was able to turn on the TV and watch the Bix as it happened live. I now understand it even less.

I think I speak for all couch potatos when I state the obvious fact that running is torture disguised as exercise. Oh, I know. Some of you physically fit types are now about to lecture me on the exhilaration and joy that comes with the "runner's high." Here's what I say to you people: The next time you're jogging along and enjoying that euphoria of a runner's high, pull out a mirror and take a look at yourself. Trust me, that look on your face is NOT one of euphoria.

I've seen you. I'm the guy driving past in my air-conditioned car while you're jogging amok sweating through your skivvies. I've seen the faces of countless runners, and not once have I seen those faces expressing anything remotely resembling joy. Instead, it's usually a pained grimace that I see, with a clear caption that reads, "DEAR GOD, WHY AM I DOING THIS? MAKE IT STOP."

Being the hard-nosed and diligent journalist that I am (not), I've done my homework. I've conducted experiments and run tests. And I can safely say with a good degree of certainty that one can complete the Bix 7 course MUCH faster and more efficiently if one were in a car. I just don't understand why no-one's thought of this before.

Also: to get from the starting line on Brady to the finish line on 3rd Street, there's no need to run all the way up Brady, across Kirkwood, and loop back. Come on, that's just showing off. It strikes me that a much more efficient route would be to walk from the starting line two blocks due east to the finish line. I'm pretty sure that I could make that walk in about the same time it takes the elite competitors to run to near-Bettendorf and back. I don't like to brag, but I'm pretty sure with this plan, I could win this thing next year.

Really, though, who designed this course? Running seven miles is painful enough, but to start by forcing everyone to climb up a grueling hill? That's just malicious. But it turns out I really didn't know the meaning of the word malicious until the race ended and I channel flipped into the worst sports event this side of Competitive Nose Hair Plucking: The Tour De France. (Translation: The Tour of France.)   

The elite runners of the Bix look like weenies compared to Tour cyclists with their veins bulging out of their legs like an overly aggravated Bruce Banner. After watching these guys ascend the Alps on nothing more than foot power and a flimsy bicycle, I'm never complaining about the Brady Street hill ever again. I get that exercise is good for you and all, but this kind of competition has to cross the line, right? Forget who comes in 1st place -- I say anyone who survives the Tour De France without their hearts exploding out of their chests should deserve a yellow jersey.

Isn't there supposed to be some kind of acclimation process when ascending mountainous heights? I just watched a documentary on climbing Everest, and before you can even THINK about venturing to the summits of the Himalayas, they make you chill out at base camp for a week just to get your body used to lower levels of oxygen.

A friend and I once drove to Colorado on a vacation whim. I remember stopping for gas just outside of Denver, taking one step out of the car, and nearly faceplanting from dizziness. We hadn't even made it TO the mountains and I was already suffering from oxygen deprivation. There's no wonder these Tour De France guys get busted doping themselves with horse blood or whatever. Certain things are simply not for humans, and I fear racing around mountaintops might be one of them.

I suppose it's easy for me to judge whilst I sit at sea level with a cushion on my rump and a donut in my hand. At the gas station today, I met a father and son from Germany who are halfway through a three-month journey across America on bicycles. They started in Portland, Oregon and they're headed to New York City. They definitely looked a bit worse for the wear, but for what it's worth, they had smiles on their faces and told me they were having the adventure of their lives.

So maybe I should change my lazy ways and start biking and running everywhere. Or maybe I should stay here on my couch in morbidly obese judgement of you healthy people. After all, it IS tradition. 

No comments: