Conestoga left me with a wheezing, hacking cough, and on my following trip to New York it worsened. I returned to DC hung over, exhausted, and severely respiratorily infected. I also faced some irreversible and, as always, bewildering life choices. What to do?
Trial and purification... by bicycle.
Friday morning I plotted a four-day soul-and-body-cleansing route. That afternoon I would ride from DC to Front Royal. From there, I'd take the Skyline Drive down the Shenandoah to Elkton on Saturday. From Elkton back to Front Royal on Sunday. Home on Monday. Around 70-75 miles per day.
The trip would have been more fun with company, but fun was not the goal. This was a religious thing; it was about corporal mortification. I was supposed to reflect, have visions, or whatever. I sojourned alone.
As it happened, I made no life choices and failed to rid my lungs of invaders. I did find a substitute for the cilice, though. It's called a Fizik Antares.
The Antares is a brilliant invention, really, because it serves a dual monastic purpose. Not only does it mete out constant doses of pain, right up to your threshold. It's also an effective, if temporary, sexual disabler. Ride this baby enough and, like Origen of Alexandria -- who, according to Eusebius and Jerome, castrated himself to stave off sexual temptation -- you'll never have to worry about breaking that vow of celibacy.
More to come...