200 km and counting!

A few years ago I decided to change my life. I was a 310lbs person who could barely climb a flight of stairs or play with my two-year old daughter.

RECIFE, Brazil, 2021-09-21

Text: Heber Aragão.

“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable” (Socrates)

Not what I expected

A few years ago I decided to change my life. I was a 310lbs person who could barely climb a flight of stairs or play with my two-year old daughter, and I believed that joining a gym was the best way to start. It would have been so if it weren’t for the fact that being heavy as I was I would be required to have a special “authorization” from a heart doctor. Instead of that I was prescribed medicine for heart, blood pressure, and cholesterol. I dared to ask him whether I would be able to exercise in a gym and he told me: “Come back after losing at least 45 pounds and we’ll see what we can do”.

One would certainly agree with me that holding a grudge against that doctor would be justifiable but sometimes the wake-up call doesn’t come as sweet as one would expect.

I’m sure I wasn’t the first patient that he had who relapsed so badas to come back for seconds, but, I wasn’t one of those. Definitely not. I did not accept that sentence. I did not let it define my way of life from that point on. And from that point on I decided to stand up and take action. I had to summon every little bit of energy left in that misanthrope that was me, a person with a bad case of self-loathing who would distill bitter words as a defense mechanism and contaminate the ones around.

Threw inertia out the window

Once you decide to break with the inertia, unless something else stands on you way, you can’t stop! That’s Newton’s first law. I finally look at that old bicycle that was just sitting there and collecting dust and decided to give it a shot. I had a small commute to and from college; yes, I was a forty-three year old undergraduate;and that seemed like an interesting idea to go on that 2.5 kilometer commute by bike. I dusted it off, oiled the chain a little bit, put some air in the tires and off I went. It wasn’t a long ride, but

I believe it was the ride of my life. The one that started it all. That little push that broke the inertia.

An open mind and an open road - no regrets!

Now picture this; here I am, 110 pounds lighter and crossing my 200th kilometer mark on a mountain bike and what comes to my mind is: an open mind on an open road.

As I crossed the 200 km mark on my trip I was grateful for the word that nudged me forward and put me in movement. I thought: so far, so good, and I kept riding for another 40 km until my destination. It took me thousands of miles on a bike to come to the realization that if you keep an open mind, no matter how hard it is due to the circumstances, you will see things in perspective and either you take the open road or accept your fate. I've decided to rewrite mine, no regrets! - Héber Aragão, for XL Biking.

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