For two consecutive years now, Tata has taken to collecting Champion’s trophies from the Annual Sandurot Downhill Mountainbike Competition that is one of the events in Dumaguete’s Calendar of Activities before the city’s charter day celebration, which is on November 25.
How a person could think of riding on a two-wheeled contraption equivalent to the weight of the government’s NFA rice ration in our barangay for each poor family (read: 3 kilos) down a mountain terrain replete with exposed tree roots, boulders, and muddy foot paths used by small-scale farmers; with berms that, at the end of the line, are blocked by oblivious bovines chewing on their cuds, tall and mighty trees indifferent to the puny humans who crash against their ancient trunks, dogs in heat, and schoolchildren playing marbles; and under the worst weather conditions, e.g., near-zero visibility because of rain, is beyond my comprehension.
Added to this, the only protection that a downhill rider has is composed of oddments of fabrics, velcro straps, and plastics molded into shin guards, knee pads, and helmets — really poor imitations of the chainmail shirts, gauntlets, and full body armor of the knights of yore.
Still, Tata and several of our good friends take time and effort at least twice a week to hunt, near our tropical jungle, for the best tracks to ride down on.
After, they gather round and relive the adrenalin rush with stories of their rides.
Sometimes, I listen in and so I am now (slightly) anesthetized to stories of humans colliding with coconut trees and of seeing dislocated joints, bloodied body parts, and broken helmets and mangled bicycles.
And tendrils of envy slowly took hold of my heart.
How come they are the only ones having a good time?
Introspection revealed that I spend most of my waking hours in inactivity, with only fingers clacking away at a computer keyboard, with at least eight hours of my day-to-day existence spent staring at words in a computer screen.
Where’s the fun in all that?
The only “crash” that I encounter in my workday is when a computer application or program fails. How exciting is that?
All that sitting around with the opportunity of getting up only during meal and bathroom breaks has taken its toll on my health and well being. I am overweight more than ever and I feel depressed.
I’ve decided to try something new — but not something as drastic as taking a mountainbike down through an uncleared forest.
Ladies and Gents, presenting… Muay Thai.
It’s a form of martial arts developed by the people of Thailand. Some confuse Muay Thai with kickboxing… However, there are some differences. For instance, blows using the elbows and shins are allowed in Muay Thai, as well as hits or kicks below the waist. In regular kickboxing, these are no-no’s.
Let’s see how I’ll fare.
(Continued in another post)