Old Man Rides To Save The Earth...or something like that

Good thing I have three months to get in shape!

I'm pushing 43. I'm at least 15 pounds overweight. I'm a novice cyclist with a total of 173 road miles on my legs. So why did I sign up for the 300-mile New York to D.C., five-day Climate Ride in September?

I imagine I will reach a point around the second or third day of the ride with the legs burning and the ass sore when I'm seriously asking myself that exact question.

The fading memories of past "glory" combined with the very real idea of a sedentary future are powerful motivating forces.

The answer, for now, boils down to a simple expression of a commonly held desire to push one's self before the aging process turns remaining stores of vitality into inescapable decrepitude. It's not a new story. An entire industry exists to sell fitness promise and products to schlubs like me.

Here's my story.

When you are on the plus-side of forty, you might wake up one morning, like I did, and realize the ghost of your young, healthy, and fit self is fading too far into memory. WARNING: Years of living the soft life take their toll!

Or, you might go to the local megastore and see some version of your future putting around the aisles with mounds of flesh spilling over the borders of an electric scooter. I never saw that for myself but even the remote possibility was enough to demand action...before it's too late.

The fading memories of past "glory" combined with the very real idea of a sedentary future are powerful motivating forces. At least they are for me.

So, I'll take the challenge.

I'll use this opportunity to support a great social cause and give myself a goal to push and cajole any remaining echo of young Seth back into the present. Hopefully, what seems now like an impossibly long ride will change someone's history in a positive direction.

I've got a lot more to talk about with this ride. My training and my bike are suddenly obsessions. They are the tools that turned a three-mile-a-day cycling commuter into an occasional 40-mile-once-a-week rider and then into a true novice cyclist who can survive and possibly even thrive over five days each comprised of more miles than I've ever ridden in a single ride. Yet.

It's going to be a hard. But I'm confident some recent small steps will accelerate and culminate on the steps of the Capital Building on September 25.

But, there's another challenge. Here's the part where I ask (for the first time) for your help.

The deal with the Climate Ride is that each rider has to raise $2,400 for the cause. Here's the cause:

The mission of Climate Ride is to inspire and empower citizens to work toward a new energy future. We use sport as a means to change lives and build an effective, citizen-based sustainability movement.

I'm not an "environmentalist" and I'm certainly not an idealist or an activist.

I can't quote stats about global warming or argue the relative merits of various forms of alternative energy. And I'm certainly not going to try and convince the deniers that I'm right and they're wrong. Who knows, maybe they're right and I'm wrong...despite all the evidence I can't cite.

But for about ten years now I've hated the reality that profits from petroleum are being used to fund a way of life that's destroying the planet and creating all sorts of global violence and instability. I believe it's important to at least try and reverse the trend we're on and at this point you either agree with that or you don't. Find someone else if you want to argue about it.

If you do agree, please consider helping me reach my funding goal. $10 is great. $10 would be lovely and very much appreciated.

If you don't agree with me on climate issues, you can still help me reach my personal goal of willing my poor, aging body into shape one last time. Give $15 and I will sweat just for you.

The bottom line, I need to raise $2,400 (now $2,300) to make this happen. It's a good cause (either support me or the environment, I'm not picky).

Stay tuned for more updates as my training gets serious.

Seth Pollack is the SB Nation NBA League Manager. He's been with the company for about five years and moved from Phoenix, AZ to the Washington, D.C. area last summer. You can follow him on Twitter if you're brave.

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