Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics

My father in his former life was a physical chemist, so I've known the first three laws of thermodynamics since I was about 7 years old:

  1. Heat and energy are conserved. (You can't win.)
  2. Entropy is always increasing. (You can't break even.)
  3. It is impossible to cool a system to absolute zero. (So don't even try.)

Frankly, I think there should be a fourth law: There are an infinite number of people ready to burst your bubble at any given time.

About a week ago, I was seated next to a colleague who I knew was an avid biker. "Hey," I said proudly. "Last Saturday I biked the Monon trail...34 miles!"

"Hmm..." he said gruffly, "last Saturday I biked 160 miles. I did the Ride Across INdiana."

"Oh," I said. And then feeling like I ought to comment further on his understated accomplishment, I added, ""

Yesterday, after a long day of work, I took a long bike ride up and down the Monon. I wheeled my bike back to the office just as one of our directors was leaving the building. Feeling somewhat proud of myself, I told her in as cool and matter-of-fact a voice as possible that I had just biked 22 miles. "Wow," she said. "That's great. Good for you! You know, when I was in college, I used to bike 20 miles every day."

Yes, an endless supply of killjoys...

So, I hope, Dear Reader, that you will not let the air out of my tires (metaphorically speaking) when I tell you that I plan to ride the Hilly Hundred next October. The Hilly Hundred is a bike tour in central Indiana that covers 100 miles of hilly road over two days. It is a grueling event of camaraderie and endurance...or at least it certainly sounds like it based on all the promo material.

Last year, upon facing my 40th birthday milestone, I biked the Monon trail round trip. At the time, 34 miles seemed like a daunting and yet doable personal goal...a feat of strength to show the world that I could take 40 in headlock, throw it to the ground, and give it one hell of a noogie.

Yeah, well that was last year. Onward and upward. So, I'm telling you all now of my plan to do the Hilly Hundred . I figure that if I mention this publicly to enough people, I won't be able to wimp out. Nothing keeps you on track of your personal goals like public humiliation.

However, the Monon Milestone Birthday Ride is now an official yearly event. I am planning the ride for August 29th, a mere 16 days after my birthday. You are all invited, and I hope you will join me on the 34-mile ride up and down the Monon trail. As we did last year, we will celebrate the end of the ride with drinks and dinner at the Broadripple Brew Pub.

And any of you who wish to join me on the Hilly Hundred, please do so. But if you do, please try not to ride circles around me or brag about your own bicycling exploits. I have a fragile ego, and I have enough killjoys in my life.

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