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We old guys gotta stick together

Wed July 25th. I have now passed the four week mark Kabuki kabbing, 12 shifts in total, averaging three a week.

At the London Drugs Do-it-yourself (DIY) blood pressure monitor on Monday, BP was 105/54 (still good) and heart rate 62 (much better than the previous month's 72.)

At the YM/YWCA scale (I haven't owned a scale for 20 years) not surprisingly, my weight hasn't budged. I have been eating like an Amish farmer -- steak, ribs, big hamburgers, baked potatoes with sour cream, big cobb salads with rich blue cheese dressing, ice cream and other desserts. Even when I am not cabbing I feel constantly hungry. I crave salt. At times I can feel myself burning fuel like a well-stoked engine. (Or, gulp, is it my first hot flashes?) 

Me September first?
My physique is definitely changing. I've lost an inch from my waist and an inch from my hips, but begun to put them on my thighs -- each when tensed has increased by half an inch. Last night, as I unpacked my panniers after an 8-hour shift, Keith said my legs are beginning to remind him of the double-muscled whippet in Saanich now getting world attention for its bizarre gene mutation. I searched the web for a good downloadable pic of the freakish dog named Wendy but liked this one, of the freakish female weight lifter at right, much better. No it is not me! But might it be me in a month's time? Stop me please, if I begin to look like that. (As an aside, she looks like she is hiking on misty green Pacific North West trail in that silly little dress. Although, with muscles like that, she might be handy to meet on some of the more rugged portions of the West Coast Trail.)

Other noticeable differences: horrible tan lines. I have a sock tan that even self tanners can't disguise. Strappy sandals or sleek slingbacks look ridiculous. Arms and neck, despite 60 SPF, are turning deep brown, but chest, back and belly are still lily white.

The best change: I feel much stronger - legs and lungs.  I still huff up Government St. There are times on slopes when big rides feel guilty and walk a few paces when my momentum slows to a crawl but I swear I could do it if they didn't get out. My increasing leg strength and improved cardio are definitely making pedicabbing easier - that combined with better tour guide strategy.

Terry to the rescue
Terry Wiens, a veteran pedicabber for Victoria Pedicab Tours, has been my saviour in that. Terry, an avid photographer and self-described aging ex-hippie, has been pedicabbing for five seasons and will turn 60 in January when I turn 50. (Check out his website and blog at http://360.yahoo.com/twiens.) One day on the causeway I was lamenting to him how I struggle to give a tour while pedicabbing up Government St.

"We all struggle: here's the trick," he said, "You stop at the first block, catch your breath and tell the story of how the old Windsor Hotel exploded when the guy searched for a gas leak with a candle. Next block you stop outside Rogers Chocolates and go in for free samples. Then you stop in the next block and point out the bricks marking the walls of the old Fort."

Wiens gave me places to catch my breath and get my heart rate down for every block up Government while making it simply look like a good informative tour.

"What do you do about that last hill on the entrance to Beacon Hill Park?"

"That's easy," said Terry. "Show'em the Golden Cedar and tell them First Nations consider it good luck to rub its leaves. While they are over touching the tree, you ride over the hump."

One day, not long after these handy tips, I am standing on the causeway with a few other young Kabuki drivers. Terry comes zooming past and yells: "Hey, Anne, come with me. I've got us a tour!"

Other drivers' eyerbrows raise: What is Anne doing giving a tour with the competition?

I pedal behind him over to the museum to pick up a a family of five. Terry gives me the three little girls. We take them to Fisherman's Wharf to feed the seals.

"Terry, thanks so much for this," I tell him after we've dropped the family off. "But why me?"

"We old guys gotta stick together," says Terry.

Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 03:23PM by Registered CommenterAnne | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

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