I want to live

Gary Ginther – North Las Vegas, NV

I want to live

I started smoking at the age of 13. By the age of 17, I was smoking two packs a day. It got worse after that. Nearing my 40th birthday I was 50+ pounds overweight and was easily exerted. I knew I had to change my ways or sitting on the couch was as good as it would get.

I quit smoking, started eating better, and started doing some mountain biking for exercise. A few years later I was in a very active mountain search and rescue unit, had climbed many of the tallest mountains on the West Coast, and, best of all, met my wife, who was a dedicated roadie. At first there was no way I could keep up with her, but thankfully she had limitless patience where I was concerned. A couple of months after we met she asked if I wanted to train for a century with her. 100 miles? Really? (20 was my limit at the time). I told her, “Of course I do, honey.” I mean, what guy could say no? So, train we did. And life got so much better.

That fall I did my first century.Three months later, ironically, I also had my first heart attack but thanks to my healthy life style fairly quickly recovered. At 50, even after two heart attacks, I was in better shape than when I was 35. We went on multi-day rides. You haven’t seen the Oregon coast until you ride it on a bike. Now, after multiple heart attacks and a spinal fusion it is still the bike I live for. I hope that never changes. We did a century every year, except when I had my fusion, until last year when we both had major health issues. We still rode, we just couldn’t quite do a century. My old aluminum frame Trek is not getting as many miles as it deserves right now as I recover. But soon. Very soon, begins the next chapter. Stay tuned.

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