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I ride because it is the only thing I can still do to get an endorphin rush. My chronic plantar fasciitis no longer allows me to run the trails of the Marin Headlands, Tennessee Valley or Mt. Tam. My two artificial shoulders don’t allow me to do open water swims in the Bay or Hawaii anymore. The old bicycle accident 7 years ago in Mallorca still causes back and neck pain, so I no longer can go backpacking in the Sierra.

My 77 year old body has served me well, but there are now limits that I can’t ignore. I can still go for hikes in Tilden Park, take the dogs to the park for them to run for an hour, but where is that incredible rush from pushing the body hard, hitting the red line? The bike is my last means of attaining anything like that old feeling.

The kick is still there at times as I try to hammer from Centennial to the steam trains on Grizzly Peak. Even on the Richmond bridge I can max out maintaining a speed pushing up the inclines. I can’t do the Bears ITT in close to an hour anymore, but I can attack the hills which I know so well after all these years. So riding my bike is my last connection with the physical joys I’ve chased my whole life, and I’m so grateful that I still have that at my age.

—Matt Wathen