Yesterday I went for my first outdoor bike ride since mid-August. “What?”, you say, “Didn’t Cody say he was finally going to get serious about biking?” I did, and I have. Read on for a story.

Most days, after I wake up and down the obligatory litre of tea, I stumble down to my grungy basement. The basement is indeed a scary place, full of the fusty cast-offs of countless generations of students. Its moldering surfaces are  infested with zillion-legged horrors known as “ghettobugs” (due to their preference for filthy student-ghetto homes).

The dark, dank basement is the perfect setting for one activity in particular: masochistic self-torture. You see, crammed between an electrical panel and three crumbling stone walls, my bike trainer resides. From the trainer I can easily touch all four walls and, when I stand on the pedals, my head sticks between two rafters. A small grimy window admits a draft of fresh air and the wan glow of streetlights. The space gives literal meaning to “pain cave”. And this is where my story begins.

When I’m on the trainer, the window located beside my head is usually open. Early one morning, I was deep into a brutal interval session, hammering away with my eyes closed and music blaring. I leaned forward to catch the deliciously cool breeze trickling through the window and I opened my eyes…

TERROR! Like some nightmare apparition from Lucifer’s Kingdom, a fanged black-haired beast was transfixing me with bulging luminous eyes. My body coursing with adrenaline, some deep-seated primordial instinct took over. I bared my teeth and let forth a feral snarl. I had no idea vocal chords could produce such an inhuman sound. Simultaneously, the beast gave a vicious hiss, flashing its razor-sharp fangs. For a moment we held this dreadful tableau, then the beast turned and fled into the darkness. Heart rate in the neighborhood of 300, I finished the interval.

This got me thinking about the fight or flight response. Faced with stressful situations, we either decide to confront the situation or escape from it. For years university has been a constant fight or flight situation for me. It’s no secret that I have suffered through university. I have often fantasized about running to the train station and hoping the first train out of Kingston. Now that I’m nearing the end of my final year, there is no longer the question of fleeing. For better or worse, I stayed, I fought and now it’s almost over.The blog is back! Thank you to those who kept nagging me to blog. I have three weeks of exams, so look for some procrastination-fueled posts in the coming weeks.

PS: This was the “beast”: