Today I picked this up. Now it sits in my dark kitchen waiting for me to have time to start playing with it.

This was partly prompted by the cold weather and partly by an experience last summer on the Appalachian Trail near Mount Graylock in western Massachusetts, the highest point in the state  [3491 feet–1064 m]. To make a long story short, once I got to the trailhead, I found out the trail I had picked was rated  “aggressive” on a scale of “moderate,” “strenuous,” and “aggressive”.  My scheduled didn’t permit any changes, so I decided to try the trail.  Forty minutes into the hike, I was quite winded, and after monitoring my heart rate, I decided against continuing and chose a more level branch of the trail to explore.

Today I had a similar experience carrying the exercise bike up the stairs. On a level surface I can and do walk 4 to 5 hours at a time, but I can’t seem to do hills anymore.

Can I push past this?  There is only one way to find out– by training.  It has now been more than four years since I quit smoking, and my breathing has improved some.  Can I go further?  There is certainly no literature on the subject that I have ever been able to find; probably it’s not something that can be packaged and sold.    If there is a way, I will have to find it on my own.  I think the way is through aerobic activity.

The machine is a good one–it came from a physical therapy clinic that was disbanded.  The handles can be used to exercise the arms independently of the feet for a more strenuous workout; the fan inside the wheel provides resistance proportionate to the level of exertion.  I’m thinking to set up a little computer with language tapes next to it.

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