Certain things exist in life to remind you of your limitations. Golf, for example, is a constant reminder of the fragility of a perfect swing. Golf is supposed to be humbling. The introduction of Tiger into the sport ruined everything, since he was physically perfect, accurate, and seemed--at first, at least--to expect the game to obey him. "Who is this," we said, "that even the winds and waves obey his commands?" Skanks, it's becoming clear, we can now add to that list.
But this is cycling, and the purpose of cycling is optimism. The idea of our obsession is that what we're lacking is that little extra edge that comes with a few extra hours on the bike. Chuck Hutch expresses this philosophy in his blog about the dangers of Masters drug use: if you want to get better, just ride more. What's funny is that he mentions in his next post that he's taking some time off the bike because he can no longer walk ("if you haven't noticed, I walk pretty gimp"). How does he spend his hobbled out-of-the-saddle time? "I spend much of my time looking at maps of the region and planning rides I am going to do once I am back on the saddle."
That, friends, is optimism, and probably something we all secretly admire. Damn, to be all Stephen Hawkinged in a wheelchair, and, like, nurses--er, actually, a single nurse, because we're about 90 pounds--hoist us onto our bike and suddenly we're a work of art, physically perfect.
Don't worry, I'm not going to go all Zauderer on you. I'm not a great cyclist urging dominance and zen. I'm just trying to think about how to ride when world domination is not the goal.
The tragic pictures posted in this cyclingnews piece on cyclists stripping down to undies underscores my point about limitations. Here Pellizoti is bested in a who-is-less-pitiful contest. I'm trying to think of a sport whose athletes--even machismo-stuffed Italian athletes--look less revolting with our shirts off. Know your limitations. I suppose the lesson is "if you're going to ride a bike to the point of resembling a junkie, cause, in fact you are a junkie, keep your shirt on."
Today's Zauderism: "On the one hand, if there’s something about even trying (to attack, win the sprint, hang on, etc.) that’s holding you back, believing that you can try may be exactly what you need.
On the other hand, let’s remember what Yoda said to Luke: “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.’” Luke didn’t believe that the Force could raise his sunken starfighter from the swamp, and he also didn’t believe he had access to the Force. Yoda knew that Luke had to have an unshakable belief in order to succeed, and that for Luke, “trying” wasn’t fueled by that kind of rock-solid belief. So by telling Luke to “do,” he was getting Luke to discover a belief that Luke didn’t know he could have."