Monday, September 13, 2010

Imagined Monologues: Laurent Fignon's Ghost at Turkey Day

What a pity that no one can see me here in the midst of the pack. I wear no helmet, and I have a glorious head. I still wear my beloved spectacles that never fell even during the most furious races.

I lost much when I died, most notably the pain of my disease. But I gained much more than I lost: my beautiful ponytail has returned, my young legs are back, and, most of all, the guilt and suffering of my disease is gone. The Grand Tour of Life is finished.

But I was talking about how you should see me here in the pack without my helmet and my hair flowing as it once did, in its full shock of magnificent creamy blonde.

Here is another attack! Harley goes, and is matched by NCVC. A split, and this is sure to stay away for some time.

But now the field chases--Harley chases down the break, and it is sure to come together. Here an ABRT fellow disregards Bobby Phillips' advice and tackles the potholes; a tremendous explosion, with steel and bits of parts flying everywhere. His saddle has exploded! No one goes down.

The mist falls, but my mane sits unperturbed, immortal. I have no need of tucking, of aero bars, of heart rate monitors, of bulbous helmets--of any device to fight the elements. It does not concern me, nor does time.

Eight seconds to LeMond. A curved bar and an egg-shaped helmet. An American in American style taking the Tour from a Frenchman losing the Tour in French style.

They say my hair slowed me down, that if I'd cut it, I'd have won the Tour that year. Samson's story inverted, I suppose you could say.

I'm sorry to see these helmets. Of course, safety is important, and these boys must work for a living; they aren't professionals. But I want to see them as people in their suffering and anger.

I heard a scientist once give a talk on the suppleness of our faces: our ancestors needed faces, not masks, to speak to each others' hearts. We are not ants with hard exoskeletons leaving scent trails everywhere, Hinault excluded, naturally. It is a shame LeMond hid behind his Oakley welder's glasses, that others followed, that they put on masks to hide their souls.

That is what we do, by the way, we dead. We are voyeurs of the souls of the living. We watch that part of the self that is immortal when it is mortal, just as you living spend your time watching the many deaths of the living: sex, violence, games, and bike races.

What did I say? The break has been brought back. There is Chuck Hutch charging across. And now he tries to recover, but he has burned one too many matches I think. They swarm at the finish and he is pipped by a working man from ABRT.

C'est la vie, no?

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