It's been a month since I engaged in any kind of competitive riding--due to sickness and a good three weeks of training and racing lost to matrimonial matters. The time lost to life-changing familial matters is irreplaceable; I estimate the loss of fitness and increased attention to developing a loving relationship will probably drop my w/kg several notches on the Coggan scale. Not to mention the skin and probably bone breakage I would surely have incurred at Bike Jam, surely the bloodiest thing to happen in Baltimore since the bombardment of Fort McHenry.
A shame, really, how values get so turned around. How is it that the important things in life get lost? I'm thinking of the stuff that points to nobler visions of purpose; i.e., riding around in a circle with sweaty old dudes hellbent on being slightly better than average, the kind of men who every day relive their 2009 3rd place finish at Dawg Days Cat 3/4 Masters 35+ (field size, 43) and thus are able to endure taking out the garbage and back-to-back meetings in windowless conference rooms. For four weeks, I was unable to focus on these celestial thoughts, being forced instead to deal with trivialities: to say vows of eternal union with another person, to stand on ground completely unsuspended from a bicycle seat, and then to go down to Mexico and to lie on the beach and ingest a wide variety of things in tortillas and from highball glasses. I actually started to develop a purpose in life off the bike, I'm ashamed to say.
Authentic Mayan tacos, consisting only of New World ingredients, pledged by our authentically Mayan waiter, Willie, to improve stamina, manliness, virility, and cellulosity of regurgitation.
I returned to sanity at 2am on Tuesday, when I lay down to sleep after a delayed and re-routed return flight. I needed to get back to my self, to re-make my best life, as Oprah calls." I recalled her words, ""When your to-do list has you coming undone, you have to step back and come back to center. Without a connection to something that is real, you will lose your way."
"That's it," I thought, "I'm racing Greenbelt tomorrow."
Greenbelt greeted me with a lovely C race crash: "Welcome back," it said, "you look fat and ready to be pulverized."
Julie Elliot captured Alex's purpose-in-life event wonderfully (Alex is OK and can't wait wait to form another, hopefully better, purpose-in-life event).
Ah! With the determination to once again submit myself to bike racing, my thoughts returned to my life-purpose-giving event--the time I dropped Chuck Hutch on that one group ride when he claimed to have a flat but I'm pretty sure he was suffering and stabbed his tire with a pin or something. And I remembered what is good in life: old dudes achieving slightly above average fitness, and risking life and limb (shouldn't the phrase be "risking life OR limb," since if you die, the lost limb is really not worth mentioning) to form purpose-in-life memories that sustain one through life's hard times.
Greenbelt, o' life-purpose-giving race/training event lacking cameras and with many riders marked "unknown" because the judges can't read our shitty number jobs! Ye of rusty, re-used safety pins! Ye of loads of cars driven by drunkards or drug addicts or undergoing electroconvulsive therapy while driving! Ye of B race pack finishes--guaranteed! Ye of uncertain value for upgrades! Ye of Coco girls and drinks!
I return to you!
The race/training event went better than I expected, given my state of fitness and paunch size. I positioned myself perfectly for the obligatory droppage by an XO rider (this time, Nick Bax). Being dropped so thoroughly allowed me to avoid the fast-looking sprint, and to continue dreaming of my 1987 Hunny Bop 7th place Cat 4, rather than forming a new purpose-in-giving memory based on training race success. (This follows the purpose-giving-bike-race hierarchy perfectly; that is, it's acceptable to find purpose in life based on a race that eliminates all the young (35+), fast (1/2), and dangerous (5) folks, but going on in this life, based on a training race memory is a bit depressing.)
Level 1: Sustaining life throughout eternity
- Solo breakaway from start to finish
- Sprint win with bellow and crotch chop
- MABRA BAR champ
Level 2: Sustaining life through death
- Win from break
- Sprint win with either bellow or crotch chop
Level 3: Sustaining life for 10 years
- Sprint win
- Podium from break
- Bunny hop over fallen rider, Japan air style
- Win Greenbelt series
Level 4: Sustaining life for between 1-3 years
- Win at training race from a break
- Perform notable feat of strength (prodigious breakaway, win field sprint after break wins
Level 5: Sustaining life for season
- TT PR
- Sprint podium
Level 6: Sustaining life for 1 week
- Post funny story to MABRA listserve that is well received
- Win at training race from sprint
- Post race picture to FB and receive comment about "sexy legs"
- Not throw up while in break with Russ Langley
- Slay this guy at Hains:
Please click on image for larger view of ass and attire of this fred in his curious vestments, bundled up against the late May frigidity and safely aero-tastically crowned and wheeled for battle . Captured by Grayson