Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chesco Moderately Old Guys Race: A Report

There was a time when people beat dead horses.

How else do we explain the expression to beat a dead horse?  Think about that.  One day, a guy was feeling a bit of futility and said to his neighbor, "you know what this feels like?  It feels just like last week, when I was beating my old dead horse.  You know?"  His neighbor then thought about it, and replied, "EXACTLY!"  And that feeling of beating a dead horse as a feeling deeply resonated--not only with his neighbor, but the entire English-speaking world.  And the expression to beat a dead horse was born.

Today dead horse beating is mostly extinct, but the legacy of our dead horse beating past remains our way of expressing a futile repetitive act.

Yes, it's a bit scary and depressing, isn't it, that our language revels in such a violent and barbaric past?

Often, we this expression to describe bike racing.  Futility is what I write about normally, since, as every writer knows, the story is over with a victory--it's the beating of the horse that appears dead that's interesting.  Beating a truly dead horse is not in the least suspensful.

It's when the beating turns out to have been on a play acting horse that it gets interesting, but the story finally ends.  And when the story ends, there's nothing else to write about.  Finis.  

[Please note that this is all figurative language.  No actual horses, living, dead, or play acting, were harmed in the writing of this.]

Most of us are in this situation of beating a dead horse our whole lives; of being part of the shapeless peleton, not the glorious first to the line.  

That's why winning, in the rare instances when it happens to me, present ol' Paps with a problem when it comes to knowing what to say about it--ol' Paps is a bitching, longing, pack fodder kind of guy.  Paps watches the break go, or he may get in it, but he does not win.

When he does win, it looks like this:



Or this:


And sometimes like this [crotch #327].


Just pitiful stuff, really.  The kind of thing you're ashamed of being a part of--winning in the midst of old men breaking their backs and wearing pink, or America mankinis.  

Yesterday at the PA Masters Championship up in Chesco, Paps got a win that looked like this:


Please overlook Paps' disgusting physique, his socks l'orange, his failure to zip up his jersey and hide his NSFW chest, the beaver pelt on his face and chest, and the extreme tightness of the jersey across his gut.  Overlook all this totally un-Euro / un-Pro (i.e., amateur) stuff.  Aside from that, this kind of win--assuming it is a victory salute, and not just a "broke-ass Maximus asking if you are not entertained"--is fairly legit.  

There's no explosion of bodies and bikes in the background.  This is no bunch sprint won by a bit of craft.  This one ol' Paps actually won, with no one else in the picture.

It's a good feeling to win with a bit of space.  This must be what Nick Bax (who won the 90 mile real men's race at Chesco), Keck Baker, and Ryan McKinney and Chuck Hutch feel all the time, I guess.  For Paps, it's a new feeling, and will probably remain a rarity.  That's OK--at least I know what it feels like.

For those out there toiling away, keep toiling.  You're not beating a dead horse.  It's totally worth it.

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