libraried President, saying Greenbelt is where "wings take dream." In that spirit, I declare that Greenbelt is, additionally, where...
- wheels take spin
- gears take shift
- Nutella takes spread
- B race take no breakaways
- Friday's parking lot take day-of reg, and
- Jeff Travis take awesome.
I can take on, because there's a lot taking at Greenbelt.
There was one year where two hot chicks in tight clothes rolled up in giant coconut vehicle and handed out free Vita Coco juice and pretended to find us mildly interesting. The hot girls were later replaced by dudes, crushing the dreams of the more amorous heteros of us, but, then, perhaps inspiring the dreams of the gay dudes among us.
The coco-product itself, with the promising reports on hydration, led some to hope it would inspire victory, but it did not. The coconut--its pitchers and its presence--both inspired and crushed dreams, as only Greenbelt can.
There was the year where the race was stopped and we tried to make it home, caught in a derecho, which prompted Paps to ponder the country music song, It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night that Chew Your Ass out All Day. Now the Route 1 boys have the world's most advanced weather prediction systems in place, and are quick to pull the plug--and crushing our dreams of midweek training race glory.
There was a year when a former safety for some poor professional Ohio team--Browns or Bengals--showed up for one race, crushed all of us, then disappeared. The crushing was a singular hit, like the guy probably used to lay on wide receivers.
Yes, I know, we regularly are crushed by a former semi-pro rugby player, and others of us regularly have our dreams crushed by former pro cyclists, but, c'mon, being crushed by a former professional football player is something special. We teach our children to dream whatever they may imagine, glorious dreams of uninhibited splendor. Then we admire most the people who crush dreams--man-machines built to crush, crush, crush!
This is the point--we should readily submit our dreams to crushing, like rocks to gravel.
I long had a dream of winning a race with a solo breakaway in front of my closest friends, who all cheered me. I failed at that for four years.
On Sunday I got lucky and finally won a race with a solo break. I don't think I'd have been able to do it if so many previous, dreamy attempts hadn't been crushed.
Even the morning of my win, I'd had my ass handed to me in the TT. The TT is a weak spot for me, and I'd worked hard to improve it over the winter. Doing well in it had been my main priority for the weekend, and I had bombed.
I went into the afternoon crit feeling totally crushed.
Even after winning the crit against great competition, and with a move I hadn't thought I could pull off, I feel disappointment in my TT--why can't I ride faster? It's something I need to keep working on, and more realistically, I've learned.
I'm not like McKinney or Meidhof, Gottlieb or Rugg, or even that Dustin kid from NCVC who's killed all the races he's done so far. My history on the bike is one of accepting my limits, of dreams of solo wins gradually replaced with dreams of placings, dreams of just being in good moves, dreams of just feeling good in a race.
To keep racing and loving it, you have to settle on dreams you can reach--the ones give you pleasure, the ones you can actually attain.
Greenbelt has crushed many of my dreams, and I think this is largely its purpose. It's an amazing place to try those things you dream.
I hope you come out, and I hope you have the bravery to subject your dreams to its crushing. It'll make you a better bike racer, and you'll have more fun doing it.
See ya there, out in the crushing.