If you go to certain Pacific Islands today, you'll find some people unusually devoted to what happened during World War II: villagers constructing landing strips, building fake piers, men marching like soldiers in mock straw olive drabs and painted insignia, air marshals directing non-existent aircraft. The Cargo Cult, it's called, an attempt through supernatural means--through acts of faith--to bring cargo to one's island.
Here's a grass plane they constructed:
Here's the John Frum cargo cult's take on American soldiers marching:
This is what they paint on their chests:
You can watch a sneering video on in (and all faith) here.
Such was Ryder Hesjedal's act of faith yesterday, his salute, upon crossing the one-to-go line at the Tour of Alberta. Here's how he explained his premature salutation:
"Sometimes you can tell a little bit, and going in that time it felt like were racing to the finish," Hesjedal continued. "Then after a little bit I realized it was too good to be true, but I was kind of half-committed to saluting because I wasn't too sure what just happened.
In other words, Hesjedal knew, even as he did it, that he hadn't won, but he had so much faith in himself that he raised his arms and pretended to win nonetheless. As if he were Tim Brown on a Sunday ride, pipping us at every signpost.
Raising the arms to celebrate a finish line only I believe in--how many times have I done this, both on the bike and elsewhere? I hope I keep doing it.