Sunday, February 22, 2009

Well, hello Hanscom

Two months out of the saddle, the road saddle anyway.  But we're back in the game, training, and what''s more important, training with a mission.  Just having registered for BCBR, having made the commitment, has already changed the meaning of things.  This is for real now.

On Sunday Keith, still recovering from the Afghanistan atrophy holiday, and myself, still warming up the legs after a long six months of decline, made our way out to Harvard and back  by way of Concord and Hanscom AFB.  Perhaps it was too little to eat during the endeavor, or perhaps the cold, or the memory of our former strength compelling us beyond our limits, but by our return both Keith and I were on the edge, focus fading, the cold penetrating further with each mile, a slow slide into caloric deficeit.  Keith's buffalo chicken wings and my cheesey poofs were perhaps not the ideal ride food.  This was a good reminder of the attention we must give toeverything.  In retrospect, it is obvious that BBQ sauce, with more sugar than Buffalo sauce, and cheesey crunches, which have less air than cheesey poofs, would have been more intelligent choices.

But cheesey poofs are a natural segue to matters of philosophy.  Given the options out there, why do we choose cheesey poofs over pita crisps, and stage races over marathon sessions of TV or chess, and what does this say about our purpose?  There are many ways to contribute to the great mission - we all have a responsibility to contribute to society in a productive way, and this also means that we should contribute to culture.  For me, racing is a form of service to society, it is my culture.  It is certainly not the pinnacle of service, but it can be done with this element in mind.  Competitions are more trials of our will in the long months prior.  A great performance is something that may last only a few brief moments, but the effort required in getting there is something that permeates and defines a life.  Competitive sports, and cycling especially so, is a way which holds focus, grace and sacrifice as its highest virtues.   These are noble virtues, ones very much in need of a voice.  Ultimately, racing and competition is a platform for introspection and awareness, cutting into the deep questions of identity and existence.  This is my religion, my bike my church.


Anonymous said...

Well said pedal! I will copy and paste the last paragraph to my favourite quotes.



The small hours of Sunday mornings have been and will always be the times when I am most introspective. While all my old neighbors flocked to church pews or family TV sets, I would run mile after mile in the desert sunrise. There was nothing like it-- the quiet, the colors, the internal dialog of the body communicating with itself. Alive. Fulfilled. With a purpose. The movement of one's body through the landscape gives the scene meaning, as if this was the only activity that one was born to do.

There's an incredible hypersensitivity to ourselves and our surroundings that is intensely present in a race. Every muscle, every nerve, every micron of the body thinking and breathing and working together for the climax of our performance.

Thank you for the motivation, I'm off to train!

The Pedal said...

I'm honored, thanks guys.

Perhaps once the weather gets a little better and the Fells trails dry out we could head out there for a run. It's been a long time since I've explored those trails by foot.