On the second day of team camp here in Italy, we got caught in a rainstorm during a brutal interval session. As we battled a cross-headwind, spraying rooster tails of red mud from our wheels, our legs and kit became heavy with wet and cold. Still, we pushed on through the blur of splattered glasses and cold spray, fighting the sour ache of loaded legs over rough road, chasing each other through mud, effort after effort. Boy it was ugly! And by the final set of efforts my legs felt even uglier. After, we filed into the entryway, dripping with grime, quiet and empty, gratefully accepting the hot tea prepared by our souigneur.
It ain’t pretty, but it is. This is the time when an exhausted, ugly pedal stroke isn’t just ugly: it’s perfect. It’s when success means failing over and over again, because pushing to failure is the whole point.
And that is why these are also the most beautiful kilometers of the year.
Yes and no. On the way to my last 9W ride I remember distinctly thinking ‘This is the last time I will ride over the Brooklyn Bridge’. It’s an amazing bridge to ride over… if you do it at the right time of day. Otherwise, it’s a total shit storm.
I would only ride it pre-9am and late at night if coming home from work. Like 10pm late at night. Manhattan Bridge was always a more chill option. Outside that time window the Brooklyn Bridge is a seething, heaving walkway of pedestrians, tourists and runners who don’t care that the path is split in two for cyclists and peds to share and not kill each other. I don’t blame the tourists, but I just used to wish they would not step backwards into the lane with cameras stuck to their faces. Just look first. It’s easy.
I miss the times I’d catch the sunrise on it.
I miss the sound of the wooden slats as I would ride over it.
So, sure, I miss it. But I have exchanged its beauty and elegance for new thrills.
Just remembered: I saw a sunrise marriage proposal acceptance on it once as I headed to training ride with Bernie one morning. That was a good day. She was jumping up and down. It made me smile.
It reminds me of the “bike to work” movement. That is also portrayed as white, but in my city more than half of the people on bike are not white. I was once talking to a white activist who was photographing “bike commuters” and had only pictures of white people with the occasional “black professional” I asked her why she didn’t photograph the delivery people, construction workers etc. … ie. the black and Hispanic and Asian people… and she mumbled something about trying to “improve the image of biking” then admitted that she didn’t really see them as part of the “green movement” since they “probably have no choice” –
I was so mad I wanted to quit working on the project she and I were collaborating on.
So, in the same way when people in a poor neighborhood grow food in their yards … it’s just being poor– but when white people do it they are saving the earth or something.
”—comment left on the Racialious blog post “Sustainable Food & Priviledge: Why is Green always White (and Male and Upper-Class)” (via ouiominy)
“I don’t know how to answer your question, because on paper, people like me and Ned, should not be winning races. It goes to show you, everyone can train really hard, but there is something else other than the physical preparation. We all know amazing athletes who can’t put it together on race day. So there is something more that is in your brain and I don’t know how you learn that stuff, I think it’s just years of experience and who your mentors are and how you process losses. I think it’s important to lose too.”—
I don’t know about you, but the thought of Reba and Tim Johnson doing an ultra-endurance project where “Basically have Tim and myself go out and thrash ourselves and see what happens" makes me excited.