Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Go back Jack; do it again. Wheels turning round and round

They say that short memories are a good thing for quarterbacks and pitchers.  The ability to forget about the interception and throw boldly is a valued asset.  I have always eschewed looking backward as my ability to alter the past has proven to be very limited.  While I do think we should learn from the past; excessive time spent revisiting past decisions is wasted energy.  

Just as I find myself finally able to stand erect after the sweet torture that was the Leavenworth Fondo I am looking forward to the next round.  I have graphed the elevation profile and swapped cassettes in anticipation of yet another superlative-laden adventure. 

This one should be hotter and steeper. 
What could go wrong ?
I plan to gather with a close-knit group of fellow slow learners and assail the Cascade Range from the eastern side on the eve of the summer solstice.  What I find morbidly amusing is the drop off in participation following a particularly challenging event.  After the washing machine ride that was the Ephrata Fondo, the number of riders at Goldendale was down significantly.  If a particular Cyclocross race is a sloppy mudfest the week following will have far fewer riders.  I expect a number of battle-weary Leavenworth riders will skip the next event at Ellensburg.  Your loss....
It takes a special mindset to find these type of events enjoyable. Psych wards are probably full of folks with this “special” mindset.  For those of us lucky enough to be high functioning and still have an outlook on life that allows us to find joy amid this suffering; we know who we are.   Making eye contact with our fellow crazies yields a unique connection.

Our selective memories don’t remember the numb hands or frozen feet.  We are more familiar than we should be with the fine line between extreme discomfort and danger on the hypothermia scale.  We can wipe the drop of vomit from our sleeve or wash the salt from our helmet straps and erase the memory forever.  If someone reminds us we typically resond with, “Oh yeah, I forgot….”  We take a perverse pleasure, somewhere between analytical and masochistic, in reaching our limits.

I heard that one definition of tact was telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the journey.  Those of us who pin a number on for these events know exactly what we are getting into and yet not only do we do it again, we look forward to it! 
Why must you humiliate me for your perverse entertainment ?
At this stage of my life the prizes and accolades for riding a bike faster than some other idiot are meaningless. It is egotistical (or maybe Zen-like?) to say that as far as racing goes the only opinion that matters to me is my own. It thrills me to ride to the top of a mountain and take in the view.  I take pleasure in finishing a ride exhausted, having tickled my physical or technical limits. I find these Fondos complex problem-solving challenges that require the right combination of fitness, equipment selection, nutrition, riding finesse and luck. When I get it right I feel omnipotent. Riding with Hottie or with my friends is far more satisfying that standing on a podium.

I don’t think I am lowering the bar by preferring the journey over the results. I prefer to think I have found a better bar.

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