You know, as I was in the middle of my race on Sunday, I took a great deal of comfort in knowing that at that exact same moment, there were people ruining other people’s races all over the country.
Photo by Lindsey.
From Santa Cruz to New York, and from Boston to Austin, I received emails in large numbers expressing as much, and as alone as I sometimes feel when when engaging in a bicycle related athletic pursuit, knowing that there were others out there, just like me, clogging up the system and making other people miserable sheerly by existing, allowed me to suffer with a smile upon my face, though as it turns out, the only person’s race I ruined was my own.
Obviously the above photo is not one of my race, but there were moments when I felt as though it could have been.
And not to beat a dead horse here, but I did get one email from a friend saying that, in fact they wished all of their worst days could be confined to time spent off the bike, but the fact of the matter was that there were some experiences they’d had while racing bikes “where i have died a thousand slow deaths and everyone around me has deserved to die along with me, and at those moments i have even imagined with some grim detail the nuances of their potential deaths as a coping tool just to make it through the epic mindfucking shit of those (epicly bad bike races.)”
I have, on occasion, turned myself inside out in the pursuit of athletic mediocrity, and whatever glimmer of success I might achieve because of that, but as I responded to him, and as much as I appreciate what he was saying, I simply am unable to relate.
You see, I know what it’s like to be tied down to a hospital bed with IV bags of Morphine and antibiotics being pumped into my body for 72 hours straight without a break.
When one bag was emptied, another was hung in its place.
I know what it’s like when for days on end, the taste of my own saliva is enough to send me into fits of vomiting so violent that I tear muscles.
I know what its like to be shaved, cut, poked, and prodded, with odd and horrifyingly shaped medical instruments going into and coming out of places in my body that they shouldn’t be.
I know what it’s like to be starved to the point where a small cup of chicken broth is so delicious that I’m brought to tears and I know what it’s like to have the people that I love look down at me in my hospital bed like it might be the last time they see me.
In comparison to any of that, the very worst day on a bike that I could even imagine doesn’t compare.
But as I concluded in the email, I suppose at the end of the day, it’s all relative.
Finally, in conclusion to all of this, I feel like I’m in a pretty fortunate position to be on the receiving end of correspondences from people like Tim, or Casey, one whom is recovering from a profound brain injury, and the other, from a major surgery on his hip. Both of the aforementioned individual’s contact serves as an additional reminder that as long as I am capable of riding a bike in whatever capacity I can, whether it’s a casual bar crawl, or a cross eyed, soul shitting, anaerobic beat down, that it’s better than not getting to do either at all.
When I’m not capable of keeping myself in check in regards to this, they take up the slack.
So there we go. I hope we all learned something these last few days.
Back on the business front, even though I’ve shaken the mail bag out pretty vigorously a few times the last couple of weeks, I still have a ton of stuff sitting in my inbox, so without further delay, here is some more of it.
Like the one from John, in which he wrote;
“In case you haven’t seen this.“
Really, if you just come here and skim through the posts from day to day, I have to stop you here and encourage you to go back and look through the series of photos in that link. It really is something to behold and a testament to the creative forces coursing their way around David Mahan’s brain.
It’s like a Transformer, but one that doesn’t make inappropriate overtures when you have company;
I apologize for the advertisement, but the video I think is pretty sweet.
I’m gonna transform right about now.
There is a fellow whose work I’ve been following for weeks- maybe even longer, who goes by the name Gypsy The Punk and even though I am a neglectful correspondent, he wrote me a delightful little piece about a recent experience during which he got the opportunity to sample a little taste of just deserts;
“Coming out of the grocery store this afternoon with a backpack full of beer, I was confronted by Mr. Hipster T. Douchebag. Mr. Douchebag was straddling his fixed gear bike, and was frowning disapprovingly at mine. As I fiddled with my bike lock, he asked, “You new to road riding?”
“Not exactly,” I said.
“Then why you running two brakes?”
I thought about explaining to Mr. Douchebag about how unlike his bike, mine was a training tool and not a fashion accessory. I then thought about trying to get across to him about how when I set the bike up I had been trying to mimic the position of my racing bike… but then I remembered that I was talking to Mr. Hipster T. Douchebag, and that I would just be wasting my time. So instead of going through all that I said, “I just like it that way.”
“Huh,” he said, “kinda weird,” and then, without so much as a “good-bye,” he took off like a bat out of hell back up the street toward my house. I followed at a much slower pace. About half way home, guess who I saw standing next to his bike in the middle of the bike lane? Yup, you guessed it. I slowed down and asked the obvious.
“Yeah,” he mumbled quietly.
“No,” he mumbled even more quietly than before.
He didn’t even bother to answer.
Long story short, I ended up fixing his flat while my beer slowly got warm in my backpack. To add insult to injury, the fucker didn’t even thank me.
So, next time you see Mr. Hipster T. Douchebag riding around on his flat pedaled, velocity rim spinning fixie, please do me a favor… Knock him over, take five bucks out of his wallet to pay for the tube I gave him, and most importantly, give him the bird as you walk away.
Punk rock is as punk rock does,
Gypsy the Punk”
I would like to note that occasionally, in an effort to include imagery with a written piece, I will scour the internet for sources that simply will ad a visual quality to it. The images I’ve included here are two that I picked after doing an exhaustive three minute search of ‘hipster fixed gear flat tire’, neither of which obviously have anything to do with the piece, but they stuck out, so I used them.
I also would like to note that the fellow with the rabbit appears to be the real-life version of this guy.
And finally I’ll just say that if I knocked ten people over a day who look like the individual The Gypsy described, I would be a very old man before I got to the right one. We’ll just chalk it up to The Gypsy’s karma getting a little boost, a random knucklehead getting a lesson, and said random knucklehead’s parent’s being publicly shamed for raising an inconsiderate doofus for a son.
I now would like to take the opportunity to display the latest of my wares;
I am quite looking forward to these hat’s arrival as the lot of my existing collection smell absolutely rancid.
I would also like to include a disclaimer that I’ve posted on my Flickr page;
“Of course for the purists in the fold, I would like to say I can legitimately claim usage of the World Championship stripes due to the fact that I have competed in, worked for and passed out at World Championship events in both American and Canadian venues.”
So there you have it. Anybody has a problem with it, I suggest you take it up with the UCI.
These should drop in the coming weeks, and when they do, I will plead with anyone and everyone to please make a purchase.
As I put the finishing touches on this installment, my blood sugar is dropping like a bowling ball from an overpass, and I am beginning to feel the effects of huge physical effort combined with canned beer and bad vibes, so I’ll nip this one where it stands.
It’s totally Monday. You should be doing something other than this.