meditate on this.
5:30 am TruckeeThe morning air presented itself refreshingly brisk yet cool and calm, like a Buddhist meditating with a pine cone in a tranquil forest of wise ponderosa. Well actually It was Jesse Miller Smiths guest bedroom with a balcony overlooking a quaint mountain town neighborhood. That said, it was peaceful, even if at 5:30 in the morning his dog Ziggy was at my feet beckoning fervently with wildly anticipating eyes, drool oozing from both sides of his young fuzzy mug with only one thought on his mind. I want to play fetch throw me the ball. Just like Ziggy, we had one thought on our minds........District TT championships, and of course coffee.
JMS, Frank Spiteri and I left poor Ziggy in front of the TV. I have never seen a dog watching baseball drooling and following the ball as it moves across the screen, obviously dreaming that he may someday be given the opportunity to chase that dream. Truly a site to see. Ok, Ok, ok.........Bike racing....yup, we lined up for the TT........pushed as hard as we could.......two of us made the podium....I was third again, just like last year, and then we piled into Franks Car and the two of us began the most epic race of the day. The drive from Sattley to Benicia to do the Taleo criterium.......It was epic...........We were told by a local, I can't remember his name, to take the hypotenuse. I always thought the hypotenuse was a straight line but apparently to the local it meant driving 80 miles at 40 mph on the most meandering roller-coaster of a road on earth. Rafting down the Yuba river may have been faster. Any rate, after our stressed for time journey we arrived in Benicia and had an epic time finding parking. Locating registration was like a rat finding cheese in a maze with no sense of smell. Then on the way to the start line I managed to crash in the grass, land on my back and have my coke explode all over me in front of 50 spectators. My warm up consisted of 2 hours on the MarcPro while driving and in the end we made it to the start line with 4 min to spare. To boot, I was covered in sweat and sticky, caffeinated, overly GMO fortified corn syrup from my pre-race antics.
The universe was speaking......we weren't listening.
The race started and was going pretty well. Nate Freed, Frank, and I were taking turns tearing it up, counterattacking and having a blast. With 9 laps to go.....I was taking some big digs, and after rounding a corner at mach speed, drilling it off the front, my bike mysteriously started skipping every other pedal rotation........suck balls!.......I pulled into the pit. Dripping with sweat and frustrated I struggled to find the problem. It ended up being a bent chain link that kept jumping every time it when though the derailleur pulleys and around the cog. My race was over........and shortly after Frank joined me on the sidelines. However from the looks of it, things did not play out as well for him.
Frank was involved in a crash but he was patiently and calmly walking to the chief referee with another rider who looked to be berating Frank with every word in the book. This other rider was accusing Frank of acting like a criminal that premeditated a scheme to run him into the barriers causing him to crash and consequentially break his Specialized frame and Zipp wheel.
Now Frank has to be one of the nicest guys on our team and he tends to race in what I would call a very ethical, conscientious and graceful manner. He also has great awareness for other riders in the race and I have never seen him do anything like this other rider was describing. I feel sorry for the other rider but bike racing is dangerous. I fully except the fact that shit happens and I have no one to blame but myself for my own predicament. This is the reality that I have chosen and created. If I had placed a high value on my bicycle and my body then I sure as shit would not be racing a criterium in my underwear and blaming other riders for my misfortune. I race my bike for the experience and accept the risk. I would suggest that other riders do the same. If the universe speaks you better listen. If you want to stay safe, well, I got news for ya.......Just meditate on what the word safe really means and what an illusion the idea of safety really is. When its your turn its your turn.
Bicycle racing is fun, its very dangerous, its exciting and its very unpredictable. In the end its your choice. Stop whining about it. Embrace racing for what it is and enjoy the people and experiences that weave its fabric and display its energy. Take a lesson from Ziggy.........just be stoked, and get even more stoked when someone wants to play ball with you.