Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Don't say that anymore.

Scud.
John Potter.
Robin Williams.

I'm struck my how much I find in common in their collective passing.  The way that Scud would meander through a conversation, ecstatic, sort of like a Robin Williams monologue, whose subsequent passing happened the week of Scudfest, or what will happen to Robin Williams' collection of 60-some bikes, many of them boutique productions, like the men themselves, inspirational, one of a kind, or the fact that you can die on a mountain bike or in your home the same way: well before you should.  

The whole thing has given me considerable pause.  I've avoided writing about this because I certainly don't know what it all means, but I'll spit it out finally here and hope to be done with the worst of it.  

I think it's natural to think you knew Robin Williams.  For many of us, we grew up in a context that Robin Williams helped create.  It's shocking for us to realize that though he was an inspiration to the people around him, he had no inspiration left for himself, that we did not know Robin Williams after all.  

I also didn't know John Potter.  I stared at his photo online for a while, tried to place him in my past somewhere, and he does look familiar.  Maybe that's just human empathy, and I feel so absolutely terrible for his family that I'm not sure what to write about him.  I imagine that I passed him along the trail somewhere sometime, and we said hey and rode on.  But I didn't know him.  Walnut creek, though, I know extraordinarily well.  I've got a 2-inch scar on my left shoulder.  I broke a bike there once.  But dying there never crossed my mind.  

I haven't been to Bryce yet, where Scud was injured, and I don't think I'll go.  But if I did, I imagine I'd be most struck by the flow and grace of it, like most people who have been there.  I hear it's terrific.  

I met Scud the first time while racing the Monster Mash at Wakefield up near D.C.  He was the race promoter and director, and the whole thing was a benefit for some kid's program he was running at the time, and I finished 2nd.  I crashed pretty hard chasing the leader, maybe 200 yards from the finish.  I rode across the line dusty and bleeding, and Scud was psyched, congratulatory, wild-eyed in the way he always was when there was action to be had, and he said what we always say when that happens, "If you're not crashing, you're not going fast enough."  

Mental note to self: don't say that anymore.  

If I'm honest with myself, and I have to answer the question "how would you prefer to die?" and I don't say "in my sleep" which is sort of a lame, cowardly answer for the moral hypothetical, then I guess I have to admit that if I have to go - not anytime soon, mind you - I'd prefer to pass away on my bike.  I don't know what that's about, but there it is.  

The thing is, I always thought bikes were supposed to save your life.  Not end it.  And I think for the most part that's true more often than it's not.  

But nothing saves your life, at least not forever.  

I'm left, like many of us, with a lot of unanswered questions, many of which I won't write here because they're borderline offensive.  But how many miles did those three men tally in their lives?  And what are those miles worth now?   

I have to pause sometimes, survey what's before me, take stock of the things and people I've been gifted, and remind myself to savor it.  It keeps me looking up up up.  





Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some things don't make much sense.



The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Up up up.

Monday, July 28, 2014

There's just no way one guy is winning all of these races, right?

sweet, sweet Victory in PA.    

Up, up, up and all of that.  But my theory, still in the early stages, is that there are actually two of him.

Photoshop don't lie.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

That time I didn't run into Ben King in Dyke

A couple of weeks ago, I was out on a lunchtime ride in the heat.  It was about 90, I guess, and I rode up the south side of Brokenback and came down the naughty steepness from the tippy top into Blue Ridge School, hit the rollers, and then cruised out onto Bacon Hollow Road for the ride home. It's a 1.5 hour loop that I can usually do in about 2 hours in my current state of aerobic disrepair.  So anyway, I pulled past the store in Dyke, I looked over, and who do I see but Ben King there coming out of the store, two fresh bottles in hand, obviously on a big training ride on his road bike.

Instantly, I was confused.  In hindsight, I'd like to say that it was the heat.  But why the hell is Ben King not in Europe, I thought to myself?  And he pulled up alongside me and said hey, and we chatted it up for a moment, him on his road bike barely soft pedaling and me with a cooked brain on my Pivot just trying to make sense of the situation. Like, wasn't he supposed to be racing the Tour De France and training at altitude?  And why was he wearing this Hincapie Development Kit and riding a Felt?  And what were his race plans for the rest of the year?  And how was his form?  And on and on for about 5 minutes or so, until I realized that, in fact, I was talking to Jake King, not Ben.  Not sure if you're noticed, but little Jake is a man now.  And he looks a lot like Ben, but taller and meaner.

Certainly fast though.

Sorry about that, Jake.  Having lived my entire life in a sort of DNA-based co-existence with my own older brother, I know what it's like to be mistaken for someone else and play along so it's less awkward for everyone involved.  So thanks for that, Ben.  I mean Jake.

And you know what?  Good for you.  I think you've got a pretty good pedigree when you can be mistaken for your professional road racer older brother, have a 5 minute conversation with a stranger about what you're doing all the way out here, and what your plans are, and how your season's going, and most of the conversation that was supposed to be about him still applies to you.  Also, that makes it less weird for me.

My main point here: Jake King rips.  Watch yourself you aging, whiny pro racers that think you're entitled to a spot in the Peloton based upon what you did 10 years ago.  This kid's gonna knock your has-been 180 max heart rate right through your pampered underpants, and the general public is looking forward to watching him do it.

My other point, SPOILER ALERT: On Tuesday, Ben King is going to win stage 16 of the Tour De France out of a breakaway.  My apologies for ruining the suspense.  Social media is difficult like that.
Ben King (Garmin-Sharp) hangs on for third
Up, up, up.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Worlds.

95 degrees and humid for Tuesday worlds today.
I haven't been to worlds in 3 years, since before my kids were born.  But, in my imagination anyway, there's no time like the present.

The reality, of course, is way, way different.  But that's 6:00 Dave's problem, not mine.  And that guy sucks, and he whines a lot, and he gets dropped before things even get stirred up.  So count me in.

When in Pro, do as the pros do.
image.jpeg
Chipotle, anyone?
  Up, up, upchuck.