Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sis-f'in-hot (Aug 30th)

So... you know you have been blindsided by the "curse of the oily chain" when even your reading material focuses you on the obscenity and obsession generated by riding and racing (albeit feebly in my case) bicycles. A friend who has cycled various continents and worked as a bicycle messenger suggested a book to me recently titled "Need for the Bike" by Paul Fournel. The book is a retrospection and confessional of sorts which takes a cyclocentric view of the world from atop the saddle. It doesn't hurt that the author is a member of a French avant garde writing group and cultural attache to the Egyptian embassy, which is to say that it is no sentimental journey, but a philosophical and economically written piece of literature. Where my knowledge and experience of biketopia is narrow and recently convened, he has the advantage of springing from the womb with a chainring mark on his leg and a silver down tube shifter in his mouth, following his cycling father on long rides out from their village in France as a boy, which brazes his fate to the spinning pedals. Heroes of his childhood are now cycling legends and his years are marked by frames and groupsets, each recalled as mile posts on the path of an exquisite journey to a "self" shaped by riding a bike for its simple, profound pleasure. But I digress. I had been struggling to come up with an appropriate way to describe the experience of "Sis-scorch" on Saturday and, of course, this book had it in spades. How else to describe the unconscionably brutal meeting of 110 degree heat, asphalt and a bike race than to say I met the "Witch with Green Teeth" (le bonk) up close and personal. Some from our fool hardy group fared well: Nick "Platinum No More" Davis broke away in a group of 6 (down to three at the finish) to get second in the 5A group, Matt "Soon to be Platinum" Perry charged out from the 4's in a break to get 3rd, Paul "my bike is gold so there is no Platinum joke here" Donahoe sashayed his way to 12th. Mike Abbott clocked his first road race at 19th and I was 20th, although I am really not sure any of it happened as much of the 2d lap seemed like a mirage/dream, nearly puking, heart attack inducing slog through gelatin thick air on concrete tires or, to be economical, like I met the Witch with Green Teeth......

David Jurist

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