I used to bear down into the wind with resentment. I was 15. The only climbs that could be had from the northern reaches of Indianapolis were headwinds. So I’d climb them. I’d buckle down, staring at
my stem as if it were a friend. It said Cinelli. Milano. You’ve stared at it, too. In those days, the early 90s, the stem that had become my friend said to me: Alyssa. Milano. One will go to imaginative lengths to stay on board during a Hors Cat headwind.
So it was for me, growing up in Indiana with my own intense Dave Stoller complex. In the halls of school I was not easily understood. So outside them, I pedaled. I winced. In my priveleged-white-kid-way, I learned to be fine with the suffer.
On the mountain days a patch of black tape on the cycle computer was obligatory. It was too demoralizing forcing pace into winds only to see the big gray 12 staring back. I’d secretly hope for a country mongrel to come springing from scrubby abandoned property, defying me to stay in my
saddle. At least the route home was downhill. The tape would come off, and the pleasure returned.
The Cinelli stamp is still there on the bike I’m pushing now. I look at it still, for long periods of time even. The stare is no longer accompanied by melodramatic desperation. Those days
are gone. I look now, pondering my life and taking inventory. That’s what riding is for. That and domination, of course. A fragment of the victory I now experience is the result of those days spent grinding into adulthood. I’ll take a headwind all day. Give it to me. I’ll show you and that hussy Alyssa Milano what I’ve learned.