It’s been a while — almost 20 years — since I left my mini truck at home to instead be senior photo’d with my road bike. It was the purest macho I could conjure. I’ve ascended hill and dale with my enthusiasm for our sport fluctuating for decades. From the posters of Bugno & Lemond on my bedroom wall as a kid to the boxes of extra bike crap in the crawl space, to an extremely sophisticated penchant for the finest chianti – I’ve come a long way. It hasn’t been without challenge.
For years my social presentation of self was something from which I omitted cycling almost entirely; Let’s say for about 9 years, starting around 2003. Though to my friends and fellow cyclists, fellow mechanics, or those clad in the tight pants/shirts, discussions would often center around the absurd struggle and beautiful advances of cycling culture. But at the party scene, to those holding the highball, those standing around making spectacle of the evening’s pianist, and those with their noses glued to the center crease of the newspaper, cycling was too embarrassing to explain. I had no desire to stare through the pince nez of our Stars and Stripes Forever audience and attempt to make a case. Sure, there was the doping. People had ill-formed degrees of irrefutable judgment that I had no care for contesting. Sure there was the Texan, all spectacle, ever-questionable. I didn’t ever care to discuss him, either. Once in a great while a genuinely earnest conversational hors d’oeurves would be passed – something like the grande neato factor of carbon fibre. But it was more of a collective impression, an established essence that keep this little cycling light of mine from shining.
Fast forward through the 9 years. I’ve assessed the “damage.” I am pleased. I’ve read and read, watched and watched. I’ve talked about that which we do not like to talk about, and I’ve experienced — free of any contrived intention — a liberation. Late last summer I donned my bare self, took a big sip from my coconut cocktail, inhaled deeply, and went down to the bottom of the swimming pool. In the azure silence I experienced a complete lack of essence. I held my breath and made a decision to once more embrace this wicked and beautiful sport entirely. The dynamic achieved balance. I will now explain gladly in great detail to those curious, the droll details of of a fruitless breakaway. I will set down my cocktail to shoulder the responsibility of describing mid-stage urination strategy with appropriate brevity. And then I will likely excuse myself from the evening with zero trepidation by explaining that, yes, I must wake early for a ride on my cycle. Because I love it, and because it is important, and because I am very, very, macho.
“The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; but the wise say the path to Superissimo is worth it.”
— The Superissimo