Friday, July 25, 2008

24 Hour Races can be kinda tough, cuz a guy don't get nowherez. After a spell, a fella starts to think hez going in circles? Can make a man crazy!!!!

Itz less than a week out from the 24 hours @ 9 Mile... Last year at this time, it was incredibly exciting prepping for the Big Summer Formal; this year, I know better!...Just kiddin' but seriously, these 24 hour suburban lap races are tough on a less-than-stable guy's self-esteem in large part because they seem so damned contrived, a guy starts to go crazy... In other words, in my world, they are tougher than other endurance events because a guy aint getting nowhere, a guyz out there trying as hard as he can, killing himself, yet after ten or so hours of pounding the single track combined with the realization that he's seen all the same terrain before lap after lap after lap, he starts to question his sanity! Could it be a metaphor for the absurdity and folly of the human condition? (no one gets out alive!) Think about it: The harder one tries, the faster one pedals around the loop, the fact of the matter is that at the end of the 24 hour day, when they tally up the progress, itz a big fat zero, right back at the starting line! A guy, even a guy with mild dementia sees everything and experiences all the "joys" of the trail surely after the second or third lap! ...Plus, every hour or so (every lap) pathetic guyz like me and the other poor folk from up in the blue-collar Mesabi Nord Country, are forced to sheepishly bear witness to all the fancy richly endowed big city-folk with their fully supported cadres of loving, supportive, and competent pit crews, as we dig and salvage through our squalid camps for a bit of foul water, discounted snickers bars, and cheap fish paste. Contrasting cases-in-point: With The Red Ass 300 or The Trans-Iowa ( big majestic 300+ mile loops) or The Arrowhead 135 (135 wilderness miles from Point A to Point B), a guy takes off self-sufficient and alone knowing what he needs to do; which is to ride the route come what may. He may very well develop a relationship with his competitors, they may even form into a "Band of Brothers", for there is safety and comfort in numbers when out alone in the night on the long forlorn trail. But with these impersonal lap races, where one can see Las Vegas style lights at every turn and on every horizon, where there is blaring music and refreshments served at all hours, no one feels the need to form relationships with other riders as he or she is never more than a few paces away from his or her kinfolk or tribe, where every hour or so a guy is right back where he started from....It don't make no sense to me, it don't mean nothin', especially when itz 3:00 am and ya been on the proverbial rat wheel for 17 hours; but itz close by and itz super fun to line up with some of the best enduro-riders in the country, so I'll be there ready to do battle, loving every minute of it!!!...Alas Goethe was right---

"Let's plunge ourselves into the roar of time, the whirl of accident; may pain and pleasure, success and failure, shift as they will -- it's only action that can make a man."

Cryptic Note for non-cycling crowd: Cornered at my local pub the other day, I began conversing regime change with a preppy quasi-politico and the topic of potential vice-presidents came up...The old boy happened to have graduated from good ole Gustavus Adolphus College a few years after me. As you well know, much as been made of the possibility of Minnesota's governor, Mr. Pawlenty, (sans mullet) as a possible choice for McCain's number 2. By and by, a fringe theme came up regarding requisite leadership qualities for the federal executive and vice-executive positions. The wanna-be pundit spoke of his college days and the extraordinary, even legendary characteristics of a president of his fraternity (Tau Si Omega), making the case that this leader back then possessed all the right stuff and if he's still of this earth would make a top notch president to lead us out of the vast desert of isolation that we seem to have been blindly coaxed by the so called NEO-CONS ( in a post-Bush era). In a lackluster effort to feign interest, I asked him the name of this old frat president. Upon hearing the name, "Bobby Holmes" I nearly choked on my hearty stout. Regaining my composure, I stated clear as a bell. " Richard Olson was the President of the Reds my senior year, and I knew Bobby Holmes and I knew Richard J. Olson, Dick Olson was a friend of mine, Richard Olson was my roommate, and Bobby Holmes was no R.J. Olson! Dick Olson was the best REDS President in the history of the school" :)

1 comment:

  1. So true Charlie. I think this will be my last year doing 24 hour races. Time to put all the focus and finances on heading to Alaska for the big one. 2011 or 2012 maybe? What do ya think? See you at Nine Mile on Friday.