Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Ragnorak Race Recap...
Disclaimer: Any semblance this essay has to the great Hemingway is purely coincidental:
The race course was hilly and the man was old. Every thing about him was old except his eyes which sparkled and flickered and were in constant motion as the Northshore of the great inland lake of Gitchee Gummee. He did not curse the lay of the land for he accepted the way of things. The old man knew that the climbs that came late in the race would destroy him. Yet, by lining up and beginning the race, he knew that he could not be defeated. He knew that to die in the act of living assured him that, whatever the outcome, he was protected from ever being defeated. It was not as if he needed to race or wanted to race. It was just what he had become and he knew of nothing else that he could do, such is the curse of the aged.
In the morning, the old man was rested, having stayed the night before in the DBD fishing camp with the other three cyclists of his clan. The younger men had dreamed of great victories and acts of bravery, but he no longer dreamed of beautiful podium girls, nor of great successes, nor contests of strength and speed, nor of material wealth. He only dreamed of his man-dog, Loki. The dog roamed playfully within the wild high places of the old man’s youth and he loved the dog and these places.
The race commenced and the old man knew that he must try as he might to stay in the lead group. The man was old and knew the way of these things. He knew that the youthful ones would blast away from the start line to be alone with their own kind, but he also knew that the lead group would slow as soon as they felt clear of the others and that it would become a family. Also he knew the young ones and he knew that they would take him in if he did not cause problems. A family, but an unstable family, with ill-defined roles and degrees of loyalty. If the race were to be longer then the family would grow close and bonds would develop, but for today the family was not so strong and no one was safe from expulsion. Early on Kershaw flatted and was left alone. There was no remorse from the group, even the old man barely looked back. The clouds were building up but seemed in battle with the sun while a cool breeze filled the landscape and yet he never felt alone when riding his bicycle. As the pace quickened he thought to himself- now is the time to think of only one thing. That which I was born for.
With a sharp popping noise the Great Eki went down hard onto the floor. The old man thought why did they make the fast ones so delicate and fine when the road can be so cruel? The road can be joyous and wonderfully beautiful. But the road can turn suddenly cruel and unforgiving. The family felt sadness for the great Eki but the family did not slow its pace. To race a bicycle is a wonderful and strange thing, he thought. Like the great DiMaggio who always plays with grace, even with the painful heel spur. The great Eki regained the group and the old man was happy.
The race went along that way for many many miles. Not before very long there were only six left and the old man. Buffington, Austin-Phillips, Meiser, Tri, Manske, Eki, and the old man. The others looked at the old man and while they did not say so to him, they felt, “old man I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this race ends.”
Soon the family came upon a wickedly long and involved climb. The old man knew that he would have to put in everything now and go go go until something important inside him broke. As the old man labored up the great climb and the others pulled away from him he toiled onward and remembered the great DiMaggio. He thought that he must have confidence and be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in his heel. He thought of his man-dog Loki. He wished the dog was with him… The family left him at the hill and he was alone. But he knew that he was not defeated. A man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.
I think the great DiMaggio would be proud of me today.