Thursday, February 12, 2009

Finally, mercifully the end comes...Part III of the Arrowhead Chronicles...Scroll down for Parts II and I respectively...

"If I gave up teaching, I would have no time at all for writing."

Joseph Heller

Dear Readers: The author admits to being caught in a self-destructive redundant trap of which there is little hope for escape…Read on with the comforting knowledge that it will all soon end!!!

Pre-Therapy Session # 3
Freudian therapist discussing case with contemporary, that is a devotee of Erikson, in a Caribou Coffee Shop located next to the therapist’s office in a suburban strip mall [Note there are faux caribou antlers on the wall to enhance the ambiance]—

Freudian therapist: “…mentally, he is a child, essentially a self-exiled victim of his own impulsive id. He cares only for the here and now and never considers or even disregards all consequences of his actions. Hence the degree to which he can cheerfully withstand extreme chapping within the nether area.”

Devotee of Erikson: “Sounds like a classic case of ego-integrity versus despair and stagnation. How intriguing! Has he any interests other than cycling? Can he read? What kind of literature does the patient read; fiction or nonfiction?” I have found that one can ascertain some degree of access into a tormented mind by an examination of what the patient finds interesting or compelling...

Freudian therapist: “He does read…Interestingly, I think, in part to garner favorable attention from me, perhaps in the hopes of securing a discount on my consult fee, currently he is ardently working his way through Freud’s classic and my favorite, "Mitteilungen der √∂sterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften" (loose translation: “An Academic Study of The
Testicles of Eels”), but otherwise he finds great contentment and enlightenment in reading the R.L. Stine Goosebumps Series, copies of old MAD magazines, and old Woody Allen essays from the 1970s.

Part III of the therapy sessions—

Secretary to therapist over the intercom: “Doctor, he is here. Just so you know, he has that well worn copy of Freud’s classic, ‘Mitteilungen der √∂sterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften under his arm. Oh yeah and he’s good to go for ten more sessions, so milk it out, we need the money… [Aging amateur cyclist shuffles in and lies down on the couch].

Freudian therapist: “How are you? How are you sleeping? Are there any changes regarding the tormented, guilt-ridden, tepee-themed dream scenario in which your friends are caught forever within the bonds of Hell Fire and Eternal Damnation?”

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt: “Hey Doc. Well, I guess I could say that things are progressing towards some kind of closure, as a matter-of-fact I have begun to experience a new, even more sinister dream. It usually occurs in the evening, after I have worked through a chapter or two of Mitteilungen der √∂sterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften which by the way is great stuff. I can see why you love it! Wow! Freud was such a genius!! I would have loved to have partied with that guy!!!”

Freudian therapist (unimpressed): “Tell me about this new dream? You know of course that I have to charge you the regular fee despite your reading Freud's landmark dissertation on the sex life of captive male eels, plus don’t worry about the money, as you are covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.”

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt: ”Telling me not to worry about my Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage ranks up there with Bush telling us about all those scary Iraqi WMDs pointed at us or McCain telling us that the economic fundamentals in the USA are sound. Or Columbus telling the locals, "no worries, I come in peace and I won't be staying long." They didn’t even want to pay for my ambulance ride last year after the Cable Classic crash, where my head violently slammed into…”

Freudian therapist (pressing forward, exasperated): “The dream!!The dream!!!...Stay focused, what about the new dream?”

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt (sheepishly): ”The new dream is very strange, intensely reflective, and almost cryptic involving both you and me and our expensive conversations. It always starts the same, that is, with me hunched over a lap-top computer pecking out an entry on my modest little amateur cycling website. Somehow I am cognizant of being frustrated because I cannot generate any witty euphemisms directed against rival protagonists or even anecdotes related to flawed personal eccentricities. I understand that the effort is, of course, an attempt to amuse my readership by telling a good story about the 2009 Arrowhead 135. I want to do a good job, because I love the race and I want to convey to the readers both my genuine appreciation for the many efforts of the race organizers and volunteers coupled with my fondness for the other racers. I also feel trapped because I have come so far with the therapist theme and yet there seems no way to end the thing. As the dream progresses, I am finally forced to admit to myself that it is all a terrible mistake. The whole Freud psychoanalytical thing is a disaster! Itz silly!! Itz not working, itz too contrived!!! And most of all itz not funny!!!!...The dream finally concludes with the realization that carefully planned and executed adventures are exceedingly self-fulfilling but make for boring public post-race commentary

Freudian therapist (excitingly sensing a major break through in the case): “Yes, Yes, Yes!!! What do you think the dream means?”

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt (disgusted):Isn’t that why I am paying you the big bucks?”

Freudian therapist (annoyed): “Tell me what you think this new dream means? Tell me!”

Aging amateur cyclist suffering from bouts of both dementia and self-doubt (reluctantly): “In the dream, I think I come to realize that I really don’t have anything extraordinarily witty or amusing to pen for 2009 Arrowhead Race Recap because the Surly with the cantilever brakes worked great, I was well practiced and fit, and I had all the gear, food, and fluids that I needed to pull it off without any foreseen problems getting in the way. At the start and for the majority of the first half of the race I shamelessly pulled off of the stronger Dave Pramann and subsequently speedy Lance Andre after he caught me a couple hours out from the halfway cabin. Although I felt strong, happy, and confident of a top four or five finish heading into the halfway point, I did have one faulty 12 fl. oz. bottle leak out on me [leading me to profit from an unforeseen “hinge factor” that by definition benefited me in the end result]. However, an exceedingly powerful dryer at the half-way cabin luckily fixed that minor problem. And also ironically forced me to stay longer (and thus gain significantly more rest) than the front runners, which in a twisted-sort of Kafka-esque absurd turn of events put me in a better position to finish the race ahead of both Lance and Dave. In other words, I am convinced that the leaking bottle lead to the following personal advantages [aka “the hinge factor”]: 1). The leaking bottle forced me to contemplate staying longer than I wanted to at the halfway cabin causing me to abandon my committed plan to leave after only a fifteen minute break. Subsequently during the involuntary break of nearly sixty minutes, I totally rehydrated and consumed thousands of calories, as well as to ascertain successfully that an electric dryer was indeed available for use; 2.) So given the availability of a dryer, the leaky bottle also compelled me to undress from my damp clothing (some gear wet from manly sweat, some from the leaky bottle, some wet from both sources) and to thoroughly dry all of it. The result, of which upon redressing, had a dynamic euphoric/ revitalizing effect on me, and causing my spirits to soar as anyone that has put on “dryer-hot” gear can empathize to. Thus, I left the cabin renewed and strong and my optimism continued to swell when I saw that the front runners were walking many of the hills; 3.) In addition, the delay at the cabin put me in fourth place among the front runners which seems counterintuitive in terms of tactical advantage, but it afforded me a much more packed down and substantial trail from which to follow the leaders, and most importantly; 4.) Had I been with or near Dave and/or Lance, given my disposition and sense of teamwork, I am fairly sure that I would have bivied with them in the Tepee of Despair, but since I came by after they had already set up their own little personal dens of torment, I was open to exercise free will and to move on towards Terry Brannick, (who had been third until the top two cracked, with just some 20 miles or so from the end-point and most of that being flat fast trail) and ultimately the finish line. So there you have it, Doc!!!

I went to the Arrowhead to race, there is no doubt about that, and I had a good finish. Yet, the upstart of it all is that I pretty much lucked out as Lance Andre and Dave Pramann were both much faster than me and probably faster than Terry as well, but they heroically wore themselves out just a little bit too soon. They did what leaders are suppose to do...they lead the way, pushing the whole first 112 miles with Pramann doing the most of the work at the front, but Lance was right there on his heels. I have always admired the guyz that go for it ("Damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead") and I fully understand and applaud their motives and had I been able to I am sure that I would have been right there with them...Actually, I have even more respect for Dave Pramann now as a Champion cyclist and first-rate humanist after this most recent race result. I also was proud of the way Lance conducted himself afterwards as well...To my way of thinking, taking the DQ hit does not diminish his outstanding effort in anyway. Furthermore, I am convinced that the two of them could have vied for the course record had we not gotten the freshly fallen snow on Sunday night. Of course there is always next year!!! So am I cured, Doctor? Does the admission that I have really nothing astonishing to report absolve me from my commitment to this effort at writing within the psychoanalytical genre? Can I finally move on?? Am I well, am I finally normal??? Please Doctor, Please…”

Secretary on intercom: “Doctor, your next appointment is here.”

Freudian therapist: “I am afraid that is all we have time for today, but we are making head way…see my secretary on your way out…”

The end……….


  1. the end!?!?!

    I want more.

    Great write. Greater ride.

  2. I must admit that my simple minded self (an engineer with no interpersonal skills); I’m much amused and even quite entertained by the creative musings…

    The “Personal Den of Torment” will live with me forever, thanks!

    I’d say racing Arrowhead and at the end being able to say that there was “nothing astonishing to report” shows how well you had prepared for the race and how well you managed the race day events. Congrats on a well ran race, maybe next year I can have “nothing astonishing to report” I can only hope… I mean plan for it with the knowledge gained from this year.

    As far as the “finally normal” things goes, I’d keep your appointments with the doc, cuz you got a long way to go!

  3. Wow! Sounds like an amazing time.
    Great job to all the people that participated. Congrats to the winner of the race, Mr. Brannick, that must feel great along with the support of your fellow racers.

  4. Once again, the most entertaining race report I've ever read. Until next year, anyway. Congrats on your spectacular finish!