I feel the knots untie and the chill grip the muscles tighter,
Winter in full effect, affecting my own clear vision with frozen tears.
Cross is fading into Nordic skiing but I'm still hungry. I'm not done eating
Tubulars and vibrations up through the bars into my still damaged shoulders.
I am looking down the tunnel of winter into the cold long rides with the Sun
Low in the sky, at mid day.
Even as another season goes by I smile knowing I did what I could,
Always wanting more.
I'll push through another next year.
It's not all doom and gloom, sometimes a little light shines through the clouds. The idea of the hours of sliding solo through the trees on xc skis or the bundled tight winter rides listening to the studs grip the snow-packed roads is getting through my cross focused, eerily centered head. I'm ready for winter and the next step.
It flashes past in a blink. Cross is so fucking hard but then over too soon. Power-sapping grass and long laps put the hurt in front. You're not thinking about refueling or much beyond swallowing the blood in the back of your throat. The subtlety of the bike on off camber grass, the feel of the planned drift setting up the next turn before the one you're on is done...all of it rests in your brain like a bee hive. Buzzing with doubt, brimming with questions about how much is left in the tank. Did that last effort empty it? Are there any chasers knocking on the backdoor? Then you get the bell and whatever-it's over. But I want more! I'm not done. What about the pain I haven't yet had? I want that. I paid good money for some abuse and god damn it I want my fucking pain!
Pressing into the mud and the snow leaning into the sweet spot was easier on Sunday, race reports bore me, especially if I'm in them. Instead, I stayed in, as long as possible until the bike said enough. Washing away fails to compare to what it feels like to stop. That's where it gets rough on the system and creeps in that the season is sinking. Only now I have the reasons to pursue, pleasure is mine.
I want write a postcard and put in a time machine, and send it to myself, I'm not looking to change the world, maybe alter mine a bit. Less hand-wringing than you'd think, more educated guesses and a few more successes. I have the mistakes, they are clear, the victories are few and far between. More often than not you float to the middle, rare occasions are up or down. The meat of the curve, thoroughly mediocre and passionately average.
Looking outside at the gathering snow while I feel winter creeping into my bones the constant urge and regret covers me like a cotton t-shirt mid way thru a roller session. Did I ride enough on the nice days this summer/fall? Was I doing enough to not only quiet the head but to also prepare for the rougher cross races? My mind races faster the legs ever could, the visible wear is nothing compared to the desire to do well.
I see a typewriter when I close my eyes, the click-clack rhythm of my typing soothes the sleep deprived, the clear landing of the key on the platen sandwiching the paper between, leaving it's mark makes me smile. Instead of going slowly across the bumpy field I went fast, the goat head came to rest in my tire instead of where it was attached to it's plant. I see the chilly lake as I roll past, my crystal clear breath forced out into the cold air as the path rolls under my wheels. Tired to the point of sleep, paying my bill for a few days of not listening to the body's scream, whispering all the time to take what is mine. My ownership, control what you have not what you want.
The fact that America spends twice as much per person on healthcare as most European countries factors into whether or not I should have a snickers bar after my lunch ride draws an uncomfortable nexus between my fear of being fat and/or out of shape and the general state of my country. Should any of this concern me? I know that the line isn’t direct but I am a prisoner of my own thoughts. Can I do anything to fix these things in my head? Doubtful. Will a win this weekend change the chemical composition in my head to allay these fears? Perhaps for an hour, then it’s back to the obsession machine.
Keys cooling off nicely in my pocket. Little knives of cold piercing the too thin Lycra that's between me and the chill. Pressed into the wind-the geese looked chilly sitting in the lake this morning. Me? I was pleasantly cold, pedaling, avoiding ice, trucks and hypothermia.