Last summer, I encountered my first pack of roadies.
Plodding home from work, mostly zoned out, a male voice behind my ear called out:
"On your left."
As those words hit my brain, I instantly found myself floating in a sea of matching spandex. Six or seven cyclists drew up alongside me before passing by effortlessly, as I struggled to hold a decent line. Oblivious to everything but the goal [wherever that was], they swept by in perfect coordination and cadence. The proximity to the adrenaline, pure abundance of power, and muscle leaving me positively dizzy.
It's true what they say. Roadies are fearless. A "me and my team" mentality that can verge on the obsessive, and one that takes a kind of neurotic commitment that I respect and admire. It seems like a mentality that forces you to build character, or at least learn how to Shut the Fuck Up and Deal. Because, as a friend once put it:
"Cycling's different...your heart won't give out before your legs do."
And it's so true. In cycling - any kind of cycling - you'll always hit that point where you're tired and panting, but there's just a little bit more hill to conquer, and while your heart's still functioning, the only thing that's not listening to you are your legs.
That's when my heart really wants to explode. The desire to do well/conquer/go faster...and finding myself with no go. I was useless last night, and these aren't days to be useless. I need to stop cutting out of the library before 10pm, stop desiring sleep, stop feeling the pain in my knee and the stiffness in my sciatic nerve. And, in a sad way, stop thinking about pretty much the only that makes me happy: bicycles.
These days are kind of like riding fixed, but brakeless, clipless, and helmetless, all that's keeping me from an ugly crash right now is a hope and a prayer. But as I attempted [in vain] to keep up with two cyclists this morning - a Ridley and a Guru that looked like it lacked a third dimension - I spotted a hawk clutching a dead squirrel. It was sort of oddly comforting, and changed my mood for the better as I coasted [freewheels are ah-mazing] into the library.
I still might need a big dose of fearless from Team Shut the Fuck Up and Study...but I have a feeling [or at least a hope] that I'm going to make it through finals in one piece.