Monday, July 22, 2013

bike racing in central park

This past weekend a few guys from the team rolled over to the big city for the Maltese Invitational.  No results, but good fun. 

Bike racing in Central Park:  It is, to me, one of the great joys of bike racing. It is reward enough for doing what one does to become a competent bike racer.  I guess I've done it a half dozen times now (usually when no warmer than 30 degrees) and it just doesn't get old.  Something about just being in the middle of the big city (the BIG city), riding shoulder-to-shoulder with my brothers, the breakneck pace (my field averaged 27.5 mph for 57 miles), the insane corner dives, the smell of burning brake pads, the collection of road grime on sweaty legs, the whir of a thousand spokes spinning in concert…  It just makes you feel…alive.  The picture of health.  Like the fulfillment of a bazillion years of evolutionary progress (the measure of my creation).  Like all the universe is rejoicing at my physical prowess.  There’s only one other thing I do that makes me feel that way…

But it's not just the bike racing, it's the bike racing in context.  It's New York City.  It's the BIG city.  BIG on a scale of nothing else I know.  Frightening.  Wonderful.  Intoxicating.  Obscene.  All of that.  A smorgasbord of sensory delight and horror.

Then Monday comes.  We’re back at computers with fingers click-clacking away at a living.  Like little machetes slashing through maze jungles of institutional bureaucracy.  A wheel.  A gear.  Flexing a muscle to turn a pedal.  All of that makes sense.  When engaged, one gains clarity.  A kind of tunnel vision of peace, purpose, and certainty.  But the rest of this…from the harum scarum ordering of symbols on my keyboard (a technological artifact frozen in the tar pits of social reality) to navigating the social order that controls the means of wealth and well-being.  This makes no sense.  It is a dark place of brigands, unnatural heteroclites, and (probably) R.O.U.S.  Mondays are when you discover one of your daughter's hamsters, dead, its butt half eaten by the other.  Mondays are NYC.  Bike racing in NYC is a kind of triumph of the pure, beautiful human over the everything that humans--as a group, a hive--create that makes being human--individual, autonomous--so difficult, confusing, heartbreaking, and painful.

And that's why I like bike racing in Central Park.

(I should have been a carpenter.)

 A too-perfect metaphor for the corporate subjugation of labor...wrapped in the gloss of materialism.  (Lego corporate logo constructed of colored Lego men.)

Reuben, contemplating his complicity in said corporate subjugation.

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