a #shitbike cruise

After half a season of racing bikes every weekend I felt quite burnt out. The ten solid weekends of racing had me taking myself far to seriously. Working out on the bike 7 days a week, eating nothing but chicken and rice, and truly believing I was the greatest cat 4 cyclist who ever lived. Riding a bike had turned into a science, an equation of variables that if put into the right order would result in podiums and recognition. Too bad I had the math all wrong.
When I was a kid there was nothing better in life than riding my bike as fast as I could down a hill. The simple thrill, a gravity induced adrenaline rush. Not much matters when you’re a kid but nothing matters when you’re bombing your bmx down the biggest descent you could find. Taking the action of riding a bike from the highly complicated equation it had turned into, back to the childhood thrill was as simple as riding #shitbike down a hill for the first time. Half expecting catastrophe, I edged past the crest of an average San Francisco grade. Accelerating, I felt worried for my life. The fear swelled in my stomach just as it had when I was 9 years old, up to the point I let my white-knuckle grip loosen, released the “oh god why?!” tension in my muscles and just let the bike take me.
In the 6 months of racing I experienced mass-starts, wipeouts, death-defying descents, and plenty other “exciting” endeavors but none could equal the joy I felt going down that stretch of hill with #shitbike. I didn’t have to wager my safety against an opportunity to podium, I didn’t have to calculate my odds of finishing first, I didn’t have to worry about how many gels I had left or about my carbon brake pads disintegrating. I need only to steer straight and react. I felt #shitbike below me like a surfboard easing its way down a wave, as smooth as butter down the hill and through the flat. I was converted to a new way of riding before I hit the first stoplight.
I continued to ride #shitbike exclusively for most of my summer. The amount of racing dwindled as the amount of beer and enjoyment of life skyrocketed. I gained a few pounds and met many new friends. Becoming more interested in persons and their attachment to the bicycle was the name of the game. The #shitbike cruise became a thing. Every new adventure I had, big or small, was known as a #shitbike cruise. I’ve discovered beer, friends, beautiful bikes and all sorts of great stuff on cruises. I’ll share as many as I can here.

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