Sunday, April 23, 2017

Stick Around For Joy

This weekend got off to a terrible start. I was at work early Saturday morning when the news of Michele Scarponi’s death reached me. There really is no other sport that loses its stars during training. Automobile racing? It’s not the same. Test laps at the track are conducted in a controlled environment. Scarponi’s training ride was on open roads near home. Like mine. That’s what makes these situations so hard to take. When the best riders in the world can die in almost stereotypical fashion, then how can we deny our own vulnerability? I know the risks, I accept the risks, and I do everything I can to mitigate the risks. There’s a right way to conduct your business out there. It doesn’t guarantee that you will come home, but it greatly improves your chances. As I rode this weekend I thought of Scarponi, and of Amy Dombrowski and of Burry Stander, and still I rode without fear. They weren’t martyrs. I don’t intend to be one either. I’m not riding the roads to prove a point; I’m riding the roads because it pleases me. To degrees great and small, risks are everywhere. Some can be avoided entirely—I will never die in a skydiving accident because I will never go skydiving—but many cannot. Anything to which you give your heart comes with the risk of loss. Your spouse may leave you. Your children may grow up to disavow you. Your friends may betray you. But most likely, those people will be sources of great joy. Cycling is one of my great joys—one of only a few—so it’s worth the risk.

Early this morning I drove most of the Cheesehead Roubaix route and it’s looking good for next Sunday. The wildcard is the weather. Too much rain in the days before the ride could force a detour from low-lying Jay Road, but even rain on Sunday morning will not cancel the event.

There’s no rain in the forecast tomorrow, though, or on Tuesday, and I will need good training rides on both days to make up for the poor effort I gave today. This week I’m going to hit 1,000 miles for 2017, but I’m still not in any kind of groove. I always look to the completion of the first 1,000 miles as a major goal, because historically I “switch on” at that time. No promises this year … except that I will keep looking for the switch.

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