"Music is the art of the invisible"

-Wynton Marsalais

Walking down the street to Zax’s Saturday evening, I was shivering. Wearing capilene and two sweaters, hat, socks with sandals, looking with wonderment at passers-by in shorts and flipflops. Cause to realize I was not normal.

It’s only recently that I’ve come to appreciate these opportunities.

In retrospect, a hard day out without enough proper food, plus a crappy breakfast and a nasty cough were what I had to thank for that mundane moment of satori. Even better, that evening in the motel bed, heater cranked, monster trucks on the tv, shivering violently and soaking a towel on my head with sweat. Remind me, why am I not at home with an Xbox?

Because of all the normal platitudes: I’ve been an atheist since I was a child, and take Nietzsche at his word that individual action in the face of the absurd is the only path away from Nihilism. What Thoreau, contemporaneous great soul, called “quiet desperation.” And that in the end is what I fear, at the end of the day an engagement that will have seemed half-hearted. So, I run away from home and play tricks on myself.

And Gold Bar is a great trick indeed, especially halfway. Going back is silly, going forward sucks, and sitting in protest and waiting for a helicopter is impractical. So you go on, and take small comfort in the guy next to you having a rougher time of it.

Again, when that guy is riding a fixed gear in an implacable manner, it makes life a little more difficult.

Mr. Niceguy gets the rabbit award, he does indeed keep going and going and going. Never particularly fast, never very slow, never complaining. His music is, above all else, honest.

Something to which I aspire.

And his new bike is kick ass.

In general, I felt in elevated company this weekend. Everyone was riding strong. Everyone struggled (except Fred, you stoic bastard), but everyone struggled well. Chris endoed hard onto bare rock, but the shadow only seemed to hang with him for about 10 minutes. I’ve carried it for weeks. Then he snapped a front brake cable (curious, how old?) and moved on with a shrug. We had numerous moments, at the ends of breaks, at the tops of climbs, where everyone shared a tainted minute before standing up and moving on. Shared understanding, shared music.

So now, the question is more acute. The axe is hanging at the end, and I think I have a good chance of making “the turn” by mid-afternoon. Then you’ll have to face the suffering, the doubt. I am at least heartened by noticing the stock ponds along 313. I don’t do well without LOTS of water, and if it’s hot I’ll be pressed to carry enough even with a full resupply. Route-finding is similarly set out; Fred has put a huge effort into marking the route, discretely. It’ll still be sporting, and you’ll have ample cause to blow through intersections and get lost if due prudence is not payed.

In the end, the course is spectacular. It’s a great cross-section of truly distinct terrain, and to finish you’ll have to make nice. So, I’ll be there. I’m loath, now, to trash a four day weekend by destroying myself out there, yet the heat of the moment is not known for prudence. We shall see.

3 Comments

  1. Drink Lots leading up…. Lots of salty food as well… make sure you wake up the night before a few times to pee =)EmgerC is bomber stuff drink it leading up and during.find what your drinking pace is and figure a plan. Up to about 80 I can get by with a 1/2 liter per hour if I keep some salt in there as well I won’t cramp… Hammer Products makes Ecaps as well $$ but they work very well if its gonna be above 80 i’ll pop 3 before a ride with lotsa water and maybe pop 1-2 every other hour…This is what i’ve found to work for me….What do you do on the long runs for water?

  2. The group dynamic was very interesting. Such a wide range of bikes, physical fitness and technical skills yet we all seemed to feel pretty similar by the end of the day. Guess that confirms the course will be hard. Although if it wasn’t so hard would we have to do it? If it was just White Rim we could be sitting at Zak’s stuffing our face and drinking cold drinks by early afternoon instead of wondering if we’ll make it down to the road by dark.Glad the stock tanks are there although it will take a heater of a day to make me want to drink out of them. Bleh. I’ll have my MP1 with me just in case though.The fall sucked. My ribs hurt, my leg is a little tweeked and it just adds to the overall feeling of getting hit by a bus. I’m happy about the reminder of my limits and getting *too* front brake happy rolling drops but it doesn’t really make it hurt less. Last winter I had a similar fall and it dogged me for weeks. I’m determined not to do that anymore.Front brake cable was maybe a year old. It was a hard year though I guess. Lots of road crap soaked into it. All fixed now anyway.

  3. I think it was the days before that did it more than anything. I “should” have been fine with my water that day, but was running a debt and therefore not so good.I will be replacing my cables a little more proactively from now on, just for peace of mind.It’s gonna be fun!

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