Thursday, October 1, 2009

And it all comes down to this.

I am running out of things to do. Good thing. In 45 hours I'll be racing. No matter what happens, this will be an extraordinary weekend. I pick up my brother tonight. I pick up my crew chief, Mavis "Ischyodus" Irwin tomorrow morning on the way up to Santa Clarita. Directeur sportif Alex will meet us in the afternoon. The race is on at 7 am on Saturday.

I was going to write more about the details of the planning and preparation - and maybe I will assess how the logistical aspects worked out - after the race. But really, it's all unremarkable. Bike maintenance. Car maintenance. Buying stuff. Organizing stuff. Drawing out plans. These details have consumed every spare moment for me in these weeks leading up to the race, but they're not what this is about. So what is it about? I ask myself that often.

There's the simple visceral pleasure of turning the pedals on roads way out there.
There's the striving for a goal.
There's the enduring through suffering, and overcoming of adversity to achieve this goal.
Then there's the progression of these goals ... and the strengthening of yourself as an athlete.

The excitement of the unknown - of pushing your limits - but then expanding them. Of being able to do feats that are mind-boggling for the vast majority of people - that were even mind-boggling for yourself in the recent past. This gives a sense of purpose to life that can all too easily be mired in the drudgery of the everyday. Now.. is riding 500 miles really sufficient "meaning"? It'll do for now.

This is my take on the lure of ultracycling. The 508 embodies this for me at this point in my cycling "career".

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