Meanings revisted

I like the bike for the usual reasons – exploration, freedom, camaraderie, the rush of endorphins – but also the possibility it holds out, when I can admit to feeling more competitive than I like to think, that an exploit of some sort, ill-conceived and irrational, based on the flimsiest of training base, might be undertaken and, with luck, fortitude and a dose of the unforeseen, possibly yield bragging rights for a limited time despite, in the greater context of exploits and achievements, making a rather minute impression on those with greater reserves of power and endurance, of which there are many. I like that possibility.

One must confess to a certain skepticism of professional team sports, particularly the dangerous aspects of mass hysteria, rivalry and nationalism, but pro cycling is different as its fan support is more a celebration of the spectacle – beautiful, brutal – than the competitive aspect, or a celebration of an ideal: even if that ideal, glory through suffering, might be more a construct of the myth makers than a genuine value worth supporting (especially as ideals are often either promulgated by the powerful in their own interests or mask the agendas of others seeking to seize that power for their own ends), which shouldn’t prevent us, however, from sympathizing with those – the riders – who flog themselves for their own rewards, such as they are, and for our own entertainment. Which I like, too.

Thévenet's secret? Gallic tenacity and very stylish kit (L'Equipe)
The mountains await… (L’Equipe)

One thought on “Meanings revisted

  1. it is only recently that I have recognized the parallels between cycling and basketball. having shot a ball at some point in one’s life or having sat on a saddle means that each sport / hobby / vocation / obession is thought to be possible because we have done it and yet having done it we can also appreciate the sublime aspects of effort, individual will and teamwork required to do it at the highest level. the possible and the impossible wedlocked and inseparable.

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