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Thursday, August 02, 2007

scent of it in the air

My lovely is taking some well-earned time away from the hamster wheel of week to week racing, day to day suffer'vals, moment to moment contemplations of "is this making me faster?"

and she says she just can't understand how i do it.

I'm a regular 100+ race a year kind of idiot. Last year I took a bit of a break and "only" did maybe 70 ... but this year is back on track for the triple digits. Last year Jeffe was up in the orbit levels of race entries, too ... and with this collarbone snappage ... will be his first real break from racing/training-to-race in a couple years.

So ... how's it done?

I really don't know. I don't know if it's physiology or psychology or some mad mix b'tween. I don't know if it's kitties but no kids, work but no slave to it, ambition but no ego-need if the win isn't wrapped up and handed pretty-like.

But, CycloCross is on the horizon. And I dream sticky for it already. The mayhem of the start, the blood cursing pain of every muscle in full-strain ... the devil's bargain scratch for one more gear, desperate to uncover just that one more ounce of speed, nails deep and breaking to claw that lead closer.


It is the barbarian's ballet ... the frothing Goth's delicate death dance. Cyclocross is art and assassin, crushing hammer and surgeon's precise blade.

And on the whirling slopes of the Velodrome, we are choreographed minuets. We are multi-colored sprites that jump and bussle, fencing for show to the structured meters of gear-tooth, cadence, smithery.

There is ferocity, no doubt ~ and it is civilized, tempered, cleanly.

It is white gloved dark work.

And on the open roads, thundering across that charred, hateful tarmac ~ we push vain through the crushes of heat, of wind, and the empty, shattered body's plea for stop.

We choose to test ourselves ~ against perceived limits, familiar fears, the ominous weight of suffering still to come.

We choose.


VeloRainDog said...

you said "dream sticky".

Anonymous said...

wow Can I buy some Pot???

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

doing the every-week race schedule now seems easy, even though i know it really isn't.

i need to figure out how i'm NOT going to race for the next few months.

have you had this long of a forced layoff? i need coaching...

Anonymous said...

Olaf needs to sit down and write a book.

chapter 1: how it all began
2: learning to pedal through pain
3: my lady
4: slaying the dragon
etc etc....

forget roid's and Lanceens' books', I am waiting for Olaf's memoir

Flandria said...

how about an Olaf daily video diary on YouTube...I'll watch it during my lunch break...

ddt said...

Did Pou-Pou break his collarbone? I have been out of the loop... if so, much sorry about that, but it's only a matter of days before trainer rides become possible... yay?

Anonymous said...

Book Title

Olaf Vanderpoop..memoirs of a warrior poet

Anonymous said...

I bet you can't wait to do those uber-gay running drills.

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

hey ddt,

email me please, if you still have it.

i have lots of questions about collarbone rehab--thought i'd ask an expert!

Kimberly (aka. DrKim) said...

I want an autographed copy of OV's first book....sounds like a bestseller.

pab(cid): When I had that injury I was on the trainer in 5 days...Im not saying i recommend that, because riding on a trainer for me is more mind numbing than watching golf on tv... but at least it was riding! I was out on the road in 2 weeks...but then again my orthopedist said i was a freak of nature and what was supposed to be 6 weeks +PT turned into 2 weeks +no PT, and a full strength recovery by the start of this season. (just be careful with lifting weights--as certain exercises made the separation get worse....)

Maybe migo the ivy-jumping dog (that was a funny video on xbunny's blog) can help entertain you? My dog certainly did (as he went insane from not enough running and walks when I refused to go out of the house because of my 2 black eyes (yes, my head suffered in that crash, too))

Crashing sucks....but the human body is amazing in its ability to bounce back!

fuji rider said...

Broke my cb 7 years ago at the Northend Classic crit in Yuma, AZ. A spectator stepped off the curb around a blind corner not knowing we were coming and I was leading the break and ran into him.

2 weeks later racing, didn't set correctly and now can't get in the TT bars without soreness for days afterwards....

take time to heal...

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said..., you are tougher than me, though...

and migo is doing an excellent job taking care of me. we are planning a walk this afternoon.

fugi, since it is so late in the season, i know there is no point rushing it...i plan on erring on the side of caution this time.

olaf should write books. he types faster than i read....

Nome Agusta said...

No ego?
Racing bicycles or any other competition is purely ego-based. Not in the aggressive A-hole sense of the word, but the concept of winning is purely ego based. It serves no other purpose.

If it wasn't and your ego not addicted to the temporary high and feeling of value, you would have no need to compete. You certainly wouldn't be throwing your hands up in the air when you cross a finish line out in Bumphuck Egypt. That gesture in and of itself serves no other purpose than to say to your competitors "ha, I beat you, I am better than you" and to attact attention of the 5 people standing at the finish line.
Ride? Yes. Need to beat others? No. Because it wouldn't matter.

You don't have to be in a race to enjoy the purity of the body and bicycle. If that is what you are after, the racing is irrelevant.

Me = Guilty of the same, just not as often.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

you can't compete, be competetive ... purely for the enjoyment of it, Ron?

you can't explode in happiness and satisfaction at being the first across the line without it being a knock on someone else?

i feel sorry for you. that's an anger and bitterness i don't want anything to do with.

Nome Agusta said...

Look at your own sentence.
What part of the win is giving you the enjoyment?
It is the fulfillment of a need that is derived from ego.
Your very accusation that I am angry or bitter is your ego justifying it's own actions in order to hide behind the truth.
The statement I made had no charge on it, no judgment of right or wrong, it's merely a statement of basic human nature.
It was your own need for self justification that put the judgment of wrong or bad onto the words.
You assumed that I think racing being an ego based sport is bad.
I do not, it just is what it is.

There is no classification.

dr-nitro said...

I think that Nome is listening to too much of that angry metal music. Just kidding.

However, the V salute can be a response to elation. Yeah, that elation is about winning, but not necessarily a statement of "being better than you," especially if you are in the middle of nowhere and it is merely for joy not show.

But make no mistake, there is an ego component. It feels good to perform well, and winning is certainly one way to measure good performance. It's when you start rubbing your flower in the face of your competitors is when you get to an arrogance driven ego thang.

Now, time to put on some Dido.

Anonymous said...

So that is why Hernando wears his flower.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

a "statement of basic human nature" ?

Ron, you're like a broken computer.

the logic will run fine, it's just that the initial premises are wrong, wrong, wrong.

and since your internal logic appears consistent to you, you're just plain blind to the flaws of the initial assumptions.

i do not agree with your assumption that "Racing bicycles or any other competition is purely ego-based" and that "If it wasn't and your ego not addicted to the temporary high and feeling of value, you would have no need to compete."

I disagree completely. I believe that there is competitive spirit that drives some - a love of challenge and exertion and the push others give as we strive for something, in this case - towards a line painted on the road.

I disagree with your initial assumptions, Ron.

And your statement,

"You certainly wouldn't be throwing your hands up in the air when you cross a finish line out in Bumphuck Egypt. That gesture in and of itself serves no other purpose than to say to your competitors "ha, I beat you, I am better than you" and to attact attention of the 5 people standing at the finish line."

ABSOLUTELY has "judgment of wrong or bad onto the words," as you put it.

So, in short, you're kinda full of shit on this one.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

I guess we need a poetics 101 explanamation, eh?

the original line:

ambition but no ego-need if the win isn't wrapped up and handed pretty-like

ambition - the desire to achieve, perhaps to win? but, we do not express an evil or goodness to the word, do we? as Ron says, it "has no classification".

it could be - 'wicked ambition' ... or perhaps 'righteous ambition' ... but, the term itself is morally neutral, for the most part.

but no ego-need if the win isn't wrapped up and handed pretty-like

ah ... so then there is a hint of moral 'classification.' a soft REFUTIATION that winning should be the sole and solitary goal of the effort, the race.

and let us put the line into context - we are talking about How one can remain Motivated to race, week after week after week - all year long, year after year.

and perhaps the "moral" of the almost poem is that one way to do it is to...

NOT think of the win as the need, not have the grubby closed fist around a prize as the motivation for returning again and again to the race.

blah, blah, blah

karla said...

I like throwing my hands up into the air ever since I learned to do it without biffing. It's almost like flying. Is that ego?

dr-nitro said...

Two definitions of ego

a. An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.
b. Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem.

The first one requires winning to get you to saddle up time and time again. The second one is what is required to keep showing up to races even if you don't win.

Anonymous said...

you all make bike racing seem so.............. gay.

that's right

it is

Nome Agusta said...

I like throwing my hands up in the air too. Even if it is only on the Noon ride and in Bumphuck Egypt.

From your own logic and not mine, what purpose does competition serve?

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

gay, gay, gay, gay


PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

may i just chime in to say(i know better than this, but....)

that one does not need to cross the line first to win

there can be many different valid reasons one might want to enter a bike race...

Anonymous said...

damn! That's so many gay's i want to cuddle w/ you!

Anonymous said...

butt only if i'm on top

dr-nitro said...

Big Z snap, Olaf.

Nome Agusta said...

What is ambition if not from a place of lack.
If you have everything you need, there is nothing to be ambitious about. Just be.

"I must achieve something" or "I must try harder" being the underlying thoughts.
What is missing that is keeping you from feeling whole?

If you are complete, then there can be no ambition. It is the ego that is in need of filling, or fulfillment. To fill something is to suggest that it is first empty or missing something.

What are you missing?

sydney_b said...

Olaf's memoirs would indeed be a good read.

Anonymous said...

i'm missing my widom teeth.

dr-nitro said...

Wait, so are you saying that lazy people, who lack ambition by definition, are lazy because they are fulfilled?

Nome Agusta said...

"that one does not need to cross the line first to win"

PAB the wise.

Nicely written, and harmonious chime (in).

shawndoggy said...

Hmmm, M, you know I hold you in the highest esteem and all, and I cannot possibly claim to know what goes on in the deepest caverns of your mind, but .... well .... it's kinda easy for a guy who WINS a lot to SAY that he's not motivated by ego, but you'd have more credibility on the topic if you were getting shelled all the time.

It's like GWB saying that the power of the office doesn't motivate him or Trump's latest babe saying she's found her soulmate. Could be true, but one can be foregiven for remaining skeptical.


As for VB's step away -- I totally get it. I used to worry about the mid-summer funk and now I embrace it. There's a lot more to life than cycling, and how many summers are there in this life? When the bike quits doin' it for me, summer is still there beckoning with a swim in the lake or a boat trip or camping or a trip to the beach. It's a great time to be alive and endlessly focusing on bike racing can get... familiar.

Nome Agusta said...

Dr. Nitro.
That would be a no, that is completely different all together.

dr-nitro said...

Right, and for that reason, one can have ambition and still feel complete, or at least have a grounded sense of self worth.

Anonymous said...

no ego? are you the jesus of bike race ass kicking?

Nome Agusta said...

I have seen people race without ego, and challenge themselves at the same time.
I know of one person that does it very well. That's not to say he does it all the time, but more often than not.

Took me awhile to figure the dude out, but I get it now. We all used think he was so bizarre in his behavior after a race. We were the bizarre ones. Insanity is the norm for humanity at present.

Present company included.

pedro said...

since shawn mentioned it, I'll go ahead and chime in as someone who gets "shelled all the time"

if i raced to win, i wouldn't be racing much. i am lucky to win a local noon sprint, or about one race every year or two. if/when I do, do I throw my hands up? no, I don't like that. I like the way barry sanders or walter payton just tossed the ball to the striped shirt and shook the hands of the defenders or blockers. classy.

I race for the comradery, the thrill, the excitement, the pain, the pleasure, the butterflies, the chance to hurt my friends in a harmless way, and the post race high, regardless of where I place. do I try to win? of course. would I like to win - duh.

but do I think winning feeds my ego? as i started, if it did, I'd be starving, and I ain't. I've won enough races to know it feels pretty good, but it's fleeting. to really feel good in life, you have to set the ego aside, and ride.

so, as i usually the case, the truth lies somewhere between olaf's and nome's. and if I were gay, i'd think you both had nice asses. ;)

Ippoc Amic said...

excuse me is GEY....gey gey gey

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fuji rider said...

that will be the ending chapter;

Chapter 20: The invention of Olaf
Chapter 21: How I did it and put it all together

Big Bad Wolf said...

It's all about compulsory biking, endorphine addiction , feeling bad when you didn't ride your bike . There are worse hobbies I guess

Big Bad Wolf said...

make that compulsive..

Anonymous said...

Who is this nome?
What is a nome?
Is it spelled wrong?
Did you forget a "G"?
I have to admit, I stumbled upon your blog Hernando and as I was reading it felt like I was standing in an asylum.
Is that how bike racers are?

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

welcome to the asylum.

and yes, it's contagious.

Anonymous said...

No, nome pretend that he is a bike racer.

nome needs to read the definition of ego and stop talking out of his ass for once!!!


WarrenG said...

Feeling a lack of completeness, so we race? Nah. Racing is a component of us, part of us. Without it we're not complete.

And the "it" that we need isn't placing first. The "it" is challenging yourself, pursuing your potential as best you can, and then finding out that you have still more potential. It is appreciating and enjoying the journey to great fitness, and enjoying that fitness while you have it. Injuries remind us how fortunate we are to have great fitness, and the ancillary benefits that come with it.

I've watched a whole bunch of people winning at masters track nat's and worlds. Most of the first-times are joyful, and it can be the realization of a longtime dream. They also appreciate the respect that comes from other riders who are at a similar level of fitness, and understand about "it" and know about the more important part of such a win.

There is a deep sense of satisfaction that comes with a win there, because it is so, so hard to do, and most racers will never get to enjoy that feeling-the ones who do are fortunate. I don't see my friends put their hands up at nat's and worlds, but you can see in their face what "it" brings them. We are a fortunate few and we appreciate "it".

dr-nitro said...

Nah, we are all just bat shit crazy. And apparently OV has a bat shit problem at home, so there's his explanation.

PAB(a.k.a.CID) said...

or, bike racing might just be our therapy, our temporary release from the greater asylum...

dr-nitro said...

Hear hear.

Bike racing is not the symptom but the cure. And pedaling is a far better cure that pill popping.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

shyte ... Jandy had a killer comment on this post.

hope he puts it back up.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how one that wins so much can say that is not what motivates him. Absolute bullshit.
As one person said - it is easy to say when you win all the time.....
He is a born winner and will never let it leave his grasp if it is within 20 peddle strokes.
It is clear that in every aspect of cycling he races to win far more than the average "winner".

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

of course i enjoy winning, am motivated to do my best every single time - and sometimes that means me winning, or a teammate winning ... or maybe just getting dropped.

but, it's not the biggest motivation for me. i hardly EVER win a cross race, and certainly not against the real crossers - and yet, i do every one i can throughout the season - and that's after a long year of road racing. how do i stay motivated to go out and race those events i know i'll get slaughtered at?

i dunno. maybe it's love of the moment, maybe it's the addiction, maybe it's just a fetish for spandex.

but, whatever it is - it's fun. and i want to keep it fun.

but, i prefer reading about what others think motivates them. i'll go off in search of that.

jAndy donka-donk said...

Removed it cuz it needed editing but I didn't have the time, so you get it back dirty.....


Its not an ego, its an addiction the the high. Some get a high from competition, it meets an internal need.

If it was an ego you would only race and finish if you could win and not even show up if you weren't on winning form. I know these people and when they show up on winning form and lose they have a thousand excuses or cry about the fault of someone else....

Some people need to go wine tasting every weekend, some people hike, some people party, some people....

Some people just like to compete and these people will compete no matter how successful they are. But if they have the drive they will be successful at some point on some scale...

A large number are addicted to the bike for their feed of competition because it is one of the highest levels and hardest sports and leaves a lot of room for improvement and goal reaching. And once you are better you have to start from square one to get better at another of its many forms (road, track, cross....), this gives you many years of being competitive without beating a horse dead....

I came to this realization when finding myself years ago. I was an athlete longer than my long term memory stores and knew nothing else. I had that taken away and went into a depression and then substance abuse just not knowing who I was. I never found a new me but dug deep for who I really was. My life balanced again when I was able to feed this need for a high without substance and with competition. It is a great high to be addicted too since it can be healthy for the life span and personal well being even though it sure does a number on the skeletal system....

Some can lose all day long, win all day long, help win all day long or just belong as long as they are competing. Don't confuse shit talk for ego since those are just personality traits. If ego is involved cycling is the last sport you should pursue, Because you will fail miserably and be totally inadequate more often than ego fed....

long story short, I seriously doubt a lot of cyclists are ego driven even though there are a few that are and they stick out like a sore thumb. To use him as a great example since this is his blog; you can tell that Mike isn't because he lays himself out there for a loss way too often to have a egotistical need to win everything he enters. He just happens to be at a point in his life when the planets have aligned and conditions favor him and he is deff been getting the bigger piece of the pie. But the pie gets re cut every season and some day he may get the small piece and you will still see him out there for a 100+ losing races......

But I see you point nome, and that angle does exist, and those riders have to win a whole hell of a lot to be good examples to use, but you usually don't see them for very long...

screw my post rule

and we are bi, I may get naked with this bunch in blog world, but I still sleep with the opposite when I get home...

WarrenG said...

I remember a guy, who as a cat 3, seemed afraid to put himself on the line for the win. He would do stuff in races that seemed intended to sabotage his ability to go for the win, even though he was the strongest guy in the race. Helping teammates instead, solos for too long and too early, training through the races... We clashed about it. But he got past that mindset soon enough and blew the field away with one big effort that mattered, and now he seems intent on doing what will help him compete with the best around. But I still can't figure out what name to call him!

Anonymous said...

Winning a race isn't always the first one to line as many 'winners' are beaten within themselves during contests. True success is a personal victory that is not timed nor measured. Bike racing is only place in which we ALL get to work on these things. Besides after a 100 or so wins in bike races, it is the 'battle' that is burned into me as the beauty of contest, not winning them. Rich Maile