Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Irrelevant but inspired

Sometimes (frequently) my day job is incredibly busy for stretches that last weeks at a time.  I'm in one of those stretches right now.  During times like this, it is difficult to do other things like spend time with the GEEC, or ride my bike, or blog, or read, or play with the dog as much as I would like.  And while the dog will still be happy to play with me late at night when I sometimes get home, and my books will wait patiently on the nightstand for me, and not that many people really read this blog anyway, and the GEEC is usually happy to have a break from me now and then.....not riding really gets me down.  Because not only do I lose the daily stress-relief that comes with an early morning or evening ride, but if too many days go by, then I feel myself losing a fitness level that is not easily achieved for me, and I start to slide backward.  And this is beyond frustrating.  I stop feeling relevant and part of the group that, for whatever reason, I try so desperately to be relevant in.  This reminded me of something I read on BikeSnob's blog yesterday....

Yesterday, BikeSnob NYC commented on the New York cyclist and master's Cat 2 amateur racer David Anthony who recently tested positive for EPO at this year's NYC Gran Fondo.  The New York Times ran a story on he and other amateur cyclists who have recently been caught doping and quote Anthony as saying:

"It wasn't for money, and it wasn't for winning," said Anthony, a three-time winner of the Tour of Battenkill race in upstate New York. "It was about being relevant in the group, which was pretty addicting."

BSNYC does a pretty good job (as ever) at mocking Anthony, and specifically takes aim at his motivation.  He says:

"Winning, I can understand, but he actually did it for social standing?"

Snob then suggests Anthony has less hope at redemption that someone who serially abuses cocaine.  I certainly am not condoning Anthony's actions in any way.  However, if there was ever a motivation for doping that I could at least comprehend, feeling "relevant" in a group would be it. 

This brings me to the Olympic Road Races of this past weekend, of which I made several observations.

#1)  The future of men's American cycling is so bright, it needs to wear shades.  At one point, there were three breaks that had formed on successive trips up Box Hill, and each one had an American in it: Timmy Duggan, Tejay van Garderen and Taylor Phinney.  They were tenacious, relentless and passionate literally, to the bitter end.

#2) Ditto for the women's race.  Evelyn Stevens and Shelley Olds' relentless attacks through the rain and slop were nothing less than pure inspiration.  On any given day, they could have been on that podium.

#3) For the several Lance-supporters who have told me they were disappointed to see a former doper (Vinokurov) win the men's race.  It truly is the time to wake up and smell the turd in the chamois, guys.

#4) Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal auctioned off his pink jersey to financially support country mate and fellow cyclist Denise Ramsden so that she could compete in this year's Olympic games.  One hundred Canadian Olympic athletes were short of funds to be able to compete, but thanks to the $10,300 that Hesjedal's jersey brought, Ramsden's trip was covered and then some. 

And in case you needed any more inspiring stories....check this out. 


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  2. "If we must die, let it be while riding". Words to live by.