I owe you this. Last Friday I was up a snowy mountain trail looking for the better parts of my soul and letting the sweat evaporate from the top of my sweaty head, the evil drifting off in steamy gouts. I didn’t really want to reach the top. The climb was pure catharsis.
But I thought of you. It was Friday, and Friday is your day, the day I ask you what you think about what I don’t really know what to think about. So I owe you this one.
There is so much excess in the holidays, buying gifts for people who don’t need a thing, cramming calories into a face that knows better, the endless repetition of ear worm carols.
As a cyclist, THE cyclist, to much of my family and many of my friends, I invariably receive cycling-themed gifts. This year there was a nice journal from my mother with a peloton illustration on its cover. As these things go, coffee mugs, pint glasses, whimsical prints, funny socks, it was not too bad.
Of course, it would be churlish of me to issue these veiled complaints without acknowledging the best Christmas morning of my life, 1980, when I woke to a brand new BMX parked in front of our bristly, artificial tree. I’ve revisited that morning so many time in my head that I’m sure at this stage it’s an apocryphal story I’m telling myself. Doesn’t matter. We’re all constructions of self-made myths at this point anyway.
I thought about that a lot while I was up in the mountains, how I have the ability to divorce myself from my past, not necessarily to put down any particularly heavy baggage, but only to free myself to do and think and find new things. Life isn’t a plot to be discovered. It’s a story to be written.
Sorry, I’m skewing heavy, when the day and the season demand something lighter.
I have received a lot of cycling gifts through the years. Some of them were really life changing. Others were dumb. And that’s ok, as long as I keep pedaling. I drink a lot of coffee. A mug is always a good choice. Journals, I can fill. I am the bike guy. I can own that.
This week’s TCI New Year asks, what is the best/worst cycling gift you’ve ever received? Or, for a bonus, what the best/worst you’ve given. Interpret these questions however you like. It’s 2021, a year out of science fiction, anyway.