Where the rubber hits the road.
The life of the cyclist.
Hidden in the folds of the landscape, tracking the contours, finely measuring the distance, drama is unfolding. The world of social media and global coverage is not present here, no action replays, no pundits to critique. This is, literally, where the rubber hits the road.
This is the life that we have chosen, the time spent training, the thoughts of riding, the myths of rides past, the sunshine and friendship – this is the life of the cyclist.
What is the private motivation for this unrecognised achievement?
In the ‘80’s Gavin used to watch the Tour on TV and then race from his house to a turn-around point and back – how a tester is born! Now sitting on the sub 50 minute 25 list, 20 or more years later.
So is it the antics of the pros that pushes us forwards? And do the misdemeanours of the pros so discourage us that we stay at home?
Or are we feeding a habit? A situation in which we are too involved, overly obsessed, totally absorbed, the closed secret world of the cyclist. A world hidden from the man in the street, not riding to the shops, or commuting to work, but riding for the sake of riding, dieting to lose an imaginary inch, shaving legs, exploring the world, stretching the imagination.
This is the mark of the true cyclist, the obsessive capability to turn all conversations to cycling, to feel our necks involuntarily twisting to follow the course of the passing bike, the derisory comment on the fitness of footballers, the absolute belief that, within the frantic world of the mundane, cycling stands like a welcoming solitary island of sanity!
And the rubber on the road? This is the drama of each ride unfolding, striving in front to stay smooth and steady over the crest, struggling behind to stay on the wheel, a matching of effort, the individual efforts melding to a uniquely strong bond. It doesn’t matter to anyone else, it’s the kaleidoscope of experience, endorphins cranking up the colour, pain balancing recovery, breath snatching the essence of life.
Every ride is as important as the other to compile a history which links us to the yellow jersey we will never wear, the impossibility of keeping up, the ‘no chain’ days, unknown lanes and roads with romance – maybe life is the motivation, the savouring of the fleeting essence of time which sits so well with the ephemeral energy of movement.