Sunday, April 6, 2008
Riding the Clouds
Saturday I was riding the clouds, going as fast as I could, yet taking the time to look around, trying to be aware of every sound besides my labored breath while climbing the Carpinteria and Santa Barbara foothills. A low hanging marine layer wrapped the coastline in a cold embrace. I just left the bike shop where I had the bike going through it’s first check up. The rear wheel needed minor truing, the slightly defective right brake lever was swapped with a replacement one. And finally, my Look Kéo Carbon pedals were in, making Aida finally complete. Bike perfectly in tune, super light pedals really gave me the feeling of pedaling through air, it was too perfect, too easy, I had to introduce an element of suffering in the equation: I had to make it worth it.
Climbing up Romero Canyon, comfortably seated for once, I kept wondering why. Why do we do this? Middle aged men, challenging our failing bodies, gearing up to defy the inevitable? Or simply living our life to the max now that we have understood that, perhaps, not too soon we hope, there might be an end to the good days?
Are we trying to prove something, are we just trying to forget our dead end careers? Somehow I don’t think it is so simple. A few of us have done this forever, our challenge to ordinary life has been going on as long as we can remember. I believe our bodies know more than we consciously, do, influenced by upbringing, set in our often absurd and wasteful ways. Once we were warriors, hunters and gatherers. We ran, lived in the delicate balance of having enough calories to gather more with all means possible. Striving that balance, I believe, is still the key to well-being. Not everybody understands that, not everybody is able to leave their sheltered zone of comfort to challenge their bodies they way they love to be challenged. The fact of being, perhaps, a minority does not imply being the anomaly, quite the contrary actually.
I can see the lack of challenge it among the self-destructive, among the mall dwellers. Their compulsory habits, their forgetting their bodies destroying them or draping pretty new colored things, like that could reshape what they have long neglected. Some think acquiring as many symbols of material comfort as possible, their eyes sparkling in search of further prefabricated excitement.
So I did feel a little guilty sitting on my new bike, and thus pedaled just a little harder