Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Suffocating Beauty

I took the day off today, which meant that I only spent two hours at work. Work is on the way to the pool, and there's something almost therapeutic about being at work, but not having to actually do anything. I spooled up the drives on the Pegasus (an xserve in my office), wrote some procedures out, and then went swimming.

After splitting my lane with a woman doing the breaststroke for a while, I decided that missing 100 yards wasn't going to affect my long-term IM prospects, hopped in the car and headed home for a ride.

I take a lot of days off in May and June and I have trouble not going out on the bike every day. At least I do when it is as beautiful as it was today.

I probably miss a lot as an athlete. In the water, fear nibbles away at the edge of my perception the entire time and I don't notice much except waves, getting pounded by other equally inept swimmers, and wondering when it will all be over. When I'm running, well, long runs in the winter I will admit to noticing a lot, but once the weather gets good and I'm out running during the day, I'm more worried about dodging cars. In races, I'm just running, staring at people's backs, alternately encouraging and questioning myself.

The bike is different, though. It's this incredibly complex relationship between athlete and bike. Sometimes it takes every ounce of your ability and concentration, but sometimes, when you have your cadence going and the road is true and you can see ahead easily, you start to see the world around you, really see it. Coach Troy says that it's the best way to see a place, and I tend to agree. He also says not to wear an iPod when you're riding. Oh well.

I was listening to Vega's Life is Beautiful and cruising along out in Madison along the water and the view just stretched out ahead of me- sun, a few clouds, the water, rough, white caps, looking cold and beating on the beach, the trees bending just a little in the wind. No cars, no other people, just this view.

It was a little painful really. There it is, stretched out in front of you, just everything you could want, the sky so blue, so bright, clean, the smells of spring and the water and you're flying down the road and it's so incredibly temporary. You feel, well, there's this sense of power because you're just cutting through the air of your own effort, kind of a poor man's flight, and you know you can't take a picture with your brain, you can't capture the feeling you have. You're going to turn a corner and it will all be gone.

1 comment:

Trihardist said...

I feel the same way, sometimes; how can I hold on to this beauty, to this picture? I wish I could share it!

You probably didn't do the beauty around you justice, but you certainly did justice to the feeling, the frustration of having no option but to keep such an immense moment mostly to yourself.