Guest Article: The Day of Atonement
Is this still the off season for the people of the North? I hope so. I know it’s -34 fahrenheit where Marko lives so he is only riding three times a week to prepare for the Keepers Tour. It seems @souleur has a little holiday guilt and now that those damn holidays are behind us it’s time to think about the cycling season ahead.
Yours in Cycling, Gianni
The season has passed that all cyclists are cautious about. That time of year where food is abundant, and for most of us, we are in a respite as well. This calculates into a caloric excess. And we must admit, we cannot avoid it. Tis the season as we say. At work, our partners and colleagues bring in food and drink to enjoy. Our families make coveted goodies and neighbors even send treats over to express gratitude and friendship. To fully reject these things would indeed be the highest order of an asshole, yet to fully accept it is to throw away our many months of riding and training; at least that is for us north-of-the-equator types. Nonetheless, this time of year we do our best to be friendly and gracious to our friends and family even if that means eating that extra piece of pumpkin pie.
Brothers and Sisters, we must be careful. As cyclists, we know the price we pay for such friendly behavior. Because lurking in the shadows of our get togethers and parties is the man with the hammer. I know, you may not have realized this, but it is an observation I have recently made. We have indeed become familiar with him in seasons past when he visits us as the uninvited guest of our friendly bike rides. But now in the off season, the man with the hammer’s love of being the peeping Tom is in full swing. See, for now, the man with the hammer is taking notes on all of our indiscretions, each and every single one. He has a flawless memory bank and each and every thing we indulge at this time of year is officially on the record. Sure, it’s just a piece of pie, but each goodie we take in, it will be required of us one day. See, for the man with the hammer, it’s a special day he looks forward to and it’s called payback day. He’s a bored lunatic who has nothing more to do than inflict loads of hatred upon us. In fact there is nothing that he relishes in more than to take advantage of us at that perfect moment, when you are bleeding out your eyeballs, you are gasping for a short breath of air and this fifty pound monkey jumps on your back. For some, he rarely pays a visit because they are very, very disciplined. For those like myself, he visits often and repeatedly and in heavy doses. Because of his regularly scheduled appointments, I have become more familiar with him and I take note of his characteristics, his virtue, his habits. And the more I learn of him, the more he reminds me of Jack Torrance in the Shining, BAMM, there he is and boy is he ever-present and somebody is gonna pay because he is all about the bat-shit-craziness.
Yes, it’s that special day when you resume your training. That day becomes the day we recognize our sins of the past. It may be the hill repeats, it may be that perfect stretch of road that we find ourselves doing max intervals in V-locus fashion, it may be that long steady climb; but whatever it is we all will come to that pivotal point that we crawl before the alter of the man with the hammer and pay penance for the luxuries of the holiday season. The man with the hammer recalls each and every one of our sins as he checks them off one by one. He calls us to atone and inflicts loads of V commensurate our just deserts. Sadly, some will be discouraged, but for us Keepers of the highest order, we understand this is required. We understand and accept the pain, the suffering, and that atonement is called for. What the man with the hammer doesn’t get, is when we actually sit down at the table like gentlepeople, sit, talk and take account of all that we have done, we then ask for more pain, another pounding, a repeated mashing to make us hard as nails. Because that is exactly what we realize we need in order to become better. The problem is the man with the hammer isn’t interested a conversation and he isn’t a gentleman.