Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Three Rivers and a Rando

So! I have my issues.
Once, I asked a retired Psychiatrist and a friend if he wrote a book what would he convey, without hesitation he relayed that he would explore the effects of childhood events on human behavior.
I was absolutely infatuated with my Mother as a little boy and hung un-ashamedly to her apron strings, often prompting the incredible and busy Lady who works till this day in Enugu as an Educator while raising 7 children to shoo me away.
Did this create a fear of abandonment? and did that create a fear of commitment?
I know that I was extremely lucky with my Parents, I am glad that they forged a sense of independence in me, but strange how we deal sometimes with our issues.
The abandonment issue reared again at the end of January, how did I deal with it? I ran to Geoff the "Mother" of the SIR permanents. Tired as he was just having finished a 200k that day with Mark he took the time to send me a card for the three rivers cruise.
Choosing this particular escape reeked of thoughtlessness, just over a week before there had been a major incident involving ice. I had overlooked this, focusing instead on the relative ease of this permanent an SIR favorite. I also overlooked how far north I had to drive from Federal Way.
0630 at Haggen in Arlington to prepare for planned 0700 departure, still a little groggy from a very early rise on a Friday morning for the hours long drive north, I found myself again lone Ronin, No! lone Rando! for in my foggy thinking, by then I have traversed enough terrain on two wheels to make secret claim to that title. But what really is a randonneur? I read something somewhere about an umbrella, something that we fondly refer to in this neck of the woods as a bumbershoot, a shelter for a smorgasbord of cyclists with different goals, abilities and riding styles not to overlook different levels of discretion which is supposed to be the better part of valor. Not to oversimplify there are a few rules and in some events perhaps too many rules, but the rules are hardly the essence of the game. For me it is certainly not racing, I witnessed recently a well respected and tenured Rando, who I had the priviledge of sharing a 1000K, a few mountain passes and varied road surfaces and ambient temperatures, declare B. S. and U turn when a traning ride took on a racing atitude. I also recently read a blog that lumped bike racing, bass fishing and bull riding in the same sentence, prompting me to ponder what they all had in common, obviously the Versus Channel if you watch cable but as my thoughts further crystallized and considering the recent history of racing I settled on "animal abuse". "Selective outrage and prosecution" I mumbled under my breath remembering an ex-Atlanta quarterback.

I see the essence of randonneuring as Distance, enough distance (both horizontal and vertical) to put a stamp on your character. Enough miles to learn from Gaia(mother earth), the capricious atmosphere that surrounds her, fellow randonneurs as diverse in personality as snowflakes, motorists, and Canadian Honkers as they fly above in perfect draft formation taking turns at the point. This is justification for the rules, how tempting the shortcuts if there are no rules. However cycling is mostly physics and distance is the product of speed and time, so speed to some extent opens up our options, but if you live by the sword you die by the sword, you still have to go the distance.

In my opinion "the Cherry on the pie" of our "sport" is "threading the needle", that is finding that narrow window in time, weather, roads sometimes almost washed away to complete what may seem as an insane adventure. Therein lies the beauty of the RUSA's R12 program for a 600K in June maybe very good filling for the Rando Pie, a mere 200K in January may require threading the needle.

As soon as I alight from the truck I immediately note that icicles have formed on "little wing" my black Cannondale, as well as almost everything on the parking lot.

I immediately consider quitting before I start, but reports from the usual unreliable sources called for warming later in the day and for warmer temperatures at Marblemount, though colder at Darrington. I decide to wait at least till dawn.

So, asks Krishna of the Myst
When does darkness succumb to light?
When is the day born of the night?
What is this dawn you speak of?
Is it when you can tell black top from black ice?
Or when you can see the tree line from the distance?
Ah! intuits Rando;
"It is when you look at the many and see the ONE".

So we all became ONE: the frost and the fogline.

The mountains and the fields.

The eagle and the tree.

And just after Darrington, with the words of Chief Seattle;
"Man does not weave the web of life
He is merely a strand in it
Whatever he does to the web
He does to himself".

Also three rivers.

Of course little wing and the sand that gave her traction.

I asked a puzzled motorist at the control in Marblemount to take a pic.
He asked where I was coming from?
Africa, I replied, but I am a Seattle Rando.
He reached for the disposable Fuji Camera in his car and took one for his scrapbook.
Fair trade I reckon.

Yes! I have issues
I could cry, or drop dead
But I think I'll sit here and go numb instead.

Thanx for reading