Monday, May 17, 2010

The Loneliness of a Distance Rider

[Cogito Ergo Sum] I think therefore I am! This was the single truth that allowed Descartes his "reversal of doubt". Then he goes on; "At first nothing more is proved by this truth, I think therefore I am, than the existence of my thinking self. My doubts still remain about the existence of my own body and about anything else that is other than my thinking. To say Cogito ergo sum is to affirm my existence: But what then am I? A thing which thinks. What is a thing which thinks? It is a thing which doubts, understands, affirms, denies. wills, refuses and which also imagines and feels."

the Distance Rider affirms that every rider has a finite number "x" of pedal strokes. He imagines and hopes that the current stroke, will add to the total number, not subtract from the residual. He understands the rationalist argument that the afferent (input) is highly virtual and that the efferent (output) is observed and measured by the virtual afferent. It is the processor that does the Math in the Matrix.
The Distance Rider cannot break fast out of the blocks, he cannot will himself fast, out of the pain of the age he would deny. He needs time and then he prays to a Gut, that he is not sure exists. If it listens, he may surprise himself on the fourth day of a Grand Randonee. He is after all the "knowing substance". Everything else, perhaps, particles of change, orbiting the sun.
The Distance Rider listens to Leonard Cohen and Tupac Shakur. Sometimes he does not hear them at all, for the screaming of drunk youth in a pick-up truck, and the collective "Ribbit" of all his frogness. He imagines the most perfect silence, when there is no need to speak, there is no need to explain, no need to show that something is true, seeing the same picture from a different point of view. He feels the best moment, when we all come from different circumstances and flow with the Ferry in the same direction.
the Distance Rider does not grade Riders, he grades Rides. He knows that no two rides are the same even if exactly the same course. His highest grade he awards to the Next ride. He refutes that the earth is either round or flat, but will twist you in every direction but loose.
He longs with foreboding the challenge of the mountains. Yet he understands that the wind of the flat lands is as capricious as all his x's that do not reside in Texas. And when it blows east of the mountains, makes rolling resistance a spit in the Ocean. The Distance Rider has heard of several R-goals, his goal is Recovery and better still on the bike.
The Distance rider will encounter many bodies of water. Looking into each one, he finds the same reflection looking back at him, a shaking head, as one mourning, for it is the very last time he will be like today. He wonders what Descartes, Spinoza and Liebniz think of change in "the thing which thinks". He proclaims that a thing that thinks is a thing that lets go. So he lets go of the wheel in front or the slower behind, he knows that he cannot own.

The Distance Rider does not sprint for minutes and seconds but he will sprint for a Ferry or Traffic lights, someone please ask him what is the difference? He does not eat a mix of 65% carbohydrate and 35% protein. He eats roadkill, always with a big dose of fat, more bang for the buck. He loves his equipment, he does business with it, but he does not trust his equipment. He affirms that "a bad workman blames his tools", "a good one fixes his tools". A weight weenie with a bag of tools seeking to gain time on the climb and a prudent descent.

So perhaps beyond the boundaries if your imagination, is a world of "knowing substances" such as him. If he could get you there, he would show you a deeper story and the Loneliness of a Long Distance Rider.

For my Friend
Kantner "Ukwu Elu Ani" Kole

When a child living just east of the River Niger (from which Lady Lugard coined the term Nigeria) there was much myth about the Great Onitsha Market on the Niger. Rumor had it that as much as half of the beings at the market were from the world of "spirits". One could easily find out who they were by pretending to drop a coin, and then bend to pick it up, and look to see whose "feet did not touch the ground" (Ukwu Elu Ani).

On the Country Link Train from Melbourne to Sydney, I learned that Kole rode up to 17.000K in the villages of West Africa without his feet touching its red (laterite) earth. I there and then bestowed him with the title. On a brevet you may hear me salute with the title, if I can get within earshot.