Best laid plans
I won’t be doing the cross-country race I had scheduled for next Sunday after all. There’s been a change in plan. I’m a little bummed because I wanted to try my hand at the XC race report genre--those epic tales with excruciating detail whose length rival that of Tolstoy’s tome, War and Peace.
We usually find our protagonist on the way to the race with the favorite super light hardtail, complete with some new bling bling components, ready to do battle. At this time of year, it’s typically the first race after a long lonely winter of massive training sessions (think Rocky in Siberia – Rocky IV). So the gun goes off and the struggle begins. The racer describes every breath up the first hill, the dew glistening off the flora alongside the single track, the smell of the morning air and the shape of the various rocks in the rock garden that awaits racers after a punishing second climb. There are fierce attacks and counter attacks on the second lap. On that lap the rider notices that one of the rocks in the rock garden stands out from all the rest, a gnarly looking rock that has moved into the best line through all the jagged edges. By the time the third lap has begun, the rider has punched it to the limit, fallen back a few spots, got a second wind and is moving back up through the field. Our hero is redlining again on the third time through the rock garden when by some force the rock hits the rear wheel attempting to disturb the harmony between racer and bike...
The tale can have one of two endings at this point:
In the first, the racer curses the rocks, loses concentration, goes off course, crashes and begins cursing the bike; for the bike, the rocks and even the Gods are undermining best laid plans. A dash for the finish line ensues but the damage is done and the racer is lucky not to get a DFL or DNF.
In the second, our protagonist reacts gracefully without anger towards the rock and in that moment has a gestalt. There is no distinction between the racer and the rock, no difference between racer and any of the other rocks. The racer thus realizes the truth of the statement, “I ROCK!” Hence, the inner giant is released, the zone is entered and the racer rides with a passion the likes of which not even the Greek Gods have seen. Rivals are reeled in and our hero rides off to glory if not a podium spot.