Friday, September 09, 2011

Eddy Merckx Will Eat You Alive 

Te voet over de col Aubisque / Climbing the Aubisque on foot
*Apparently, the first year the col Aubisque was added to the Tour, one rider, walking his bike past course officials yelled at them, "Assassins!"

On a recent Saturday morning I did something I rarely do. I woke up before 8 AM. I was on the bike by 8:30. Not early by most standards but early for me and it did mean I would be done this ride before I usually begin one. It was a strange morning weather wise. I should say I originally woke around 6:30, looked out to see the city shrouded in a thick fog, so I returned to my repose. When I awoke again, the sun was shining thus my change of heart.

As I rode along the Lakeshore I would occasionally pass through immense fog banks that, rather than blot out the sun, seemed to enhance it like some kind of gigantic lighting diffuser as though some unseen hand had just switched on a second sun. When I wasn't riding through a glowing mist, I was in the bright sunlight, with occasional tufts of fog drifting across my path. It was a little like something from a film, slightly unreal, slightly unbelievable.

Despite how good I felt at some point I still had to turn around and call it a day. I had errands to run and things to do. Oddly, just as I was reaching a time when I would have to turn around to be back in time for an appointment, a sign appeared on the road. A construction sign. The road was closed and I had to turn around anyway. As I made my turn, an old Elton John tune started on my iPhone. Benny and the Jets. Sometimes you need protein and carbohydrates to fuel a ride and sometimes you need a song. I started singing along, loud as I could muster. I'm sure I was wearing an Andy Schleck smirk as wide as the Aubisque is high. A dour young women passed me in a sleek Mercedes. I believe she was slightly repelled by this maniacal cyclist. I don't blame her. Then I started thinking about Jack Layton whose memorial service was about to begin at that moment. As a high profile cyclist I'm sure he would have got a kick out of the sight of me. I also thought about Eddy Merckx who, no doubt wouldn't have even noticed me, and would've gobbled me up and spat me out. That would be something. To be devoured by the Cannibal*.

*I also realized, I'll never be so good at something to get such a fantastic nick name as "the Cannibal".



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