Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The Mysterious Disappearance of the Lying Hero
Last summer, like all summers before them, I was bombarded with tales of high mileage, pro-caliber average speeds, and a rare and profound love for cycling. Individuals and groups each wove a tapestry of intricate stories detailing heroic conquests aboard their trusty steeds. Racers were dropped, obscene wattages were produced, and punishment was meted out with unchecked brutality. Blow by blow accounts of hard fought city limit sprints were recalled in language analogous to historic battles like Antietam and Stalingrad.
Their supreme dedication and pathological affinity for letting everyone in on their awesomeness elevated our great sport to inspiring heights. I was jealous of their kids. Who wouldn't want such gallantry in their genes? These wondrous warriors of cycling chic. Martyrs who would carry our sport to such places that Coppi, Anquetil, and Merckx (if only they knew their names) never dared. We should dream easily knowing these guardians were manning the gate of our beloved sport. If only they were still here.
The shop has sat eerily silent the past few months, save for the quiet, time worn echoes of the old guard stirring. The once vibrant, promise-filled exuberance of warmer, sun drenched days are gone. Cycling's newest heroes have, predictably, been vanquished. Victims of loving the myth more than the ride.