Saturday, August 9, 2008

Donkeys of the World, Rise Up!

I read a great article in, I am pretty sure, BIKE magazine by Mike Ferrentino (need to look that up for sure).

Anyway, in that article he talks about a friend who told him, to paraphrase, "...if you are not a thoroughbred, you are a donkey. You may be a fast donkey, but a donkey still"

Holy smokes, is that ever me. Every once in a while we hear a truth that is cosmic in its clarity and insightfulness. Thoroughbred...donkey. Wow.

I have been riding for many years. And, over those years, riding friends would begin the season just like me, kinda out of shape. And, just like me, they would be getting a bit faster over time. But unlike me, there would be a few that would just rocket up in no time and blow everybody away. They would ride by me talking, chewing gum, singing an opera, whatever, and pedal away never to be seen again till the end of the ride. Some went on to be sponsored racers, others just became one of the 'fast guys' who may not even ride anymore, but if they are, they are probably killing everyone 1/2 their age and making it look easy.

It took me a while to figure out what the deal was. I ain't got no great Jeans....I mean genes, that particularly distinguish me as a non-donkey. I have very good agility, balance, hand eye coordination, which is all good, but I think I have the VO2max of a tree sloth.

I have never been lab tested, but it is obvious by now. I have been tested by hundreds of rides, thousands of pedal strokes, millions of deep breaths and heartbeats.

So, I am resigned to be a donkey, and after that article I have peace about that fact. But lately I have been working on being a faster, stronger donkey. I hit the big Five O in a couple of weeks and I have to say, I am just atiny bit off my best cycling fitness ever. I cannot sustain the high heart rate for as long, but I am stronger in some ways than ever and I am getting stronger all the time. I hope to be one of those guys that gives 25 year old donkeys a hard time on a ride.

So, a donkey I am and I donkey I will remain. But if you hear a clip clop of hooves and a hideous braying coming up behind you on a So Cal ride, it may be me or another donkey trying to be fast. And if you are one of the fast guys, a true thoroughbred, be kind to us. We donkeys are doing the best we can.

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