Thursday, February 16, 2006

february 14

originally written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 02-16-06

Feb. 14...Yes, admit it, you shudder every time the date rolls around. Either you forget, or you freak out under the pressure of what to get your sweetie, or you suffer the alienation of lounging on the couch while your buddies get their schwerve on, or you just move to vomit beneath the onslaught of pink and sweet and touchy-feely luvvy-wuvvy-dubby oochy-goochy-coochy goodness.

And there's the fact that for every relationship that gets kick-started off a day like this, there's another that gets drop-kicked into the corner round file. Like yours, when your supposed steady makes clear that all those jokes about your training weren't really jokes, but hints about real trouble that was THEIR trouble but is about to become YOUR trouble. Like yours, when your "friend" looks at you in disgust and says "You spend more time with your bike than you do with me." Like yours, when your mate gives you the ultimatum: "It's either your bike or me, and if you ride in the morning I'm not going to be here when you back."

Your response can be to joke about the bike. To talk about the hard curves and supple surface, the twinkling of the frame in the night and the wheels whispering your name. You can be sarcastic and mutter that the bike will never abandon you. You can comment that the bike at least accepts the sacrifices you're making for it. But that doesn't mean much when there's somebody else involved. And to them, it's not funny. And they've mandated you make a choice.

We all make choices in life, and we have to live with the consequences of those decisions. The real issue is what consequences we are willing to accept. Once you understand that, you will do what you have to do.

For this particular decision, for this particular stage in your life, for this particular choice of consequences, you know the challenges that lie ahead, and you know that you must face them prepared, and you know what preparation requires...And you make the decision you have to make...So when the morning comes, you pull out your shoes, you roll out the bike, lock into the pedals, and roll off quietly into the sunrise.

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