Thursday, September 28, 2006

Written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 09-28-06:

Written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 09-28-06:

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Bikes. Ah yes. Bikes. That perpetual thorn that so often bedevils every newbie entering the sport of triathlon. What to buy? Where to buy? How to buy? Why to buy? The true paragon of existentialist crisis.

Make a mistake, and you'll be forced to live with it in every excruciating detail on the hill at mile 13. Make a wise choice, and you'll find yourself attaining enlightenment in a bliss of supreme nirvana. Regardless, you're going to be out some cash...and smooth-shaven scab-encrusted skin...and lots and lots and lots (...did I mention lots?) of lost free time formerly spent snoozing in on early Sunday mornings munching on scones and coffee in your cozy warm deliciously decadent bourgeois-proud bed. You'll never...never...NEVER see it again.

What can we say? It's not a science. It's an art. And it's as much a mating game as any singles scene in your favorite local alienated plasticized city (the name of which has been omitted to protect the innocent).

Let's just say this: bikes are a lot like people.There's the super-powered, super-polished, super-sexy road rockets screaming their names into the wind, glorious in their supple curves and lean frames angling in aerodynamic perfection towards unknown horizons awaiting your discovery. These bikes promise excitement. They promise speed. They promise passion. They promise fun. And you'll feel every fiber of your soul yearning to take them out for a ride.

But you'll find that these kinds of promises are lies. And even if true, they'll still lead to the same result: reality. Because the rockets sure may deliver on fun, and they sure may give you speed, but by their nature will be the most volatile, temperamental, high-maintenance beasts you will ever have the misfortune to meet. They'll slide out from under you in the rain, break a chain climbing a hill, slip a gear taking a curve, and somehow someway somewhere will always *always* get a flat tire. For all their beauty, they're ultimately pure agony. And that's not what life is supposed to be about.

On the other hand, there's the ordinary-looking, conventional roadies. You know, the ones that come along quietly into your life. That show up with no promises or demands or expectations or predictions, and do nothing more than greet you in the morning and invite you out for a ride. The ones that take an early morning and make it a peaceful day on the asphalt traveling along unknown paths and experiencing things however they may Every time. And they'll go with you wherever you want to go. And it will always be a good time.

And the roadies don't slide out in the rain, and they don't break chains on a hill, and they never slip gears in a curve, and they never...never...NEVER get a flat. Ever. And they are still pretty enough to get the envious attention of the other riders passing alongside you. And they are pure, unpretentious, unassuming, world-wise fun. And that's what life is supposed to be about.

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