Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Season Opener

There are a lot of great things that come with Spring. Flowers, warm weather, Spring Break, and the ever present longing for Summer becomes even more existent. For some of us, it brings Little 500 season. Feeling the cinder crunch under your (more than likely) worn in tennis shoes for the first time feels better than finally getting that green “correct” picture on your Webwork after spending tireless hours on just one problem. What may feel even better than that is when you take your first lap, you finally get up to speed through turn two, and you feel the tiny black sand-like rocks move under the weight of you and your fixed-gear bike. Then you hear, “On your wheel!” “Overlapping left!” “Inside! Inside!” “Exchange in turn one!” And you quickly snap out of your dream-like state and remember you have to come out of your bike-coma and make sure you don’t crash the whole pack of riders racing around you.

The cold air is hitting your face and making your eyes water so that your tears are going straight back into your hairline and you start thinking about pulling out of the pack. You take five more laps, because you just don’t want to stop peddling. Finally, when your face is numb, your esophagus burns, and you just can’t sniffle anymore, you get to the outside, pull off, and catch some cold air where you hoped you would find your breath. You look up and see the pack racing on the back stretch and you tell yourself that you shouldn’t have pulled off- you could have gone at least another five laps. You can’t feel your face anyways right?

Wait until the pack has cleared and you mesh back in, just as if you had never gone to the pits. Bike-Coma again. You hear the people yelling around you and you snap back into the river-like flow that you had just left on your bike-of-a-raft. Turn three comes in fast and the tears are flying back just as fast as they were before, but this time you do the best you can to wipe them off with your padded glove because this time, you’re going those extra five laps- and probably more. “Inside! Inside!” escapes your mouth as you move ahead to the front of the pack where the wind is going to hit you harder, but you don’t care. Sometimes tears come with hard work, and that doesn’t mean they always come from grief, but also from the joy in success.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is nostalgia.

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