Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Madness of Laughter...

Between the competition, the landscapes through which the races passed, the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat, there is much to remember from this year's San Dimas Stage Race. As I mentioned in my recap of the stage one time trial, these moments are not limited to visual ones; just listening in the moment to what was being said provides an additional layer to the narrative as well.


you really can find anything on the webz. if only he were wearing lycra though.

It is not uncommon to hear the sound of joking laughter on our local group rides, nor even on those more serious ones that mimic actual race conditions. Beyond the confines of the staging area and start line, however, this sort of laughter is limited to rare occasions. The heat of competition does not normally leave much room for levity. Therefore it was kind of shocking, not to mention amusing, when a lone racer labored past me along the more quiet back part of the road race course, fearlessly belching out this long string of hah, hah, hah's. His fading mock of mad laughter receding down along the road and into the distance, will remain one of the more memorable moments from the day. AH, HAH, HAH, Hah, Hah, hah, hah, hah, ha. 

This laugh was the type that you might expect would be followed by the quick appearance of  two or more burly men in long white coats, sedative in hand. I don't know how far this racer had to go - one lap, two, or even more. Nor am I aware of how long he had been alone, his link to the relative sanity of the peloton snapped like Liggett's proverbial rubber band. It takes a certain character to be dropped, and to carry on - adrift from the anonymity of the group. Every set of eyes, and in this case ears, alongside the road, sees you, hears you, even those who pretend not to. Some of those roadside watchers may offer encouragement, a shout of "go, you can do it," when what you really need are a fresh pair of legs. Others may politely look away, eyes down, up, or to some imaginary event in the distance, but make no mistake those eyes did see you, those ears did note the passing whir of your wheels.

Of course, I am not really sure that time or distance even matter. The exact moment when a racer finds himself adrift from the sanctuary of the peloton, off the back (otb) with only the shock of suddenly being alone and exposed as company, is just as damning (or more so) as the fifteenth minute solo, or the next thirty. Over all that time, though (and the more of it that passes the worse it may be) provides fertile ground for the madness to root and grow. All those spectators who see you, and especially those who pretend not to, and their cursed thoughts, are fertilizer for the madness. Honestly, it is a little surprising that we don't hear mad laughter more often at races.

If you were that day's mad laugher, not to worry, your secret is safe. AH, HAH, HAH, Hah, hah, hah, hah, ha. Actually, I don't even recall which group of categories were racing the course at the time, although the earliest groups out that day are safe from my accusations, and so, there is no chance of notifying the local hospitals anyway. I do admit that it would be interesting to know what brought the laughter on. Was it the simple fact of being dropped, of paying the entry fee only to finish outside the time limit, or something else that I can only wonder about. Cheers, and keep it inside.

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