BADEN POWELL AND ALL THOSE MILES ON A BIKE
Most will not know who Baden Powell is. In short, he was a Brazilian guitarist, classical mainly, but with a flair for Brazilian jazz, and jazz classics. There is a YouTube video of him playing "Round Midnight," a Thelonius Monk composition in a darkened club in France. It is black and white with a great deal of smoke filling the screen. You eventually realize that most of the smoke is coming from a cigarette that is held between the ring and little finger of Powell's right hand, the picking hand. Powell is transfixed by the music, total flow, and at one point looks at the camera, like he has forgotten that it there. The look is pure cool, mixed with a sense that he is killing this, and he knows it.
So what does this have to do with cycling. Not much, but with "achievement," a lot. I have been playing classical guitar for 60 years, most often in a self-critical way. The last few years, though have seen a lot of advancements. I saw this video, and thought that if I could play that I would feel, maybe, like I had finally gotten there, though the definition of there would take another blog, if not a full novel, and fiction it would be. So I learned it, easier than I thought I would, and yes, I felt a certain achievement. Then what? I don't know, I just moved on.
Cycling has much in common, a long career, not quite as self-critical, long with many, many miles, and of course a whole lot of "I wish I had done Race Across America, or the Chino Grinder, and yet it has been so beyond possible. I will say the numbers: 265,000 miles and 619 rides over a hundred miles. The numbers are nuts even though I know there are others who have more. And, as of today, I am still going, though wondering how long the body can keep going (thanks Yoga) and also when is a good time to let it go.
There are so many hours in a day, in a week, in a year, to do these things. And yes, its not life itself, not breathing. It is, however, the reason to breath (?). We go on even though we may never have a real sense of who we are, and perhaps we are being sifted, all of the born of the body being sifted a way, left behind along with the numbers.