Monday, August 18, 2008

Epic Poem for Epic Riding: The Ride

A brevet in 19 stanzas: SIR 200k 10th Anniversary 2008

Peering up into the west is the moon, golden orange as a harvest consort
Digging into the earth as the sun chases it into bright daylight.
Thick is air that pierces my lungs, heavy with dew
The Dew striking thick into my cavities, the smell of the city.

Streets barren and still in the morning thickness
I see quiet street lights shining for travelers who will never enjoy
The methodical changing of their color,
Together in this thick dew, I ride onto my watery passage.

Arrival, conjoining, reunion, waiting together for safe passage,
For passage to that beginning to our real voyage
The voyage of wheels, and chain, and steel.
Asphalt, swift carrier of our hopes and dreams.

Energy, the crown stresses and strains waiting for the
Appointed minute that will break forth the dam,
Gushing waters of adrenaline, testosterone, caffeine,
Checking gear, maps, rubber, friends, competitors.

Slowly, we edge out of town, chomping to go faster,
Diligent to adhere to traffic laws known
And imagined,
Nervous energy of another sleeping town; We are interlopers.

Leaving as the sun chases, as light casts brighter
In sparkling leaves, ripping away the dew as
A breath sucked back in.
Daytime becomes our ride.

Faster, the group rides on, slashing, testing, fresh,
Charging up hills that later will find falter,
With a group, there is challenge,
With a group, there is safety from a nose glued to the route sheet.

A tandem in our group; battle cruiser, leader,
Breaker of wind and library of collective consciousness,
These ride on with us, setting our pace as we hang on,
Waiting on the hills for the sweet wake of descent.

Controlled, oases, islands of commotion,
I try to resist the Siren song of warm cookies,
V-8, beer, Coca Cola, chips,
Those mainlined additives to our desire to capture.


Dominating our objective for personal best,
A sense of adventure, collective experience, recognition,
Recapturing something thought lost,
Most are more fit now than in days greener, clouded in memory.

The day grows warm, and I spin, slog, push, cajole,
Fighting for rhythm, fighting for speed,
Drugging myself on every downhill,
Endorphins rushing to serve on the up.

I wonder, as I arrive at each marker,
Checking my clock, gauging my strength,
Computing need resources, nature still lures,
Me to these far away places, sparking the new.

Back roads, loops of ever greater scope,
Building on those times past, maintaining health,
Fighting death's cold, draining grasp,
For today, I am strong, powerful, fecund.

Inner will dampens the pain that surfaces as the sun,
Crosses over past the middle, of time counted in,
Kilometers, miles, rods, chains, suddenly useless tires,
Maimed, we sprawl in the ditch, resting, repairing, cursing our fate.

Falling behind, tired, expectations forfeited,
Ferries missed, calculations revamped, cautious laughing,
More hills greet these weary legs.
The longest miles are left for the end; coming, waiting, holding out.

And back into the oasis of controlled life,
We coast in to adulation, knowing that we too will support,
Those who support us, those who cheer and love,
Will also feel our love as we pitch in, next time, Riding.

Our watery passage back home is regaled,
With laughing, high as the tree tops, as the eagles we
Spied drifting thoughtlessly, taken in on the voyage,
Also hunting, also discovering, we the flocks of the country road.

Arrival. Rest. Peace. Hope. Pain.
All of these things we feel, we hope, we imagine,
Ourselves to have completed a great task, not alone,
Randonneur, Rambler, Reporter, Rescuer, from mendacity,
We soar, We float, We chase, We love.

Setting sun, our job, our goal,
Accomplished, we seek comfort in home,
Having done much with little, luck this time on our shoulders,
Made ready for the new, fighting our mortality.

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