The First; Always

I remember that snow was still on the ground. It was cold, so I wore pretty much everything I owned. My recently purchased pair of Pearl Izumi tights were perhaps a size small, but ‘fit’. I thought I might get lost I did get lost, so I left a good hour and a half early. I felt like I was going to my first boy/girl dance again. In pants that were far too small.

This is to say that I wanted to vomit.

Sitting in the old Cars R Coffins, idly stirring my latte and attempting to keep my cookies where they belonged (in my stomach), I waited for Jason. Jason had taken pity on me a couple months previous and began the process of changing me from a bike rider to a bike racer. We had gone on a couple of rides together, each time I had found a new meaning for the word ‘broken’. I started to feel as though this whole foray was a mess – a waste. But every day I saw the photos of the PROs, or of just local guys mixing it up at OPUS and I knew I wanted to be apart of that. To get there, I had to start here. Clammy hands and all.

Spencer and Little Guy showed up first. Sam Starr showed up next; we had worked together so he introduced me to the group. Eventually Jason, his wife Margaret and Super Rookie would show, completing the group. The plan laid out was to head out to Excelsior for some early-season base. A quick espresso, a little chit chat and we were off.

I was so far out of my comfort zone, I inadvertently managed to behave the way I should. No attacking, no silly stuff, just held my line and made idle chit chat. I was too busy trying not to die to try anything stupid. And I didn’t die. I didn’t get dropped. I didn’t say enough to seem stupid (despite my best efforts with what little words I allowed myself).

Every time I get set up for a ride and head out to the meeting point I feel a bit of that unease that I felt that first day. It reminds me to hold my line, to behave the way you should in a group – that it’s an inherently dangerous thing, no matter how easy it becomes. I like the fact that it’s stuck with me this long; that every ride I do is just like the first time. Maybe it’ll always be like that.

It’s probably for the best.

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1 comment
  1. Nice…

    Thom Smith 414 Lexington Parkway N Apt. #2 Saint Paul, MN 55104

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