Michael's Excellent Adventure

Side Trip


Putting in 10+ hours a day pedaling a bike gives me gobs of time to contemplate really important stuff. Like religion. After spending years on my bike, getting buffeted by winds in places far and wide, I've got some unique ideas on that subject.

You see, the way I see it, there are some Gods. Gods of Potential Energy. They keep an eye on what folks are up to, and make sure that everyone plays by the rules. They're kind of unique for Gods these days, though, in two ways: 1) they're not omnipotent, and 2) they're venal. That makes them much more like the old school Gods, like the Greeks had. Anyway, they especially watch over cyclists. And basically, they check to see if you're good. By good, I mean, do you do climb for every drop? Do you only cash in potential energy that you earn with your sweat and muscles? If not, the Gods of Potential Energy put the hurt on you. For instance, if you're doing stupid stuff like getting a car to ferry you to the top of a mountain so you can ride down it. The G.o.P.E. hate that. And They'll get you for it.

Usually they get you in the form of headwinds, somewhere down the line in your cycling career. What headwinds amount to, basically, is that you spend a bunch of energy that you'll never see again, just so the G.o.P.E. can balance their books. But if you're an especially egregious offender, they find other ways. For instance, they hate downhill mountain bikers, whose whole raison d'être is taking chairlifts up ski slopes so they come screaming down on their bikes. That's why you see such an amazingly high incidence of broken clavicles among downhillers. It's the Gods, man.

So, I see that horrible little stint in Dakota as my punishment for taking the MAX to the zoo stop in Portland, and taking the elevator to the top of the hill so I could scream down Fairview Boulevard and crap like that. I had it coming, and I can accept that. I'll probably still do my MAX shenanigans, but it's important to know that I'll probably pay for it somewhere else down the line. In Ontario, they didn't get me so bad, so I figure they were just playing around with me. As you can see from all the wonderful tailwinds that I've had on this trip, I largely have a very good relationship with the G.o.P.E. But I can't pretend to know their minds. They're capricious. And I like I said, venal.