Monday, August 14, 2006

Rosie

All I can think is there are a lot of folks who have yet to discover some of the better features of a racing license. It's mid-August, yet this season somehow represents the winter of discontent for far too many. Here in the great Midwest, it's hot as Hades in the waning weeks of a long season, and bike racers are dropping like flies. Honestly it would take abstract calculation to count just the ones I know---and all that means is that I need more than my fingers to count 'em. A few of the biggest races are left, but there is no more time left. At this point, if you're not where you want to be, every race is too far to drive, too hot, too wet, too sketchy, too expensive, too much---wah, wah, wah, wah, wah. At this point in the season, if you're not where you want to be, you hate life and you blame bike racing for it. Stop reading this Goddamned column right now. There's still time to sign up for a team triathlon somewhere and find some of what racing that bike is good for.

This month, I'm turning 55, I'm retiring from my job of almost 20 years, I'm moving all my wordly possessions to another state, I'm saying so-long to many 25-year friends, I'm homeless, I'll soon be jobless, I'm contemplating new career moves, and, no fucking shit, the only thing on my mind this morning is that I need to do some big miles on the bike this week to get ready for the Hotter-N-Hell road race that's coming up. That, and I need to get a CB radio installed in the flamin' van so I can jaw with the truckers on the way down to Wichita Falls. And man, that's what I love about racin' bikes. If I wasn't starin' down both barrels of the hotter-n-hell hundred, I'd be totally freaking out about shit that don't get fixed by freakin'.

This occurred to me when I ran into my buddy Ronnie Sapp yesterday at the bike shop--he was walking out when I was walking in. He told me when he got back from the tour of KC the day before, the stresses of raising a teenager had sent him back out on his bike for four hours. So after driving four hundred miles and doing two hard races in two days, the bike was still there for him for as long as he needed it.

And this would be another example of when I'd have to resort to cognitive function to count the number of times the bike has been my personal therapist. It starts with the reality check of an upcoming race and really wanting to make, in fact owing it to, some people go as hard as they possibly can in order to beat my ass---this is called being a playah. So like one of those times when things aren't making you happy and you'd like to put on a good buzz and find somebody to kick your ass, or drive your car 120 mph, or kick your dog, or kick your girlfriend/boyfriend, or kick yourself, instead you throw your leg over that bar and you pound those pedals until the world looks straight again. When it's rainy, or cold, or hot, or the day's been a long one, you might need an upcoming race, or an upcoming season, to remind you that the bike is always there. The bike don't nag you to ride it. And it don't tell you how long or how hard or how far. The bike only listens and does whatever you tell it. Later.

14 Comments:

Blogger Bikeaholic said...

Jimmiez, I wish I shared your passion & dedication to the sport of cycling, it is a rarity these days!

I think I speak for everybody around here in Columbia by saying that we are all going to miss your company. You have brought a great amount of wit and enthusiasm to the cycling community over the years & I'll always remember you as the guy that kept Butthead in check, what are we going to do without you, Columbia will never be the same. I hope you find a good place to nest your old arse in Okyhoma. Godspeed!

12:12 PM  
Blogger Daniel B. said...

Damn it, you can write!! Holy cow.

2:24 PM  
Blogger SpeedDreamin said...

I really like your blog. I hope you'll keep writing.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Fingerbang said...

Every ride is a race. Every blog entry is an article. Holy freaking crap! JimmyZ is a man dedicated to his craft. Save the children!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Butthead said...

Jimmiez this is a shitty blog.

Tell us some fuck stories!

6:31 AM  
Blogger JimmyMc said...

I'm deeply gratified, and humbled, by these kind comments. Writers get use to negativity, because anger is often the only thing that incites people to speak up--so hatin' becomes the primary way of knowing you connected. So thanks for these. And for a pre-emptive response to Feather's reaction, let me just offer this old-world curse: "May your line find nothing but Carp."

6:43 AM  
Blogger Yankee said...

...a new voice on your blog but a long time reader from 'up north'. Hey, I always enjoyed racing with/against you and look forward to those races knowing that you will do what you can to make it a real race. I look forward to more of those races regardless of your jersey or address. We both travel all season long just to race and hopefully will continue to do so....lots of good racing yet. Good luck with your life changes...we all get to make them if we choose. We'll see you in St Louis....email me about Fort Smith.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Dino said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Dino said...

Speaking of heat, hearing that Jimmie is leaving Columbia is like hearing that the high temperture is going to be 104. It absolutely sucks, but there's nothing you can do about it so you just accept it. At the same time you tell yourself, "Hey this isn't going to last". The temperature is going to come down and Jimmie is going to eventually move back here to his true home. Or maybe not. Mike the mechanic at Cyclextreme has a strong argument that Jim must move because he is immortal. Just look at the team photo taken nearly 15 years ago hanging at the bike shop. Everybody has physically aged except Jim! He looks exactly the same! Think about it. Jim has to move every 25 years just like the Highlander so no one will know that he is immortal! I know this seems ridiculous, but then I remembered that Ethan once told me that, "Jim is the only person older than his dad".

Is Jim immortal? I don't know, but he is a good friend.

8:44 PM  
Blogger phil said...

Mike gave me that same story last week. I am in that picture and look nothing like that now! This immortality thing threatens me and I hate it, so I had to post. I would spew some jargon but I don't know any.

7:51 AM  
Blogger seth said...

I love the Highlander allusions. Jimmy was one of the first people I met when I moved to Columbia and has some of the greatest knowledge of road cycling on the planet. He also is one hell of a writer and has one kickass van. My brother and I mourn your move, Jimmy. Godspeed.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Feather's curse said...

Jimmy, may the winds of change help soar you to new uncharted lands, may these lands not be poisoned with sour elderberries tainted by ill hands, and the roads free from dinosaur powered juiced up cars colored by muck, and where hot women run around like nymphs after their first ....... Hopefully you'll find a path to lay your own tread, and fear not the worries of life or things that cause dread. In the moment of crisis, remember these inspiring words spoken by Nelville Flynn, "I want these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane!"

2:46 PM  
Blogger porkchop said...

"May your line find nothing but Carp."

Ummm carp don't bite on lines. Gar and chum would be better choices. Don't you j-schoolers check your facts first?

8:51 AM  
Blogger JimmyMc said...

What's the gar and chum hooked onto, Mr. stickler?

7:01 AM  

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