Coming Good, Rituals, and the Kindness of Strangers

I know why people find it hard to lose weight or achieve their fitness goals; I’m reminded of it each spring, right around the time I start to finally feel the legs pack some power and endurance, usually about 8 to 10 weeks after starting to train consistently and properly. This is, in the cycling-game, not a long time to wait to see results (‘years in the legs’), but I am nearly certain that most people don’t want to hang around suffering that long.

I know I don’t, but I do anyway, secure – after a few years of this – in the knowledge that the performance will come around. Since our Cevennes ride last weekend I have been getting those ‘sensations’ back in the legs, tentative, but unmistakable. Now if only the weight loss would kick in…


I have been using the blog tagline ‘A man searches for meaning…between leg shavings’ for a long time now, but it wasn’t till I whipped out the razor for the first time this year that I realized that there was even meaning to be found IN leg shavings.

beer-and-pizza

The Off-season

One of the things I find so enjoyable about this sport is the rhythm of the ‘seasons’, which I adhere to strictly, mainly because I like what the off-season offers so much. There are cyclists who Joe Friel calls the ‘always fit’, and I know a few of them, but I’m not sure if I could keep the motivation up if I knew I couldn’t have some fun after all my hard work, not to mention the enjoyment I get out of little rituals like the first shave of the year (I know athletes who are ‘always shaved’, too). The shave always happens in March in Le Sud because that’s when we shed off the legs for bibs, and it of course heralds in spring, which is a time of renewal both physically and mentally for me.


I have made many friends, real or otherwise, from this blog; I’ve chimed on a lot about how it has single-handedly changed the direction of my life in the past 7 years. Today’s extraordinary exchange with a blog friend proves again that the world is full of really generous people (real or otherwise). Aaron West, aka ‘Steepclimbs‘ (and someone I’ve never met), was supposed to have ridden with us on Haute Route 2013, but he had some problems that year that have evolved into him most likely having to have a hip replacement this year. He still has his registration for Haute Route, carried over for the last two years, and has just offered it to me if I wish to take it. I am in negotiations with myself at the moment, and will decide soon, but I just wanted to say that humanity is alive and well, in South Carolina at least.

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11 thoughts on “Coming Good, Rituals, and the Kindness of Strangers

  1. Even if we’ve never met, you’ve been kind to me over the years. And through this blog, I would enjoy “my” registration” more than any other way I can think of. Hopefully it works out.

  2. Aaron is a good guy, no doubt about it. Take the spot, he can’t use it. I’d like to kick his hip doctor’s butt and if it wasn’t his fault, I’d go to work on his hip’s ass. Breaks my heart, man. He’s handling it like a champion.

    • Yeah, watching it unfold has been painful to watch, I agree. From bad to worse. Hopefully the corner has been turned now. I’m thinking ‘take’ at the moment, btw. Hell, I don’t even need to buy a plane ticket…

  3. It’s interesting this ‘friends’ business. I look on it more as a pen pal type relationship. I love the contact with folk all over the world, following their trials, triumphs and tribulations (how’s that for alliteration?) It also allows me a different outlook on things. Long may your contacts prove fruitful and enjoyable.

    • Yours, too, Fossil! Some of my best friends in the past decade or so have come from the internet. It has opened my world up quite a lot, as well, giving me access to tips on the best chain oil to buy from all over the world!

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