There’s a warm wash that comes over the body, hands light on the bars, the sounds surrounding drowned into a sweet hum, and there’s almost a detachment from one’s self, as if you’re watching someone else pilot your body through the terrain.
There is a sting in the lungs, but the breath remains constant, there is a burn in the legs but momentum is unhindered, the eyes glaze over and for this brief moment in time you’re granted this perfect little window, whether it’s a winning effort or only good enough for mid-pack, the sensation is one that we all strive for when the race gets going.
There’s something special that happens when you shut the world out and give yourself completely to something. You see it with musicians frequently, where there is a complete commitment to the moment, it goes beyond time signature and the beat and it just becomes its own animal.
When you see the best play, there’s no counting, there’s no real verbal communication between band members, they just dive into a world of noise and sound and create something other-worldly. For that window of time they detach, and if it’s good enough it makes the audience detach and no matter what else is happening in their lives it all stops, and the music becomes all that there is.
For a lot of us, racing bikes provides that same escape., When the whistle goes off and the charge to the first corner amongst the dust and the chaos begins everything else ceases to be a factor. The job, the bills, the impending doom of holidays spent at the in-laws, it all stops and through an hour of suffering we find a little sliver of peace in world that is often far too chaotic.
Perhaps that little bit of respite from the everyday is what keeps bringing us back. Sure there are times that we can’t shut the mind off and we blow through the course tape and question why we are doing this in the first place, but one good ride can erase 20 bad ones in an instant.
There is rhythm to racing cross, to certain courses, and if you can find that rhythm and let yourself go to it, you can get lost in that race not unlike the way a musician gets lost in the song. Turn after turn, riff after riff, it’s feeling more than thinking and we already spend way too much time thinking.