The Art Of Racing 24 Hours :: I was being hoisted high. But I don’t mind because I knew what it meant. In 24 hour solo racing no one remembers the bike. It is said that a racer whispers to his bike things. Memories and words spoken late at night when all seems lost. When a bike dies it becomes a human in another life. And it is these “things” … this collection of experiences and whispers that mold the human. My name is Gonzo and I want to be human someday.
Our last lap was long and I knew something was happening to Bill. My tubes seemed to get hot from the sun so I am guessing his condition had to do something with the 80 or so degrees it was out there. We stopped at some abandon check stations and he rifled through the mess for water I think. He was thirsty. One time he did find water and we went faster for a while.
But now we were at the finish line after counting down the hill climbs together. This is how I learned to count. Bill likes to count things. The finish line was abandon as well except for a few people that know us. It was nice to see them. As he held me high I noticed the crowd had gathered in another area. The announcer instead of mentioning my owners name was shouting out numbers. Once in a while someone would jump up with joy and approach him. I found this curious behavior. When I am human I will never attend one of these … they are silly.
Bill walked me to the tent and sat down beside me. As the last riders trickled in I learn of the somber finish line details. There were attempts to get the announcers attention but the curious number calling continued. It doesn’t matter to me though. I don’t need the attention. I really did enjoy being lifted into the air. When I am human I want to celebrate this way too.
People are gathered around him now and he is getting some attention. He deserves it. We rode over 300 miles this weekend. His girlfriend is rushing in and out of the timing tent. At first she comes back with ice and puts it on Bill’s knee. Then she comes back with a bike chain. I don’t like it. I am picky that way. I only wear Wippermann.
But the last time she comes back there are three people I don’t even know.
“Sorry … I just wanted to get you a blanket and …”
“Can you tell me what is going on”, the first guy said.
“Um, well … I just rode 300 miles”
Now I can’t see Bill and I am getting angry. I wish bikes could talk. If I could I would of shouted at them to leave him alone. They were asking him questions and he was answering. He wanted to do things but they would not let him. Like get up and go to the outhouse. More and more people showed up. Some of them carrying machines and wires. They hooked him up. Mo left a 4th time and came back with lots of flowers and stuff. She looked awful and we consoled each other as these people seemed to be abducting him. If I were human I would go rescue him.
“He has low blood pressure and I cant find a vein for an iv”, one of the fancy dressed individuals said.
“I have a low heart rate and usually my blood pressure is lower then normal”, Bill adds to the conversation.
“No, no that is not right. That is not normal”
“Wait a second everyone lets just re-access”, Mo suggested. She is wonderful. And she talked to them and they listened. Finally. Someone was listening to her.
I was happy when they allowed Bill to sit up and finally stand. He looked over to me and I him. Things would be ok.
Thankfully he was rescued by Mo. I like her a lot … and Bill does too. They came and got me and we went back to our pit area after a while. It was nice being a family again under our pit tent. Things were finally getting back to normal. I wonder though. After all the effort we went through … why didn’t we get to celebrate. Stand on one of those podium thingies … I hear it is pretty nice. I have yet to deliver him to a podium but I am not worried. That will come in time. When I am human I will win races.
Bill and I had a great ride. I sure whish I could of delivered him to the podium today but that is OK. In the end we are together and that is what is important.
Before a bike is reincarnated, the bike’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high mountains for as long as it would like. I learned that from a program on the National Geographic channel, so I believe it is true. Not all bikes return as human, they say; only those who are ready. I am ready.
Special note: I am writing this blog from my bikes perspective and have borrowed the idea from The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein. The reason is not that I think it is cool but wanted to post details and not write about my true feelings on how the race was handled in the end. The race organizers had a lot on their plate like someone setting the dumpster on fire. Lots of things happened to botch the ending of a truly great race but I don’t want to use this post to air my grievances. I will write out a statement to the organizers themselves to maybe have a positive outcome.