Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Sacred Madness

When Johannes Kepler had his "eureka" moment regarding the laws of planetary motion, he was ecstatic. Having solved that problem, he would eventually write -
"I am free to give myself up to the sacred madness." He had unraveled one of the mysteries of life, he had taken a step closer to his God, and he could now give himself up to the mystic.

The Sacred Madness idea has always amused me, and I was thinking about what the sacred madness would mean to me as a cyclist.

There's lots of little crazy things I'd like to do as a cyclist. I've been very very tempted recently to reach out and grab onto a truck and do the "get a free tow" thing sometime. I'd like to do some of this stuff. The closest I've come is flying through busy places in Toronto like Spadina's Chinatown, Bloor's Annex, King Street anywhere downtown, at too high a speed and feeling like I was in that "radar aware zone" where I was pretty sure the street couldn't throw anything at me that I couldn't handle.
But yeah, the sacred madness... what would I really like to do just to mix things up?
One thing I'd like to do is have a little quirky revenge on Whitby/Oshawa. On the way home every afternoon I am on Brock Street in Whitby. South of Burns and all the way to the Whitby Go Station, Brock Street is torn and bumpy in the right side cycling area. It's a four lane road with people going fast as hell trying to get to and from the 401 on/off ramps, and I always feel like all those nutbars have it in for me on that stretch, which is about 1.5km long.
I'd like someday - on a hot summer day, when I'm not carrying my backpack and am on my Cervelo and just have my jersey and shorts on - to ride that whole stretch taking up one entire lane doing the "Victory Salute" a la Iban Basso here. That would really tickle me. For a kilometre and a half, in the midst of pure Durham "let's burn gas and kill the planet" madness, to have a cyclist whooping and wailing like he'd just won Alpe d'Huez, would really make me laugh.
P.S. I couldn't find a picture of him in pure "victory salute," but one of my favourite Tour de France stage wins was Michael Boogerd in 2002 (I think). An escape group leapt up out of the pack early in a very long stage with a mountain finish. Boogerd wasn't in the escape group, but eventually decided that he wanted to be, so he left the pack and road alone for a long long time trying to catch the escape group. He finally found them, but he was wrecked and they dropped him, he caught up, they dropped him etc. etc. Finally he outlasted them all and he left the escape group behind and won the stage.
Riding alone forever and ever, getting dropped, being exhausted but finding the willpower to hold on, that's kind of a sacred madness too.

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