I went out for my usual walk around the neighborhood yesterday and encountered a bike race. Bona fide, with orange cones, safety guards, timers and everything.
I stood near them at the corner as they whizzed past. It was a curious experience of sound, color and energy. I felt quite a marvelous draught of health, speed, movement, and intent, all couched in a setting of simple yet sophisticated technology.
It seemed quite wondrous to me, and when I shared my impressions with my husband, I said that I could feel tremendous power, but it was clear and light, unlike the sensation of power I feel when I'm taking off in a jet, or powering on at high speed along a crowded freeway. Gary said, "that's human power. What you felt was human power."
For me, this discovery is bittersweet at this particular time, just after Patrick Courant, a popular high-school math and science teacher at a local Catholic school, lost his life while training for just such a race, in a tragic accident on a low-traveled country road in our vicinity. In photographs of Patrick racing, I can see his utter zest for the sport. But the bicyclists are so vulnerable.