andare in bicicletta: a preview of Gran Combin

“On a bike your conciousness is small. The harder you work, the smaller it gets. Every thought that arises is imediately and utterly true, every unexpected event is something you’d known all along but had only forgotten for a moment. A pounding riff from a song, a bit of long division that starts over and over, a magnified anger at someone, is enough to fill your thoughts”

…..Tim Krabbé, The Rider

In the Alps the mind of the rider can expand, I find, to fill whole valleys; It leaps out of the body and alights tauntingly on distant peaks, it races devilishly up the pass ahead, it plunges into frigid turquoise ponds and goes crashing, whirling down waterfalls, daring the rider to follow. On the grade, it contracts again and is contained simply by the slow measure of hapless panting, by the sound of the crank turning over, by the number of stones in the road. Looking down, the legs are moving in slow motion, but the lungs and heart are working double time. Everything and nothing matters. Oh, but the world does not exist beyond this moment! A click and a latch, up and out of the saddle, a brief acceleration, a phase lock, a resonance: the sweet spot. Ride the Bike, Ride the Bike, Ride the Bike.


Coming soon: A ride report from Le Tour de Gran Combin, a two-day, two-country mountain bike traversal of the local Alps.


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