are sometimes smooth and silky, and other times tired and tight.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Lucky Charms

This week, during the first Tuesday night group ride of the year, I was at the front, on a narrow road when I heard a shout that a car was behind us. Just as the car came past, at speed, I heard a familiar clunk: it was pulling a horse trailer. Before I could react, I felt my left hand get whacked, and felt my bars pop up in the air.

In those nanoseconds of sheer panic, I wondered what would happen next? Would I do a face plant? Would I get pulled under the trailer? Would I get run over by the 12+ riders behind me? Fortunately none of those scenarios came to pass. Don’t ask me how, but I managed to keep my balance, and get the ‘rubber back on the road’.

This near brush with death and destruction made me think of the things cyclists do to ward off the evil spirits.

I’m neither terribly superstitious, nor religious, but when it comes to cycling, I make a few exceptions. In my early days of riding, I had a conversation with a guy, as we were doing a warm up lap before the pack ride in Central Park. I noticed that he had something dangling from his handlebar, off of a cable, and I asked him what it was. Turns out he was a fan of pugilism, and likened it to bike racing, so he had put a boxing glove charm on his bike as a lucky charm.

I decided to get my own ‘lucky charm’. A few days later, after a little research, I bought myself a Saint Michael medal, and promptly put it on my bike, as I’ve done with each bike since. Some might find Saint Christopher, patron saint of travelers, a more fitting choice, seeing as Saint Michael is the patron Saint of Soldiers and Cops. Considering the nature of bike racing, especially the nature of bike racing as a Cat 4 in New York – which is what I was doing at the time - who better than a patron Saint for protection in battle?

For the most part, I think I can say that I made the right choice. At least it worked out for me on Tuesday. Maybe the Saint Christopher medal around my neck did the trick?

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Saint Michael on my now-deceased Pinarello.

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Saint Michael on my ancient Cannondale.

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Saint Michael on my current steed.

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Saint Christopher (just in case).


CyLowe said...

Your crazy skillzz are what saved you, yeah? Good on ya (and the blessed holy Saints, as well).

Recall a thread on this from a while back and mentioned that my bambinas ride along with me, smiling up from the handlebars. An extra four eyes on the road and a not so subtle reminder that there is something more important waiting back home. The backup is the Road ID dog tag. As long as it's on, confidence is high. Forget it on a ride and anxiety sets in for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.

...or so says Solo.