Thursday, April 5, 2007

Struggle

Long ago, Shapespeare wrote:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,


This passage, much longer than just the opening phrase, has been interpreted a number of ways from a debate on suicide to a discussion of action vs. inaction. While I am no scholar, I prefer the action vs. inaction take. Inaction, in many ways is like "death."

It is better to act, to strive... to struggle. It is the struggle that drives us and in the end sustains us.

As a cyclist, the struggle is constant, never-ending. It is a struggle against everything:
against the road, the wind, the hill, the elements, other riders and sometimes even ones self. Mind over matter, it is the ability to push beyond. And on the other side, discover what you are made of. We've all seen this played out: Voekler keeping the yellow jersey, Hamilton with the broken collarbone.

The cyclist's struggle is to maintain velocity, both speed and direction. Always in pursuit of velocity, forward momentum.

To end that struggle marks the "death" of that moment. Getting flicked from the group, being unable to clean a section of trail, falling off the pace at a mountain bike race and watching the riders you were with ride away: all part of the struggle. Live to ride another day. Learn from the experience, from that struggle.

"Death" only occurs when we give up and walk away.

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