Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Out with the old

Date: March 31
Mileage: 30.1
March mileage: 636.3
Temperature: 38

My Gary Fisher Sugar sold on Sunday. I went to my local bike shop to pick up a shipping box, realized they were closed on Mondays, and drove around back to dig one out of the rubbish pile. (I was disappointed to discover that there was no Orbea in that box. Just tattered packaging materials.) Tomorrow I will box Sugar up ship him off to his new home in the frozen land of Minnesota (where I'm sure he will feel right at home.) Tonight is our last night together.

I wanted to take him out for one last ride, but I didn't want to tarnish the scouring I gave his drivetrain or risk damaging a part of a bike that no longer belongs to me. I felt a tinge of regret when I realized I couldn't remember our last ride together. Since I discovered he needed a new bottom bracket, he's sat idle - and sometimes in pieces - in my front room. There was never a grand send-off, never a tearful goodbye. I like to joke about being in love with my bikes, but when I'm honest with myself, does it really matter? Can I really be so emotionally attached to aluminum and steel? Well, yeah. Yeah I can.

When I think about Sugar, I think about years (three years!) and miles (thousands!) during which that aluminum and steel carved its way into who I am and how I see the world. When I think about Sugar, I think about myself as a fearful novice coasting the gravel rollers of the Idaho Falls hillsides. I think about gaining more confidence on the steep singletrack of Millcreek Canyon in Utah. I think about honing my exploratory skills on the elaborate web of trails beyond my new home in Homer, Alaska. I think about discovering my endurance on the soft slush beyond the Susitna River. I think about perfecting my technical moves as I repeatedly circled the same loop during the 24 Hours of Kincaid. I think about realizing the power of unconditional joy as I kneeled into the dirt, nearly cashed out, at the top of Resurrection Pass. When I think about Sugar, I think about growth. I think about change. I think about loss.

But the truth is, this is good for me. It's good to make a clean break. The fact is, Sugar is still a good bike and deserves to be ridden, deserves to be thrashed, deserves to be ground into the dust he was destined to become. No bike deserves to rot amid the cobwebs and asbestos in an apartment basement. Every mountain bike deserves a dignified death by steady abuse, if not a brilliant flash-out in a blaze of glory. If I'm not the one to levy that abuse, if I've moved on, then I have to let him go.

It does help that I have something to distract me ...

Hoo boy!