I have to cram my right hand behind my back pack to get into my jersey pocket to turn up the volume on my phone. The guy next to me at the light above SE Bybee and SE 17th, revs the engine of his blue Porche Carrera. I’m trying to drown him out. I’m trying to lose myself in the sound of Feist’s Metals.

There’s a story in Mark Twight’s Kiss or Kill where he says — no brags — that he adept at taking a knife to his life and removing the things he feels he no longer needs.That used be a trait I admired, one I wanted to cultivate in myself. To be able to approach one’s life with cool detachment. Now I know that isn’t me. Not only do I lack the cool detachment, but I lack the subtlety needed to wield a knife. Knives require a steady hand and precision. Hammers on the other hand require a moment of heavy lifting, but then physics does the rest.

“Fuck it, burn the whole thing down” was the quote I gave for the board at work, because its what I feel is happening. Or its  the mood I’m in. I slammed the hammer last week and now I’m looking for the next thing to smash. There are a few targets, the most attractive being myself. Which is why I suddenly think toeing the line for a cross race is a good idea.

The setting sun takes on the appearance of giant red ball sitting on hills to the west. At least that’s what I think while struggle to gain momentum after blowing the sharp corner I’ve just passed. As my bones and my chain rattle I wonder if the sun is red because of the upper atmosphere, or is it filtered through the dust of the forty or so riders who have come before me, or is it because that dirt is in my eyes.

Those thoughts become brief when the course dogs right and drops down a small hill before making a hard 180 going left.

But back to the hammer, and my ability to pour on the hard shit I throw at my life. I say throw at my life because I try to make my life happen to me instead of letting it happen me. Confusing sentence? Yes. A hard truth? Yes, at least for me. Other might experience something different.

One of the reason I race is for transcendence. That isn’t what I’m getting tonight. I haven’t ridden enough dirt, or jumped a enough barriers, or remounted and clipped in enough to get that. Tonight I’m racing for something I hate. Escape.


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