Today’s installment of “Cycling Wednesdays,” is yet another guest post. (Heck, if this keeps up, I will not ever have to write another myself.)
Sam Hartman is new to the Louisville cycling scene. I do not know him well, but I can say that his legs are distinctive. Moreover, I can also vouch for his power output, as it has been the case that I have found myself suffering madly on his wheel a time or two.
|Courtesy of Tom Moran Photo|
It turns out–as is often the case–that Sam is a runner turned cyclist. His words are compelling. Enjoy…
Like many cyclists, I came to the sport via running. I ran for fun, to be fit, and quickly became addicted to the post-exercise high and various health benefits. Also like many cyclists, I injured myself running. I ran too hard, too often, without care paid to the wear on my body. My joints suffered, and I soon found myself back in the gym, lifting weights, with little aerobic activity to excite me. But the allure of a road bike found me, and its speed and wonder took hold quickly. It wasn’t long before the idea of racing, competing with others to see just who is the fastest, strongest, and smartest got me enamored with the idea of bike racing.
When I chose to get Hermes’ wings tattooed on me, riding bikes was the furthest thing from my mind. To me, the wings were about running, sprinting, “flying” down the canal where I ran; blazing a path not only on the concrete but in life. Hermes (or Mercury in Roman mythology) is the patron of “boundaries and the travelers who cross them,” of athletics and sports, of invention, and most famously, the messenger of the gods. With the luxury of racing relatively short distances on carbon fiber frames, it’s easy to forget the larger picture of bicycles: to travel efficiently. The wings of Hermes represent so many things to me, but they beautifully illustrate the idea of cycling – moving forward both on the bike and in life.
Another way to look at each ride is through its start and finish. We start a race clean, cool, and collected, calmly waiting for chaos to be unleashed. We finish covered in salt, bottles empty, roaring across the line with burning quads amidst a sea of ringing bells. The harder we work, the more rewarding that inevitable conclusion is, and the end of each race just leads to the start of another. The Alpha and the Omega, engraved between each set of wings on hellish red clouds, read from left to right: The Beginning and The End. As a Secular Humanist, I believe it’s up to me, and me alone to start and finish these races, to sacrifice the time and energy to train, race, and recover.
We are all riding somewhere, even if the bike is absent, and sometimes the motivation to get there can wane. To me, my tattoos represent the strength and perseverance that I can call upon to finish every race, every obstacle, and every trial in life. As cyclists, we ride hard, we sweat, and we cross new boundaries every day. The ending of one ride leads to the start of another, and that is a path worthy of riding forever.
PS: Inspired by cycling? Submit a guest post and be heard.