I’ve written about this before, and I’ll write about it again, because it’s special. Magical. It’s that fabled bike ride where once significant forces like gravity, wind resistance, and talent, lose all relevance.
Cast off, like disgraced 90’s cyclists, no longer welcome.
I’m nearly forty-four. On my best days it takes a good forty minutes to get the ol’ engine up to speed, and even then I’m only a stiff back away from the back of the group. My best days are gone.
But then, miraculously, it happens. I head out on the bike, having prepared in precisely the same manner as for the previous seven hundred rides, and it’s effortless.
Deep lungs swallow the oxygen and distribute it around my body swiftly and evenly; my muscles, long and supple, beg for work; I appear to have accessed a bottomless pit of strength and power.
Either my drink has been spiked with a timely mix of Testosterone, EPO, and recreational stimulants, or I’m in the grip of what some call a chain-less day. Aka a good day.
I’ve got ‘the legs.’
To be clear, it’s all relative.
It’s my good day. Y’know, as opposed to Remco Evenepoel’s good day, or even the local twenty-year-old whipper snapper’s good day. I’m still not smashing any records but I feel amazing.
“What’s that, road…you are about to tilt upwards at a gradient of around ten percent for a couple of miles?”
(Yes. I’m talking to the road…I’m buzzin’!)
“Excellent…then allow me to whack it in the big ring and give it, as we say ’round ‘ere, ‘the beans!’”
The French, in their wisdom, and with their inclination toward doom, have a name for the opposite of this feeling: ‘Un jour sans.’ A day without. And we all know that feeling.
It’s the knowing of that feeling that makes the knowing of the opposite feeling – the one that makes you talk to the Tarmac – all the better. It’s the context. The Yin of doom to the Yang of utter joy.
And so, henceforth, it shall be known as: ‘Un jour avec.’ A day with.
A day to whack it sur la plaque and give it les haricots.
Because who knows when it might come along again?