My buddy Page, in DC, sent me this little gem a month ago:
I have a bike race every morning I ride to work. I write down my times and distances and compute the speeds using an equation I learned in 7th grade. Life is such a thrill that way. Coming in to work today I had raced 126 times in the past 13 months and my bestest of the best time was 19.5 mph on the 26th of June. I have no memory of that day in particular, but I’d imagine I was down-wind and made some stoplights because it’s pretty far ahead — 0.45mph — of the next fastest. Most days are around 17-18mph.
The idea of reaching 20 mph has been sort of like the fake bunny at a dog race: trying to catch it takes care of any would-be existential angst. Lots of things work that way: the prospect of striving leaves our identity in its wake, so it doesn’t matter that it’s a fake plastic bunny and we wouldn’t want it even if we caught it. The challenge then becomes perpetually finding something to be the fake plastic bunny even when we know what it is.
I caught it today. 20.3 mph. And here is how I caught it: my front wheel was on backwards, so the little magnet that plugs into the speedometer was on the wrong side, so for the whole ride it said 0.0mph, and I never knew my speed. So it was mental! And now I search for another decoy.