I have one of the three cold/flu that everyone else seems to have right now. I've got the version with the slight fever, fatigue, and small cough. It's bad enough to make me feel lousy, but not so bad that I'm willing to pack it in under the covers.
Basically home bound I was able to get a couple of things done this weekend that I found fun. The first was that I cleaned out my garage. The second was that I was able to watch the national cyclo-cross championships. These two items are not as dissimilar as they might seem.
When cleaning out the garage I came across all the paperwork from when I created the Pennsylvania Cycling Association www.pacycling.org. In those files I found old results, emails, and photos from around 1996 and up. In those days, pre internet, the cycling calendar was disjointed at best. Basically, you heard about races when attending other races, or when you got VeloNews in newspaper form and were lucky enough that the race hadn't already happened. I found myself at the center of a perfect storm of cycling popularity and technology, and I was lucky enough to have a lifestyle situation and good people around me, to form the PCA and have it really take off.
In short order we went from no calendar and poor quality races, to a full calendar of excellently run events with good attendance and strong prize lists. While I provided the framework, it was people like George Theil, Andrew Albright, Mike Kuhn, Mike Hebe, Mike Miller and a half dozen other people name Mike that stepped up to the challenge and the cycling scene here flourished on the road and in cross.
But as with most things in life you get an ebb and a flow. And while the remnants of the PCA continues to provide a service to the cyclists in the region, and I believe the overall quality of the cyclist scene is better than it had been prePCA, we're far from our high water mark.
I think that ties into what we've witnessed nationally as well. Cyclo-Cross nationals went well this weekend in Madison. Cross here is more professional, better organized, and has a higher quality of competition than it did 25 years ago. But like the PCA, its a far cry from its hey-day with the SuperCup.
I had the good fortune to manage Kopps Cycles in Princeton NJ for a while. Its the oldest shop in the country, and the Kuhn family has been at the forefront of cycling in this country since the 50s. I used to be stunned by their nonchalance.
" Hey this is a picture of you and Eddy Merckx !!!!", I'd exclaim.
" Oh ? Yeah, I think his wife made stew that day...it was awful". "
" Is that a picture of Greg Lemond in the shop ?"
" Yeah, nice kid."
But after participating in this sport for the last 25 years, I'm starting to get a better understanding of where they were coming from.
Cycling in beautiful. Cycling is shit. But most of all cycling is eternal. And though I lack the ability to accurately capture the sentiment, there's clearly something poetic about its cyclical nature.
Later this week Lance is going to go on TV and talk. Its not going to matter. And I don't say that because his interview is going to be wordsmithed by lawyers and public relations consultants....that is surely true....but its not going to matter because no matter how much it may have seemed to be the contrary at times....cycling transcends everything.....even Lance.
So take it from a guy who started out as a fan of the Stedina's, Phinney's, Zabel's and Roche's of the world - and is still here to see them come around the second time. Its all good, it always has been and always will be.