“Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away”.
When I was a breakdancer (1985-2001) there were a few moves that separated the players from the haters. First there was the windmill, and later, the flare. There was no getting around it, these were compulsory skills if you hoped to compete. I practiced the windmill for hundreds of hours. I had a permanent bruise on my right hip for my entire sophomore year of high school. By my junior year I could take flight. Now, at 42 years-old I can still feel the allure of dropping a hand to the floor and launching my legs into the air- letting the centrifugal force carry me over from chest to shoulders until the momentum takes over like a perpetual motion machine, which is when you can let go and grab your crotch like the real pros.
The flare, borrowed from gymnastics, is responsible for ending my career. The same stout, squat thighs that distribute pain throughout the peloton now betrayed me back in those days. I was forced to accept retirement and hang up my sneakers.
There comes a time with all pursuits when you are confronted with your limitations or your growing edge. It takes a while to find out which it is, and often there is pain involved.
I watch Huck Shins drop a double flight of stairs, narrowly avoiding crushing his head on a concrete berm, and laying sparks across the corridor from his chain ring kissing the corner of a step. In spite of those dramatics, his performance was exhilarating to watch, but I was never truly worried. In contrast, when I watched Tommy Torso line up form a jump on the Cadillac trail I knew it was a bad idea, failed to stop him, and watched him swim through the air and popcorn down the trail before coming to rest with a bone poking up beneath the skin of his shoulder. He met his growing edge, or his limitation it would seem.
These are hard moments and bitter lessons.
I once wanted to be an artist, but drawing the human hand proved too much. I play some guitar, but scales confound me. I may get a little air, but I’m happiest with both tires on the trail.
The rarefied air may be sweetest, but the air is pretty savory just beneath it.