Every sport has that enveloping sense of anticipation. That moment of possibility and chance that hangs briefly in the air before becoming reality and history. It’s what moves us to the edges of our seats or to pause the very rotation of the earth in order to see and witness, or better yet, experience.
Baseball has the standoff between hitter and pitcher.
Football has the line of scrimmage.
And cycling has the start line.
Every race I’ve ridden, no matter the size or scope or level of delusional anticipatory visions of grandeur I’ve manufactured for myself, has that moment of sheer terror and joy in the micro-moments before that most anticipated word is finally, and at long last, uttered: Go.
In that moment, the entire world is unfolded and on display. Simply there. For the taking. And even though reality sets in with the lung burnishing, leg searing pain of the race itself, there is always that one shining moment of irrational, even gleeful, possibility.
And I think that’s why I come back again and again.
The number of start lines remaining in 2010 is waning, like the setting November sun. But that hardly means that I’ll have to forgo those alarming and exhilarating visions of chance and future.
No, not at all.
Backcountry skiing has its own unique and thrilling sense of urgent possibility. A feeling that words seem altogether inadequate to fully describe. But instead, I think, can be best summed up simply with this:
Viva winter. And the possibilities in store.