Here be dragons.
Mythology is rampant with dragons. Dragons occupy our collective stories, from ancient Greece, to China, India, and Europe, and even to current American and English pop-culture. The dragon is a universal symbol of evil, chaos, or struggle. Throughout mythology a dragon is always slain by a hero, often an unsuspecting, humble, reluctant everyman; a man who draws his power to defeat the beast, not from nobility or royalty, and not from magic or brute strength, but from righteous honor and the worthiness of his cause and character. The motif is common and inspiring, even today. Who among us does not have dragons to slay?
Our lives are rife with opposition. Everyday we must fight off the forces of apathy, discontent, and entropy. The dragons of disease, tragedy, and conflict are ever-present, circling high overhead, waiting and watching. Dragons are infinite and inevitable. They are eternal, and indefatigable. However, these dragons can be defeated. We can win. Indeed, what choice do we have, but to win? Our cause is just. Our swords are sharp. And our hearts are pure. If the battle is inevitable, victory is imminent. But fight, we must.
There is no better way to fight dragons, than bike racing.
In bike racing, as in dragon fighting, we are never really done. When one race is finished, there is another to prepare for. Another race, another day of uncertainty, fear, and darkness. But bike racing teaches us to see in the dark. Or rather, to see through the dark. In a bike race we do the impossible. We overcome. Our continual quest for fitness, for better results, and for eternal glory, is an ongoing ascension, a perpetual climb. The higher we climb, the stronger we become. But climbing higher increases our encounters with dragons. Dragons love mountain tops. Where there is glory, there is also opposition.
What to do?
Fight the dragon.
Or, in more concrete terms, turn the pedals, even when (especially when!) doing so seems pointless, futile, and impossible.
We are bike racers. We live for the impossible.
We live to slay the dragon.