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Bike Dancing


I train a lot. Most of it is by myself. That’s a lot of time to let a mind wander.

I had a roommate in college who made me a mixed tape, and I realize I am carbon dating myself here when I say mixed tape here. It has four instances of Son of a Preacher Man on it, which was prompted after a night of drinking and cards when I kept hitting repeat on the song. This was the tape I listened to on countless whitewater kayaking trips in the southeast. I recently played it again and after all these years my mind wandered back to running waterfalls on the Tellico, playboating on the Ocoee, runs on the Upper Yough, and mac ’n’ cheese surprise for dinner.

Take powerlifting. My lifting buddy Maria always listened to music during her sets. If she missed a lift she would yank her earbuds out in frustration. It was part of her process. She always had her music in while training. All those month of training and I never did. I broke out my iPOD the week before my first competition. My coach said I was nervous. Yes.

At World’s, I listened to Adele’s Rolling In The Deep. For hours. Over and over. Louder and louder. All through my warm-up and in between my three lifts. I could see everything around me but couldn’t hear any of it as I was insulated by Adele’s voice.

Before each lift, I would restart the song as soon as I was in the hole. That gave me the correct timing I needed so when my name was called and I handed over my iPOD to Coach Joe I’d continue the song in my head as I stepped onto the platform and prepared for my lift. Stand at the bar, wiggle from foot to foot to plant my feet into the platform, smile at the judge (this was new in Vegas), grab the bar – right overhand and left underhand – and give a little tug, close my eyes as I envisioned standing up, open them, engage everything, and when I reached the crescendo in my head, STAND UP. Timing. Yes, I deadlift to Adele. And when I hear that song now I return to the lifting platform and relive it all in my head, in that same trance.

During my last race, the Tour Route in the Tour De Los Padres, which was more a training ride than a race given the previous few months lacked any substantial training, I had two songs in my head nearly the entire time: Dancing Queen by ABBA and JT’s SexyBack. It was a constant mashup and I danced my way through the Los Padres to it

Songs on repeat in the Smoke ‘n’ Fire were often MGMT Kids, some other song I haven’t been able to recall since the race ended, and Like A Rolling Stone. And a special version at that: my pal Tommy Karren singing the Rolling Stones’ live cover of Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone as he rides off in front of me. It’s usually just a single line as I hear him singing in the distance, “like a ROLLing stone”.

There were lots of songs during the Tour Divide. The connector road leading up to the climb to Red Meadow Lake gave me a beat down. Climbing away from that road was a grind and I filled it with songs like Machete by Moby and Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead. This parade of songs continued until the track switched to Clocks by Coldplay just as I rounded the bend to my first view of Red Meadow Lake. They were simultaneously beautiful and quiet. It was like riding in a postcard.

There are lots of postcards with music. U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind and Yosemite National Park. Scamming free wifi on the floor of Ritwik’s apartment while listening to Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball one summer. Singer’s and Songwriters of the 70’s (1971 in particular) and the SoCal desert. I once listened to the entire contents of my iPOD, the soundtrack of my life, during a whiteout in the Cascades. A lot of postcards.

Anyway, thanks for the mixed tape Becca.


Photo: DKCH

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 2016/09/12 15:18

    More posts, please.

  2. 2016/09/12 17:48

    I hope you ride the Smoke N Fire every year. Maybe one year I’ll even join you.

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