I realize that I’m behind on “breaking” events; but after all, that is what the cycling news blogs are all about. I write when the Muse instructs.
With an upper respiratory infection and out of commission on the bike, I set in for a marathon of my DVR cycling recordings of the California race. I’ve been getting my fixes on Youtube, catching pieces of the Giro and the Tour of California, but last night I had the time to sink and watch full stages.
Stage 5 was when the Muse began to scream. Like most climbs, the climbers were surging and everyone else was hanging on. Small attacks and pushing the pace thinned the pack, until the peloton reached the peak and began the descent. Cannondale rode hard all day for Sagan, but jaws were left hanging open when a BMC rider roared past them and tucked in on the top tube.
There are times in professional cycling that points to the definition of a cyclist. Taylor Phinney captured the definition. I will not give a play-by-play, mainly because it would cheat the beauty of the achievement, but I will discuss the aesthetics of the sport that was captured by a this 23 year-old rider.
Descending like a stone, Phinney’s body position was so arrow and focused that it should be a sculpture. Attacking 19 miles out is an incredible feat, if not a little crazy. Phinney sailed into the flats and moved into a time-trial position without a single check over his shoulder, without a care to see where anyone else was. Focus. Pulsating pain, although appearing effortless. Cadence high. Phinney’s salt covered jersey rippling slightly, nose to the wind. The sound of speed crackled in the motorbike’s microphone.
The finishing line was a cap on a terrific performance. With hands held high and a stately bow, Taylor Phinney free wheeled past a screaming crowd. and later bombarded by teammates and other cyclists who understood the tremendous effort.
“This is the way to win. It’s what we live for. It’s what I live for.”
Yes, it is Mr. Phinney. Yes, it is.