At the San Francisco Giants’ games of my youth the old men with browning hats filled with small orange pins were everywhere. They were the real fans. The fans that made Giants so much better than Dodgers fans. They were the fans that showed up and stayed until the bitter end. The Croix de Candlestick pins were proof.
As a kid I wanted nothing more than extra-inning baseball (bonus baseball!) and dreamed of earning myself a cap full of pins (not that I’d ever wear it, only the old guys did that). I know I must have earned at least one of the pins which were handed out for simply surviving the stick into extra innings on a night game, but I have no idea what I did with it.
Cycling can be like that too. We all have our stories of glory (or folly). Forty mile-per-hour winds. Rain. Fog. Temperatures below freezing. (The first organized ride I ever participated in was Bike around the Buttes and if you give me enough time, I’ll tell you about how there wasn’t even hot coffee left at the end!) Commuters can be the worst.
All winter people at work have to hear me say things like, “of course I rode today.” And, “oh, it isn’t that bad.” On rainy days I say, “the wind is the worst, at least it wasn’t windy.” And on windy days I say, “oh, well, at least it wasn’t rainy.” Mostly, I’m being honest. The weather really usually isn’t as bad as it seems. But there’s a little posturing too; men who wear Lycra in public will do that.
It happened to rain today. It was one of the few winter storms we’ve had all year. Today, I happened to drive to work. Those two things were not related.
I drove to work so that I might avoid passing out in the middle of my 8 mile commute. A thing I was worried about because illness had limited my food intake for the previous 48 hours to a few crackers, a few bites of pasta, and ½ bowl of soup. I was tired and weak and I really wasn’t sure if I’d survive. Also, my wife insisted.
So, I didn’t get Croix de Commute this morning. I’m forced to tell everyone that asks that, “no, I didn’t ride my bike today.” Instead I drove through the rain, stopped at Starbucks and walked through the back door of the office mostly dry. But, unlike those Croix de Candlestick pins which, unless they’ve started giving them out for merely suffering through an entire football game (the agony!), can’t be earned anymore, I can suffer through the elements another day. If I feel like it.
Update: Title added.