Thursday, November 16, 2006

the 1949 giro d'italia stages whatever . . . the problem? classic piano racing. but here are some gems from the book that should explain why we race . . .
much has been said, and written, about the black jersey "worn" by the rider in last place. although fictional in fact, daily prizes are given to that rider who is just barely still in the giro. great sentiment is attached, as he represents all those riders who race along in anonymity, doing what they love [ride a bike] for their team's leaders. one such rider, perennially, is antonio buelli. wuth his meager winnings from the odd sprint, or from the good graces of the champions, buelli buys a drum, and recruits a local boy from his home town, fits him with a braid-billed hat, and teaches him to drum, as in the circus for the high-wire acrobat, as the races [giro d'italia, lombardy, whatever] roll through town. little by little, over the years, buelli buys a trumpet from the giro, a cornet from a track series, and so forth, until his legs have assembled an actual brass band for his home town of cogoleto. when buelli finally retires from the peloton, he becomes the director, and is waiving the baton as the 1949 gior passes through. buzzati writes that it harkens of "cycling's golden era" of mad dashes on the track, breath-taking ascents of the alps, and so forth. and buelli was happy.
. . . . .
and here is today's sermonette, buried--as it should be--thick in the heart of all that is about us: and so i ask you, the racers, if someone gives you a purse of millions, saying to you, "forget it, here is the money, just give up and stay safely at home, no mud, no cramps," what would you reply? you reply, "give up everything, and start rotting in an armchair? would you accept, my wrethced friends, old convicts, simple-hearted ones, who talk about contracts and salaries, yet would sell your souls, your ugly unfocused souls, for a fine sprint, wouldn't you wheel ahead of all the others, watched by a huge crowd that paid to see you? come one, if you have the courage, answer. wouldn't it be a dreadful thing to sell the best of what you have for scrap paper?
now, go out and ride your bikes, and enjoy them!

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