UNIVERSAL TRUTH OF CYCLING #27: IT’S HARD TO SAY GOODBYE TO RACE NUMBERS.
Putting them on the bike is special. Even your bike looks as if it’s standing a little taller, prouder.
And when the race is over and it’s time to load the bike on the car for the ride home, you keep the number on there. A little alpha-male action out on the highway. Maybe you’ll pass another driver out there who’ll check it out and know why you’re so sunburned and exhausted.
Get home and put the bike away. Take the number off now? Nope. Give her one more night wearing that special badge of honor.
Then, when time comes for your next ride, admit it, you think about doing one local ride with the number still on there. But you don’t. You relent. Off it comes and you prop it up somewhere or clip it onto the fridge where it stays for a few months.
It may last a few big cleanouts until finally…man, why am I holding onto this thing? I’ll just put it in a drawer somewhere.
The more meaningful and significant ones may even get framed and hung on the garage wall.
But you just cannot say goodbye. That number does a number on you.
Because it stands for the whole journey. Because it reminds you that you had the courage to click “submit” on that online entry form. Because you trained and trained and trained and told friends and traveled and woke up at an ungodly early hour on race day and took that last minute nervous pee in the filthy port-a-potty and had butterflies at the start line and then flew on pure adrenaline and out-rode yourself. Because you did it.
Because it’s more than just a number.
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